The Sand Festival at Haeundae Beach in Busan is apparently a very popular event. Book a hotel in advance if you plan to go, or prepare to sleep on the beach.
I went to the Busan Sand Festival by accident. See, I was trying to take this awesome boy named Carey to see the Temple and the Aquarium and stuff. When I heard (after booking train tickets with KTX) that there was a sand festival that weekend, I thought it would be a small thing that might be neat to check out but wouldn’t affect our plans too much.
I am someone who can admit when I am wrong, and let me tell you, I was wrong! The Busan sand festival seems to be one of those things like Mudfest that every white person in Korea feels the need to do. Why? I don’t know. All I do know is that every pub that caters to white people had a line out the door and every hotel was full.
Now when I saw every hotel was full, what I mean is I slept on the beach. There was literally nowhere else to sleep. Also, it’s not like I was the only one. There were all kinds of people camped out on the beach. Before you ask, yes, I did check all the hotels by the station, in other random neighborhoods, and inland from the beach. There were really no hotels in all of Busan. I can be sure, because some of the people crashed on the beach were Korean, and they didn’t find hotel rooms either.
So with that said, how was the sand festival? Well, a lot of foreign people who come to Korea just want to hang out with other foreigners while they are here. If you are one of those people, there is no better place for you than the sand festival. You would have had a blast.
Also, if you really like sand castles or sand in general, sand fest is the place for you. I have never seen anything so elaborate made of sand. It was amazing! The theme in 2011 was Fairy Tales, and there were castles and princesses and dragons everywhere. It was really amazing.
Honestly, if you ever wanted to build and amazing sand castle or see someone else build an amazing sand castle, you need to attend the sand festival.
That said, it wasn’t really my scene. Carey hates sand, and I don’t like to hang out in places with a lot of other foreigners. It ruins my Korean experience. I was still impressed by the giant sand sculptures, but not as much as you might be.
Now of course, the sand festival was at Haeundae beach. That’s pretty much where all the cool stuff is.
I stand by my love and adoration of the Busan Aquarium, which has amazing exhibits filled with beautiful fish. (It’s under Haeundae Beach).
I also highly recommend the barefoot path, behind the Westin Hotel. (On Haeundae beach).
If you do go to Busan, there are also casinos, and a really neat Russian town. There is a lot to see. There’s the only UN cemetery in the world as well, which is a somber but also heart-warming adventure. And there’s the fish market, which is pretty neat as long as you don’t’ go right after the Aquarium (seeing the fish alive and then seeing them dead was a little sad.) So by all means, go to Busan. It’s a great place. Just make sure that if you go for the sand festival, you book a room in advance and be prepared to wait a long time for a drink at any foreigner bar.