Wildan@Pre-WBC2024: Going to Busan!

Before officially kicking off the scientific conference, we went to go Busan, one of South Korean major cities, next to Daegu (Figure 1a). In some sense, Busan almost mirrors Osaka: second biggest city, port city, and unique dialect (Kansai-ben and Busan-satoori). So, it’d be interesting to visit.

We went to Busan from Daegu by train called SRT (Figure 1b). SRT stands for Super Rapid Transit. There are two types of bullet train like shinkansen (?), namely KTX and SRT. Both are basically the same. We can get the ticket of SRT from the ticket counter. Kazama-san and Miyawaki-san showed their Korean language skills to secure the ticket! (I’m impressed!) The price for SRT tickets is relatively cheap, only about 2,000 ¥ per person for the round trip between Daegu to Busan. South Korea is also almost exclusively cashless. So, everything can be paid by debit/credit card. Slight difference with UK or Singapore is for local train/bus, we cannot use Apple Pay or Credit Card, we need to get another card called T-money (Figure 1c), which is available in the convenient store. We can also top-up the card in the convenient store/train station. WBC committee kindly gifted us the T-money card with WBC2024 logo (Figure 1d).

Figure 1. (a) Map of South Korea showing Daegu and Busan. (b) Photograph of SRT train, (c) T-money purchased from convenient store and (d) issued by WBC2024.

The SRT train took us from Dongdaegu station (Figure 2a) to Busan station (Figure 2b) in about 45 min. The view is nice (Figure 2c), Miyawaki-san said it is a reminiscent of Belgium train view. 

Figure 2. Photographs of (a) Dongdaegu station (b) Busan station and (c) view from the train.

In Busan we went to 3 places (must-visit places according to google): Haedong Yeonggungsa Temple, Haeundae Beach, and Gamcheon Culture Village.

1. Haedong Yonggungsa (해동 용궁사)

Haedong Yonggungsa (해동 용궁사) Temple is a Buddhist temple in Busan, South Korea, known for its scenic coastal location and beautiful ocean views (Figure 3a). There is a sign that literally says it is “The most beautiful temple in Korea”. To go to Haedong Yeonggungsa Temple from Busan station, we took the local train to Osiria station, then walked to the place. Along the way, we walked past Lotte World (similar to Universal Studios (?)). Here, there are statues of the 12 zodiac, such as Dragon, Rabbit, etc (Figure 3b). There is also a big beautiful temple (obviously). The road is a bit hilly, took lots of stairs. Place is relatively crowded, perhaps due to holiday, but it’s safe. Here, we wrote our wishes on a piece of roof tile (Figure 3c). We wished all good luck to the B4 students! Be it for the entrance examination, for job hunting, for teaching certification, or just for life in general. Overall, the place is stunning, and quite frankly, breathtaking (due to the view…. and….the uphill walk…., but the due to the view mostly). We ate some eomuk (어묵; korean fish cake) on the way to the next destination (Figure 3d). Ending the first place visit with a delicious food.

Figure 3. (a) Photographs of the Haedong Yonggungsa (해동 용궁사) Temple, (b) zodiac statues, (c) our wishes written on the roof tile, and (d) eomuk (어묵; korean fish cake).

2. Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장)

The second place that we visited is the Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장) (Figure 4a). It’s one of the biggest beaches in Busan, in addition to Gwangalli beach (광안리 해수욕장). The beach is absolutely huge, a long stretch of beach, packed with people. There are several big sand sculptures at the beach (Figure 4a). But, arguably, the biggest reason to go here would be to eat the seafood! We found a good seafood restaurant with ocean view. We ordered a seafood soup with vegetables (Figure 4b) and stir-fried seafood (Figure 4c). When the food comes…..we cannot deny the freshness of the food, since the clam, abalone, and the others (sorry I don’t know the name of the animal) are still moving! I heard that one clue to know when to eat the clam (or…when to know that it’s cooked) is if the shells are already opened. If it’s closed, it may be raw. Adding small amount of the spicy sauce to the cooked seafood is absolutely otherworldly. 10/10. By this point, we are already full, but, hey, the stir-fried seafood is also tasty. So.. 11/10 for the whole experience!

Figure 4. Photographs of (a) Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장), (b) Seafood soup and
(c) stir-fried seafood in Haeundae beach.

3. Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을)

Full stomach, half-tired half-excited, we continued our journey to the Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을) (Figure 5a). Google describes it as a “Picturesque attraction featuring a village of colorful houses, painted murals, shops & cafes.”, which I think fits the description. I like the word “picturesque”, because it absolutely aptly describes the place. Inside the village, it’s filled with souvenir shop and cafes (as in every other part of Korea). We may not really appreciate the village up-close, but once we get to a vantage point, it really is a beautiful view. A valley full of color with an ocean view (Figure 5b). In the village, there are several places that we can visit. One of the things that caught our eyes is “the stairs to go to see stars”, which consisted of hundreds of stairs (Figure 5c). We almost went up the stairs, hoping that by the end, when we reached the finish line, on the top of the stairs, we’ll see the stars…like..by observatory or telescope. Lucky for us, there is a brief description written on the board in the sidewalk that basically says, the people will see stars because of their dizziness after climbing so many stairs. Sort of like those in the cartoon. I understand that the stars are beautiful, and we should aim for it, but in this case, I’d rather have all 3 of us have energy to see the stars of the scientific community the next day in WBC.

Figure 5. Photographs of (a) Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을) entrance and (b) full view of the village. (c) Map of Gamcheon Culture Village, with inset showing 148 stairs (the stairs to go to see stars).

We concluded the day by going back to Busan station by local bus. Then, we went back to Dongdaegu station by SRT train. With our hearts filled, spirits healed, minds straight, we’re ready for the conference.

See you on the next post!




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