Tour of Namgu~ 남구의 관광

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:

http://www.facebook.com/busannamgu

http://www.bsnamgu.go.kr/index.namgu

Until next time~

Seokbulsa Temple~ 석불사

❤️

It took over a month in order for me to find this temple- part of it was because I was so busy with school and another part was because my friend and I didn’t prepare to find this temple properly. We thought Google maps would help us, but it sent us to the wrong mountain and up a backroads path leading to nowhere.

A couple weeks later, my friend and I decided to try to find 석불사 once again. This time, I looked up some blogs and figured out how to get there much more easily. This was the blog we used and it was really useful.

This quickly became one of my favourite days here so far. The whole experience was magical. We decided to take the cable car in 금강공원 and hike the rest of the way up. Along the path you pass by 금정산성 남문, a fortress built during the Silla dynasty and a small village called 남맘마을. It’s a bit of a hike to get to this temple even with the cable car, so it’s not riddled with tourists like some of the other temples in Busan. Because of this, you can experience the temple for how it really was intended.

I felt an air of peace as soon as I entered the temple grounds, and the only sounds you could hear were the rustling of the leaves and a monk reciting hymns inside one of the buildings. I could have stayed there all day. Looking from the temple down onto the busy city below really sets your daily worries into perspective. Life is a lot more simple and peaceful than our minds make it out to be sometimes, and you occasionally need moments to step back to just experience the present moment around you~

Journey into Gamcheon Culture Village~ 감천문화마을

A beautiful rainbow sea of homes, ebbing and flowing among the mountains like the tide of a sea.

This village was originally built in a matter of days to house the many refugees during the Korean War. Houses upon houses are stacked upon each other like LEGO blocks- no wonder it’s also known as the LEGO village. I read this article about 감천문화마을 and it was really good about explaining some of it’s complicated history.

Many people now come here for the beautiful sights and Instagram pictures- myself included- but there are many layers of depth to the village. A lot of the artwork has it’s own story of what it represents to the artists and residents.

Photo courtesy of The Bare Yard

Photo courtesy of The Bare Yard

I personally liked the bookshelf staircase. I was thinking that this village felt like a place that popped out of Alice in Wonderland. So enchanting and it’s winding roads seem to draw you further down the rabbit hole and into another world. There is a main street that is dedicated for tourists and is bustling with many souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes, but peering down the alleyways I saw a glimpse of what the ambience of the village is normally like- peaceful, calm and serene, with the occasional dog or cat looking back at me with equally curious eyes.

It’s important to respect the residents living in the village, so I hope that everyone honours the space that the residents need and tries not to disrupt their daily lives.

Someday I’ll come back here again~

Welcome~

This blog will be about my personal perception of the many multifaceted sides of Korea. I’m hoping to share some of my experiences and pictures for my friends, family, and anyone else who’d like to read and learn more about this beautiful country. I am a language student at Silla University and will be mostly spending my time in Busan, but hopefully I will be able to explore other parts of Korea and possibly Japan or other countries in Asia.

The name Maple Ppopgi comes from a mixture of my Canadian heritage and Korean food. Ppopgi (뽑기)  is a sweet treat in Korea that is made from brown sugar and baking soda that is whipped together and pressed into a flat, circular shape and later decorated with cookie-cutter designs. It becomes a fun challenge to eat the candy around the design without breaking the cute shapes. The taste is sweet, smoky and a little nutty with a crispy yet airy texture, kind of like toffee. I’m not sure if it exists, but I feel like a maple-flavoured 뽑기 would be delicious. 🙂

Thanks for reading~