October 31, 2017
Taejongdae Park was an amazing experience. It is a very idyllic and relaxing spot. If only I had the luxury of time, I would have spent the entire day simply walking around the vast park, breathing in the sea, the mountains, and the pine breeze. And although walking is physically taxing, I wouldn’t be a bit bothered because I would be bathing in the relaxing atmosphere of the park. But then again, we can’t expect things to always flow in our favor. So yeah, we have to get back to the city.
Joy and I spent a healthy portion of the day at Taejongdae but still we found ourselves with some time to spare exploring nooks and crannies of Busan. Thankfully, Busan’s Nampodong area is filled with different places to explore. It is a central commercial and shopping area flanked by numerous traditional markets, including the famed fish market, Jagalchi Market. Moreover, the area is packed with movie theaters and play houses. But the area is most famous for playing host to the Busan International Film Festival.
When we alighted at the bus stop, we started our exploration by simply scoping the area on a pleasurable pace. Our mindless meandering led us to a wide shopping street which locals refer to as Gwangbok-dong Cultural and Fashion Street. It was flanked by a collection of different clothing shops on both sides; Koreans are truly obsessed with fashion as proven by the wide array of apparels on sale in the various shops. Joy did try hopping in and out some of these shops but is probably hampered by the possibility of overspending. Nevertheless, she was able to pick some clothes though. It is a girl’s thing!
There are also stalls installed in the middle of the busy street. Some were selling more clothing items. For those who got famished from endless walking, they can purchase snacks and other food items from these stalls. The area reminded of Myeongdong. It seems that shopping districts like these are popular across the country. While writing this blog, I have learned that within striking distance of the BIFF Square are the traditional markets like the aforementioned Jagalchi Market. Unfortunately, we were not able to check the famous fish market. (Not much of a fan of seafood though.)
Instead, Joy and I walked towards Yongdusan Park which is located on top of a 49-meter-high hill. It is referred to as one of Busan’s three famous mountains. The mountain (or hill) is named Yongdu (“dragon”) because it is shaped like a dragon’s head. If there is one structure that defines the park and the mountain is the towering 120-meter-high Busan Tower. The observation tower is Busan’s version of Seoul’s famed N Seoul Tower although N Tower is more elevated.
Just like N Seoul Tower, visitors can go up the tower to get a 360-degree view of the city but because we are being practical, Joy and I skipped the experience. Admission to the observatory costs a hefty 8,000 won (roughly around PHP 350). Alternatively, Joy and I walked around the park where we saw a love lock area. Ugh. Love locks are becoming ubiquitous (pardon the unromantic side of me haha). There is still so much to explore in the park and in the area but Joy and I had to rush to Seomyeon station.
At Seomyeon Station, we retrieved our things at the pay-locker before proceeding to Nopo station, the last station of Busan Line 1. Thankfully, Nampo, Seomyeon and Nopo are all located on the same subway line; it gave us an easier time. Nopo station is connected to the Inter-city bus terminal which was our point of entry to Busan and is also now going to be our point of exit. After reserving bus tickets for Jeonju, Joy and I simply waited for our bus’s scheduled departure time.
Buses are a convenient (and more practical) mode of travelling in South Korea. All the better because we have three hours on the road. As we departed from Busan, the skies opened up again in a majestic display of colors, fiery yet subtle. The sun is about to set on the west and the late afternoon sky simply dazzled. I guess this is an omen of wonderful things to come, even though sadly, our South Korean excursion is dwindling to its last dying seconds.
Meanwhile, in Seoul, Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo of the popular Korean drama, Descendants of the Sun (DOTS), are getting married in a private ceremony. DOTS was the only Korean drama I have watched in Korean. It also paved the way to my renewed interest in anything Korean. Moreover, Song-Song couple’s undeniable chemistry made me smile and made me skip heart beats. I was one of their subtler but fervent “shippers” even though they kept on denying dating rumors. No words can describe how happy I was when they announced their impending wedding exactly on my birth day! (It was an expected birthday gift.)
As we were planning our Korean trip, Joy and I already conspired on how we are going to attend the couple’s wedding. We tried to fix our itinerary so that by this date, we were already in Seoul. We wanted wedding crash to crash their wedding. Of course, we were just kidding! As alternative, Joy and I were simply waiting for updates on Instagram. In a Filipino tradition, we were filled with “kilig” as new updates flooded our IG timelines. We were like high school students gossiping. Haha!
Before we know it, we arrived in Jeonju. It was already dark (time check says it is 7 PM). As we were famished, we first had our dinner at the bus terminal before proceeding to our accommodation. In Jeonju, we decided to try the hanok stay experience. We could have done it in Seoul and Gyeongju but we opted to experience it in Jeonju which is renowned for its hanok village. At our hanok stay, we were warmly welcomed by our host. Although she was hard up in speaking English, she tried her best to guide us on the best spots to visit in the city.
After planning for our next adventure, Joy and I settled down and rested after another exasperating day. Annyeong!