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

Oct 182011

BY MICHAEL FRAIMANIgidae, Nam-Gu, Busan, Korea

To Westerners, Yongho-Dong’s Igidae Park is one of Busan’s lesser-known scenic trails. It’s basically the city’s “other coastline”—look straight and you can see Haeundae beach; look left and you face the Gwangali bridge. It’s also teeming with native Koreans out for a two-and-a-half-hour afternoon stroll, or setting up fishing posts along the rocks by the water, so don’t expect a solitary jaunt.

Its lack of popularity among non-native citizens might be owed to the fact that it’s a little tricky to find (we took a taxi), or that the hike itself is really more of a rugged walk. Igidae is a testament to the amount of money and effort Korean governments will pour into natural infrastructure: there are loads of clean stairs (they look freshly painted, even if they actually aren’t), naturally-integrated benches and frightening-to-some suspension bridges overhanging small cliffs. Basically, you’re surrounded by greenery the whole time, but you never feel like you’ve left the city. Igidae’s vibe becomes a lot more casual than walking around any mountain.

The whole trek is essentially a line, and you can approach it from either end. You can trek inland or around the coast, the latter of which gives you plenty of chances to walk right down to the water and bound across giant and precariously balanced boulders, which, as I mentioned to my company at the time, truly made me feel like a kid again. (Partly because it’s fun, and partly because I became a terrified child when looking down at the jagged rocks and rushing water only a few feet below.) If you hop far enough along the rocks, you’ll inevitably disrupt some peaceful solo Korean’s lunch, which also brings up the idea of picnicking along the rocks by yourself or with friends. (Thanks for the idea, grimacing Korean man!)

Igidae is made to be a casual hike, and it works. It’s relatively short, relatively easy, and exceptionally beautiful—and on top of all that, we were the only Westerners in sight. I think that legitimately qualifies it (for foreigners) as one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

Directions: there are two ways you can go:

1) A LONGER WALK TO IGIDAE: From Namcheon metro, get off at exit 3 and take your first left. Walk down till the road dead-ends, turn right, and then turn left onto the busy road. Continue past the big intersection at Mega Mart, and continue for a while till you get to Igidae.

2) BY BUS; SHORTER WALK: From the Kyungsung subway, get out exit 5, do an about-face, and go around the corner. Walk straight one and a half blocks (you’ll pass a Paris Baguette) till you get to the bus stop. Take any bus EXCEPT the 10 and 155 (so YES for the ones in the 20s (24, 27, etc) and also the 131). You’ll go about 5 stops to the IGIDAE stop. The bus will turn right just before you need to get off. You’ll be able to see a big mountain.

Get off the bus, backtrack a lil, and cross the street (you’ll be walking towards an eyeglasses shop with a blue sign). Follow that road till it keeps winding around to the park. It’s a 5-10 minute walk just to get to the park, so keep at it. 

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