Around Busan City

Busan is a port city in the Southern part of South Korea. It’s a wonderful place to go on a weekend trip. I have taken the KTX (high speed train) down several times when I had a few days free.


Some of the attractions are very unique. For example, Busan has the only UN cemetery in the world, because many of the allied soldiers who died defending South Korea in the Korean War are buried there.


It also has a bustling fish market, as you would expect in a port city. I am told that there is also fabulous shopping, but shopping has never really been my thing.


However, my very favorite part is the area part of Busan called Haeundae. This is where you come to see the beach, and it is a beautiful beach.

busan_with_carl 134

There is also a wonderful wooden path along the cliffs where you can see statues of mermaids, lighthouses, and other great stuff.


I wanted to go to the Busan Aquarium, and you would think that would be pretty easy. The map said it was right on the beach, but I admit, I missed it on my first pass. The entrance is a little shark statue, and the entire rest of the aquarium is under ground.

The Busan Aquarium is reasonably priced and has a good range of things to see, from turtles to fish, and even a shark tank with a tunnel through it.


I could spend an entire day there myself, but I really love watching fish swim around. There is something so peaceful about it.

One tank (which is huge) is all full of different kinds of coral and fish, and it has amphitheater seating around it so that you can just get comfortable in the air conditioning and enjoy the view.

I definitely recommend dropping in to give it a look.


Another wonderful thing to do is hop a bus to the temple near Haeundae beach. They have a sunrise ceremony, which I managed to catch only once. But the rest of the day it is just a beautiful place to enjoy ocean views and see awesome things.


Some people will tell you that if you have seen one temple, you have seen them all. I do understand this attitude, but to me, they all have their own personality and unique features.

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I find the buildings peaceful and relaxing, the monks welcoming, and the crafts for sale to always be beautiful.

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At this particular temple, they have a special place by the sea to practice rock stacking. This is a Buddhist practice that is supposed to be calming, and I admit, I did find it to be a nice activity on a windy afternoon.

If you go to Busan and you are looking for things to do, there is certainly no shortage. These are just a few things that I did, and that I thought were fun.

Oh, and I have to add this billboard because I think it is hilarious. In Korea, it is okay to put cuss words in advertisements as long as they are not in Korean. (We do the same thing in the US. I could own a business named a Korean cuss word and no one would care.)

So, here is the Mini Cooper billboard I saw in downtown Busan.


The Coolest Sand Castles Ever!

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.

Banners for Sand Fest

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.

Once upon a time...

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.

Carey somehow asleep after the sun was up.

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.

Sword in the stone

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.

Sand Lighthouse with real light

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.

Shin Sae Gay shopping center in sand.

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.

Let down your golden hair...

Now of course, the sand festival was at Haeundae beach. That’s pretty much where all the cool stuff is.

Me at Haeundae Beach

I stand by my love and adoration of the Busan Aquarium, which has amazing exhibits filled with beautiful fish. (It’s under Haeundae Beach).

At the Busan Aquarium

I also highly recommend the barefoot path, behind the Westin Hotel. (On Haeundae beach).

Me on the barefoot path behind the Westin at 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.

The only UN cemetery in the world, in Busan South Korea