Travel Adventures In Busan, South Korea’s Major Port City
Trip to South Korea – Part 6: Train to Busan
The plan for our Busan travel adventures consisted of a weekend trip, in the company of a local friend. However, unforeseen circumstances caused those plans to fall to the wayside two weeks before our trip.
Since we three sisters were in agreement that we did not want to miss out on seeing the city – which is home to South Korea’s major shipping port – we decided to still go but make it a day trip instead.
Once in Busan, we were going to buy a ticket to their daily tour buses. There are 3 routes with different stops along the way. Each route interlopes with the other at some point, so you have a wider array of choices for places to go to.
With the help from our trusty Subway app, we were able to plan ahead on how to get to the Central Train Station early in the morning in order to catch the earliest Bullet train to Busan.
The plan was solid, the execution not so much. Due to missing the first train out, we arrived in Busan much later than planned.
The train ride from Seoul to Busan only takes about 3 hours. During the trip one can take a comfortable rest while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Korea’s countryside passing by.
Because of our delayed arrival in Busan, all seats on the first tour bus were taken, and we had to take the second bus. This cost us at least 90 minutes of precious time that could have otherwise been used to explore the city some more.
We were equipped with tickets in the form of wristbands, and brochures detailing the different routes.
There are stops set up along the way and the brochure lists the attraction at each stop and how frequent a bus will come by each stop.
Once you pick which of the attractions you would like to visit, you get off the bus at the selected stop and explore at your own leisure.
When you are ready to move on, you simply take the next bus and continue the route.
Tour buses were also equipped with little devices (Audio Guide Systems) at each seat in case one wished to listen to a English explanation of attractions along the way.
We loved how organized yet informal this was and had a great time exploring Busan this way.
Beware of the time though if you are not one to enjoy impromptu adventures. The tour buses stop running at a certain time each day and you could get stranded along the way.
Especially on the smaller routes, tour buses stop running about midafternoon. After that, you will need to find your own way back to the main route to catch another tour bus.
This happened to us since time management was obviously not our forte that day. I blame it on that and the fact that we were very intend on locating a tiny cute coffee place that we had been
stalking looking at online.
Let me fill you in: We had figured out a general location/area where this coffee place was located and not an exact address. Minor details, right? Wrong! After getting off the bus too early we decided to walk. How far could it be, right?
It was a pretty walk where the sidewalk was made out of wooden boards. Since we were also close to the ocean there were some amazing viewpoints with benches to sit on and take a break. The entire boardwalk was shaded by trees and was quite beautiful.
For the first little bit we were doing okay. Soon though the uphill walk and the August heat started to take its toll. However, we continued on, hoping we would find the now seemingly elusive spot just over that next hill.
It was starting to feel like we were being taunted and it was hiding itself on purpose. There was no going back now. We had to find it!! **cue BTS ‘Not Today’**
At last, after cresting countless hills, we found it. We celebrated by taking pictures, getting something cold to drink, and staying for a 10 minute well deserved break.
Speaking of which, let’s take a break from this story. Here are some of the stunning views we got to see during our travel adventures in Busan.
Ok…back to our adventure.
Heading back downhill at a brisk pace, we were aware that we were cutting it close. However, we hoped to still make it in time for the last bus. Alas, it was not meant to be.
So there we were. In a foreign country who’s language we knew only very little of. It was late afternoon, and unless we planned to spend the night in Busan, we had to figure something out quickly to make it back to the Train station in time to catch a train back to Seoul.
We took out our tour bus brochure and to our relief found that the last bus on the main route had not yet completed its daily run. If we hurried we might just be able to intercept it at its’ nearest stop.
The delay in flagging down an empty cab turned this into even more of a nail biter. But at last we succeeded.
We communicated using a translating app, ferocious hand movements, pointing at names on our brochure and throwing broken bits of Korean into the mix. The friendly ‘Ahjussi’ cab driver nodded his understanding & confirmed by repeating the name of our destination.
We made it in time to catch the tour bus back to the train station and were glad to get seats on the last train bound for Seoul that day. Even though it meant a 90 minute wait at the train station.
We passed the time looking at some shops and trying some supper items off the menu of one of the restaurants located inside the station.
It was well past midnight by the time we arrived back at our hotel in Seoul. Exhausted but without regrets that our visit to Busan had turned into more of an adventure than we planned for, we bid each other good night.
-Cee and R.