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Korea and the City of Busan

Friday, October 16, 2009

Korea was a great place to visit, specifically Busan.  Although english was barely spoken,  there were plenty of kind people who helped out along the way. There were many circumstances where a local would step in and make sure that we were okay or that our needs were communicated well. I guess it’s in the nature of the traveler to be wary of strangers when traveling, but in this circumstance I was very pleased with the kindness of strangers.

Shopping Street in Busan, Korea

Korea had the flare of “Korea Town” in any major U.S. City, but on a much larger scale. Advertisements and colorful billboards are plastered everywhere, much more so than Japan. It becomes hard to know where to look and what to make of it all. I found the prices to be reasonable, overall,  with the exception of a few “tourist” type restaurants here and there that would jack up the prices to astronomical proportions. I’ve learned to avoid this type of thing when I travel.

Busan Korea
Korea is a mixture of old buildings with modern new buildings. There’s old world Korean life along small alley ways and MTV generation style adverts blaring from LED displays. There’s dirt covered streets running into expensive shopping centers and expensive cars driving alongside rusty old bicycles.

City of Busan Korea

An extensive subway system makes it easy to get around and outside of Busan and the prices were more than fair at $4 approximately for a pass that you can use all day.  Overall, I felt safe in all the areas we went to. I don’t really wonder around at night, so I’m not sure if it’s still safe then.

Shopping Street in Busan, Korea
You will see thousands of vendors lining many streets as you walk around, this is true for downtown as well as miles out in the busy, overgrown suburbs. I found the harbor view to be beautiful and was happy to run into a group of locals playing the drums and symbols in a wonderful chorus as crowds gathered around. I spent some time watching the fishing boats coming in and unloading their catches. I really enjoy photographing ships and old boats.

Fisherman in Busan, Korea
As I spoke about in the fish market post, there are some unusual eating places along the streets. On some of the regular, non-commercial streets, there were tiny, open, little “store” fronts which were basically just an older Korean lady and a few hot plates. 

Busan Korea

She would have various things that were available to cook for the day and there were a couple of stools that you could sit at and eat. It reminded me of the tiny nonexistent kitchens that you get in some NYC apartments, but there was no door or entrance,  you just sat at the “counter” right there on the street. These seemed to be quite common and popular around the city.  I suppose it’s kind of like walking up to mom’s kitchen and letting her cook you something. Again, not the most sanitary looking places, but I imagine they are well respected in the local areas.

Busan Korea
This area of Korea also has some amazing beaches a number of miles out. In fact, the beach areas are quite famous. Busan, itself, doesn’t look like a beach town, but Haeundae beach can be reached by subway and is lined with five star resorts. I didn’t stay there because I’ll be spending so much time at other beach areas over the next few months, but I hear that people come from all over the world to visit the beaches here.

Busan Korea
Korean immigration was pretty easy and I would imagine that if you watched your P’s and Q’s as in any country, you’d be pretty darn safe and happy visiting there. As usual, you can click HERE to view my photos of Korea.


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