Continuing from Busan (part 1)

Here is a list of things that we did, what you can do in Busan in a couple of days. There is definitely more to be discovered in this bustling city in the southeasternmost tip of the Korean Peninsula.

Haeundae Beach

A charming stretch of golden sandy beach fringed with deck chairs and umbrellas. Hillside houses on the other side form a picturesque backdrop like the ‘Santorini’ of Korea. Luxury hotels and resorts, cafes, bars and restaurants lined the esplanade overlooking the turquoise blue seascape.

In summer, the beach is always packed with vacationers sunbathing, playing beach volleyball, frolicking in the water and doing other popular water activities such as jet skiing and yachting. During the Haeundae Sand Festival, various events including the fantastic sand sculpting exhibition, sand school experience, sand theme pavilion and sandboarding are held here.

Busan Aquarium

Located on Haeundae Beach, Busan Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Korea, featuring 99 tanks and a main tank containing over 3,000 tonnes of water, and an 80-metre long tunnel where you walk through to experience fish shoals, rays and sharks gliding all around you. Visitors get the chance to feel different species of marine life at the touch pool and catch the feeding of the cute penguins, otters and sharks.

The diver was feeding the sharks in the main tank while everyone was watching the show.

The 80-metre long tunnel

Seemingly walking on the seabed with the sharks at the tunnel.

The touch pool

Dongbaekseom island

Also in Haeundae area, we visited the Narimaru APEC House on Dongbaekseom island where it served as the conference centre for 2005 APEC Meeting and houses the APEC Memorial Hall. The APEC House is an important venue for international conferences.

The lovely coastline on Dongbaekseom.

Take some time for leisure walking around the area to soak in the scenic views of the coastline, Gwangan Bridge, modern skyscapers and surroundings.

Tea Ceremony Experience

We visited Busan Women’s University to learn about the ancient Korean tea ceremony and dress up in Hanbok to make tea. It may look simple yet sophisticated, we need to remember the steps to prepare the tea in a gentle manner. During the tea ceremony, I felt so… cultured!

The ladies were demonstrating the traditional tea ceremony. After that, one of the ladies would repeat part of the process again so that we would follow the steps and make our own tea.

Filming in progress! The TV crew is from Malaysia. Wind Lee is a well known celebrity hosting this variety show on Busan.

A photo with the celebrity!

My tea set

All in hanbok to partake in the traditional Korean tea ceremony.

Besides, there is a museum exhibiting ancient Korean artifacts and robes for visitors to learn about Korean traditions and history. Reservation is required to participate in the tea ceremony.

Tiffany 21 – Cruise Tour

To immerse in a night of live band performances, gourmet delights and mesmerizing coastal scenery of Busan, take a dinner cruise on Tiffany 21 (www.coveacruise.com) that sails along Dongbaekseom island, Haeundae and Gwangan Bridge.

On the upper deck during sunset.

A sumptuous spread of fresh seafood, tempura, sushi, meats, salads, desserts and so much more served in buffet style on the dinner cruise.

Fresh prawns and scallops.

As it gets darker, the singers will move from the dining area to the upper deck and continue playing live music. The dinner cruise was definitely one of our favourite highlights of the trip.

Shopping

Did you know that Shinsegae Department Store (www.shinsegae.com) is a Guinness world record holder for the largest departmental store? The shopper’s paradise has an ice skating rink, a movie theatre offering a dining experience, a golf practice range, entertainment facilities and a spa sanctuary fed by all-natural spring water pumped up from underground.

Head down to Lotte Department Store for luxury brands and the century old Haeundae Traditional Market bustling with street vendors selling fresh vegetables, meats and stuff for a local experience. If you are keen on Korean street fashion and skincare products, Seomyeon has three underground shopping malls in the bustling area of Busan.

Busan Int’l Film Festival and Cinema Center

Dubbed as the Cannes of Asia, the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) takes place in October each year, drawing hordes of tourists from all over the world to The BIFF Square at Nampo-dong area where the Asia’s biggest film festival is held. Here you can also find handprints of famous celebrities set into the pavement at the square.

Head over to Busan Cinema Center for movies, musicals and concerts. The state-of-art architecture takes pride of place in its world longest cantilever that spans across 85-metre. At night, the cantilever is lighted up with dynamic LED lights.

To relive the high-octane atmosphere of K-pop concerts, catch the 3D shows at Busan Cinema Center. We put on 3D glasses and watched the intense performance of Super Junior prancing around, as if we were sitting right in front of the stage. It was quite an interesting experience for tourists like us who have not been to their live concerts before.

From 12 April 2013 to current, Busan Cinema Center is showing Rain the Best Show 3D, Infinite Second Invasion Evolution 3D and Super Junior Show 3D. Purchasing ticket is available at the theater. (www.kpopcinema.com)

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Unlike most temples, this Korean temple was built on a rock formation overlooking the vast turquoise blue sea. A not-to-be-missed for scenic lovers, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is the picture perfect spot to soak in the surrounding views, the location to catch the first sunrise of the New Year.

The path leading up to the temple.

A breathtaking view from the temple facing the sea.

Korean cuisine is typically spicy, low in calories and nutritious with individual rice portions, bean paste soup and few side dishes shared by everyone at the table. Common dishes include kimchi, pea sprouts, pan-fried fish, pork slices, seaweed and pancakes.

The savoury Korean scallion pancake is a crowd-pleaser.

My favourite spicy soya bean paste stew, though it’s a bit too salty.

Korean ginseng chicken soup is a must-try when you are in Korea. Rice is stuffed inside the chicken, so mash the chicken to mix it well with the rice and soup. The taste is delicate, not as herbal as our (Singapore) version of herbal chicken soup. And it goes well with ginseng soju.

We had a sumptuous Korean lunch at this small restaurant located at the Toam Ceramic Park that’s the working centre for Busan’s ceramic artisans. At the park, little ceramic figurines are displayed on the hillside overlooking the sea.

Coming next… our trip to Gimhae!

Busan Tourism Organization website: www.bto.or.kr