Natasha in Busan: An Introduction to Busan

By User Spike (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s finally official! I am going to Busan!

I found out 2 days ago…on my birthday! I am extremely excited! Even though I requested Seoul, I was very open to going anywhere in the country; although I was hoping that I would be in a city, even a small one. When I received my email tonight it took me a minute to open it. I couldn’t believe that it was actually sitting in my inbox!

I immediately started calling and texting all of my friends and family. The reaction I got from most of them was the same: “Yay! I’m so happy for you! Congratulations! You must be so excited and relieved to finally know! Wait…..Where is Busan? Is that good? Is it safe?” So, I decided to put together a little blog post about my future home. 

Quick Facts

Busan (부산)  is the 2nd largest city in South Korea with a population of 3.6 million people. It is located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. Busan means “cauldron mountain” and it was given this name because the mountain behind the port looks like a cauldron.

Location of Busan in South Korea


Language

Of course Korean is the language spoken in Busan. However, Busan natives speak with a dialect (사투리 satoori). You can search on youtube to hear the Busan dialect. I found some TalkToMeInKorean videos where Seokjin teaches some common phrases in the Gyeongsang Province dialect. This dialect is not only spoken in Busan. You can hear this dialect in other areas like Daegu (대구), Masan (마산), Pohang (포항), and Gyeongju (경주). Click here to see all the videos on Gyeonsang Province Dialect.

Climate

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busan#Climate

Coming from New England, it seems like Busan’s summer is about the same as here  and the winter’s aren’t as cold. Snow is pretty rare in Busan. July and August are very humid and extremely wet because of monsoons.  Typhoons (hurricanes) are possible in August and September, but large and damaging ones are rare.

Transportation

Bus: There are 134 bus routes in the city of Busan. Busan also has two bus terminals with buses to cities and provinces all over South Korea.
Inter-City Buses

Rail: Busan has 4 subway lines. Busan is serviced by all classes of trains with access to all major cities. The high-speed train (KTX) connects Busan to Seoul in just 2hrs 18mins. The Saemueul train (regular train) to Seoul takes 4hrs 10mins, but is cheaper.
Busan Subway Map
KTX Gyeongbu Line
Purchase Rail Tickets

Sea: The International Ferry Terminal in Busan has ferries to Japan and Jeju Island.
Ferries From Korea

Air: The nearby Gimhae Airport has flights to Jeju, Seoul, Japan, and other destinations every day.
Gimhae Airport

Shopping

Busan is home to the largest department store in the world, Shinsegae 신세계. There are two other department stores: Hyundai and Lotte. There are three premium outlets: two Lotte outlets and one Shinsegae. There are many warehouse and discount stores such as Costco, Home Plus (Haeundae 해운대점, Seomyeon 서면점, Centum City 센텀시티점E Mart (Haeundae 해운대점, Seomyeon 서면, Munhyeon 문현점) and Lotte Mart.

Shopping Areas (Click to see stores in this area):
– Jagalchi Market 자갈치시장
    – Gukje Market 부산국제시장
Nampo-dong 남포동
Centum City 센텀시티
    – Seomyeon 서면

Jagalchi Market


Parks/Beaches

In the summer, Koreans flock to the six beaches of Busan. Haeundae is the most popular beach in Busan and has a boardwalk.  Click here to read about the different Busan beaches and how to get there.

The very crowded Haeundae Beach in the summer

Yongdusan Park 용두산 공원 (which means ‘dragon head park’) Park is home of the Busan Tower, the General Lee Sunsin statue, 4/19 Revolution monument, and Chunghontop tower (for Korean War victims).

credit: http://iyagi.busan.go.kr/sub/news_view.jsp?news_uid=20100429006&hono=60&kind=140

Busan Tower in Yongdusan Park

SPORTS

Busan has three big sports teams: Lotte Giants (baseball), Busan I’Park (soccer), Busan KT Sonicboon (basketball). I would really love to see a baseball game. I heard that baseball games in Korea have a very different atmosphere than baseball games in America.


Arts and Culture

There are soo many arts and culture related activities and places in Busan, but I cannot include them all in this post. Here are just a few:

Busan hosts the Busan Foundation for International Activities (BFIA) every fall and it is one of the largest film festivals in Asia. Films from all over Asia are showcased in this festival.

The 40 Step Culture & Tourism Theme Street was renovated to reflect the lives of Korean in Busan during the 50s and 60s after the Korean War.

A statue in the 40 Steps area

Gamcheon Cultural Village has been decorated in beautiful colors and artwork. It seems like a really cool place to walk around on a nice day to take photos of all the art. And get some good exercise! I read that it is very hilly!

Gamcheon Cultural Village

The Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 해동 용궁사 is on the northern part of Busan’s shore which makes this temple pretty unique because most of Korea’s temples are in the mountains. This temple was first built in 1376!

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Religion

43% Not Religious
39.2% Buddhist
10.4% Protestant
7.4% Catholic

CRime

One question I am asked a lot about Korea is: Is it safe? When I studied in Seoul, I never felt like I was in danger. I’m sure there are a few areas in Seoul and Busan that are sketchy, but Korea is very safe in terms of crime. Car related accidents (especially drunk driving) is another story.

Here are the crime stats for Busan. And here are the crime stats for New York City, which I frequently visit on my own.  As you can see, Busan is way safer than New York! I will be fine! 😀


Other Useful Links for Living in Busan:

BFIA Free Korean Language Course

How to read street signs (useful for the entire country I believe)

Busan Awesome I like this blog because it has nice descriptions of the major and small neighborhoods.

I’m sure I have missed a million important things but I am going to stop here. I cannot express how excited I am to move to Busan. Through writing this post I have discovered so much about the city that I hadn’t known before. I cannot wait to visit all of these places (and more!) and share them with all of you on my blog.

❤ Natasha

(Unless noted otherwise, I gathered a lot of this information from the Busan Wikipedia page.)

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6 thoughts on “Natasha in Busan: An Introduction to Busan

  1. Steve says:

    YAY!! I’m excited to learn more about the local cuisine/specialties when you actually get there 😀 Oh, that just made me think of dragon beard! So cool!

  2. Seungjun Lee (Sam) says:

    Natasha! Welcome to Korea! you know more about Busan than I do. The most interesting thing in this post is that Buddhist is the highest rate in religion. I hope that you would make good memories in Korea as you made my memories in New York perfect!

  3. Fran Schweiber says:

    Enjoy following you in Korea….did Gram tell you I just got new Korean neighbors….the sweetest couple – love them…..gave him your site info: I’ll ask them if they have any friends near you…..maybe they can contact you???? Keeping Gram U…with updates – good luck – sounded like a huge change of life style, but with your determination and adventurous being, you willl be right at home in no time. Fran
    OH! When you get back home…bring me a thimble please….I collect them….just a cheapy will do…..Thanx

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