Between the fact I have been to Japan before and the cost of traveling there, I decided to spend a bulk of my free time in Korea. I have also always been interested in Korea and I know only a few people who have traveled there. After visiting Japan and China, I also thought it would be really interesting to visit Korea to see how these three differ, especially due to their past history. I started off my trip in Busan (flying there from Tokyo), the second largest city in Korea. Busan is a really interesting city around the sea and the mountains. Despite the boring highrises, the city was very visually interesting. My first impressions of Korea is that it is a nice half way point between Japan and China. Its more rough around the edges then Japan but not as difficult to travel in as China (mostly due to the fact people here are really really friendly and its some much smaller in size).
After spending time in mostly large cities, I started my trip off in Busan by heading out of town to the Beomeosa Temple, which has many hiking trails around it. I happened to be there after morning rituals and I was offered a free lunch (especially awesome since they only serve vegetarian meals at Buddhist Temples!). After that I climbed up to the fortress wall. The hiking trails were awesome, but due to the time of the year they were pretty icy and dangerous.
After a short hike, I headed to downtown Busan to check out some of the markets. The markets were really interesting and it wasn't long until i stumbled upon some street partying. After observing for a little while I was offered shots of Soju and given fruit! Did i mention Koreans are friendly?
After that I headed down to the harbor and the fish market for sunset. After shooting photos from a bit I met a nice student named "Coon" who ask if I wanted to have dinner with him. After the famous "Beijing Tea Scam" (pretty much someone posing as a student befriends you and ask if you want to go for tea, then they take you to a super expensive tea house and you get stuck with a super high bill... the only scam i have ever fallen for!!!) I was a bit hesitant but I could tell Coon was sincere. We had a nice dinner and once again the table of old men across from us insisted on giving us shots of Soju and candy (once again did I mention Koreans are the nicest?).
That pretty much just sums up my first day in Korea. The sea, the mountains, the harbor, the merchants and the markets really make for a lot of exploring. If you ever head to Korea, make sure to visit Busan, its worth it.
#1 - Beomeosa Temple #2 - Fortress Walls, North Gate
A wrong turn took me down this street. All the store fronts looked like this.
Street market festival.
#1 - This guy rocked. I had no idea what he was saying, but he did a little dance for me. #2 - Lots of fun alleyways to explore.
A guess its not just metal shops that look like these.
#1 - Man watching karaoke at a street festival #2 - Busan street market.
Busan harbor at night.
Fire at the fish market.
A business man steps out of a fish market restaurant to take a phone call.
#1 - The Busan fish market was very different then Tokyo, most of it was outside.... #2 - ...and almost all the stands were run by woman.
Holding an octopus. It made some pretty wild sounds when she plucked it off her gloves.