Kyoto – Osaka, Japan – Seoul – Busan, South Korea
After 81 days together, Bev & Ro finally parted ways.
Bev & Eric went off to a samurai class in the morning. After that, they had an extra day where they were spending the night experiencing a traditional Ryokan north of Arashiyama before departing from Tokyo back home to Toronto.
What should’ve been a super chill morning was met with a cancelled flight on my end due to weather. Frantically trying to figure out options & trying to navigate airline websites with success eventually. Luckily Jeju Air did refund the one they cancelled so that was a plus as weather was the issue for the cancellation.
After confirming my new flight booking, I made my way to Kyoto station and rebooked my shinkansen ticket to Kansai airport for an earlier time. The station was jam packed with tourists. I think timing wise, we were only effected by “Golden Week” crowd surge by locals only one of the days but not a huge experience with just tourists during our time in Japan.
I grabbed my final ekiben for my last shinkansen ride to Kansai Airport (1.5hr) Sagagyu Yakiniku to Suteki Ju ¥1320.
My days journey should’ve been rather simple flying straight into Busan & hopping on one train to the hotel. Instead, I flew into Incheon Airport in Seoul (2hr10min) via Air Seoul. Then took the AREX to Seoul Station (1hr15min) ₩9500 (9.74CAD) to catch the KTX train (2F) to get to Busan station (2hr24min) $98.16CAD.
The KTX trains sell out quick so you should book in advanced or miss out on tickets which I ended up doing. I could’ve been on the 932PM train but because I was hoping to buy at the station & checked again, the next available train was for 1028PM. The perks of purchasing from the station is a cheaper fare but never guaranteed.
At least it gave me time to eat – I went to Lotteria and ordered the bulgogi burger combo ₩10200. I was able to get a T-Money card (you will need cash to top up) ₩3000 for the card and I added ₩10000.
By the time I got out of Busan Station, I still had one more leg of travel – a bus (1hr 5min) to the hotel. The whole journey the moment I left Japan was covered in heavy rain and 15°C weather. I made it into the hotel at 215AM where I was greeted my friend Jenn who joined me for the South Korea leg of the trip. We stayed at the Fairfield by Marriott Busan.
I knew this travel day was going to be a journey and a half but I also knew I needed to exchange money to travel through. I exchange my Japanese Yen for Korean Won at the airport and immediately was down $45CAD in the horrible exchange rate. So if possible, exchange money anywhere but the airport.
For South Korea though, finding banks that take foreign cards is difficult. Citibank and maybe Woori are the only ones that take foreign cards to take out cash from an ATM. They are also far and wide and not the easiest to access.
Busan, South Korea
We had a late start (230PM) since we got in super late and Jenn still had to work. We ate breakfast at the hotel (included). The wind was also incredibly strong making the rain travel angular so it was the perfect time to do laundry.
When we decided to finally leave the hotel to start our day, we hopped on the bus for a good 45mins to get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 해동용궁사. A large temple right on the eastern coast. It was lovely to see but would’ve been a nicer experience if it wasn’t raining.
There were food stalls lining the entrance so of course we had to grab something to eat. We had fishcake skewers (Eomuk-guk or Odeng-guk) ₩2000 from Mattteulan handmade fish cake store. After you finish the skewer, you can pour some dashi broth into your cup. We also got Hotteok (sweet fried pancake) honey & seed ₩2000 & one with cheese ₩3000 from Bong-Ja Korean pancake.
Started to walk back up towards the buses and saw Skyline Luge. It had stopped raining so we decided to luge since there was absolutely no line up. We did 4 rides each ₩33000. Our butts were slightly wet but the courses were empty for us to fly down.
We got on the bus and went to Shinsegae Centum City Mall 신세계백화점 센텀시티점 (the largest department store according to Guinness). They close at 830PM so we had just over an hour to walk through.
When the mall closed, we continued walking past the mall towards the river (which had Hong Kong vibes) and to Busan Cinema Centre – largest cantilever roof. Stunning architecture by Coop Himmelb(l)au also features a large LED saturated outdoor roof.
We hopped on the train back to Haeundae station. We ate at Haeundae Traditional Market street 부산 해운대전통시장 at Deliciously Spicy fire Oden (near the end of the market street closer to the famous Hotteok stand). We shared set 1 – 4 fish cake, 7 tteokbokki + blood sausage ₩13500 & ramen ₩4000.
Busan, South Korea
Another wet day in Busan. We walked the boardwalk of Haeundae beach as well as the coastal walk to see The Princess Hwangok Mermaid & the Lighthouse.
We returned to the hotel to grab our things to move to another hotel in the Songdo Beach area. We stayed at the Fairfield by Marriott Busan Songdo Beach.
After dropping off our luggage, we went to Gamcheon Culture Village. The wind decided to pick up at this point with the rain. We explored the main strip and made our way down into the smaller alleys. It was so gloomy outside but the vibrant colours of the houses still stood out.
We hopped back on the bus to check out Bosu-dong (book street) 보수동 책방골목 문화관. It is a smaller area where there are multiple stores clustered together where it has floor to ceiling stacks of books.
Walked down to Bupyeong Kkangtong Market 부평깡통시장 aka Tin Can Market. After all the walking, transiting and moving hotels, our first meal of the day Bibim dangmyeon 부산 비빔당면 – served as a bowl of boiled & cooled-down glass noodles topped with thinly sliced flat fish cakes, pickled radish, and boiled chives ₩5000. We also got grilled squid ₩10000 & some amazing Hotteok ₩13500 at Uncle Hotteok. I also bought some candied Mango & Ginger ₩5000Ea.
Walked down to Biff Square Market – BIFF광장. So many food stalls with handprints of famous people on the street. We ended up eating at one of the stalls. I got freshly made Gimbap ₩6000.
After eating, we wandered a bit more before making our way to Yongdusan Park 용두산공원 – mountain park with Busan Tower. I stayed down below to watch the live performances happening while Jenn went up Busan Tower ₩12000.
After about 45 mins I was wondering if she had already come down and I missed her. Turns out she was on a QR code scavenger hunt. She made some new friends up in Busan Tower – Elane & Nhung from Melbourne, Australia. They came down to find the last 2 codes. They got little prizes but Jenn talked to the guy & scored us all pencils. Elane & Nhung walked us to our bus stop & that was the end of the night.