#sianstakesonbusan :: busan, south korea

10:12 AM sians 4 Comments

during my recent conversation with a korean native, he queried me if i had been in south korea to which i concurred enthusiastically with a wide smile to follow with a response of seoul, jeju island, nami island and busan when he asked which south korean regions i've been to.

he followed up with another - what was my top favorite, i even surprised myself with my response of "busan" to which he looked at my quizzically, understandably so. i love seoul too but busan had a special charm that crept into the heart to claim a spot.

#sianstakesonbusan - almost a year has passed since i explored south korean's second largest city (apologies for the lapses of hiatus and delays in travel logging). even so, such vivid unforgettable memories of exploration and delicious food experiences remain, distinctly reiterating my love and fascination for this port city. 

it was a moment back in 2015 that had sparked my story with busan - and it had to do with gamcheon culture village. dubbed as the "santorini of the east", the beautiful colorful village on the hillside by the coast had me at first sight. that was the only push that i needed to purchase my flight tickets almost a year in advance and the rest was history.

truthfully, it's kinda funny it had never crossed my mind before that to travel to "dynamic busan, city of tomorrow". 

while i started on my personalized travel guide book to capture the bucket lists in busan but work had taken up so much time that i left most of the planning to my travel companion and shared some of my finds to get to our final travel blueprint.

researching on the internet for our bucket lists of must sees, must eats and must dos in busan was somewhat limited. while there were lists of "top things to eat in busan", not many had "top things to eat in busan and where to eat them" -- at least in english. mustering my child-like skills of the korean language, i raked through some korean websites (painfully) to get some top restaurant lists.

we found a hostel-like accommodation with ensuite bathroom at mint paradise busan via ye ol' faithful airbnb, some walking distance from the busan ktx station (yes, yes...feel free to insert a remark here about "train to busan") and come october, we were all set to go.....

....but just hours before our flight, i received a text from my dining companion on an email from the airlines. typhoon chaba was enroute to japan but had skewed slightly from its course to hit the southern tip of south korea. our flight was delayed or worse, it could be cancelled.

that had made me pause just for a sec - my last trip to seoul was also delayed because of a typhoon.
-- 'was it me?'

nonetheless, we were on the plane ten hours later and were greeted by the sunset, instead of the sunrise as our plane arrived to the port city. we had lost almost a day and had to reshuffle our plans to move the beach visits towards to end of the vacation, just in case.

getting to our accommodation was challenging with the change of train lines but i had to blame it on our luggages, lack of elevators and the walk up the hill before we got to our destination. it was in chinatown with the familiar chinese themed arch and a few korean chinese restaurants lining the streets. the streets were quiet and a little lonely which could be a little scary for solo travellers. i was scanning the neighborhood when i spied the 24 hour convenience store nearby and made a mental note of its location to buy our supplies for early quick breakfasts of ramen.

we were hugely thankful for the existence of the elevators at our accommodation as the friendly host brought us to our room before listing the amenities and the house rules. (he conversed in fluent english) cleanliness, space and comfort are my top must haves where all three were checked off. add on a mini kitchen, tv with all the korean shows (some english channels are available too), a fridge (not those puny, mini ones), a washer and a dining counter. easily accessible via public transport and throw in the reasonable price tag, we concluded that mint paradise busan was an excellent find.

p.s. i've checked on airbnb and this accommodation is no longer listed on there. however, you can find it on booking.com

this entry is just the start of my #sianstakesonbusan series that shares my travelogues and food reviews in busan on my week long adventure of exploring by walking, experiencing the local culture, devouring delicious korean delicacies and a whole lot of sightseeing. weather was perfection minus a few nights where it was chilling and we were underdressed for the occasion.

oh, and there was also the one written about suminine.

my relationship with busan was probably best captured in my instagram post:

there will be more to come :)

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.