Finally! I did it. I went to Korea (the South part, of course, I’m not a risk taker). A couple of friends from JET moved over there semi-recently and I promised them over and over again that one day I would hop on a plane to see them. I booked my flight and got out right as summer vacation started, giving me about one week to travel around the country.
The first place was near Incheon, where I’d be staying with one of my friends in her apartment. Thanks to her, I didn’t need a hotel for most of my stay and I’m appreciative of that. If and whenever you can, go where your friends are, and you’ll sure to feel right at home even far away. She let me crash on her floor, fed me, sent me all these messages telling me where to go, she was da bomb!
We headed out together on the KTX (Korea’s version of the Shinkansen, only much cheaper), to Deagu. There we met up with our other friend and toured around a bit. We hit up Duryu Park, which is where I decided to start off the vlog.
At night, we went up Deagu Tower and took all the pictures. (Sidenote: I also just so happened to buy my first ever selfie-stick there. I’m officially a mellinial.) Deagu Tower is located in EWorld, a kind of knock of Disney Land, which was really pretty and romantic looking at night.
All three of us went down to Busan, and that meant BBQ and beach time! I didn’t vlog it, but there is a Brazilian place near the beach that is just AMAZING. They just keep bringing over meat on sticks and filling you up, but it’s never enough! I can’t recommend it enough.
The beach itself was actually nice and clean, the waters were pretty clear. The only issue I had was that the lifeguards weren’t letting people swim out very far at all. I don’t know if it was some sort of safety issue, be it sharks or strange swimming regulations, but they wouldn’t let anyone go further than chest high. Still, it was a nice day, and I got tanned up.
After the beach day, I decided to visit the Busan Sea Life Aquarium. They have otters! And their special “Finding Real” exhibits had all the fish from Finding Nemo/Dory. The kids were loving that, but I was all about the sharks. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by them, although my brother was the real fanatic when we were youngin’s.
The last day in Busan, I ran off to a seaside temple. Apparently, I didn’t managed to take any videos of that side trip, which is a rotten shame. The whole place was simply magical, the way the waves were beating against the side of the cliff holding the temple, the serenity of the sea breeze, I can’t capture it in words. Luck for me, I did remember to do photos, so I have those to commemorate the experience.
My friend and I returned to Incheon that day. She told me about a bus that could easily take me into Seoul, so that’s what I ended up doing for the last leg of my journey.
The first thing I did immediately was go to Gyeonbokgung Palace. I spent the majority of that day simply walking the grounds.
I ran into a museum half way through the day to get out of the heat, though. I couldn’t believe how hot it got! I stayed there recuperating my energy until I could make myself move and find more things to discover.
I ended up finding more gates and stone guards. That night I tried to go to the market, but apparently if there aren’t that many people around they will just close up shop before even 8:00 roles around. It was disappointing not to get that experience, but overall I couldn’t complain about the other adventures.
The next tourist site was Seoul Tower. It took me a long time to figure out how to get to it, a combination of very rude/unhelpful tourist guide information people at the Seoul Train Station and my lack of GPS navigation. On that note, I highly suggest that if you can splurge, go ahead and grab a pocket WiFi from the airport. Getting around Seoul without a smartphone was a pain, and the maps were just an urban mess. Still, I found my way to my destination, eventually.
The view from up there was amazing! I spent so much time wandering around and around the tower just looking out at the horizon. Unfortunately, just as I started taking pictures, a mist or a fog of some kind swooped in, messing up the shots very effectively.
Oh well, it was still a fun time. After that, I returned to have one last dinner with my friend, a proper Korean BBQ dinner with pork and kimuchi. I really enjoyed getting to see her and our mutual friend. I hope one day I can go back and see them, and perhaps even see other friends that have moved out there.
Until then though…