Back to Seoul via Busan: A Weekend in the South, Part 4

The final installment!  It’s here!  Now I can finally start writing about other things again…  Although I must say, this Busan trip is one of the highlights of my time in Korea thus far.  Well worth the four posts it’s taken me to share it with you.

So.  Late afternoon on Saturday.

Back on Geoje, we tried to figure out how to get to Gujora Beach.  I had read that it was a beautiful spot and a good beach for camping, so I made the somewhat executive decision to go there.  We asked a nearby hotel’s concierge if there was a bus that would take us there, as we hadn’t spotted any taxis within five minutes of standing outside.  Fortunately, he told us we could catch a bus to Gujora right in front of the hotel.  How convenient!

The short bus ride took us around Geoje’s coast, which I got great views of from my window seat.  It felt so good to sit in an air-conditioned bus and rest my tired legs.

Sightseeing by bus is a wonderful thing (and so budget friendly!).  I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again — I love public transportation.  It’s just got this odd way of calming me.

We got lucky; the bus line we took ended in Gujora, so we couldn’t have missed our stop if we tried.  (And let me tell you, I’m a pro at missing bus stops.)  We ended up on a random street along a small bay; not at Gujora Beach as we had expected, but in Gujora nonetheless.  It was dinnertime, so we went into a small restaurant for gimbap (Korean-style rolls) and naengmyeon (cold soup noodles).

Now it’s important to note that at the time, I was thinking, “I don’t even like naengmyeon.”  However, it’s a really popular summer meal in part because it’s usually served with crushed ice (as shown above), so it’s a bit inescapable during the summer months.  I haven’t liked it since I was a kid.  I mean, c’mon, they’re COLD noodles.  I guess that’s what most people like about it.  시원해, as Korean’s would say.  Anyways, I decided that I needed to get over this dislike of naengmyeon, because cold noodles were starting to sound really appealing (the heat was getting to my head).  Besides, I had had it in Seoul before our trip, and it wasn’t as bad as I had remembered.

Turns out my big-kid self has different taste buds (who knew?!).  The naengmyeon I had was good.  Like really good.  The garnishes were perfect, the noodles weren’t soggy or too chewy (my personal naengmyeon pet peeve), and the icy broth was both flavorful and refreshing.  Yum.

So after that satisfying meal (quite contrary to our dinner the previous night), we set out to find the beach.  Five minutes of walking was all it took.  We came across a short brick wall to sit on by the water, where we had a great view of the entire beach and the hills along the coast.  Of course, we got there right at dusk.  I swear, our timing throughout this trip was just serendipitous.

We sat there enjoying the view for a good while, then ventured down to the beach.  There was a live singing competition on a stage at one end, and the beach was lined with pop-up convenience stores and campsites up off the sand.

Once again, there were a lot of families camping, but there were also a number of loud groups drinking and enjoying a late night on the sand.  Will and I were tired long before any of them appeared to be leaving, so we staked out a quieter spot on the opposite end from the singing stage and decided to take turns keeping watch over our stuff until the beach quieted down.

It was a later night for me than usual, so when I woke up the next morning, the sun had already risen and was beginning to bathe the coast in a warm glow.

You know life is good when you wake up and see this

Warm water, soft sand – an early morning walk on the beach

Our campsite (if you look closely, you can see Will still asleep)

This was our last day in the South, so we spent a leisurely morning hanging out on the beach and reading.  We weren’t in a rush to get back to Busan (our KTX train didn’t leave until 8 pm), so I was in quite a relaxed state.  I ate some leftovers from the day before for breakfast, and we snacked on trail mix to hold us over until lunch.  I wanted to see a little more of the island before leaving, and Will had been making sure each meal we had was in a different place, so we decided to venture over to Okpo for lunch (by bus, of course).  Okpo is one of Geoje’s major cities and is said to be full of foreigners, so we were hoping to find a variety of cuisines to choose from.

We set off walking in the late morning, and hopped on a bus to Okpo with the help of a few friendly strangers waiting at a bus stop.  More fabulous bus views followed.

It really was a wonderful way to see the island.  And it made me feel like much less of a tourist.

After missing our stop and going all the way to the end of the line just to catch another bus going back the way we came (I told you I was a pro), we finally made it to Okpo.  Now I knew nothing about Okpo except for it’s location on my tourist map and what I had read on the web, so I accordingly had no idea where the main streets were or how to find them.  Which meant instead of “exotic foreign food” (I’m exaggerating), we had…naengmyeon!  Yes, again.  But rather than the soup variety, we had bibim-naengmyeon, which is broth-less noodles topped with mix-ins (like bibimbap).

Though I had to take out some of the red chili pepper sauce (still working on that spicy tolerance), it was absolutely delicious.  I guess I like naengmyeon more than I thought.

After lunch, we headed to the nearest bus stop to catch a bus to Gohyun Intercity Bus Terminal (a different terminal than the one we arrived at on Saturday).  But, after waiting nearly ten minutes in the oppressive heat, we gave up on the bus and hailed a cab.  Soon, we were back on an air-conditioned bus towards Busan, where I promptly knocked out.  My lack of sleep finally caught up with me.  I slept like a baby through the entire ride, and woke up right before we reached the bus terminal in Busan.

We had an entire afternoon to kill in Busan, so we hung out in a cafe near then station with our good friends patbingsoo and coffee, then took the subway to the train station.

As we tried to figure out where to go for dinner, we spotted a sign for Chinatown.  Chinatown?!  Suddenly both of us were craving Chinese food (짜장면, to be exact), so we headed down that way and quickly found a restaurant for dinner.

Chinatown in Busan

After dinner, which was a nice change from the usual Korean fare, we headed to a cafe just across from the station to enjoy our last few hours in Busan and reflect on the trip.  I loved adventuring out of Seoul, and am so glad to have found a friend to explore and travel with.    There’s no better way I could’ve spent my three-day weekend.

Soon, it was time to head over, so we gathered all our stuff one last time and went to catch our train.

Back to Seoul

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Student By Day, Tourist By Night (And Day) « tasty adventures


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