SEOULFUL ENCOUNTERS [BUSAN/SEOUL 2017] STAYING IN MYEONGDONG

myeongdong

One of my favorite places to come back to whenever I am in Seoul is obviously Myeongdong. It is a paradise for shoppers and foodies and while always evolving, it is still home to some of the old-time favorites, both of the locals and tourists like me. I have written about Myeongdong for the first time in 2012 and for the second time in 2014. Despite having been to Myeongdong twice in the past, visiting Myeongdong everyday during the 5-day Seoul leg of my trip felt like it’s always the first time. There’s always something new to experience, something new to discover. Myeongdong continues to excite me (and my palate!), and if you are visiting Seoul for the first time, please make sure that you allot ample time for Myeongdong.

I have a lot to share with you so please be prepared to read a massive wall of post. I stayed in Myeongdong (right outside Exit 2 of  subway station to be precise) and I am going to write a quick review of my guesthouse. I will also update you with my foodie finds in Myeongdong and they’re all drool-worthy that just thinking about them makes me feel like I’m going to pass out from extreme craving. And as usual, I will be ending this post with a clip of our nightly walk from the guesthouse to the famous Myeongdong shopping streets.

*All references to Myeongdong in this post will be hyperlinked to www.myeongdong.org, a great reference for all things about Myeongdong.

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Seoulful Encounters [Busan/Seoul 2017] – Haeundae Beach

Haeundae Beach

It’s so ironic that I am not a beach-lover to think that I grew up in a coastal town where my family used to have a vacation house by the beach. I remember spending every summer vacation there since I was kid until college. While I enjoy being at the beach, it’s not something that I will intentionally plot in my upcoming trips calendar unless my 4-year old is coming with me because that little one is an aquaphile.

However, when I was planning for my 10-day Busan/Seoul trip last Spring 2017, I found myself including Haeundae Beach in my itinerary. I intended to visit Haeundae Beach because I’ve never heard of a beach being accessible by subway and I wanted to experience it myself. In short, I was more interested about the transport system than the beach itself. Sure enough, Dynamic Busan didn’t fail to impress. As I said in a previous post, transportation in Korea is seamless and it makes going around the city very convenient, and that includes going to the beach.

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Seoulful Encounters [Busan/Seoul 2017] – Oryukdo Skywalk via Bus 27 from Busan Station

janiscookingblog-busan

The highlight of my Busan trip was my visit to Oryukdo Island. I consider it as the best spot I have visited in Busan because it made me fully understand why a trip to see the ocean was worth all that hype. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the other spots, but for me, personally, I was just drawn towards Oryukdo because the views there were amazing and it was not at all physically taxing to get there. Whereas it was tiresome to get good views in Taejongdae and that I’ve seen better beaches than Haeundae, on the other hand, Oryukdo was simply breathtaking.

My starting point for going to Oryukdo Island was Busan Station. I actually came from Gamcheon Culture Village in the morning and took a cab to get to Busan Station. In case you missed it in my previous post, the cab ride from Gamcheon Culture Village to Busan Station was about 4,800 won.

Below, I’ll be talking more about how to reach Oryukdo and as always, I’m going to end the post with a short video clip of my visit.

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Seoulful Encounters [Busan/Seoul 2017] – Gamcheon Culture Village (부산 감천문화마을)

janiscookingblog-gamcheon

One of the top 10 things to do in Busan as per Tripadvisor is to visit Gamcheon Culture Village. Said to be the Machu Picchu of Busan, Gamcheon Culture Village is composed of colorful houses built on the foothills of a coastal mountain. The many alleys that cut through this community are vibrantly decorated with murals and sculptures created by the residents themselves.

I visited Gamcheon Cultural Village in late April of this year and the weather was perfect because even if it was cold, the sun was out and it made the weather really comfortable for sightseeing. In case you’re wondering about what you should wear in April in Busan or in Seoul, let me tell you that based on my experience, Busan is hotter than Seoul. Late April mornings in Busan would register about 16-18degrees Celsius while in Seoul, that would be around 12-15 degrees. The weather after a rain is colder. It was raining on my first day in Busan and the morning after was really cold like it was around 10-12 degrees.

Based on these temperature ranges, you will still need to wear layers but definitely not winter clothes unless you are super sensitive to cold weather. By layers, I mean long sleeve shirt, a jacket and a scarf. At night, I saw some people still wearing beanies but I personally did not find it necessary. I would suggest bringing a beanie and a pair of gloves only for contingency. At first, I was thinking whether I should wear my Uggs or FitFlop boots but they’re no longer necessary for spring. A comfy pair of sneakers was all I needed and I did not have problems with my feet getting cold or what.

After the jump, I’ll be telling you how to get there, what you can see or do there, and I’m also going to share a quick video clip that I took while in Gamcheon Culture Village.

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Seoulful Encounters [Busan/Seoul 2017] – Nampodong, Gwangbokro, Yongdusan Park, Busan Tower, and BIFF Square

janiscookingblog-nampodong

Last April, I spent 4 days in Busan and as I said in my previous post, I stayed in the area of Seomyeon. It’s a strategic area to stay at for sightseeing because the subway station there is an interchange for Lines 1 and 2 which are mostly used to reach common tourist attractions in Busan. After visiting Nampodong though, I figured it’s also a great neighborhood to stay at when in Busan and even if it doesn’t have a subway interchange, it’s not too inconvenient at all because Nampo Station (Line 1) is just a few stops away from Seomyeon.

Nampodong is a central commercial and shopping area and while it is where most tourists go in Busan, it is not as tourist-infested as Myeongdong. This neighborhood has it all: malls, theaters, shops, restaurants, street food, markets, and even tourist attractions like the BIFF square, Yongdusan Park, and the Busan Tower. I like the vibe of Myeongdong and Seoul in general because it’s livelier than Busan but if we’re talking about shopping, I might choose to shop in Nampo rather than in Myeongdong because it is not too crowded.

If you’re doing a DIY itinerary in Busan, I suggest that you allocate at least half a day for Nampodong. I’ll be sharing a map below which covers pretty much all the must-visit areas in this neighborhood and  you’ll be surprised to know that they’re so close to each other that all you need to do is just to prepare yourself to walk, walk, and walk.

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