December 19, 2012
For 91 Days we lived in Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea. This sprawling, exhilarating metropolis of 2,000,000 people has somehow managed to remain relatively unknown, despite having so many things to see and do. We had a wonderful time discovering Busan’s cuisine, culture, history and beaches. Start reading at the beginning of our adventures, visit our comprehensive index to find something specific, or read one of the articles selected at random, below:
Our 91 days in Busan flew by, but we managed to see almost everything this incredible city has to offer — the museums, the people, cafés, hiking, beaches, and of course the food! All of our experiences and observations are now collected in a portable e-book, perfect for Kindle, Nook or any other eReader. The book contains over 200 full-color images and nearly 100 articles about South Korea’s second city, along with a useful index organized by both date and category. For just $7.99, this makes a great companion for your trip to Busan, whether you’re a teacher or a tourist.
Manga is a Japanese phenomenon, but comics and animated TV shows are also big business in Korea, where they’re known as manhwa. During our first weekend in Busan, a manhwa festival called Comic World was being held at the BEXCO convention hall. Wild Korean youth dressed in freaky cosplay? No way we were missing that.
Early on, we started to learn how to pick out some of the Korean words for foods we especially liked. Bibimbap is easy, mostly a lot of “b”s strung together (비빔밥). And we could quickly identify both bulgogi and kalguksu. But we weren’t out of the woods yet! On one Saturday night, we sat down a popular place in Seuyoung and only realized at the last minute that they serve strictly intestines. Props to the English-speaking kid at the neighboring table for warning us!
There’s a small street in the shopping nexus of Nampo-Dong filled with stands offering a cheap outdoor lunch. Hot noodles, kimchi, rice bowls, tteokbokki (a spicy rice cake dish), all served up by a colorful collection of Korean lunch ladies. The map refers to this as “Eatery Alley”, which is about as accurate a name as possible.
Haedong Yonggungsa (해동용궁사) is unique among Busan’s Buddhist temples in that it lies not in the mountains, but on the seafront. It was founded in 1376, during the Goryeo Dynasty, and completely destroyed during the Japanese invasions. Though the current construction only dates from the 1970s, the temple is a beautiful and much-beloved center of worship. In fact, I can’t imagine it being any more popular.
Present-day Gyeongju might be a busy city home to 300,000 Koreans going about their stressful, modern lives, but the ancient past is never far away. Just within the downtown area, there’s a number of historic attractions, dating from the days when this was the most important city on the peninsula.
A narrow section of streets in the central neighborhood of Daeyeon separates Kyungsung University from Pukyong University. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that this neighborhood, packed full of students and the establishments which cater to them, is among the most exciting in the city.