gustatory exploits · itchy feet cravings

Getting to know dynamic Busan

It’s such a joy to finally find time to relax and doodle. Thank God for day-offs and breaks! It’s a good time to reminisce memories of travel and food trips. I’ve been putting off blogging about my first-time experience in Busan. It was early December last year (2014) when I had this wonderful opportunity. Since I have the time to catch up today, I’ve decided to jot down my very brief encounter with this lovely dynamic city that’s been in every K-pop aficionado’s travel itinerary.

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I’ve been planning a Busan trip for sometime after visiting Seoul twice. Amazingly, my journey here was a surprise. Just when I thought that my 10-day trip to Japan would cap off my 2014 travel ventures, Busan became the unexpected ‘last trip.’

Two days before I flew to Osaka, I got a call from my boss ordering me to get my papers ready so I can go to Busan first week on a wintry December. I was really overwhelmed! But I’m glad even though I had to scrunch preps for docs I need to submit to the embassy. It made me all the more inspired to enjoy traveling. I so looove the idea of packing a suitcase and going to other places. And so when we arrived at Gimhae Airport just hours before midnight, I was far from feeling tired and jet-lagged. Good thing the company I’m with were a boisterous lot. Nothing beats the feeling of exploring a new place in the company of good and witty friends.

After checking in at our hotel (Novotel Ambassador Busan)—which is by the way, a great place to stay while here—we head off to a restaurant that’s just a five minute walk from our temporary abode. Our mouths water and our stomachs grumble as we smell Korean barbecue wafting from the many restaurants we passed by on the street. Finally, we settled to one restaurant ready to accommodate the big group. And our Korean food trip begins… Busan Busan Busan One thing I didn’t anticipate though was how tricky the weather is in Busan especially in winter. The weather was crisp when we got out of the airport, like the coolness of Baguio City. But just after we finished our dinner (which was about 12 midnight, South Korea time) the weather suddenly dropped down to 1 Degree Celsius! I regret leaving my jacket at the hotel! After leaving the comforting warmth of the restaurant, we tried hard to dash back to the hotel but the five-minute walk earlier became an excruciating 15-minute marathon. Some of us even had to get inside a convenience store a couple of times just to “thaw” our freezing hands and feet. Lesson learned for me: never leave the hotel without a jacket. Novotel Ambassador Busan is so near Heundae Beach and the wind from the sea would smack your face cold. We got back to the hotel feeling like we’ve just won the race.

We woke up very early the next day getting ready for work. We decided to have breakfast outside the hotel so we can do some sightseeing at the same time. My roommate and I went to fetch two of our friends who booked a room with the stunning view of Heundae Beach before them. The great ocean view from the room is really so beautiful! We took turns having a selfie. Mind you, this is even more stunning at night. Alas, I lost my photo of my night view of Haeundae. IMG_0011 IMG_0012 We left the hotel and walked to a mini-street market near a Coffee Bean Tea Leaf. We found this little restaurant selling popular Korean street food and took our breakfast here. Judging from the pictures on the wall, a lot of K-pop starts frequented this food hub. So we settled here and helped ourselves to bowlfuls of bibimbap and fish cake soup. IMG_20141211_100633 IMG_20141211_094152 IMG_20141211_094134 IMG_20141211_091355 IMG_20141211_091137 After breakfast, some of my companions decided to check out the market and nearby Etude and Nature Republic stalls. I opted to walk back to our hotel for a quick beach getaway. Despite the cold weather I had an amazing morning beach stroll at Haeundae… IMG_0025 IMG_0031 Afterwards we went to BEXCO (Busan Exhibition and Convention Center) where we spent the day working. This huge edifice is a favorite hub and conference venue of world leaders and business groups in South Korea. It was difficult getting a photo of the exterior. The winter chill is making it hard for our fingers to work right and press the click button of our digicam. Most of my photos of BEXCO were inside. After work, we headed off to BonChon restaurant for dinner. The restaurant is  right across our hotel. We found it intriguing because its ambience is a bit dark but relaxing, so different from the BonChon fastfood chain of restaurants you find here in Manila. But here you get a plateful of the popular Korean-style fried chicken that’s oozing with flavors and goes well with soju! We had a blast eating dinner here 🙂 IMG_0005_2 IMG_0006_2 IMG_0007_2 IMG_0008_2 IMG_0009_2 IMG_0011_2 Oh what a night! We capped off our meal having so much fun and looking forward to the next day…something I’m gonna write in my next blog. Next, I’m gonna write about our brief escapade at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and the fabulous time we had Christmas shopping at Jagalchi and Nampodong. 😀

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