The coastal city of Busan has plenty of tourist attractions to offer, most of them being along the sea.
The plan was to use the two days alloted to Busan to visit Haedong Yongungsa Temple, stroll down Haeundae Beach and stop for sweets and beers (odd ccombi, I know!) along the way, check out more coast views from xxx and take in the rest of the city sights the lazy way by going on a BUTI tour bus.
But as they say, our plans are God’s joke.
With Titus being unwell, we were reluctant to pack a day full of activities and chose instead to stay in the hotel in the morning and then pick just one attraction for the afternoon.
Titus seemed in on this plan too, and was willing to sleep in with us till almost 10am – how rare and what an indulgence! We fed him his usual oat and milk cereal – carted over from home to ensure he has at least something familiar in an unfamiliar environment.
Then we made our way to Shinsegae Centum City, a massive new shopping mall in Busan, in search of lunch and some adorable kids outfits.
After an awesome lunch of traditional Korean favourites – bibimbab, seafood pajeon and deonjang jiggae – we skipped shopping and went instead to an outdoor dino-themed playground on the rooftop of the mall.
Zooraji is spacious with a variety of play structures as well as open plots for kids to run free. Some of the trees had leaves that turned yellow and amber, presenting a lovely autumn sight.
Later, we adjourned to Haedong Yongungsa Temple, an ancient temple that sits on a cliff with fearsome waves smashing against the rocks beneath.
It was a 20-minute walk uphill to the temple, and with a 10kg toddler strapped onto me, my legs were wobbly like overcooked spaghetti after covering just 100m.
The beauty of Haedong Yongungsa Temple lies in its exterior and surroundings. And so to enjoy it, we braved the chill and stayed outside.
Soon, we were frozen stiff and found a quiet cafe to escape into. It turned out to be the most serene part of the Temple, and with only us around Titus was able to come down and stretch his legs.
Oh, what relief for my poor back!
It is some kind of wonderful to warm your hands and insides with a cup of hot Korean honey and citrus tea, while overlooking the majestic sea beyond.
We left before sunset and returned to our hotel to warm up and sought dinner nearby.
We stayed in Hound Hotel, a hipster hotel that we would have loved a lot more if we were younger and travelling without a toddler.
But the area we were in – Seomyeon – is just fantastic for foodies. It buzzes with restaurants and bars, with plenty of Korean BBQ restaurants to help scent the evening air.
We had a Korean BBQ dinner, of course. It was impossible to resist, although BBQ meats were a lousy meal options for Titus. He ended up eating only rice with soup and steamed egg.
We left Busan early next morning and ditched our initial plans to tour the city some more before proceeding to ancient city Gyeongju.
From Busan, one can take the rapid KTX train to ShinGyeongju station and reach in just under an hour.
See y’all in Gyeongju!