Welcome to the summer capital of South Korea! I really won the jackpot when I was offered a place in Busan to teach. It is gorgeous here, and with my weekends and most of the day free, I have plenty of time to explore. Since summer is just around the corner (right after the rainy season), the weather will soon be prime for beach time.
In Busan, there are a variety of beaches to check out. The most famous beach in Busan is Haeundae Beach, in the summer it is filled to the brim with umbrellas (that you can rent for around 7,000 won), but right before summer and during the spring, it is perfect and picturesque without the crowds. The water is a bit chilly to swim in spring, and in summer you have to watch where you're jumping in as the crowd on the beach extends into the ocean.
If you're not feeling the sea waves immersion, watching the boats on the horizon, or the swarms of people around you, can be very calming. There's a fantastic chicken place in the area where you can get some breaded nut chicken to go in a beach box, so it's a great place to eat. And if you don't like sitting in the sand, you can sit on the boardwalk! There's also an open market, and the Busan Aquarium in Haeundae.
The Haeundae boardwalk and beach before summer really begins, no umbrellas yet!
Haundae Beach ready for summer, umbrellas and inner tubes galore!
Another well-known beautiful beach in Busan is Gwangalli Beach. From here you can get a beautiful view of the Grand Gwangan Bridge as a backdrop. There are also typically windsurfers around, which are fun to watch as well. And there's a Cold Stone ice cream shop facing the beach, with some fantastic flavors, like Earl Gray tea ice cream. They add all the toppings just like they do at home too! It's the bomb. At night many older street venders wander the beach selling fireworks and sparklers, which are really fun and great photo opportunities. Just say "Hana juseyo!" if you'd like to buy one. If you would rather watch other people create a fireworks show for you, just say "Bulso sapsoyo," which means you have already bought some and are not interested in buying more. The fireworks ladies tend to be very persistant! The fireworks are typically sold for 5,000 won. This beach is also full of shells, and hosts free music festivals occasionally.
View of the sunrise from Gwangan Beach, sometimes, if you've had a particularly fun and eventful night, you wind up watching the new sun the next morning here!
If you're looking for a lesser known beach, there's Songjeong Beach, past Haeundae. This beach is really pretty and not crowded at all. It is the ideal beach during summertime, as it's cleaner than Gwangan and has a lot more space for swimming and stretching out than Haeundae. There are plenty of food stands with street food and coffee shops. There's also a nice easy hike through Dalmajigil hill that can lead you back to Haeundae. The path is called the Moon-Tan Road, and winds past a beautiful pagoda, with views of the lighthouses on the sea shore.
One of the many tasty street foods you can find around Songjeong, O-deng, a kind of fish kebob
If you're looking for some beach time, definitely make your way to Busan, whether it's Spring or Summer!
A lonesome beach hang glider waves to beach busybodies below at Haundae Beach
After graduating from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Ariel Rosen looked back on the semester she spent traveling around Europe and decided she must explore Asia. Her teaching job with ChungDahm April in Busan allows her to experience South Korea firsthand and with the bright enthusiasm of all the children she teaches. She is overjoyed to share a class with them and finds herself learning more from them and the beach city around her everyday.
Read Ariel’s blog here: http://arieldrosen.wordpress.com/