Micael in South Korea: ‘Beautiful beaches and Japanese temples’

Micael Coelho, third year International Business student at Windesheim, is studying at Konkuk University in South Korea until the summer. He reports on his experiences for WIN every month.

Almost 3 months have passed since I first arrived in South Korea, and the beauty of this country still surprises me everyday. I have to say Seoul is one of the greatest cities here, however there are many destinations that you must visit if you travel to this stunning country.

Haeundae beach

As a South American you can assume I really love going to the beach. For this particular reason Busan was a destination that I wanted to visit for a long time. The huge city with its 3,4 million population is home to very beautiful beaches. Haeundae Beach is the most famous one, and for good reason, this beach is a mix of huge modern buildings and also a very beautiful seasight. In there I was able to find a lot of Korean sea street food and I have to say it tasted amazing.

Oh, let me talk a bit more about the food! Busan is a paradise for seafood lovers. Jagalchi Market is a must-visit – it’s the largest seafood market in Korea, and you can find everything from fresh fish to exotic sea creatures, I assure you there will be some animals you have probably never seen in your life. You can even have your seafood prepared and cooked right there at the market.

Amazing views

Besides the beaches and eating, there’s so much to do in Busan. Take a walk along Igidae Coastal Walk for amazing views of the coastline. Visit the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, which is uniquely located right on top of a rock in the coast. In that temple I could learn a lot about Buddists rituals and costumes.

If you are young and love to go out, Busan’s nightlife is another highlight, in particular I had as much fun as in Seoul. The city offers a variety of bars and rooftops so you can have your drink staring at the ocean. Which for me was amazing. Also, a great idea is to check out Seomyeon, which is a neighborhood full of bars and fun activities.

‘Korean experience’ in Gunsan

Second stop is Gunsan, which is also a city on the coast of South Korea. If you are tired of seeing foreigners and really want a ‘Korean experience’ I would very much recommend Gunsan. I started my visit by the old downtown area, where I could explore a lot about Gunsan’s old history. The downtown area of Gunsan has many Japanese-style houses, from the city’s colonial past, and the architecture gives a great impression of how the city used to look alike in the past.

After my stop downtown, I visited the Dongguksa temple, which is the last remaining Japanese temple in Korea, and in there I saw peaceful gardens and beautiful images of Buddhism beliefs. Additionally, the nearby Eunpa Lake Park is a very famous destination for hiking and bike riding.

Nice nature vibe

Gunsan, just as Busan, is also very famous for its seafood, in particular its raw fish dishes which are unique from the region. The city also has many seafood markets with the freshest delicacies you can get.

For nature lovers, a quick pit stop at Seonyudo Island is a must according to Koreans. In particular I couldn’t make it there due to time, however the island is very famous for having stunning beaches, scenic hiking trails and a nice nature vibe. I would say Gunsan offers a unique and enriching Korean experience for all visitors.

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