Friday, March 2, 2012

Backpacking Korea: Haeundae Beach and Busan Aquarium

One of the places we've been in Busan, South Korea is the Haeudae Beach. It was a sunny day that day but we are covered in thick winter clothes because it was freezing cold despite the warm sunshine that touches our skin. It was quite unusual to dress this way and be on a beach since I was used to the tropical weather in the beaches in my country.

Haeudae Beach is one of the places where tourists go to. There are a lot of events that happens here and also, there are also a lot places to go to from here like the Busan Aquarium where they house thousands of fishes and other underwater creatures.

The beach is located at the Southern part of Eastern Busan. You can go there through the subway or bus. Be prepared of walking since it is a beach area.

From the Korean Tourism Website:
Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장) is probably the most famous beach in the country. "Haeundae" was so named by scholar Choi Chi-Won (857~?) of the Silla Dynasty (BC 57~AD 935). When he was walking past Dongbaekdo Island, he was fascinated by it and left the carved words "Hae Un Dae" on a stone wall on the island. Haeundae is 1.5 km long, 30~50m wide, and spans an area of 58,400㎡. The white sand is rough and sticks easily to your skin. The sand of this beach is composed of sand that comes from Chuncheon Stream and shells that have been naturally eroded by the wind over time. Haeundae Beach is also famous for the various cultural events and festivals held throughout the year. At Haeundae Beach there is a Folk Square where you can enjoy traditional games such as neoldduigi (seesaw jumping), Korean wrestling, tuho(arrow throwing), tug-of-war and yutnori. There is also the Beach Culture Center and the Beach Library. Numerous people visit every year from June to August.
The beach view is pretty. It it wasn't freezing cold, I would have taken a dip in the waters. The long stretch of sand is nice and there are a lot of birds that crowd on you as you feed them. It was a very relaxing place and if it weren't freezing cold there, we'd stayed longer at the sands and enjoys the nice view and the sun.

Haeundae Beach and the view of the buildings

kids feeding the birds

waves and sun ^__^
There are a lot of tourist friendly spots around the beach but the only place we went in was the Busan Aquarium.
The Busan Aquarium contains over 35,000 species of fish, algae, reptiles, and amphibians. This state-of-the-art facility is one of Korea’s top aquariums. The aquarium covers an area of 36,000 m2 and is spread over 3 underground levels and features an outdoor park. On the first underground level is a souvenir shop and several places to eat, while the B2 and B3 levels showcase the various exhibits. The third underground level boasts an 80m main (seabed) tunnel. 

The tunnel experience resembles a walk along the ocean floor with various sea creatures swimming above. This is a very popular area of the aquarium and is sure to amaze visitors. The simulator also stimulates the imagination and provides a unique feeling of life on the ocean floor. 
For a KRW19,000 fee, you can enter the Aquarium and check out the different fishes and sea animals in there. I will just take you on a visual tour of the Aquarium:

shark in the large aquarium

hammer head shark frozen in time

souvenir shop
They have this show in there where a diver and the host do some magic trick. Here is a photo of the diver. I don't understand what they are talking about but I guess it is something educational for the kids around there.

the diver in the large aquarium

doing the show for the kids

Here are information on Haeundae Beach:
Opening date
Every early July ~ late August (depends on the weather)
Operating Hours
Maximum Occupancy
120,000 people
Parking Facilities
4,800 spaces
Facilities for the Handicapped
Parking lot and toilet
From Seoul Station(subway line #1 or 4 ) take KTX to Busan station( 2hr 30 min travel time) >> From Busan station walk 172m straight and take bus(# 1003)(04:20 to 22:20 / every 9 min / 31 min travel time) >> get off at Haeundae Beach stop and walk 169m to Haeundae Beach
Information about Busan Aquarium:
N/A (Open all year round)
Operating Hours
Mon.-Thu.: 10:00-20:00
Fri.-Sun. & Holidays: 09:00-22:00

* Peak Season (July 21-August 28)
Mon.-Sun. & Holidays: 09:00-22:00

※ Last admission : 1hr before closing
Parking Facilities
560 parking spaces
Admission Fees
Adults (ages 19 and up): 19,000 won / Group: 15,000 won
Youths (ages 13-18): 17,000 won / Group: 12,000 won
Children (ages 3-12): 15,000 won / Group: 10,000 won
* Group: 20 people or more
Available Facilities
* Experience facilities
Glass Bottom Boat, Shark Dive, 3D Rider, Audio Guide, etc.
Parking Fees
* Busan Aquarium parking lot
1 hour-free parking available (1,000 won for each additional 30min)

* Designated parking lots by Busan Aquarium
1 hour, 30min-free parking available (1,000 won for each additional 30min)

※ Parking tickets must be stamped at either the Busan Aquarium ticket box or the souvenir shop.
※ Parking fees may vary during summer peak season.
Interpretation Services Offered
English, Japanese, Chinese
Not permitted
Haeundae Station (Busan Subway Line 2), Exit 3 or 5.
Walk 10min towards Haeundae Beach.

From Busan Station, take bus 139 or 1001 to Haeundae.
 This is another must see place in Busan. Try to go here and also, see the other sites around. If I'll be back, I'll check out the other places to see around the beach area.

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