Much have been told about our first day of touring Busan. And I am sure you did enjoy our amazing stories. You now have an idea of some of the charms of this beautiful city and how we were able to manage touring Busan on our own. Isnt it so easy? To convince you with that, let me now share one of the things that encouraged us to explore Busan on our own and how we loved DIY Busan city tours. As budget travelers, DIY destinations, like Busan, are just very friendly to your pockets and are absolutely fantastic!
To discover most of the charms of Busan, we recommend that you avail of the Busan City Tour Bus. There are two (2) companies offering hop-on and hop-off services for Busan City tours. During our tour, we tried the services of the BUTI. BUTI is the branding used by Busan Tourism Organization (BTO) for its double-deck city tour bus. The open top deck, the very affordable tour rates (15,000KRW / 600PHP / 14USD) and allowable transfers from one course to another, makes the BUTI very interesting, fun and tourist-friendly! It is definitely the simplest, quickest and best way to see Busan. That open top deck will even make your trip romantic, if you plan to do this trip with him or her. 😉
BUTI BOARDING STATION. Since we opted to try the RED LINE, we boarded the BUTI at Busan Station. From Gaya Station (Subway Line 2), you have to take the subway to Seomyeon Station. At Seomyeon station, you have to transfer to Line 1 of the Subway. From there, take the subway to Busan Station, Exit 8. You have to walk to the station (3 minutes walk only) in front of the Tom and Toms Coffee Shop. When we reached the station at 0900H, we waited for the BUTI RED LINE bus that is scheduled to depart at 0930H. While waiting, we went to Tom and Toms Coffee for our early morning drink and energizer, COFFEE! 🙂 But while enjoying that nice coffee from Toms, make sure to join queue at the boarding station and prepare your KRW15,000 (600PHP / 14USD) per head for the payment. When the bus arrived, the driver immediately opened the door and started collecting for payments. Upon payment, the bus driver will issue a pink wrist badge. To know more about the city bus tour in Busan, click here.
To know more about our coffee experience at Tom Tom’s, click here.
The Pink Badge of BUTI
BUTI ITINERARY. BUTI has three lines or I may say, three itineraries that you can choose from, depending on what you want to see and depending on where you want to go. These line are RED, BLUE and GREEN. Check out the sights to see on each of the BUTI lines, click here. . In our case, while planning on what course to take on these loop tours, we considered several factors. Our considerations were:
- type of bus that operates the tour (TIP: The only line that is operated by a double deck bus is the RED LINE.)
- number of attractions that we will be able to visit
- the convenience of the transfer from one line to another
- and the boarding station of the bus
Among our priority attractions to see were Busan Museum and Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Since the only line that passes through all the transfer points is the RED LINE, we chose to take this course and transfer to the BLUE LINE for the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. We did not consider taking the GREEN LINE, which offers island tours, since there are a lot of natural attractions in the Philippines and a we dont need the sea wind with the cold weather ;). Here are the routes of the BUTI:
Our final BUTI itinerary was:
Busan Station – via Busan Harbor Bridge – Busan Museum – Gwangali Beach – Heundae Beach (transfer to Blue Line) – via Dalmajigil Road and Songjeong Beach – Haedong Yonggungsa Temple – BEXCO
On the first stop of the loop tour, which is the UN Memorial Cemetery, we were unable to hop-off because we assumed that everybody will go down and have a look. Unfortunately, nobody was interested, and at the time we were about to get off the bus, the driver proceeded to the Busan Museum. That was a blooper! Because honestly, it was our first time to join a loop tour ever! 😉
Let me now give you a run through of our AMAZING experience on this hop-on hop-off loop tour:
CHARM # 6: BUSAN MUSEUM
Busan Museum is the second stop of the BUTI Red Line. Its main features include the Cultural Experience Center, the Main Museum and its fantastic garden. The museum is a must see attraction to experience the culture of Korea and witness the colorful history of the country. We first went inside the Cultural Experience Center and were welcomed by three beautiful ladies. They are so helpful and their service is personalized. They will guide you on the things that you need to try inside the center. The two main features of the center are the Hanbok Experience and Tea Ceremony Experience (additional payment of 1,000KRW / 40PHP / 1USD), in addition to Korea arts and crafts. The Hanbok experience was my favorite! Personally, one of my bucket list for this trip is to wear the traditional Korean clothing–the Hanbok. Fans of Koreanovelas, specifically Jewel in the Palace and Queen Seon Dok, like me, will consider this as one of the ‘TO-DOs”for a trip in Korea. Watch out for a detailed posts on our Hanbok experience..
After enjoying taking photos as Korea’s queen and princess, we immediately went to see the main museum. The main museum features seven main galleries–Pre History Gallery, Ancient-Medieval History Gallery, History of Korea-Japan Relation Gallery, Living Culture Gallery, Folklore of Busan Gallery, Modern Busan Gallery, Contemporary Busan Gallery and the Donation Gallery. There is also a library and a souvenir shop inside the main museum to complete the experience. The museum is very well organized and has a very good lighting. The main exhibits of the gallery are also equipped with sensors–when you get near them, a Korean narrator explains what the exhibit is about. It was astonishing though tourists should have been given the choice on the language of the narration. At the time of our visit, we were the only guests inside the galleries, to make it more fun, we took a lot of donut selfie videos!
One realization we had on this trip is that majority of the city’s population are old people. This was also evident at the Museum because we’ve met a volunteer who have witnessed history and was part of it and is now doing a volunteer work at the museum, as a museum attendant. Isn’t that an eye opener? He was one of the good attraction of the museum!
Click here for additional information on Busan Museum.
After the long museum tour, we stayed at the gardens of the museum. It was our first time to see maple trees. Believe it or not, we spend a lot of time picking up falling maple leaves, taking videos of the wind blowing the maple leaves, taking a lot of photos for our cover photo on Facebook, watching the falling maple leaves, and so much more! That was a once in a lifetime moment! At last we know the “autumn” feel of Korea, I was Jenny for a while. You know who is Jenny if you have watched the Korean drama – Autumn in my Heart.
Since the BUTI buses stops at attractions every thirty (30) minutes, we waited that long for our next bus. We boarded the one-deck bus for Gwangali Beach Stop. Before reaching Gwangali Beach, the bus stopped at the Yonghoman Sightseeing Boat Terminal (the transfer station to the GREEN LINE). After a few minutes, we arrived at our next stop, Gwangali Beach.
CHARM # 7: GWANGALI BEACH
Since it was past 12 when we reached Gwangali Beach, we chose to find a local restaurant for our lunch at the area. This stop of the BUTI Red Line is known for its restaurants, cafes and bars. It is known to the young locals and is the best spot for a great view of the Gwangandaegyo Bridge. When we arrived, we strolled the beach front and took some pictures. Since our tummies are already complaining, we looked for a restaurant right away.
In one of the streets of the area, we saw a small restaurant, the Dai kwal Rong Restaurant with only four (4) items in the menu — Kimchi Stew ( 7,000KRW / 280PHP / 6USD), Kongnamul Gukbap (6,000KRW / 240PHP / 5USD), Bibimbap ( 7,000KRW / 280PHP / 6USD) and Bulgogi ( 7,000KRW / 280PHP / 6USD). The restaurant is owned by a couple. The restaurant can seat approximately 25-35 people at one time. Service is fast. We ordered three dishes initially but the owner advised us that it will be too much for us, so we finally ordered Kimchi Stew and Bulgogi. They serve each menu item with four (4) side dishes and rice. Indeed, what we ordered was enough. The soup was hot and good for the cold weather. The Bulgogi was the best! The beef texture was just so right and the taste is just so delectable! Read more about this restaurant on our Food Trip post, here.
Meantime, here are the photos at this sumptuous Gwangali Beach stop:
Another famous landmark that you will see at this stop is the Gwangandaegyo Bridge. The Gwangandaegyo Bridge traverses the Gwangali Beach and is 7.4 km long. It is good to see at night with its 16,000 glittering LED lights that span through it. One of the best time to see the bridge is also during the Busan Fireworks Festival where the skies above the bridge are lit up by the fireworks. Click here to know more about the Gwangandaegyo bridge.
After a very quick lunch, we waited for next BUTI bus to take us to Haeundae Beach, our next stop and transfer station for the BLUE line.
CHARM # 8: HAEUNDAE BEACH
On our stop at the Haeundae Beach, we only intended to wait for the BLUE LINE bus for the temple stop. While waiting, we scroll and walk around the area. One of the attractions we saw at Haeundae was the Aquarium. The attraction is ideal for kids. So for families who will visit Busan, we recommend that you visit this aquarium.
Heundae Beach stop is the transfer area from RED LINE to BLUE LINE of the BUTI. Make sure that you are here at exactly 1500H to catch the last trip of the BLUE LINE bus.
Click here to know more about Haeundae Beach.
CHARM # 9: HAEDONG YONGGUNGSA TEMPLE
Korea, as we have mentioned, is very popular to the Philippines because of its Koreanovelas. And most of these TV shows are feature the magnificent temples of Korea. Each temple serve as a witness to the colorful history and culture of the country. Temples should always be part of your must see list on your visit to Korea.
In Busan, one of the most popular temple to visit is the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. The temple is located at Gijang-gun, along the shoreline of this northern part of Busan. According to our host, DJ, this temple is very unique since it is located along the shoreline compared with most of the temples that are located in the mountains. It can be reached by subway, by bus and by BUTI. This is one of the stops of the BUTI BLUE LINE. To reach the main temple, you have to walk approximately 500 – 600 meters. While walking you will enjoy the roars of the sea and wind. It was the coldest part of our whole trip in Busan! Ear muffs and gloves saved us!
The main sanctuary of the temple was reconstructed in 1970 with careful attention paid to the colors that were traditionally used in such structures. On the right-hand side, inside the cave, is a uniquely designed Buddhist sanctum, while situated just in front of the main sanctuary is a three-story pagoda with four lions. The four lions are symbolizing joy, anger, sadness, and happiness. Other special sites at the temple are the 108 stairs and stone lanterns lining the rocky landscape. After going down the 108 steps, one will be delighted with the beauty of the temple. Midway down the 108 steps one can stop and enjoy the calming sounds of the waves, and view the majestic sunrise. Read more about this temple, here.
To feel a little bit warm, Miss Selle and I decided to sip some tea at the small coffee shop beside the temple. The tea costs 1,000KRW (40PHP / 1USD) per bag. It was worth it and we finally felt warm. After that tea break, we went back to the drop-off point and try to figure out how we will go back to the city center. Fortunately, one BUTI bus arrived. It was unexpected because we knew that the bus we took to go to the temple was the last trip. Thank God, we boarded the last BUTI bus trip to Busan Station. (Note: According to the driver, the bus changed its course from RED to BLUE LINE. So such buses will not be available everyday. )
CHARM # 10: MILLAK DONG HOE Street
From the temple, we ask the BUTI bus driver to drop us at the BEXCO. From there, we took the Subway at the Centum City Station to Gwangan Station. Gwangan Station (Exit 3 and 5) is the nearest station to Millak Dong Street. We learned about this street from our Korea Travel Guide. According to the travel guide, this street is the home of the 300 restaurants that serve “hoe” (raw fish) and offers ocean views. However, we planned to look for an authentic Samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly wrapped in lettuce) place in the area. As Kapampangans and residents of Angeles City, we are very fond of Unlimited Samgyeopsal which is available at the Korean Town near Clark Freeport Zone. So for this trip to Korea, one must-try in our bucket list is to eat the original and authentic Samgyeopsal. Imagine eating authentic Samgyeopsal in Korea, isn’t that exciting? 🙂 While traversing the Millak Dong street, we saw the first restaurant that offers Samgyeopsal at 3,500KRW (140PHP / 3USD). However, they require mininum of 5 orders for the meat. Since we’re on a budget, we decided to look for another restaurant. Before we found the final place to dine, we first took some shots of the Gwangandaegyo Bridge.
Check out the restaurant where we ate Samgyeopsal, here.
That was our second day! It was a long day indeed! But it was definitely a meaningful and wonderful exploratio of Busan. The Busan City Bus Tour (BUTI) can be considered as a great asset of Busan Tourism. We have learn so many things in Busan! More than a trip it was also a benchmarking activity for tourism practitioners like us. We discovered some wishlists for Philippine tourism like– the hop-on hop-off services, lockers, and spacious subway to name some.
This is just Day 2, so watch out for more of our posts and sharings.
Here are some selfies we took on this day:
You would also want to read our first day at Busan, click here.
Thank you for reading! 🙂 🙂 🙂