Busan: Gwangali & Gamcheon

Thanks to a 5-day long weekend including Buddha’s Birthday and Children’s Day, I finally got a chance to head down the coast for Busan. Busan is a beautiful beach-lined city located on the southeast coast of Korea. As the second largest city in the country, and an important sea-port, Busan is a lively spot packed with places to explore and activities to try.

The holiday brought us warm and sunny weather, except for the day we explored Gamcheon Village. Although the day brought rain and gloom, the colourful block buildings of the village were vibrant enough to keep our moods from souring. It strangely reminded me of Ecuador, especially parts of Quito where similar architecture scales the Andes mountains that way these buildings creep up from the valley towards the peak.

Met some fellow Nova Scotians at the cafe!

The winding streets are packed with cafes, souvenir shops, art installations, and . Many of the cafes have balconies that offer a great view of the vally and waterfront. We also enjoyed a fantastic brunch (at 4pm) at The Plate, a cozy restaurant near the end of the tourist-area of Gamcheon. The portions were generous and the coffee delicious.

Delicious breakfast from The Plate.

Gamcheon can be reached by taking the Line 1 subway to Toseong station, exit 6. From there, follow the signs to the village. There is a local bus (getting off at Gamcheon Elementary School) that will take visitors up the mountain, but I would recommend enjoying the walk! The bus was packed and we’re told it could take up to an hour to reach the top due to high levels of traffic. Walking was a great workout and only took about twenty minutes up.

Although Gamcheon is a little out of the way from many of the other tourist spots like Heundae Beach, its definitely worth the trip out!

Gwangali Beach is another great spot to visit in Busan. Unlike Heundae Beach which will have you fighting for a small spot of real estate on its white sand, Gwangali is a quieter spot with a fantastic view of the Gwangandaegyo Bridge. There are permanent umbrellas available on the beach for no charge, and free kayaking available. It’s a fairly small beach, but with lots of restaurants and activities in the area, it’s easy to spend an entire day there.

Typical Korean Beach attire… fully clothed!

If you plan on visiting a beach in Korea, I would highly recommend wearing a shirt over a bikini, or prepare yourself for some dirty looks. It is uncommon to see people swimming at beaches or lounging around in bikinis. All of us (men and women) got some death stares for walking around in our typical beach attire. It seems that beach culture in Korea is geared more towards finding the perfect selfie, and dipping hesitant toes into the water. So be prepared for standing out!

Sunset over the bridge.

Trying to get a nice photo.

You can get to Gwangali Beach by taking the Line 2 subway to Geumryeon Station and take exit 1 or 3.

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