Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012 March: Busan: Going to Gimhae Int'l Airport

Nearest airport bus station in Toyoko Inn Seomyeon is the one across Migliore Seomyeon and Jungang Junior High School.

Bus 201 starts at 05:00, runs every 15 minutes and the last trip is at 22:40.  I admire their bus stop as it can display what and how many minutes the next bus will arrive.


It is normally 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach the airport but due to heavy traffic, we arrived nearly after 2 hours.

To all travelers, please always check the departure stamp of the Immigration officer in your boarding pass and passport.  We saw an incident where there is no stamp on the boarding pass and the ground officer did not allow her to pass by.  They still coordinated and validated from the Immigration officer before we saw her again at the departure gates.
Gimhae International Airport

2012 March: South Korea: Jinhae


How to get there: From Line 2 (Green) Sasang station, take Exit 5 and find your way going to Busan Seobu Intercity Bus Terminal.  This is the terminal bound for West area of Busan.



Buy your tickets at the counter and they can actually understand you when you say Jinhae (but better be ready with Jinhae written on local language as well.)  We got our tickets for 4700 (190php, 2012) and went straight to platform/gate #17.

Travel time is 1 hr and 10 minutes.  Getting closer to the destination, be very observant as to where the bus is heading.  You will actually pass by 2 traffic circle (rotonda) before reaching the Jinhae Inter City Bus Terminal.  Aside from maps.google.com, I see this map very helpful to give tourists understanding on where are we actually going to: http://changwoncity 

If you are planning your next Cherry Blossom visit in Jinhae, make sure that you monitor the trip report at the official site http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/

From the end of March to early April, Korea’s largest cherry blossom festival takes place in Jinhae. Over 2 million tourists come from all over the world to walk along the tree-lined streets and picturesque mountain paths. There are so many cherry blossom trees in Jinhae that when the wind blows it seems as if it is raining cherry blossom petals.

2012 March: Busan: Angel in us Coffee

I knew this cafĂ© from Lee Min Ho’s City Hunter which I initially watched during my trip in Seoul last June 2011.

But due to caffeine overload last November 2011, I was only able to stop at its place in Myeongdong and force myself to drink a small cup at the airport before leaving Incheon.

2012 March: Busan: Shopping and Water Show

At an average of 8.2 degrees Celsius with heavy rains outside, how can we enjoy Busan?  So I decided that we will just go shopping.  South Korea has really utilized the underground life, by building long streets of malls, cafes, small restaurants, and waiting/meeting areas (all underground).  

First stop, roam around what Seomyeon can offer.  Had grocery (supermarket, use synonyms when asking at the concierge) for the pasalubongs.  Take note that there are no Esprit outlets in Korea, so better visit Uniqlo (also opening in the Philippines on June 15, 2012).  

Seomyeon has three underground shopping malls meeting beneath the Seomyeon road junction, a department store, many shopping stores, bars, restaurants, movie theaters, banks, bookstores, clinics, etc. [Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seomyeon,_Busan] 

Below is already a signature sculpture in most of Shinsegae Malls (same in Seoul).

2012 March: Busan: Night Tour

I have not tried joining any night tour in my previous travels yet, so I decided to give it a try this time.  I did my reservation via phone the afternoon before our trip.  You just need to do your research before booking so it is easier for you to understand the agent.  While talking on the phone it feels like she is still asking her colleague how to say things in English, so what I did was to help her find the words she would like to tell me.

Joining Night Tour: http://www.citytourbusan.com
Fee: 10000 krw (400php, 2012)

How to get there: From Line 1 (Amber) at Busan station, take Exit 8, at a distant (right) you will immediately see Arirang Tourist Hotel and Angel in us Coffee.  The departure point is the bus station in front of this hotel.


Note: 
  • To keep the environment in the bus as pleasant as possible, the consumption of food or beverages is not allowed
  • Any remaining tickets can be purchased on a first-come-first serve basis from the driver after all customers with prior reservations have boarded

Saturday, May 26, 2012

2012 March: Busan: Yongdusan Park

Yongdusan Park
Location: Busan-si Jung-gu Gwangbok-dong 2-ga

Yongdusan in downtown Busan, is one of the 3 well-known mountains in Busan. Its old name is Songhyunsan, which means a mountain has a view of the sea through the dense fine tree forest. Later the name has changed into Yongdusan. It came from its shape, which is similar to dragon head and people thought it has a spirit to defeat enemies coming over the sea. [Reference: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr]

How to get there: From Line 1 (Red) Nampo-dong station, use Exit #1 then read the street signs, you will take a right turn to reach Gawangbok-ro Fashion Street.  (Allow enough time to visit the stores for your shopping trip.)

You will need to take around 4-5 escalators going up.  Take note that you can only take the stairs when you are going down or going back to the metro station.

Greeted by the flower clock (4:35pm), the statue of General Lee Sunsin (the great commander in Joseon Dynasty period(1392-1910)) and Busan tower – there are local working photographers who are good enough to take our photos for free and not to pay for their service.


Citizens of Busan donated million won to build this bell temple which is used every year for the New Year's Eve celebration. [Read more on this link.]



Might be too early for us to attend the Sakura Festival.  Among the thousands of cherry trees all over Busan, we only saw two full blooming trees in Mount Yongdusan.

But at last I saw cherry blossom during my birthday!  Hope to also see sakura in JP within the decade.

Travel Date: March 29, 2012

2012 March: Busan: Namcheon Cathedral

Namcheon Cathedral in Pusan/Diocese of Pusan 
Location: 70-1, 70-4 Nam Cheon 1 Dong, Busan, 600-094 South Korea

How to get there:  Take Line 2 (GREEN) Namcheon station.  The closest exit is #2 which is accessible only by taking the long stairs.  (The elevator is available from other exit but we were not able to see pedestrian lanes on the streets.)


Make sure you study the location on maps.google.com.  This is just close to KBS station building.

Unlike the Roman Catholic churches here in the Philippines, the one in Namcheon has a different structure that makes it unique in my eyes.  High ceiling on the right and these walls are used for the Station of the Cross.  (It is about a week before the Holy Week 2012 and we saw  group of aunties doing their prayers on the 14 stations.)  While the left wall is sliding and is designed with stained glass.

Outside area is designed with red walking area and everything is covered by greenery.

Based on my online research there is a daily mass (Tue/Thu at 12:15pm, Wed/Fri 5:30pm), but we did not see during our visit at 12:15pm.  Here is the schedule posted on the place (but in Korean).


Travel Date: March 29, 2012

Updated:
Other English Mass in Busan - you may check here or here or here.
Choryang Catholic Church
Location: Busan dong-gu 15, Choryangsang-ro 79beon-gil (Choryang-dong)
Phone: +82-51-467-1209

Services: Services in Vietnamese (Sundays, 2 p.m.), English (Sundays, 4 p.m.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

2012 March: Busan: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Address: Busan-si Gijang-gun Gijang-eup Sirang-ri 416-3
Open: 04:00 - 19:00, Free
  

The motto of Haedong Yonggung temple is "At least one of your wishes will be answered here through your heartful prayers." The sea has been with human-being in history from long time ago. It was very calm sometimes while furious sometimes. The Haedong Yonggung temple is situated near the sea unlike other temples located in mountains, therefore it's quite reasonable to call this temple an aquatic Buddhist sanctum. – Reference: www.yongkungsa.or.kr


Elevator oustide Jangsan Station

How to get there: Take the trains on Line 2 (green) going to the last station, Jangsan station.  You can take bus 181 and this will drop you off on the highway and you need to walk on a bit long street to reach the temple. 

2012 March: Toyoko Inn, Seomyeon Busan

Travel Date: March 28 - April 1, 2012

Been dreaming of seeing sakura, but just the plane ticket going to Japan is too expensive - that was in September 2011 when I booked this flight.  It will be my birthday treat and also to fulfill that personal unlisted bucket list.

Let me start with our adventure.  I got my Busan map from the Tourist Information Center in Seoul last November 2011.  After studying this trip for almost 4 months, I'd say the resources found on the net are still limited for Busan.

We just landed at Gimhae International Airport and I immediately noticed that their international airport is a lot smaller than Seoul. After 9pm, the foreign exchange counter outside the arrival gates were already closed.  I asked permission from the officer to allow us to go back inside the secured arrival hall as we need to exchange money, he asked for our passports and let us get in.

Unlike Seoul, you cannot purchase any transport or tourist card from 7-11 convenient store inside the airportr. 7-11 store also don’t even allow top-up value for t-money.  The information says that we can deposit to the card via atm bank, too bad I was not able make it work.

Then, I have decided that we find our way to the subway station.  On airport exit gate #3, you need to cross the street and walk around 5-8minutes going to the left direction, you'll not miss the station.  Since I have a t-money, I still need to buy a card for my companion.  My mistake is that I bought another t-money from GS-25 store, from my experience in the past 4 days now I can tell that t-money is not widely used in Busan.  So better purchase the Busan transport card or Bee Cash.



From the airport train station, we drop-off at Sasang to transfer on Line 2 (green) with Seomyeon as our final station.  Exit 8 is a long staircase (no escalator or elevator near this exit), on the ground level you’ll see Starbucks on your left side.

From the station, it took us around 10-15 minutes to reach Toyoko Inn.  The front desk speaks clear English but they are familiar to basic words only.  We asked about ‘is there a curfew on the hotel’, and she can’t understand us.  So you have to rephrase your questions on basic language, ‘does the door close after 12mn?’ or the like.  Aside from the payment for your room, you will also be asked for the key deposit (which of course is given back upon your check-out).

Hotel: Toyoko Inn Busan Seo-myeon
Address: 614-865 666-8, Jeonpo-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan
Photos below is Room Type:Non-smoking Double A