Korean Adventure: Busan and Beomeosa

HEY HEY HEY. Guess what. Today I edited pictures. So that I can share them WITH YOU. (I know, you’re so excited.)

So. My trip to Korea started on August 8th. I left Fukuoka via high-speed ferry (“jet foil”) for Busan, about a three hour trip. In case you have no idea where/what Busan is, it’s the second largest city in Seoul KOREA (omg, what is wrong with me? Thanks Constance), and the closest one to Japan. Plenty of Japanese folks there, at least, and–though I never used it for fear of offending people–I’ve been told Japanese will often serve me better there than English.

I think Busan is about 200km from Fukuoka city. But don't quote me on that.

Due to a lack of cell phones and poor planning, I was stranded in Busan station for awhile after I arrived (at 3pm). This was fine, as I gave myself time to explore, take photos, and get eaten by mosquitoes.

Also, Korea is stuffed with Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. This made me very pleased, as good-ish donuts are hard to come by in Japan. (I’m not a big fan of Mister Donut.) Starbucks are available in bigger cities in Japan, but I’m enough of a non-snobbish Seattle-ite to appreciate them whenever I see them.

This is a pretty new station. When I first went to Korea two years ago, there was still construction.

This is a very ostentatious fountain. Every time I saw it on, I wanted to frolic through it. Unfortunately, I didn't bring enough clothing to allow for wet, soggy ones.

Once I finally met up with Tank and her friend Dave, we booked it to a nearby Korean barbeque place, bought some very fresh pork, and cheers-ed to our Korean adventure! Then I got too excited and smacked my knee against the burning hot stove-thing. This resulted in a HUGE blister, which PS is still healing. (Crossing my fingers that it leaves a nasty scar.)

To anyone who visits Korea: definitely, DEFINITELY eat the Korean Barbeque. It’s amazing. It’s cheap. It’s got so much meat you’ll be sweating in seconds. I love that it’s so messy, that I can eat it with my fingers, and that it often comes with three different types of kimchi. Plus, you’re pretty much required to drink soju* with it, and soju is delicious. (Soju: Korean rice whiskey.) I like it better than shochu, at least. (Shochu: Japanese rice whiskey.)

That night I ended up using Soju as an anesthetic. HUZZAH I’m classy.

Uh. Moving right along.

The next morning, Ava and I woke up insanely early to go visit one of the more famous temples in Busan, Beomeosa. Like Busan, I’d been there before, and was sufficiently impressed to wish to return and do some more hiking/picture taking. It’s amazing because, even though Busan is this giant city and Beomeosa is pretty much smack in the center of it, once you’re at the temple, you feel transported to a rural, mountainous landscape. Soooo full of amazing.

The main temple is pretty standard Buddhist fare, but with lots of fun colors and, owing to the location, gorgeous trees, rocks, rivers, and the occasional glimpse of Busan city if you’re looking in the right direction. It’s also got tons of history, not least of which was being destroyed in the 1592 Japanese invasion.

So. Ah. Pictures!

ADORABLE OMG.

The sign made me giggle. The colors are awesome. And the taegeuk, a symbol similar to the yin-yang, but with sweet Korean awesomeness added.

Yeah, this spot looks pretty sacred to me. Gorgeous.

Roofs of the monks' dorms.

Even though it was hot and humid, I was still just as impressed with this temple the second time as I was the first. It’s rich in history, contrasts, with plenty of opportunities for meditation and reflection if one is so inclined. (Tank partook in this, I was too busy searching for an elusive koi pond.) Plus, it’s one of two easy places for foreigners to do temple stays, and I’ve heard great things about this one. It’s such an amazing landscape, I can see how that would be a rewarding (if expensive) few nights.

Next up: hiking the hills around Beomeosa, including creepy cloud formations, woo! I can see your excitement all the way in Japan, minions! Try to contain it, maybe? (Or don’t.)

*If you are of legal drinking age, WHICH I AM, suckers.

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