Mar 252013

By Laura Teague

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

imageThis is definitely a walk to test your hamstrings and calves. It’s a nice flat 3km away from Gwangalli beach around the coast, and then a grueling 5km of stairs up and down all the way to Oryukdo Cruise Wharf.

Continuing on from where Part 1 finished, this walk starts on Gwangalli Beach.

Follow the beach road away from the Haeundae end, so towards the watersports building at the far right side of beach. When you reach the water sports building, take the road just behind it, that’s following the coast and turning off to the left. There is a cycle hire shack here, and the cycle road beyond that. Follow the cycle road, and once again follow the signs that are spray-painted on the floor, wooden signs attached to the walls, or the blue and pink flags on the trees and lampposts.

image (1)Following the trail around to the base of Gwangan Bridge is easy, there is a handy little sign to tell you which way to go when you are crossing the river to get under the bridge, to the other side of the harbor. If you happen to miss this, you need to get under Gwangan Bridge, and you are aiming for a small white bridge allowing cars across. There are usually some fishermen on this bridge, or if not further on the path along the sea wall. From here, the Galmaetgil path takes you just to the right of the sea wall, by the road, through a wooded path. This eventually links up to the sea wall road and you can get some great views of Gwangan Bridge from the other side.

From the end of the sea wall, you are aiming uphill for the snazzy-looking ‘The View’ building, there are a few signs around, just keep an eye out for them. Once you have made it up the hill to ‘The View’ the path is incredibly easy, because there isn’t much opportunity to stray from it. Be warned however, from here the path is all up and down stairs all the way to Oryukdo, and there aren’t many places to get drinks and snacks from here, so make sure you have enough refreshments to keep you going.

image (5)The walk takes you right down to the Oryukdo Cruise Wharf, and there is a local fish market near the dock. This is where Course Two officially finishes and Course Three begins. But after all those stairs, maybe leave Course Three for another day!








To the start point: Take the subway to either Gwangan or Geumyeonsan Subway station on line 2, and make your way to the beach from there. 

To get back from the end point: The people in the tourist office on the Wharf are super helpful if you need them. With the tourist office at your back, look straight up the road that’s coming in to the roundabout. On the right hand side of the road there is a bus stop. Take either bus 27 or 131 and this will get you back to the KSU subway station which is on the green line.




Mar 162011

haedong yonggungsa temple complex

With some very notable exceptions, it often feels like if you’ve seen one Buddhist Temple in Korea, you’ve seen them all.  That’s not a knock on the temples here, it’s just pointing out the obvious.  They’re seemingly at the foot of every mountain.  They have similar layouts.  They’re all the same colors.  I still love them.  I find them to be very peaceful places to walk around and take some photos and feel relaxed, but a little variety is always nice.

Busan is fortunate to have one of the more unique temples in Korea in Haedong Yongungsa.  As opposed to being at the foot of a mountain, it’s set on the rocky coast of the East Sea.  It’s easily got to be one of the most picturesque spots in Busan.  Unfortunately this is no secret, as crowds of people seem to flock there every weekend.  At least the three times I’ve been there it’s been pretty packed with people, taking away most of the dream-like serenity an ocean front temple in East Asia might bring about to western minds.

Still, it’s definitely worth a visit.  It’s a nice way to kill a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.  An added bonus is the coin launching bridge, where you attempt to throw coins into a bucket being held by a statue.  Despite my prowess at quarters, I’ve failed so far.  Next time my gatorade jar of change is coming along.

There’s also a maritime fisheries museum pretty close by for all you maritime fisheries enthusiasts.  As well as all you strange museum enthusiasts.  I’ve never been in, but maybe next time.haedong yonggungsa temple, from above

Good trip idea:  Once it gets warm enough to camp, go to Songjeong beach, get drunk, camp out, wake up early (or more likely stay up all night), and take your cameras for some sunrise photos at the temple, minus the massive crowds.

Directions: The fastest way is to take the green line metro to Jangsan, then take a taxi.  Otherwise take one of the buses that goes to Songjeong (1003, 100-1, 181, maybe some others) then transfer to the 180 bus.  I’ve always had trouble finding a taxi out, so if you’ve got some Hanguel skills, you might wanna plan on calling a taxi for the ride back.

haedong yonggungsa temple, pagoda on the cliffhaedong yonggungsa temple, statue on the roofshaedong yonggungsa temple, figurines

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