Exploring Seoul & Busan

It was my first time travelling to South Korea, and despite largely overblown fears and the numerous warnings about the MERS outbreak, what I found the moment I stepped into Incheon Airport was everyone going about their daily routine. The people I actually saw wearing masks? The tourists.

The weather was almost perfect, I only wished that it had been a little colder. Being the transitional period from Spring to Summer, I was subject to cool winds, mildly hot sun, sporadic showers and fog.

There were plentiful AirBnB options available, and I picked an apartment called the Brown Suites in the central Jung district. The greatest benefit about the lodging was its proximity to 2 metro lines, and 2 of their stations respectively: the Chungjeongno metro station, and the Seoul metro station and rail terminal.

Although Seoul has one of the highest costs of living in Asia, coming from a nation which has a similar standard, there wasn't much of a difference when it came to expenses. I did lose out a little as their currency is stronger.

Meals were nothing short of fantastic, whether they were street vendors selling snacks, cafes featuring delicious bowls of shaved ice with various sweet toppings (known as Bingsu), or seafood wholesale markets bringing in the morning's catch. Of course, no trip to South Korea is complete without eating their most famous offerings – Kimchi and grilled meat.

While Seoul is a mishmash of architecture old and new, nothing stood out more to me than the very futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (designed by Zaha Hadid), with its elegant curves and harmonisation of the industrial and the natural with its building materials. Going up the N Seoul Tower atop Namsan Hill grants you a panoramic view of Seoul, and while you're there, do check out their trick eye museum as well.


 

Midway through the trip, I made my way down to Busan via the KTX Gyeongbu Line, which starts at the Seoul metro station terminal. It takes about 3 hours to complete the journey, with a few key stops along the way.

Interestingly, the further south we went, the more the weather changed. Busan was cold and hovered in the lower 20's. It was foggy all throughout my time there, and even the locals made comments about how strange it was.

Busan is the second largest city after Seoul, but you'll find that the pace of life there is much slower, and people are not as concerned with their appearances as those living in Seoul. The seafood is really, really fresh, and worth the money. In summertime the beaches are flooded with both locals and foreigners alike, hoping to get some sun, sand and sea. Anyway, click on the images to view them at their full size and crop!