A week in Busan and onwards to Japan

Busan Travel Blog

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After a comfortable, fast and uneventful train journey across South Korea we arrived at the port of Busan, our next port of call. We alighted from the train and made our way to the subway to get to our hostel. As with most subway systems it was easy to find our way there and thanks to the good directions provided by the hostel we found our way there easily. Mr Lee, the guesthouse owner was there to greet us with his huge fluffy dog called Cha Cha.

We checked in and settled into our room, a 4-bed dorm with only us in it. It was stifling in there and with no A/C we had to manage with an electric fan. We had a wander around nearby and found that we were sandwiched between a very Christian dominated area and a food lovers paradise (specifically barbequed meat and cakes).

We chilled out in the lounge and met a British guy called Paco who had been working in Korea as a teacher for a while. He told us that we were the first British people he’d met there in a long time as it was mostly Americans who go there to teach. We chatted with him for a while and then headed out to get some dinner from the nearby supermarket. Paco gave us some cash and asked us to pick up some bottles of soju and makoli for later on that evening so we could sample the local beverage of choice in true South Korean style.

Upon arriving back we met James from Florida, and Nancy and Steve from Canada. We joined them outside on the roof in the cool rainy Busan evening…and so the fun began. Paco had given us 1000 Korean Won (around £9) and told us to buy as much as we could - so we bought 10x 400ml bottles of soju.

It didn’t take long to polish of three bottles between 5 of us and everything was just fine until the fatal comment came up; ‘does anyone know any good drinking games?’ When Fab mentioned ‘21′, which has to be the most difficult drinking game created, I knew the night would be a heavy one.

The next few hours were a great laugh and we even discovered that soju, which tastes like paint thinner, actually becomes quite palatable when mixed with blue Powerade. Jokes were made, games were played and we disovered how much James dislikes Powerade (being from the school that created Gatorade he has a duty to favour it). Funniest comment of the night “I have a great idea for a soju commercial. A man walks into a synagogue wearing a skullcap and the words scroll across the screen saying ‘That’s soju’ ”

Needless to say, it was a good laugh and when we finally retired at 3am we were exhausted.

Poor Nancy and Steve had to catch a flight early in the morning so only caught a few hours of sleep. It was a shame not to have spent more time with them as they were so nice.

The next day we slept in late, which wasn’t a huge loss of time as it was raining constantly. We’d just entered the rainy season and there was lots more rain to come.

Highlights from our week in Busan:

Spending time at the beaches (Hyundae and Gwangalli)
Enjoying lazy days wandering through the shopping district, having a coffee and a doughnut and just ‘being’ in Busan.
Feasting on more Lotteria burger meals.
Fabien’s 23rd birthday, chilling out in town, getting lost finding the subway and eating his super sweet cake!
Finding the local Korean BBQ restaurant and muddling our way through the etiquette.

Korean BBQ is insanely tasty.
Visiting the huge fish market where many weird and wonderful creatures were on sale.
Going to the aquarium and having our bones rattled on the 3D video moving room thingy.
Eating takeaway pizza and hot sandwiches to warm us up from the rain.
Having brunch with some new people at our hostel, also teachers, like most of the guests.
Buying some cute clothes from the markets.

We departed Busan by ferry to Fukuoka, Japan. We had purchased our tickets a few days earlier very easily at the upstairs part of the departures lounge at the ferry terminal. The staff spoke excellent English and were very helpful.

Getting the ferry was a simple affair, passports stamped when entering the boarding area, waiting for 30 minutes to board and then take your comfortable seat and relax on the short hydrofoil ferry across the sea.

The most common ferry services are the JR Beetle service and the one we took which was the Kobe. There was a snack shop onboard selling decent, albeit expensive, snacks and drinks. A movie was played through the journey - Japanese with Korean subtitles and then an informative video in English, Japanese and Korean about entry requirements into Japan, including the necessity to give fingerprints and have your photo taken.

Before we knew it, we were pulling into the port of Fukuoka and about to embark on another exciting part of our journey.

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Busan Hostels review
Close to the beach, great restaurants and bakeries!
This guesthouse is located close to a subway station and very easy to find, thanks to the great directions on their website. Mr Lee owns this large… read entire review
photo by: yasuyo