To explore the cities and towns outside of Busan, it’s best to rent a car. Public transport in Korea is not as widely available as Japan. That said, with a car, I still find it amazing that I managed to see three places in one day, albeit I spent quite a lot of time sleeping during the drive – I didn’t drive, of course.
Korean Walnut Snack (호두과자)
On the way from Busan to Geoje, my car stopped for a break and bought these goodies – Korean walnut snack. It’s cakey in texture but crispy on the outside, filled with a walnut paste. Quite addictive and I found them to be pretty good. But I can’t say they’re the best simply because I bought them at a rest stop.
Busan-Geoje Fixed Link
This highway is pretty cool because you get to see bridges, and be in a tunnel that is 48m below sea level. Apparently, this was the deepest sea tunnel when it opened. The only other sea tunnel I’ve ever been in was in Japan. I took the train from Tokyo to Sapporo in 2012 (yes, pre-Shinkansen fml) and it was the longest train ride in the history of train rides. Now, I’m no tunnel expert, but if you fancy a read about it, you can do it here.
Grilled Fish Lunch
While Ootoya’s grilled saba will forever and always be my favourite grilled fish, this selection was super yums too. Seafood in the south of South Korea is really fresh because most of the cities and towns are located near the ocean. However, don’t ask me what those fishes because I’m no fish expert. But just know that it was mighty delicious!
Geoje Haegeumgang Island (거제도 해금강)
From the mainland in Geoje, you can take a ferry to Oedo (외도) . While the guide on the ferry was very enthusiastically singing, I spent most of the time looking out the window until we were allowed to go look at the rock formations and caverns. Beautiful doesn’t quite cut it but by golly, it was amazing. And the water was so clear and blue. Take me back!
I loved Oedo (외도) because it reminded me so much of Europe. The geography was a lot like Cinque Terre in Italy – very green and picturesque. And of course, the lack of international tourists was a plus. Most of the island is relatively quiet, so you really get to soak it all in. If you ever stumble upon actual people, it would be at the toilets, cafés, and the area that was Greek-inspired. Definitely a good place to go for couples who like to take selfies. HAHAHA! On the other hand, I was thinking about pasta when we were here. Because you know, Italy.
Hakdong Mongdol Beach (학동몽돌해변)
After Oedo, I went to Hakdong Mongdol Beach. It’s a rock beach meaning that instead of sand, the whole beach was covered in rocks. It’s beautiful to look at, not so fun to walk on because it’s very uneven. Just something to bear in mind if you are travelling with older people.
Dongpirang Village (동피랑마을) and Tongyeong (통영시)
Dongpirang Village (동피랑마을) is a lot like Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, only better because they have murals of Pooh and Pororo. Don’t judge. Spent a good hour walking around to take pictures. I also found a hidden gem of a shop with the prettiest handmade art, so I got myself a postcard to remember this wonderful place.
After grabbing some red bean ice-cream from the nearby mart, I to see the warships in the main town of Tongyeong. This was an invention during the time of General Yi Sun-Shin in the 1500s. He was known for being a genius soldier and protected Korea during the war with Japan. Koreans still admire him until today.
This was all in one day and the places in this post are not very common to international tourists. They are usually frequented by locals albeit you do see the random white person/mainland Chinese on occasion. So, if you are interested to know more, you know who to call.
Till next time!