Busan: the Port City

Busan. I love this city. It’s the second largest city in South Korea and although it doesn’t have the old and new feel of Seoul, it does have it’s own charms. Also, Busan contains the word for mountain but the city is also surrounded by water. So if you are looking to vacation, this could be it.

Busan is a city with a lot of history. After WW2, Korea was just freed from Japan’s colonial rules and had no real leadership and was a strategic location for the US, China, and Russia. China and Russia were pushing for communism while the US was aiming for democracy. The country was way too vulnerable and took in what was near them. So the northern part took in the communism ideals with Kim Il Sung as their leader and the South took in democracy(more like capitalism) with their first president, Syngman Rhee. Both leaders claimed that they were the rightful leader of freed Korea. Unable to come to an agreement, Northern Korea, attacked the South.

The innocent people of Korea, not knowing what was going on, fled. They had just been freed from the Japanese but now, they were fighting each other. Many people, including people in the North, were leaving everything behind to save their lives. The North kept pushing and pushing and eventually, Busan was the last city standing on the South Korean side. And from here, the South, with the help from the US, pushed back. Eventually, they came to terms and set the 38 parallel line and the DMZ.

So within the city of Busan, you can still see the remnant of the War. Gamcheon Culture Village is one. People now come to see the Village as this colorful, artsy place, but actually, these were the houses the refugees built on the mountains. There were so many refugees, this was the only way to house all of them. People from the era still live here but now it has become more of a touristy place to take pictures from.

Gamcheon Culture Village (From https://www.gamcheon.or.kr/?CE=about_01)

If you enjoyed some history from Gamcheon Culture Village and want to see something new, head over to Haeundae area. This is the up-and-coming (not really coming anymore, just up) town. With the highrise buildings that overlook the ocean and gentrified restaurants and cafes, this is the town that everyone wants to be a part of. During the day, enjoy the ocean view from a terrace cafe or walk around the Dongpaek Park and during the night, take in the night view in front of the Bay 101 and enjoy the night life. Also, Gwangandaegyo during the night lights up the beach pretty well if you want to just sit around.

View of the Gwangandaegyo from Dongpaek Park

These are two things I really enjoy about Busan. I’ll write up a list of places to visit for now but will talk in more detail about other places as well later.

  • Other places to visit in Busan:
    • Taejongdae Park
    • Songdo Skywalk and cable car
    • Yonggungsa Temple
    • Nampodong and Gukje Market
    • Bosudong old book street
    • BIFF Square
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