FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Pusan: Pop In To Pusan

Sep 1, 2005
2005 / September 2005

Haeundae Beach

If you’re looking for a lonely stretch of sand on which to lay out your towel, this isn’t it. Haeundae (http://www.haeundae.busan.kr/eng/index.html) is a mile-long city beach lined with high-rise hotels. Think Waikiki or Copacabana. On a sunny weekend you will be jostling with more than 100,000 sun-worshippers, yet that’s part of the attraction: it’s a great place to mix informally with ordinary Koreans. A variety of festivals and cultural events take place on the beach throughout the year. At Folk Square you can watch, or even take part in, traditional Korean games such as neoldduigi (in which someone jumps onto one end of a seesaw and launches the person at the other end high into the air). Get to the beach by Subway Line 2 to Haeundae Station, or by the No. 139 or 140 bus from downtown Pusan.

Beomeo Temple

(aka Beomeosa or Pomosa)
There has been a Buddhist temple on the lower slopes of Geumjeong Mountain, north of downtown Pusan, since 678 A.D. Of the original buildings, only a few ancient stone foundations remain. The majority of today’s complex of shrines, halls of worship and pagodas dates back about four centuries. Within this ancient setting, the contrast to the bustle of modern Pusan is dramatic. The temple (http://www.pomosa.com) is open daily; admission $1. Take Subway Line 1 from Pusan to Beomeosa Station, and then catch the No. 90 bus up to the temple (the bus runs every 30 minutes).

United Nations Memorial Cemetery

At the end of the Korean War (1950-’53), the bodies of deceased UN forces were transferred from temporary cemeteries throughout the country to this 36-acre plot in eastern Pusan. Many countries, including the United States, subsequently repatriated most of their fallen soldiers, but 2,300 foreign combatants remain buried here, primarily from Britain, Turkey and Australia, along with 36 Americans. A search facility on the cemetery’s Web site (http://unmck.or.kr/eng/intro.htm) enables visitors to locate the graves of relatives. Whether you have a direct connection or not, a visit here is a profoundly moving experience. Take Subway Line 2 to Daeyeon; the cemetery is a 15- minute walk from the station — follow the signs. Admission is free; hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Jagalchi Market

Prepare for sensory overload: the sights, sounds and especially smells of Korea’s largest fish market can be overwhelming. But it’s one of the city’s must-sees. Take particular note of the streetwise and sassy female vendors, who are affectionately known as Jagalchi ajuma, meaning “Jagalchi aunts.” Within the market’s modern, six-floor complex on the Pusan waterfront, there are numerous cafes and restaurants where you can sample some of the catches of the day. The market is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Taejongdae Park

Situated on the southeastern tip of Yeongdo Island (connected to the mainland by bridges), this national park protects a wild and rugged stretch of coastline. Although it’s often busy, you’ll soon learn that crowds are a way of life in Korea. It’s a great place for hiking amid dense evergreen forest. The highlight is a visit to the park’s gleaming white lighthouse, which perches atop a sheer cliff, providing magnificent sea views. The park is open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and admission is less than a dollar. Get there by the No. 88 or 101 bus from Pusan Station.

Worth Noting

If you’re going to be traveling a lot by bus and subway, it is worth buying a prepaid transportation “smart card,” available in units starting at $5.

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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