Last week I was recommended to be a part of a tour through the 남구 district of Busan, a district that I had previously heard of but had never been to before. Needless to say, I was really excited to go and explore a new side to Busan and to try some new things.
Our first stop was to 대연동 문화골목 (Daeyeon-dong Cultural Alley), which at first seemed like any ordinary alleyway, but as we walked further inside, it completely opened up into a square with various shops, cafes, galleries, and even a small theater. Sprinkled throughout the alley were various antiques that gave the alley a really eclectic feel.
After lots of walking we were all a little hungry for lunch. The tour generously gave us each a gift bag filled with goodies, like fruit, korean snacks, and delicious rice cakes filled with red bean paste.
At our next stop we got to do a 한식 체엄 (Korean food workshop) where we learned how to make tomato kimchi! I had never tried this type of kimchi before and I have to say it’s my new favorite kind. The sweetness from the cherry tomatoes mixed with the spice from the hot peppers and onions really complemented each other. After we finished making our kimchi we took it downstairs to a restaurant where our lunch was waiting for us as well as some makgeolli that was locally brewed from Yeongdo Island Makgeolli Brewery.
Next, we went to the 오육도 (Oryukdo Islands), that had a path along the coastline and a glass skywalk where you see fantastic views of Busan as well as (of course) the Oryukdo Islands. It’s a very popular spot for tourists so it was a little busy, but it’s still a lot of fun to walk along the coast and on the skywalk- it somewhat feels like you’re walking on air.
Afterward we were taken to the UN Memorial Park, a place that is dedicated to honor the countries and their troops who risked their lives in the Korean War. There were some really powerful monuments where you can pay your respects to the soldiers, and the park itself felt very tranquil. I’d like to think that the buried soldiers can find their peace here in this park. The statue dedicated to Canada was designed by a Canadian and there is an exact replica of the same statue in Ottawa.
At this point of the tour we had done quite a bit and needed a break, so we were taken to a traditional Korean restaurant where we all had to take off our shoes and sit on cushions. It felt really cozy and welcoming. We were served a generous portion of 오리 반계탕 (Duck soup). I don’t usually ever eat duck.. or meat in general but it was surprisingly tasty!
Our final stop on the tour was a night time cruise, where we got to see Busan’s skyline lit up at night. Gwangalli Bridge definitely stole the show with it’s beautiful ever-changing lights. It was a lot of fun getting to spend this time with the tour group, because even though a lot of us were strangers from different schools we now all had something in common. This whole experience was something unique and special.
I’m forever grateful to have been a part of this tour, and will never forget this adventure. Now I feel like I know a little more about what makes Busan such a wonderful city, and I’m so excited to share this type of experience with my Canadian friends and family when they visit, and also with any other friends that I make while I’m here.
Here are a couple of links if anyone would like to know more about the tour company that I went with:
Until next time~