Busan City Tour, Seafood and Seaside! How to Find the Taejongdae Clam Tents, Jagalchi Market, Korean Sashimi and Busan Beaches!

I'm not sure if you will be delighted or cringe like me with this post. We took the Busan City Tour Bus to get around. There are just things that one has to experience in Busan - first-timer or old-timer alike. Let me tell you about my misadventures in Busan now. Hopefully you will find your way with this post. Some Busan info: Summer (~August) is the "best" time to go to Busan, they say - it's the beach capital of Korea so there's you will definitely feel close to the water when you're here. Busan is located close to the Sea of Japan and it's an international port area so there's bound to be lots of seafood all-year-round. I'd like to introduce you to the idea of grandma divers in Korea too in this post (one of my things to do in Korea list) =)


We went September so there were not a lot of people. Made me think to take things slow and take my time figuring stuff out. Even that bus ride felt like it took a while. We took the Busan City Tour Bus and headed to Taejongdae, something that I wouldn't recommend if you plan to leave the apartment or hotel at around 10 a.m. like us haha. I wanted to go there for the Taejongdae clam tents I heard about - seafood fresh out of the sea and cooked/grilled before your eyes (in my mind hoping maybe there were grandma divers too, collecting shellfish in tidal pools, not sure if there were any though). Sidenote: Let me just tell you about my fascination with grandma divers. I haven't really seen one yet in person. I saw the ad for a Haeyno (sea women, this is what they are officially called) performance show of in Jeju Island


They were going to perform here somewhere in Sunrise Peak (Seongsan Ilchulbong) Jeju during my previous trip but I didn't catch them.


Then I saw a picture in a restaurant and have seen two TV features about them =)


They said that there are only about 5000 of them left in Korea. They don't have any fancy scuba tanks. Many of them are grandmas now (probably in their 50s up to 90s) since not a lot of youngsters are interested to continue this trade. Plus, they do this even in winter! Interesting? =)

Busan Misadventure # 1 - (Because I missed the tents) at the Taejongdae Stop
Anyway, so let's get back to Taejongdae. Okay, I admit I miscalculated.


We left at 10:30 a.m. from the main stop (exchange station) of the Busan City Tour Bus - in front of Arirang Tourist Hotel and Busan City Station (Train). Click here - how to get there and how to buy tickets.


It was the fuzz-free and easiest way I could think of to get to this remote place (Taejongdae).


We got to Taejongdae around 1.5 hours later (should have left earlier)! We went in the entrance to the Lighthouse (had to pay extra and wait to go up but didn't continue down because we had no more time or we'll miss the bus back to the Busan City Station).


The Taejongdae clam tents were at the beach (I was guessing) and on the right side of this picture before the entrance gates (I later realized) and near the parking lots. We didn't go down that way anymore but I saw the beach from a distance =(


They weren't interested to proceed down, looked bored and wanted to head back to civilization already so I will go back to find it next time on my own or with a local. This time I failed but at least I have an idea where and about the timelines already. This would probably take more than a half day with some hiking up to the lighthouse (I'm not sure what else is down there either). So because of me, we kind of "wasted" time in Taejongdae and I didn't want to suggest anymore to the group.


We were on a race to make the 12:30 p.m. bus (hello!) and where would 30 mins get us in Taejongdae (we got there 11:50 p.m.) haha. It was another 1 hour to go back because the bus just loops (hop-on-hop-off). I couldn't blame them plus I felt bad that I insisted to go there (and I was hungry too). We got both the Haeundae Tour and Taejongdae Tour for 10000 won per person (paid in the bus, packaged - you really get 2 tours). For more Busan City Tours, click here.


1:30 p.m.
Busan Misadventure # 2 - (Because I starved myself) at the BIFF Square Jagalchi Market Stop
We got off at the Jagalchi Market (Blue loop) stop for lunch. You can tell by the smell in the air where to go. Then you'll spot lots of seafood being sold in the streets.


There's a big building that says Jagalchi. Inside are rows upon rows of tanks and sea creatures.


We came across eel peelers. Ugh. I'm sorry I don't eat eel.


I couldn't take seeing them pinned, skinned, still wiggling alive without the skin and all red.


Obviously, I don't sit well with seafood and I don't eat raw meat and exotic food. I'm okay with grilled and cooked crustaceans though hehe.


This was a funny moment though. This woman was wearing a cool apron. The octopus came right off after a struggle.


There's stingray,


sea cucumber,




flounder (on the right, doesn't look anything like Flounder of Little Mermaid yah?!)


abalone and many more.


Our group got this and asked that these be sliced for sashimi - Korean style or some grilled.


On the upper floor are the restaurants where you wait for your order. It was a relief for me coz I couldn't take it any longer haha.


Aside from buying the seafood downstairs, you pay for the use of utensils, veggie wraps, sauces and appetizers here (~3000 won per person), the cooking/preparing fee and drinks (like soju). The "tinderas" downstairs have their own referrals/preferred partner cooks upstairs, of course.


What my friends came for was this - raw and still-wiggling baby octopus (this one was a big one then chopped because there were a lot of us in a group and more pieces? haha). I didn't dare let their tentacles get stuck in my throat haha. Obviously, I'd rather starve. I munched on the carrots and the leek kimchi appetizer...


Then there's still more raw food/sashimi - the white being the flounder (which a friend said is the best for sashimi - Korean style). I don't eat raw fish either and nobody can force me haha.


They sashimi-ed the abalone too.


The only thing I liked and could stomach eating was this grilled jumbo scallop haha. I wished there was more of this..


I think this was the flounder


and the eel.


We spent 100,000 won for 6 people at Jagalchi (around P4000) all-in. If you walk a little farther, there's a smaller building with the same aquariums then seats at the side instead of upstairs. 


4:30 p.m.
Busan Misadventure # 3 - (Because the tour bus will already close) at the Haeundae Stop.
The BIFF (Busan International Film Festival) Square was just walking distance from the Jagalchi Market but we figured we'll go there at another time. The bus was only until around 5 p.m. so to get the most of it, we hopped on again to get a general view and idea of the distance of the beaches and attractions for our next few days in Busan. This was one of the best parts of this day (with the sun coming down already and the wind blowing in your face hehe). Sometimes, you just want to ride in a car instead of walking right? haha. South Korea is a super walking country for me.


We finished the tour and got off the Busan Aquarium (Haeundae Beach stop). We got there at 5 p.m. (you get the timeline and how far it is by car?) We didn't go in but I went here before and was amazed with the big jellyfish tank =)


I saw this open-air hot spring area by the beach where people soaked their feet. According to this sign, the Haeundae Hot Springs were known as the Gunam Hot Spring during the Silla Dynasty and I believe it's for free today=) 


There were mounds of sand on the beach so I think there were rehabilitating the beach or something. Our host said people would stop swimming and "going to the beach" after August 31 (it's according to the date instead of the season hehe). I believe the police will arrest you if you insist. So it's just a quick go-see-Haeundae-Beach and of course, couple-shirt-watching, for us then we set out to find the Dalmaji-gil Road near Haeundae.


5:30 p.m.
Busan Misadventure # 4 - (Because we got lost finding the Dalmaji-gil Road) near Haeundae Stop.
Of course, it was my brilliant idea to find the road again for the clusters of galleries and unique coffee shops haha. Apparently, we strayed away just walking towards the Upper East Side of Busan, near the Lotte Duty Free. Here's how to get to the Dalmaji-gil and what is there according to the Korea tourism site. Oh boy, it took a while to get over the disappointment that I got us lost how many times in a day and starved myself (I think that's why this post took me a while to write) hahaha.
Affectionately called the Montmartre of Busan, Dalmaji-gil is a road that stretches from Haeundae Beach to Dalmaji Hill. Dalmaji-gil gets its name from the romantic view of the moon that seems to rise over the hill as you reach the end of the street ('dal' meaning 'moon' in Korean and 'maji' meaning 'greeting'). All along the road you will find clusters of galleries, unique coffee shops, and restaurants beckoning to you as you stroll past. The area is a popular filming location. - from Busan City Tour Suggestions
Oh well, we went back near the Haeundae are and found a nice Korean BBQ grill restaurant.


There's nothing like lots of cooked red meat dipped in sesame oil and bamboo salt to melt all my disappointments away.


I found a new favorite - soft and yummy Pork Neck! I don't know how to order this yet, let me ask what it's called (to follow) haha. It's called Deji (pig) Mok sal mwahahaha!!!


Oh my goodness, I was super hungry and got a little moody the whole day. Now I'm just laughing it off hahaha.


I was very thankful that I allowed myself to be happy and let it go before the day ended.


We were seeing lots of Caffe Benne so we went in for some dessert at Haeundae too haha. I like the green tea better surprisingly than the berry. I don't know what it is. Sometimes, it's better to be silent and let others order haha. I heard there's Caffe Benne here in Manila already too.


We met an acquaintance who took us to Gwangalli Beach. We passed by this earlier, it has a Busan City Tour Bus stop. It's also very near our homestay apartment in Busan. You can just sit at the boardwalk and stare at the awesome city lights reflecting in the water.


This is the Gwangalli Bridge, formally known as the Busan Gwangandaegyo Bridge. Just imaging catching fireworks with this backdrop while sitting on the beach, nice huh? =)


There are lots of restaurants and bars just near the boardwalk. The traffic is not nice though so you can get stuck here by car. 


We hang out in a Japanese restaurant


and had Makgeolli (traditional Korean alcohol) with Yakult to end the night! Click here to learn a bit more about Makgeolli. We hailed a taxi to go back to our apartment hehe. 


O diba? What a super long day! This post was one of the hardest posts to reminisce ever and write about hahaha. Up to now I still cringe but I guess it was a necessary experience in the dynamic and unique city of Busan, Korea =)

Korean Air flies to Busan from Manila.

Did you enjoy this post? Which was your favorite and least favorite part? Haha. Feel free to tell me your thoughts below =)