Busan the second biggest city in South Korea is known more as a Summer destination where people can relax or swim at the city beaches that are spreadout along the coastal city.
In our last post I wrote the article Why travel is no longer a priority the night before we were actually about to leave for Busan but really I think I was apprehensive in going to Busan in the middle of Winter as I had previously been to Seoul many years ago where the bitter coldness left me freezing and not wanting to return to Korea.
Luckily many years had past and I held no grudge even though i feel my self conscious did. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found that the weather was rather mild when we were there. We could actually enjoy the beach, of course we couldn’t swim though.
Here are somethings that you can do while at Haeundae Beach in the Winter, of course most of these activities can be done all year round.
Haeundae Beach is the most popular beach in all of South Korea and from June to August beach umbrellas line up over the 1.5 kilometre sand beach. The beach over those months can have over 100,000 people per day but in the Winter you can enjoy the place with much fewer people.
Here you can enjoy strolling the length of the beach, which you certainly couldn’t do in the Summer. Sit on the sand, relax make sand castles, write in the sand, collect shells and really take in the serenity of the place as it really is a nice city beach when it’s not crowded.
Ice Skating at the beach
On December 12th 2015, Haeundae Beach opened its ice skating rink for the very first time. The season runs from December 15- February 29th giving people the unique chance to skate while taking in the views of the beach as the rink is surrounded by transparent glass walls to prevent the sea breeze and sand from getting on the ice. It’s a really fun way to enjoy your time.
<Haeundae Beach International Ice rink>
☞ Venue: Haeundae Beach
☞ Period: December 12, 2015 – February 29, 2016
☞ Time: 10:00-22:00
* Last admission one hour before closing.
* Ice-resurfacing for 10 minutes every hour.
☞ Admission: Adults 12,000 won, Teenagers 10,000 won, Children 8,000 won
* Skates and helmet rental fees included.
Busan’s aquarium is the largest in Korea with over 10,000 creatures including 12 sharks watch as these majestic species swim around the 3,000 ton tank. The aquarium covers 8 aquatic zones giving everyone a chance to see the sea life of various areas in the world. Don’t miss the finless porpoises. The aquarium gives its visitors many chances to see the sea creatures being fed and also have many speeches throughout the day about the sea life.
For more information check the aquariums website
Polar Bear Swim
We weren’t here to experience this event as this year it was held on January 9th but it would be an exciting event to witness as 3000 people clamour into the freezing cold waters to swim 1 kilometre.
The event also has many singers and dancers performing before and after the swim.
Eating at the Panorama Lounge of the Westin Chosun Hotel
If it is really cold in Winter and you need a place to escape or if the weather is fine but you need a place to get some lunch, a coffee or even some afternoon tea then this lounge is the place to go.
The hotel is directly on the West side of the beach and the lounge definitely lives up to its name as the panoramic views through the full glassed length window are amazing as you sit there and enjoy your food while taking in the views of the length of the beach.
View of the beach from Panorama Lounge.
This park is directly behind the Westin Chosun hotel and we would never have known that it existed if we hadn’t have eaten lunch at the Westin hotel. Busan itself doesn’t really have any must sees but I feel this was the highlight of our trip hiking along the boardwalk that clings to the rocky cliff side of what used to be an island until it naturally fused together. The park is covered by the Dongbaek tree which is how the park got its name.
Walking along the boardwalk you can see local fisherman perched on top of the rocks where waves batter against them when they come rolling in. Signs are posted that this is prohibited but it doesn’t prevent the locals from trying to catch their fish. The boardwalk leads you to a statue of a mermaid. It represents the legendary heart breaking love story of the princess of Topaz from the Naranda country beyond the Sea. In this country lived a mermaid who was married to the King of Mungungnara. She shed many tears longing for her homeland and reflected on the topaz bead given by her grandmother-in-law.
There’s also a light house as well as the APEC centre where in 2005, 21 Leaders came together for the meeting. To enter is free and you can still see where the summit was held as the room is kept in its original state.
Haeundae beach isn’t just a Summer destination. There’s plenty of things to do all year round and even in Winter you can enjoy your time there. We were easily able to fill a day in at Haeundae Beach and if you still think it’s too cold to visit in Winter but won’t be there in Summer, then how about planning your trip in October when the beach holds the Busan movie festival.
How to get to Harundae Beach
Take line 2 to Haeundae Station and leave exit 5. Head straight and you will arrive at Haeundae Beach.