Mar 252013


(this is part 1 of a 2 part series, to see the second half of the walk go here)

P1080160All across Busan are ‘hiking’ or walking trails that cover the city. They wind though the most beautiful sightseeing spots, and the best tourist places. The word ‘갈맷길’ is a hybrid of the word for ‘seagull’ and ‘road’ maybe because a lot of them follow the coast. There are nine in total, and five of them follow the coast, all the way from Imrang beach, down to Gadeokdo. The two considered most famous, or most popular, are courses two and three, and these are the only two for which there are maps in English, or any maps at all as far as I have found so far (please let me know if anyone can direct me to any kind of map for the rest of the trails). Even the maps that are available are not in any kind of detail, but for the most part, the trails are well marked with a combination of pink and blue flyers in the trees, wooden signs on lamp posts and spray painted markers on the pavements.

P1080143Course two begins on Dalmaji Hill, on the moon-tan road (so called for the night views). At this part of the course, there are a couple of maps that you can use to get an idea of the course ahead (and take note – this is the last map until Millak). From here, the course winds down the hill, and slightly left at the first major crossroads that you reach turn left down towards Haeundae beach. The course goes the length of the beach, and then around past the Westin Chosun to Dongbaek island, all the way round to Dongbaek harbour, and then follow the coast all the way around to Gwangalli. Just around the headland past Dongbaek harbour, when we went, the street was being repaved, so the signs on the road ended, but just keep following the coast, and you’ll see Gwangan Bridge ahead of you.

The signs pick back up again around when you can see the I-Park building on your right. Follow the new coastal road round until the view of the bridge disappears and the Marina appears on your left, from here the course is well signed and you cut through the Marina, to walk through the yacht docks. When you reach Busan Cinema Center, the signs disappear, turn right, so the Cinema Center is on your left, walk away from the marina and join the main road again, from here turn left back towards the Gwangan Bridge and the signs pick up again from here.

Layout 1Here you walk across a bridge than runs under the Gwangan Bridge, and Centum City is on your right. Follow the bridge across, and the route should be well sign posted. When you reach the other side of this bridge you need to head for the wooden walkway that is running underneath you. It’s pretty easy to get to when you know where you’re supposed to be headed. From here, the path is easy, this wooden walkway runs all the way to Gwangalli Beach.

This is halfway through course two, where we stopped. This route is about 10km, and took us 3 and a half hours.


Directions to Dalmaji Hill for the start point:Take the green line subway to Haeundae: from here take exit 1. Walk 10m to the bus stop find the stand for bus 100. Get on bus 100 and get off at Yeongnam apt (about 2 stops) and walk about 10 mins to the wooden walkway where this walk begins.

Alternatively you can take a taxi from Haeundae Station. Ask for ‘Alexander shikdang’ and this takes you pretty much to the start of this walk.


To view this entire walk on a map visit: HERE

Below is a map of the start point




View Galmaetgil Course 2 part 1 in a larger map

Feb 052013



By Hannah Augur

  Whether you’re a dude hunting for an awesome date idea, or a pack of girls searching for somewhere to spend the afternoon, cake cafes are not only fun, but delicious. On the sidewalk outside stands a sign detailing all of their sugary, and fresh options. Ranging from $5 cupcakes to $20 heart-shaped chocolate cakes, everything is cute, tasty and reasonably priced.


all the cake possibilities are determined by your creativity

Inside, the café is a bright and open room nearly wall-to-wall with different sprinkles, garnishes and frostings, and tables decorated only with rotating cake stands. When you sit down, they will actually hand you a menu—that’s how many kinds of cakes and icings there are. You can point and grunt your way through the cake and icing-choosing process; after a few minutes, the staff will bring you a gorgeous blank-slate cake (or cupcakes!). The icing is surprisingly smooth and fluffy, making it even harder to not stick your hand directly in it. After that, you can work your artistic magic at your own pace. There are small 500\ packets of sprinkles, multiple kinds of edible flowers, a variety of random toppings (mini-Pepero, cookie crumbles, frosting puppies, edible flowers), and a refrigerated area for specifically for fruity toppings and sauces.

Surprisingly, even if you are watching your wallet, this is not a big money waster. After everything, it will likely come to around $25 for both the cake and experience.





Haeundae Station on the green line take exit 1. Walk to the top of the stairs and straight.  Take your first right. Immediately after the Angel-in-us is a Mr. Pizza. Next to the Mr. Pizza entrance take the stairs up to the third floor, and you’ll be at the café’s doors.


Mar 162011


car hit tom's bike in front of mcdonalds haeundae


So you’ve decided to get a bike.  Congratulations on your momentous step toward a healthier lifestyle, environmental sustainability, new found airs of preachy self-importance, and all-around fun!  Despite the reigning popular opinion, Busan can be a very nice place to ride a bike.

I’ve been biking to and from work about three times a week for the past several months now.  I haven’t been hit once, though there have been some close calls.  My daily rides take me from Jangsan, right past Haeundae, through Dongbaek, into Centum, then onto the river trail all the way to my hagwon in Allak-Dong, near Dongrae subway station.  It’s about 10 kilometers each way, and takes about 40-45 minutes.  It’s a little bit longer than the bus ride, but also a lot nicer.

My ride is a comically undersized Lespo Typhoon Mountain (ish?) bike. I bought it for 120,000 won from the bike shop right by Haeundae train station.  I’m 198 cm tall, and to get anything that was close to my size, I was gonna have to shell out like 400,000 won.  Instead I went with the cheaper, smaller option. I cranked the seat up all the way and hit the streets.

I’ve actually come to regret this.  My plan was just to stay on the handy sidewalk bike paths available in much of Busan.  I’m now learning that with a better fitted road bike, it would probably be easier, and faster to ride on the streets for much of my commute to work.  Sadly it’s  tough to build up the appropriate speed necessary to avoid taxis, buses, and motorbikes while having to lift my knees over my head with each pedal motion.  Still, the sidewalk trails are easy enough and convenient enough and I still have the pleasure of dodging motor bikes, which provides that on-the-street sense of danger.

Living near Haeundae beach, I was excited by the option of biking along the beach to and from work every afternoon and evening.  Listening to the waves crash and gulls making that sound that the subway makes when it passes a beach stop.  This was neither well researched nor well thoughtout.  The problem with Haeundae beach is the people walking.  It’s not necessarily that there are that many of them walking, it’s more the complex walking formations they have mastered.  Here are some examples:

-The Flying V:  This formation, originally created by youth hockey coach, Gordan Bombay, once heroically helped a rag-tag group of inner-city hockey players defeat some snotty prep-school kids.  In Korea, it is favored by both business men and groups of ajummas.  It allows a smaller group of people to still take up the entire walk-way, while making it difficult to to get around from the front and impossible to get around from the back as they are often shifting places and turning around to talk to those behind them.  You pretty much have to just get off and walk if you see this.  Any amount of bell dinging is useless.

-Young Love:  This one occurs at night and is often the result of the romantic beach atmosphere.  Young couples in Korea behave very much like drunk men in Korea, in that they can not walk in any semblance of a straight line.  They’ll often stumble one way, as the girl pretends to hit the man, then quickly back the other as the man defends himself with a playful tickle.  It’s all very sweet and cute until they’re both killed by an out of control bicycle.

-The Drunk Walk:  Pretty much identical to the young lovers, but involving one drunk man, and one totally shit-faced man.  The drunk man is supporting the shit-faced man, but not with complete success, as like the couples, they stumble from side to side occasionally toppling over or getting into an impromptu belligerent shouting match.  It’s best to just pick an edge and pedal fast, hoping that no one stumbles and crashes into you.

-The Waegukin!:  This one is the most common, and usually involves a solo elderly person or child.  As they’re walking across the path, from the road to the beach, they’ll spot a very tall foreigner on a fairly small bicycle, then proceed to freeze and stare, stopping and standing directly in the path of the aforementioned bicycle.  The best option here is to break and never make eye contact.  You never know when they’ll start walking again, so it’s best to behind where they might walk.

Once you’re through Haeundae, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

The Tongbaek subway area is pretty simple.  Just stay on the paths.  The sidewalks are wide so people are easily avoided.  There’s a few absurdly long red lights, but I usually just ignore them if there’s no cars coming.  As a bonus, there’s a really nice, really empty HomePlus along the road, too.

The nice part of my ride comes right before Centum City, where I can just hop on the riverside bike path and cruise the rest of the way.  This is a great spot for any bikers or runners since with a quick change to another river path you can ride this all the way up to Oncheonjang and PNU without worrying about traffic.   There are a few places where the trail breaks up, and you might have to bike through a maze of large parked semi trucks, but overall it’s pretty safe here.

So even if it’s not a practical option to bike to work, I’d still recommend getting a bike and hitting some of the river trails and beaches.  It’s definitely a faster, more fun way to visit some of the harder to find places in Busan.