Nothing beats waking up on Friday, thinking yessss, the weekend is finally here! For those who know me, I’m sure you’ve seen my posts on Instagram and my shenanigans on Snapchat. And boy, it’s never a dull moment! While throughout the week is pretty much routine (teach all day, relax/attempt to learn Korean/workout/Netflix at night), I make sure my weekend schedule is flowing with fun. Don’t get me wrong, I take a weekend or two off here and there, to unwind and save some moolah. But I live for the weekends in Korea!
From exploring hidden gems of Busan, to hitting up the beach, local bistro or Blue Monkey bar — I’ll never run out of things to do!
Here are some recommendations for anyone coming to Busan or stuck on something to do this weekend.
Explore Gamcheon Cultural Village
Cute colourful houses atop a hillside will take your breath away. For a moment I forgot that I was in Busan – this place is far from the usual high-rises we are used to seeing in the city. Get lost as you make your way through small alley ways and climb steep steps to a glorious view. Take a photo with The Little Prince with the village behind you. Unwind with a cup of joe at a café or peruse the cute shops for a gift to send home. You can easily spend a full day at Gamcheon! For directions to the village, click here.
Get your tan on at the beach
The two popular beaches in Busan are Gwangan and Haeundae. Although they do tend to get crowded during peak season, there are smaller and more secluded beaches to check out, too! I’m more of a Gwangan girl myself; I just can’t get enough of the beautiful Diamond Bridge!
Shop ’til you drop at Shinsegae Department Store
For me, it’s more like window shopping (or eye shopping as Koreans like to say). I can never afford the designer labels, but a girl can dream…right? Shinsegae (specifically the Centum City location) is the largest department store in the world. They have everything from movie theatres, to a skating rink – even a zoo!
Take a hike
What I love about Busan is that you have this beautiful city built among tall, green mountains. It’s a pleasant sight to see when I look out my school’s windows. Hiking these huge hills is the thing to do in Korea – especially among the locals. They deck themselves out in top notch hiking gear and hit the trails. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and exercise and to see some of the best views of Busan. My friends and I attempted Jangsan mountain, but it wasn’t the clearest of days so we only made it half way. Next time, we’re goin’ to the top!
Go Seoul searching
During my application process, it was a big toss up whether to live in Seoul or Busan. As you can see, Busan stole my heart. But Seoul, the capital of Korea, is one of my fave places to visit. There’s so much to do and see in Seoul, but it can get a little overwhelming at times. You can get to Seoul from Busan in many ways (you can even fly there if you wanted!). But the most popular is taking the KTX – Korea’s high speed train that gets you there in 2.5 hours. Seoul has many districts – Myeongdong, Hongdae or the foreigner’s favourite, Itaewon – to name a few. Make sure you head over to Gangnam too – maybe you’ll see a K-pop star. Psy, you there??
Immerse yourself in some art
I’ve been to the Busan Museum of Art three times already and each time it’s something different. A few weekends ago, The Toronto Seoulcialite and I visited the Andy Warhol exhibition (pssst hey teachers, it’s 50% off if you show them your ARC!). We had a great time getting to know the life of the king of pop art and seeing his infamous Campbell’s Soup paintings. The exhibit is on until March 2016 so make sure you schedule it into your weekend plans!
Eat Korean food until your heart’s content
Finding a place to eat in Busan is super easy. The hard part is deciding which one!! My favourite thing to eat is samgyeopsal (삼겹살) aka Korean BBQ. With a press of a button (when you’re ready to order all you have to do is hit that round thing at the side of your table – I love it!) you place your order and they bring you the raw meat to cook yourself. Plus they give you what seems like a million side dishes. I have been to some places where a cute ajumma cooks it for you. But where’s the fun if you can’t do it yourself? Korean BBQ is definitely an experience you MUST do! If you’re stuck on what to eat tonight, check out the Busan Food page on Facebook.
Sip on soju at a local or foreigner bar
For someone who likes to indulge in alcoholic bevies and dance like no one’s watching, the nightlife in Busan is living up to my expectations. The top areas to go out are: Kyungsung University (KSU) area, Gwangan, Haeundae, or Pusan National University (PNU) area. This is definitely worthy of its own post so stay tuned for a glimpse into the bar scene in Busan.
I still have SO MUCH MORE to see of my home away from home. The above listing is just a wee sample. What are some things I should do next? Leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been up to!