The Kimchi-ite: Busan, South Korea’s Seaside Second City

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling

South Korea‘s second city, Busan, has become the county’s gate to the ocean, known for beaches, an extremely busy port and rich seafood culture. Located on the exact opposite end of the country from Seoul, it’s unique from the capital in more than just location. It offers more open space, a distinct dialect and a much more laid back atmosphere.

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling
Gwangan Bridge with ships passing by makes for romantic views.

Many of the beaches on the western coast of Korea have muddy sand and murky water caused by sand storms coming from China’s Gobi Desert. However, Busan has earned a reputation for having the best beaches in Korea, with golden sand and rich, blue-green water, often drawing comparisons to Miami.

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling
Korea’s mountainous landscape is present down by the sea.

But with fame in Korea come the crowds and by far the most crowded is Haeundae Beach. During peak times Haeundae is the perfect image of the country’s overpopulation. It is also home to much of the activities for the Busan International Film Festival, one of the most important film festivals in Asia.

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling
Shopkeepers at an outdoor market prepare eomuk, a famous fishcake skewer.

Fresh seafood comes into the city’s harbours everyday and most often finds its way into eomuk (often referred to as odeng), a skewered fish cake and one of Busan’s most famous dishes, which is cheap and can be purchased virtually anywhere.

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling
Busan Tower stands as one of the city’s unique landmarks.

Busan is a great jumping off point for getting to other parts of Korea, such as Jeju Island, as well as international destinations, such as cheap ferries to Japan and affordable flights throughout the rest of Asia.

For more on Korean culture, food and more, check out the “Kimchi-ite” archives by clicking here.

The Kimchi-ite: Thousands Of Lanterns At Busan’s Greatest Temple

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling

Down in Busan, South Korea’s seaside second city, one of the greatest temples on the peninsula quietly sits. Samgwang Temple is large, imposing and beautiful on any typical day, but becomes a new spectacle altogether for Buddha’s Birthday; for the holiday, it suddenly blossoms with the soft glow of 10,000 lanterns.

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling

It’s absolutely a sight worth seeing, and taking your time to get lost amongst the lanterns in such bright and colorful lights, can be pleasantly disorienting. Each individual lantern is sponsored and paid for by a follower of the temple, an obvious, visible sign of its influence.

There are quite a few lantern festivals throughout Korea and Asia, but this is certainly the largest density of lanterns that I have ever seen.

Jonathan Kramer, Gadling

To get to Samgwang Temple, go to Seomyeon Station on Busan Subway Line 1, where buses 63, 54 and 133 will take you to “Samgwansa Entrance;” unfortunately this is a misnomer and not the actual entrance to the temple. From the bus stop, cross the street and walk up the narrow road before you. From there, make your first left and then your first right. Finally, follow the road and the enormous temple will be at the top of the hill.

For more on Korean culture, food and festivals, you can always check out “The Kimchi-ite” archives by clicking here.