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Bujeon Market Town

Everything Is 1 Dollar Here

The largest market in Busan, and almost definitely the biggest I’ve ever visited anywhere, is in the central neighborhood of Bujeon. Calling it a market town is no mere hyperbole — just the covered portion comprises a full grid of streets and alleys, and you can easily get lost in its chaotic, densely crowded streets.

Bujeon-Market-Town

If Bujeon were closer to our apartment, we’d be there daily. Everything under the sun is sold at the market, from food to household goods and electronics. We saw a woman peddling puppies (presumably as pets), a flea market of vintage clothing, bakeries selling sweets, squiggling octopuses and squids. Pots, pans, aprons, fruits, spices. Everything a Korean kitchen could ever possibly need. Should your kitchen need a cook, I’m sure you could talk one of the thousands of sweet old ladies working there into coming home with you.

And it’s unbelievably cheap. A bag of chili powder which was twice the size of the bag I’d just bought from a supermarket was half the price at Bujeon. For less than a buck, Jürgen and I shared a strange rice-cake which was shaped and served like a corn dog, complete with ketchup and mustard. Then, after being offered samples, I picked up two delicious green-tea doughnuts for about $0.60.

Bujeon has its own subway stop, and is within easy walking distance of Seomyeon, which is basically the apex of downtown Busan. Definitely worth a look.

Location on our Busan Map
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Biking in Korea
Shopping Kart Korea
Smoking Worker
Busan Market
Einkaufen in Busan
Korean Signs
Caught in the Act
Kimchi Love
May I help You
Korean Past
Shopping in Busan
Shopping Dance
Stylish Shopping
Spicy Korea
Spicy Dude
Watering Seafood
Stupid Worker
Buy Kimchi
Find The Penis
Strange Snack
Korean Beans
Liquor
Korean Sprouts
Pickled Korea
Noodles Korea
Plastic Cock
Eel Market
Fish Spine
Lungs
Lunge
Ginseng Lady
Fresh Ginseng Busan

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June 30, 2012 at 11:34 pm Comments (0)

Busan’s Trick Eye Museum

Books On Optical Illusion

The only thing which Koreans love more than taking pictures is having their picture taken. So I shouldn’t have been surprised to find in Busan an entire museum dedicated to the art of posing for funny photos. But still… I was surprised. The Trick Eye Museum, underneath the Heosimcheong Spa, is one of the most bizarre places we’ve been in a long time.

Trapped By Snake

If you don’t like having your picture taken, stay far away from the Trick Eye Museum, which is also not recommended for anyone who’s overly serious, or those who have any semblance of pride. Basically, if you’re not willing to act like an idiot in front of the camera, you won’t have any fun here. But everyone else, and especially kids, should prepare for a good time.

The entire point of this “museum” is to provide setups for funny pictures. An upside-down room makes it look like you’re standing on the ceiling. Stand in front of Mona Lisa with a paintbrush. Lay down on the floor and hang on for dear life to the painting of a cliff. Peer into a gentleman’s briefs. Wrap yourself in the coils of a serpent. Crawl into bed with a surprisingly buxom Mike. Will the hilarity ever stop?! No, it won’t… it goes on and on, for room after room after room. This place is huge and if you haven’t had your fill of funny-posing pictures by the end of it, then you, my friend, have some issues.

Juergen and I visited right after a three-hour session in the Heosimcheong Spa, and were loosened up enough to throw ourselves into the picture-taking with abandon. After all, we’d just spent hours prancing around naked in front of other men, so screwing up our faces for a silly photo wasn’t exactly a tall order. Please enjoy our photos … if you can stomach the sad spectacle of two grown men acting without dignity.

Location on our Busan Map
-Hotels in Busan

Strone Like Hercules
Korean Cliff Hanger
Naked and Stinky
Roman King
Eating Human Flesh
Best Friends
Blown Wind
Bubble Boy
Fun in Busan
FUUU Korean Drivers
Grabbing TITS
Hello Friends
Horny for Beer
Korean Circus Clown
Mike to the Rescue
Naked in Busan FKK
Sneak Peak
Perverted Photographer
Piss on Me
Yoga in Busan
Angry Bird

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June 28, 2012 at 8:46 am Comments (36)

Oncheon’s Heosimcheong – The Largest Spa in Asia

Find A Spa Near You

For our second Korean jimjilbang experience, we decided to go big. The Heomsimcheong Spa in the neighborhood of Oncheon claims to be the largest spa fed by a natural hot spring in Asia. The popular complex, which also bills itself the Grand Hot Spring, includes a full hotel, an excellent brewery on the bottom floor and of course, a full array of baths and saunas.

Jjimjilbang-Oncheon-Heosimcheong

Later this week, I’ll be taking advantage of South Korea’s incredible medical tourism and having my eyes Lasik-ed. I only mention it because, throughout my life, I’ve encountered a mere handful of occasions where terrible vision has been a gift, rather than a curse. For example: bright lights look like glowing orbs of color, which can turn an evening cityscape or a Christmas tree into something abstract and beautiful. And people really are less likely to hit the guy wearing glasses.

But in the Heosimcheong Spa, I discovered another benefit of bad eyes. Without my contacts in or glasses on, the naked human body disappears into a single flesh-colored blur. I can see the human-sized shape, but no details… and the horrors of jimjilbangs are all in the details.

Heosimcheong cost ₩8000 ($7.20) to enter, worth the price just for the bathing area, which is in a giant salon capped by an opaque dome. Under the soft natural light, we cooked ourselves in hot tubs, gasped for oxygen in steam saunas, sprang in and out of freezing ice baths, and sat underneath heavy waterfall streams that pounded our necks and shoulders. It was crowded, but the other people didn’t bug me much — this time, I was almost blind, and couldn’t tell if they were staring at me.

After paying an extra ₩2000 apiece for funky pajamas that M.C. Hammer would have been proud of (and possibly designed), we entered the mixed-gender jimjilbang area, with relaxation and steam rooms. It was kind of a disappointment, with just a couple separate rooms and a very active, hyper population of kids running around. There was an igloo-shaped ice room, and a yellow steam room… nicely done, but there wasn’t much variety. After a nap and a facial mask, which was provided for free, we were done.

Well, we weren’t quite done. On the bottom floor of the complex is a gigantic brewery, serving German-inspired beers. At night, this is apparently a Busan hot-spot, with a Bulgarian band that sings in a variety of languages while intoxicated Koreans get down and dirty on the dance floor. Sadly, we missed this, but the beer was excellent.

Location on our Busan Map
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Biggest-Spa-in-Asia
Naked in Korea
Jjimjilbang-Busan
Funky-in-Busan
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June 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm Comments (6)

Relaxing in Busan and Other Pics

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How To Relax in Busan

If you’re not in one of the city’s numerous spas, the preferred method of relaxation seems to be playing on your smart phone. On the subway, in the park, at dinner, walking down the street, while driving, while talking to your friends. At the beach. Busanites are plugged into their phones in a way that seems obsessive. But they always look like they’re having fun, so who are we to judge?

And as soon as we can, we’ll be buying phones just like theirs! Enjoy this latest collection of random photos taken around this always-on-the-go city.

-Travel Insurance For Your Korea Trip

Bus-Driving-With-Feet
Ahio-Captain
Busan Art Space
Classic Busan Girl
Coffee Science
Drooling Korea
Editorial-Photographer-Busan
House of Penis
Lotte Loghthouse
Korean Hipster Bike
Korean Stop Sign
Mint Cross Walk
Korean Subway
Korean Cat Walk
Mirror Shark
Moped Korea
Park Wherever
Pig Fest
Plastic Warrior
So much Fun Busan
Roads of Korea
Take-Out-Disco
Sorry No Soju
Very Strange Korea
Weird Street Art
Monster Cute
Super Cute Babies
Humid Summers in Busan
Piff Square
Sneaky Photographer
Say No To Crack
Cornered At Night
Fine Art Photography

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June 26, 2012 at 8:55 am Comments (2)

The Hike to Songjeong Beach

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At the far northeastern end of Busan, Songjeong Beach is a more beautiful and far less popular stretch of sand than the city beaches of Haeundae or Gwangalli. Although you can get there with bus or taxi, the best way to arrive is over a gorgeous three-kilometer hike through the woods.

Busan Beaches

The hike begins near the Jangsan metro station and, like all walking trails in Korea, is well-marked and easy to follow. There’s some workout equipment along the way, but the real reason to tackle the hike is for the amazing views over the sea and the forest valley.

Halfway through, the peaceful silence we’d been enjoying was interrupted by an outlandishly loud alarm coming from somewhere down the coast. After it had sounded for a few minutes, a woman came on the loudspeaker, saying something in Korean. We waited hopefully for an English translation, but it never appeared. And then, the alarm again for at least five minutes. We were all alone in the woods, unable to judge the reactions of others. Were people in the city running in panic for the nearest bunker? Had North Korea pressed the big red button? Had the woman provided instructions on surviving the imminent nuclear holocaust?

Eventually, we saw a family hiking on the trail, at a calm, un-panicked pace. The Korean government tests the alarm system about once a month, bringing all traffic to a standstill, and this must have one such time.

Songjeong Beach awaited us at the end of our hike. Unlike the city beaches, there were no other foreigners here, just big groups of college-age kids playing organized games, and throwing girls into the water — with somewhat more brutality than we Westerners employ. We watched them for awhile, waving off their attempts to get us to join in, and walked to the end of the beach.

A small, wooded peninsula called Jukdo Park caps the beach, providing a shaded relaxation area and a pavilion for views which stretch out over the sea and back towards the beach. There’s less development here than at Busan’s other beaches, and the result is a much prettier panorama. So far, this is one of our favorite spots in the city, and definitely worth the effort of reaching. And if you’re not feeling up to the short hike, a taxi from Jangsan costs about $2.50.

Location of the Hike’s Start
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High-Tech-Hike
Hiking Korea
Urban Garden Korea
Korean Trolls
Geocaching-Korea
Mike Hike
Scary Ass Spider
Fucking Korea
Hoola Hoop Dude
Coastal-Hike-Busan
Busan Blog
Korean Sea
Korea Photos
Roof Top Work Out
Songjeong-Beach
Ghost Ship Korea
Girl-in-Trouble
Korean-Pants-Dropping
Korean Pain
Korean Water Bombs
Korean-Group-Hug
Korean Hipsters
Alone Forever
Korean Surfer
Surfing in Korea
Bitch Volley Balls
Korean Art
Songjeong-Busan
Modern Art Busan
Holy Rock Busan

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June 25, 2012 at 12:23 am Comments (0)

Get Your Puppy Fix in Jangsan

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It’s been five months since Jürgen and I lost our French Bulldog to cancer. We’ve been able to distract ourselves with travel, but every once in awhile (and especially after seeing a French Bulldog on the streets), I’ll feel that empty pang of sadness, and start wishing I had a dog again. Luckily, there’s a place in Busan where I can go to purge myself of such silly whims.

Puppy Cafe in Busan

Across the street from Exit 3 of the Jangsan Metro, there’s a pet store. On the bottom floor, it’s just your normal shop selling puppies and pet supplies. But upstairs, chaos reigns. This is the Puppy Cafe, where about twenty dogs of every species, age and size are running around, vying for human attention, wrestling with each other, pissing, barking and generally acting insane.

On entering the cafe, we were greeted by a deafening chorus of barks. “NEW HUMANS!” Of course, it was the biggest dogs who wanted to jump on us; a golden lab who needed to lick our faces (“I must!”) and a heavy black lab that almost knocked me down. Over the noise, the waiter (attendant? nanny?) asked us for the ₩8000 ($7.20) entry fee, then prepared a free coffee while we acquainted ourselves with the gang.

Let’s see, there was Stinky, Stanky, Stupid and Stonky. We sat down on chairs and pet whatever dog forced his way between our legs. The big ones were more successful in this, particularly the black lab who got to know my crotch on a rather intimate basis. One nasty little white dog in a coat decided to try adopting me, and sat at my feet shivering and snarling at anyone else who got too close. I didn’t really want to cuddle with her, but felt bad shooing away something so rotten and alone.

We moved into a separate area for the smallest dogs, and I found my favorite of the day: a snow-white Pekingese, so soft, cuddly and pliable. He had no problem with me picking him up, and immediately settled into a comfortable position on my lap. Jürgen welcomed a little pinscher onto his lap — two Korean girls who were there petting poodles told us that the pinscher was, and I quote, a “whore”.

The cafe was a blast; the dogs were cute, funny and friendly, and we had a great time playing with them, although we did stink like hell when we left. I’m surprised that more doggie stores don’t offer a place for people to sit and play with their dogs. Especially in a city like Busan, where apartments are small and schedules are hectic, dogs are a luxury that don’t fit into most people’s lives. A place like this, where you can come and get your puppy fix, seems like a no-brainer. And I’m sure the dogs love it.

Location on our Busan Map
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Stonken Cute
Korean Boss
Let-Me-Be-Your-Valentine
Dog Cafe Busan
Happy Dogs
Korean Husky
Let ME IN
Poodle Fuck
Rotten Dog
I want Treats
Doggy Pictures
Korean CAt

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June 20, 2012 at 9:37 am Comments (5)

South American Flair in Gamcheon

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A trip to the Gamcheon Culture Village was one of the stranger excursions we’ve undertaken during our time in South Korea. This neighborhood in the west of Busan has dedicated itself to art, with murals, sculptures and installations that occupy entire houses. Visitors are taken on a tour which snakes through narrow alleys and ends at an observation deck with an amazing view over the city.

Machu-Picchu--Busan

During our day in Gamcheon, we felt transported back to our months in South America. Walking through this section of town, which is set high on a hill overlooking the city, reminded us of exploring La Paz, in Bolivia. The steep inclines, humble housing, complicated and constricted alleys, and gangs of noisy kids monitoring us… yeah, this could have been the La Paz neighborhood of J’acha Kollo.

One big difference between Gamcheon and La Paz was the colorfully painted houses and community emphasis on art. In this aspect, it was reminiscent of La Boca, in Buenos Aires: another rough-and-tumble neighborhood which turned itself into a sort of open-air art installation. La Boca was a heavily immigrant community, while Gamcheon was populated with refugees from the Korean War. In both cases, historically marginalized groups came together to improve their lot through art.

Furthering the South American connection, Gamcheon Culture Village has decided to refer to itself as the Machu Picchu of Busan. The similarities to La Paz and Boca were clear enough, but Machu Picchu? I didn’t see that at all.

Korea is Awesome

The artwork in Gamcheon interesting, if a little too modern… the rooms of the Light House, for example, are full of stuffed animals which represent (I’m paraphrasing from memory, here) “the birth of man and his continuing journey surrounded by family, and dreams”. Something like that. But I really liked the Mirror Wall, which is a mural that reflects the other side of the street. When you stand in the right spot, it’s like holding a mirror up to the city.

Upon arriving, we were met by a neighborhood representative who provided us with a map and a mission: collect seven stamps from the various installations, to win a couple free postcards. Arrows painted on the sides of the houses led us through Gamcheon, past embankments which boasted incredible views over the port, and into the art houses. Honestly, the artwork was secondary; we had a blast just walking around.

If you’re looking for something different to do in Busan, you can’t go wrong with Gamcheon Culture Village. To get there, take the Orange Line to Toseong-Dong, then grab Bus 1-1, 2, or 2-1 in front of the Busan Cancer Clinic. Regardless of how much you appreciate modern art, the neighborhood is worth a look.

Location on our Busan Map
-Travel Insurance For Korea

Korean Stud
Mirror Wall
This Is Art
Dog Busan
Bolivia in Kroea
Tree of Life
Little Stonkers
Korea Super Star
Busan Street Lights
Busan Art
Clip Busan
Fine Art Photography
Take Out Food Krea
Street Art Korea
Word Art
Sculpture-Korea
Show-Me-The-Money-Korea
Secret-Wolf
Spin Flowers
Smurf House
Photographer-Busan
Off The Beaten Path Busan
Escaping Korea
Gamcheon-Church
Housing-Korea
Hello-Kitty-Korea
Grass Steps
Crazy Busan
Busan Blog
Korean Photography
Lost-in-Translation-Busan
Korean Pose
Trash Picker
Korean Messy
Cute Doggy
Art-Photography
Art For Sale
Korean Fitness
Art Kroea
Painting-House-Busan
Visit Korea
Schumi in Korea

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June 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm Comment (1)

The Busan Aquarium

Set Up Your Own Aquarium

Busan’s aquarium is one of the largest in South Korea. With a unique location underneath Haeundae Beach, and a vast array of marine life in tanks which hold over three million liters of water, it’s little wonder that the aquarium is considered one of the city’s top experiences.

Busan Travel Guide

More than the sharks, penguins, otters or jellyfish, there’s one wild species which stands out in the aquarium: the Human Child. This unpredictable creature travels in schools of up to thirty, and emits high-pitched squeals to communicate with others in its pack. Though harmless in appearance, this animal can be dangerous; using its diminutive stature, it will often hide itself near your legs. Should you unwittingly kick it, the creature will unleash its hideous sonic cry.

When we visited, there were at least nine separate groups of toddlers in the aquarium. Very cute, but they seriously hindered our appreciation of the exhibits. I mean, I’m not going to shove the three-year-old away so that I can gawk at the soft-backed turtle. (I might nudge her, though). And we could forget entirely about the special shows, such as the shark- or penguin-feeding.

Children aside, the aquarium was cool. Not as large as I’d expected, but there was a lot to see on its two floors. The tanks were made of spotless acrylic glass, perfectly-lit, and easy to see into. The exhibits were well-maintained, the water was clean, and there was plenty of information in English. The massive main tank is reached through a glass tunnel, and holds giant sharks, beluga whales, and a variety of fish which apparently don’t taste good to sharks.

Our favorite exhibit was the jellyfish room, with a huge collection of them held in colorfully-lit tanks. I’d never heard of the Upside-Down Jellyfish, before. Other favorites included the giant octopus, the sea horses and a section called “Dangerous Fish of the Ocean”.

At ₩19,000 ($17.10), the aquarium isn’t exactly a bargain, but for anyone with an interest in the marine, it offers an interesting and well-designed experience.

Location on our Busan Map
-For 91 Days in the News

Busan-Aquarium
Busan-Tourism
Hammer Shark
Boss
Making Friends in Busan
Penguin Fart
Snake Turtle
Super Cute Turtle
Sneaky
Disc Frisk
Fine Art Photos
Aquarium-COOL
Under Water Disco
Flippy Fish
Korean Show
Fish-Dora-Finding-Nemo
Nemo
Parrot Fish
LOL fish
Eating Blowfish
Dotted Fish
Dangerous Fish
Me and My Friends
Piranha
Zebra
Hungry For Human
Shark Attack
Clown Fish
I love clown fish!
Fake
Children Horror
Korean Punks

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June 17, 2012 at 5:16 am Comment (1)

The Streets of Daeyeon-Dong

Cheap Hostels in Busan

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.

Pukyong-Universities

Cool restaurants and vintage clothing shops compete with bars, soju halls and a never-ending selection of cafes for the attentions of the students who live and study here. This area is one we keep returning to whenever we’re searching for a good, cheap lunch, or a fun night out. And we always discover something new, whether it’s the hard-to-find “Culture Alley” — with its galleries, modern sculptures, restaurant and theater — or a fun new place to eat. Last time, I went up three floors to what I thought was an anime store, only to discover an awesome Japanese Bento restaurant, instead.

Pukyong is the larger of the two universities, with about 26,000 students and a focus on marine sciences and ocean engineering. Kyungsung, to the north, was established in 1955 as a Christian Teachers School, and matured to a general university in the 80s. We’ve only seen the campus of Pukyong so far; decently secluded and peaceful for a city college.

With the well-documented pressures of the South Korean education system, it’s nice that the students of these two universities have a fun neighborhood to hang out in. And it’s nice for us, too!

Location of the Culture Alley on our Map
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Lost University
Korean Students
Pukyong-Universities-Sports
Ufo Korea
Flower Wall
Bush Tunnel
Art Alley Busan
Biking Busan
I love Korea
Korea Blog
Korean Pretty Fish
Korean Flowers
Little Chair
Stone Graden Busan
Stone Cat
Cat Restaurant
Cat in The Box
Sexy in Korea
Mechanical-birds
Graffiti Busan
KO Punch
Hungry For Kimchi
Honda Moped Korea
Korea High Tech
Korea-Campus-University-Busan
Korean Prison
Old Signs Korea
Nail box
Modern Architecture
Pink House Busan
Prada Cafe
Rice Wine Korea
Bond Shop
Blue Monkey Busan
Cafes Busan
Container City Korea
Gab Number Busan
Golden Trash
Extreme Korea
Shoe Shopping Busan
Korean 2012
Smooth Move
Busan Students
Boston Korea
Ghetto Lounge
Busan Fire
Anime Art
Always Connected
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June 15, 2012 at 8:28 am Comments (2)

The Dadaepo Sunset Fountain of Dreams

Home Fountain Show

I’m not sure which is more audacious — billing yourself as the “world’s best and biggest fountain”, or calling yourself the Fountain of Dreams. Big words, Dadaepo, and you’ve set the bar high. Would your musical show of color and water be the “magnificent and dynamic banquet of light” which your website promises us? We expect no less!

Busan Blog

Actually, the show was pretty good. I’m not saying it was life-changing or anything, or that I was whispering under my breath, “Finally I have found the fountain of my dreams“, but I was reasonably entertained. And one can’t expect much more from colorfully-lit water splashing to the beats of Andrea Bocelli.

Around the huge, circular fountain, 60-meters in diameter, all the seats were packed full. Mostly, it was families with young kids, like the group seated next to us. The mom was pestering her son to practice his English on us, which was fine with me, since he kept giving us his potato chips for another instructive exchange of “thank you”, “you’re welcome”.

Before the show began, we had a chance to check out Dadaepo Beach: a beautiful stretch of sand overlooking a peninsular park. This section of town, on the far southwest of the city limits, is a lot more popular and interesting than I had figured during the interminable train ride here, and we promised to return.

Location on our Busan Map
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Busan 2012
Dreams Sunset Fountain Busan
Dreamy Colors
Club Busan
Busan Reflection
Fun In Korea
Korea Travel Books
Fountain Busan
Busan Fountain
Springbrunnen Busan
Sightseeing Busan
Psycho Run
Run For Your Life
Valentines-Day-in-Korea
Tron Korea
Super Wet Korea

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June 14, 2012 at 9:20 am Comments (4)

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