From Busan 부산 to Seoul 서울: Top itinerary to discover South Korea.
|Part. 1: Busan 부산 & Gyeongju 경주|
The year that has just come to an end has been a tough one and among other things, we were deprived of the chance to travel. Traveling has become a habit for most of us: some of us travel during the holidays or for business, others are nomads who live some years in a country and then choose another destination to settle down.
Well, 2020 mostly cancelled all of this from our plans. We can say now that we are all itching to travel: craving the stops at the airport, the movies to watch during a long flight, the excitement of landing in a foreign country that will unfold its culture and beauty for us during the time we will spend there. However, while waiting for the time when it will be possible to travel again, we can still make plans for our next trip.
This is why I will propose an itinerary for anyone who is planning to visit South Korea in the future, once traveling safely will be possible again. As for the best season to visit South Korea, asking a local or someone who is living there would be the best option, if you have any Korean friend or acquaintance. I can say that I visited South Korea during Winter, which at first thought might not be the best season. Nevertheless, I had the chance to do many things and visit most of the places I intended to, so don’t make the seasons prevent you from traveling, as each season has its own charm and it shows the country under a different light.
This itinerary will start from the South of the country and end in the North, you could land in Seoul and then take a train to Busan or land directly in Busan. Busan is a wonderful city which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and it’s the second biggest city of South Korea.
Busan offers a wide range of activities for its visitors: you could as well spend some time on Gwangalli beach 광안리해수욕장 and take pictures in front of Gwangan Bridge 광안대교 or explore the city center.
A spot that’s worth a visit is Gamcheon Culture Village감천문화마을 located precisely on the side of a hill surrounding Busan.
The village is characterized by very bright colors and it reminded me of some small villages in Italy, especially in the Liguria region. It’s the perfect place to take pictures, as the walls of the village are brightly decorated. From the village there is a panoramic view on the ocean. It is definitely one of the tourists’ top destinations.
Another place worth a visit is the Haedong Yonggungsa 해동 용궁사, it’s a temple right on the shore that overlooks the ocean.
This makes it a stunning place and something that one doesn’t see very often.
If you get too tired after a whole day spent sightseeing, the city offers a wide range of cute cafés, just like most Southkorean cities, where it’s possible to drink coffee, eat delicious desserts and rest for a while.
Busan is also well known for its tasty seafood dishes. If you are a fan of raw seafood, you shouldn’t miss the Soy Sauce Marinated Crab Ganjang Gejang 간장 게장, a true delicacy!
How to get there:
Before Sunset Café
80 Seojeon-ro 46beon-gil
Busan, South Korea.
Click here to follow them on Instagram!
Of course the whole city offers many other places to visit, these are just a few.
Two to three days would be enough to visit the main spots and get a general idea of the city.
The next stop after Busan it’s Gyeongju 경주, an ancient town. To get there from Busan you would need to take a train and a bus. This place is very fascinating. It is located in the North of Busan and in the East of Daegu. It used to be the capital of the Silla Kingdom (57 BC – 935 AD) and it was previously known as Seorabeol 서라벌, it was a centre of culture, arts, science, mathematics, astronomy and astrology.
This city is perfect for culture and history enthusiasts, as you can breathe the atmosphere of what Korea used to be centuries ago. For your stay, the best idea would be to stop in a Hanok 한옥, the traditional Korean houses, which are scattered all over the city.
If you are looking for a place to stay, I suggest you:
Dongchae2 - Hwangnam Hanok Stay(황남고택) - For more information click on the link below:
Among the most interesting spots in the city there are Cheomseongdae 첨성대, Bulguksa Temple불국사 and Seokguram Grotto 석굴암.
Cheomseongdae 첨성대 is the most ancient surviving astronomical observatory in Asia, it was built in the 7th century in the Silla kingdom, it is believed that the whole area around the building used to be a science district. It's something that you shouldn’t miss.
Bulguksa temple 불국사 is also worth a visit, it’s located just outside of the city center on a hill, you can easily get to the temple by bus. The day I went there the weather was not the best, it was raining, but somehow this gave the place a particular charm and I felt like I was immersed in the atmosphere of a historical movie.
Not far from the temple, you will find Seokguram Grotto 석굴암, which is still part of Bulguksa temple, even though it’s 4 km away. Inside of it there is a majestic Buddha sculpture, you cannot get closer to it, but you can definitely admire it from the entrance. Both the grotto and the Bulguksa temple are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites and they attract many tourists every year.
Many tumuli are scattered around Gyeongju, so while walking around, you will notice these small hills, which conceal the tombs of ancient sovereigns and kings. I don’t know why, but seeing the tumuli all around made the whole atmosphere of the city quite mystical to my eyes and it left a vivid impression in my memory.
These are just a few of the places you could visit in Gyeongju, there are many more historical sites. I promised myself that if I will ever be able to go back, I would spend a week there. It’s a very peaceful place, with a very positive and calm energy, which is perfect to rest and recharge.
Two days to get an idea of the place would be enough, but I would suggest more time if you are a history and culture lover, fond of quiet places.
The first part of the article ends here! Curious about the next stops of our itinerary? Then keep an eye on the blog as we will post it soon!
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