Thursday, December 12, 2013

Busan, South Korea

Day 3 – Busan
Sun 17/11/13

Early morning as usual, having our simple breakfast of toast at 7am, then making our way to the Gyeongju Bus Terminal via taxi. Since the guesthouse manager didn't speak a word of English, he google translated for us on where we could hail a taxi. It wasn't hard to get a taxi, and they charged us using the meter, so it was good. We paid KRW 3900 (RM 12) to the Bus Terminal, for a 10 minute journey.

There buses to Busan were frequent – every 15 minutes! Ah, now we realized we should have taken the bus from Busan to Gyeongju on the first day instead. But alas, we wouldn't get to see Heaundae beach had we not detoured there. The bus fare was KRW 4800 (RM 14.50), quite cheap for a 1 hour journey that would take us to Nopo bus terminal in Busan, which was connected with the subway. Superb!

taxi meter

buy bus tickets here
Gyeongju bus terminal

in the bus

Arriving Nopo at around 10.15am, we were quite ahead of schedule. The plan was to have lunch at Capadocia (halal Turkish restaurant), next to the Busan Islamic Centre (mosque) , exiting at Dusil station, which was 3 stops away from Nopo. We took our time to go to Capadocia, and arrived at 11am. The restaurant wasn't open until 11.30am, so we visited the mosque first. There was also another halal restaurant – a Morrocan restaurant which was also not open until 12 noon. We met an Indonesian house (or rather mosque) keeper and talked a bit in Bahasa. There was also a signage in Bahasa at the mosque. Really cool!

Nopo bus terminal, Busan

Busan Al Fatah masjid

next to the masjid

We then proceeded to have our first proper meal in Korea (in a restaurant) – although shame that it was a Turkish dish instead of Korean meal. We hoped to find a Korean restaurant with signage in English which only serve vegetables and seafood. But til then, we'd enjoy the Turkish meal first – rice, Turkish bread, and kebab. The beef stew that I wanted wasn't served that day (only served on weekdays, and today was Sunday). Capadocia was a bit pricey, but we had expected it for halal food. Our lunch cost us KRW 48000 or RM 145 for 3 persons.

After a heartymeal, we walked back to Dusil station along the calming and clean stream that we didn't realize when going to Capacodia as it was hidden behind the buildings. Ducks were seen swimming happily there. Oh how I wished KL could emulate this and clean its Klang river.

inside Capadocia


Capadocia entrance

walking along the boardwalk by the stream
The subway from Dusil to Jagalchi station was really long, took about an hour. Luckily we managed to get seats (lazy Sunday afternoon, so less crowded) and caught a few winks.

From Jagalchi station, it wasn't that hard to find our guesthouse Sam Won Jang (KRW 35000 per room per night or RM 110 with no breakfast) as the guesthouse had already emailed us the map and directions. 

Sam Won Jang motel

After a bit of rest, we then proceeded to go to Taejongdae Park. The guesthouse manager reccommended us to take the taxi instead of the bus as there was the 3 of us so the taxi fare wouldn't cost too much from the bus fare. However, none of taxis would take us there – because they didn't understand English (all were Ahjussi -uncles). So we walked back to our guesthouse (not too far away) and asked the manager to write for us Taejongdae in Korean. Then only the taxi would take us there. We tried to show pictures of Taejongdae Park but it didn't work as well.

The taxi ride to Taejongdae took us about 30 minutes, so it was quite far. And the taxi fare was double than what the guesthouse manager estimated (KRW 8800 or RM 27). Anyway, there was no entry fee into Taejongdae. It was a recreational park where you could opt either to walk or take the Danubi train (KRW 2000 or RM6). We decided to walk as the queue to get the train was really long.

walking trail
Our first stop was pebble beach where the beach were made up of a bigger version of pebbles, but smaller than the huge rocks. There was also a makeshift hut where some ahjummas were preparing seafood dishes (fish and clams), freshly caught from the sea. We enquired about the price of a sliced and cleaned raw fish (ala sashimi) – it was KRW30000 (or RM 90) so we declined it. Perhaps the cost took into consideration the ahjumma's efforts to dive and catch the sea creatures for our consumption.

Pebble beach

ahjumma's diving gears

After Pebble beach, we walked to the Observatory for a few shots of the cliff - sea view. Then we proceeded to Yeongdo lighthouse where you could go further down the cliff to get a closer shot of the geological pattern of the rock depositional layers, fractures and fault lines of the Sinseon and Mangbu Rocks. Geologists would have a field day here. There was also a signage claiming there were dinosaurs footprints here. Not sure whether this is true. We snapped some beautiful sunset pictures amidst the sea and cliffs. 

Yeongdo lighthouse

Sinseon and Mangbu rocks at sunset

It was then another 30 minutes of walking until we got back to our starting point where it was already almost deserted, dark and cold. There was no more taxi around. We searched for the bus stop which was a bit further down pass the restaurants (yummy looking!) lining up the street to Taejongdae Park. We asked an ahjumma which bus should we take back to Nampo (one subway stop away from Jagalchi) and she shoved us up the bus when it arrived. Maybe she was worried we would miss the bus as she wasn't boarding the same bus as us. The bus ride took us about 30 minutes and we only paid KRW 1300 or RM 4 each.

one of the restaurants lined up near Taejongdae Park
Back at Nampo, we quickly walked to Yeongdodaegyo bridge for a few night shots. It was really windy and cold so we took the pictures very quickly and turned back to Nampo looking for dinner. We couldn't find any restaurants with English signage so we went back to our guesthouse to enquire on seafood restaurants. We were told to go back to Nampo and cross the road towards the side of the Night Market. Since I was too hungry to walk back, we decided to eat whatever food we have left brought from Malaysia and finished up the last cup noodle. By the way, we only found out later that Jagalchi and Nampo station could be accessed via the underground shopping lane. So to escape the cold windy night, we could walk underground and be warmer.

view from Yeongdodaegyo bridge

Nampo Underground shopping

After replenishing, we sprang back into action and walked around the night market (accesed via looking for souvenirs, but couldn't find any. The stalls were all selling clothes, shoes, food and palm reading / tarrot card fortune telling services. We also passed by the row of seafood restaurants that were mentioned before by the guesthouse manager, but no longer had the appetite to eat. We also saw some dodgy 'female service' premises and quickly left the red light district lane. Before going back, we went to one of the abundant coffee shops in Korea, Downtown coffee and it was good.

Nampo night market

fortune telling in progress

Porky lane
Day 4 Busan - Jeju
Mon 18/11/13

Sam Won Jang was cheaper than Hostel Dahyun in Gyeongju but did not serve breakfast. So we had to fill up with biscuits and energy bars that we brought from KL.Today's plan would be to cover only Busan Tower and Yongdusan Park, a walking distance from our guesthouse. After yet another round of coffee takeaway, we walked to Busan tower and lo and behold, we found a souvenir shop so we bought some souvenirs here. We didn't go up the tower though, just taking pictures at the tower and also at the pavilion. 

Yongdusan Park
Busan tower

view from Busan tower

Nampo shopping area

We then proceeded for some jacket shopping at Nampo Underground Shopping street. Then we had brunch at Paris Baguette near our guesthouse and munched on the various types of bread, washed down with hot coffee. We also bought the cute looking Paris Baguette milk in different flavours. We thought the coffee and banana milk were good.

Paris Baguette bakery!

underground shopping

After brunch, we collected our luggages and headed to the airport via the LRT. We reached there quite early at 1pm when our flight to Jeju island was scheduled to depart at 5pm. So more time to kill. We were taking the budget carrier Jeju Air (KRW 43000 or RM 131 ) one way which was booked about 2 weeks before. Quite a reasonable price for a late booking, plus we could check in our luggages (no additional cost) and were served juices during the 1 hour flight. Not bad! However, we couldn't do the online check in, so we had to check in at the counter, but no worries, we were given seats next to each other with no additional cost. Sweet.

view from LRT

Bye Busan

Jeju Air serving drinks FOC

Hello Jeju!

There was a slight delay to our departure due to the late arrival of our plane, but still arrived around 6pm at Jeju. After taking our bags, it was still 5 more minutes to 6.30pm when the van from our guesthouse – Green Guesthouse (KRW 50000 per room per nite or RM 155) would pick us up at Gate 4. However, we couldn't find our pick up van, so I emailed the guesthouse manager (he didn't have Whatsapp – there was free Wifi at the airport). We waited until 7pm but still no sign of our van. So we decided to take the taxi straight to Bagdad restaurant (halal) to have dinner. No problems with the taxi as we had printed the restaurant address in Korean before hand. The taxi delivered us right at the doorstep of the restaurant.

Bagdad is an Indian restaurant so we had dishes as palak paneer, lamb curry, butter masala chicken and rice. It was a bit pricey, but that's probably because it was hard to get halal meat and the spices. Our dinner cost us KRW 46000 or RM 140. We had a bit of chat with the restaurant manager before going back and she was really friendly, giving us directions to where to get a taxi and writing in Korean our guesthouse address. No problems getting the taxi and arriving at our guesthouse.

lamb curry and butter masala chicken
Bagdad restaurant

Our room at Green Guesthouse

Green Guesthouse!

Mr Kim – the guesthouse manager had turned back to the airport to fetch us, but by that time we had already left by taxi. Despite that, he was in a jolly mood welcoming us. Furthermore, I had replied to Mr Kim at the restaurant that we had already left.

We really loved our cosy little guesthouse. Breakfast would be served at the basement cafe from 6.30am to 9am and it would be Korean style. Hurrah we could finally taste some authentic Korean food.



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