After a rather restful flight to Seoul, where I managed to snag 2 seats to myself, we arrived at Incheon Airport around 10.30am.
The immigration queues moved rather quickly, and soon enough we found ourselves landside! We stopped by ‘A Twosome Place’ for a cup of cold brew latte (5,000won), which was pretty decent. Despite it being a latte, the milk content was not very high, and I could still taste the slight acidity of the coffee beans, which really helped to wake me up!
Seoul Incheon Airport -> Busan
We followed the direction signs to the AREX (Airport Express) station, which was about a 5-10min walk away from the arrival hall. The AREX train is the express train that plies the route between Incheon Airport and Seoul station, and it runs pretty regularly. A single trip ticket cost around 8,000won, compared to the regular train (4,250won). The AREX gets you from Incheon Airport to Seoul station in 40min, while the regular train gets you there in about 60min.
For free wifi and to save 20min of traveling time, we chose the AREX train. We bought our tickets for the KTX (bullet train) from Seoul to Busan at the same time, saving us some time from having to buy it at Seoul station.
The AREX was a really comfortable ride into Seoul, and we did not regret it the least!
At Seoul station, we had about 20min to transfer trains, thus we bought lunch from Lotteria (a fast food chain similar to MacDonalds), and rushed to our platform to catch our train.
One observation about Lotteria’s burgers, based on the two that we bought, was that they had A LOT of veggies! Probably trying to provide reasons for consumers to convince themselves that it was the healthier option! That said, the bulgogi burger (6,500won for a set with fries & drink) was superb, and I have not had such tender beef in a fast food burger in a long time. The spicy chicken burger (5,500won for a set) was not bad too, although not as yummy as the bulgogi burger!
The KTX to Busan was rather uneventful, and we arrived unscathed at Busan KTX station about 2.5h later. To get to the Busan subway station, we exited via Exit 9, and walked across the main square in front of Busan station.
The one-day subway pass cost 4,500won each, and we bought it since we knew that we would likely travel more than 4 times on the subway. As each trip is minimally 1,100won, we were getting our money’s worth.
Our hotel was situated close to Choryang subway station, which was just one stop away from Busan subway station. Checking in was a breeze, and we were assigned a room on the 3rd level. After depositing our luggages and a quick toilet break, we headed back out to explore Busan!
Ji & Tobico Restaurant (address: 422-13 Jangjeon-3-dong, Geumjong-gu, Busan)
Our first stop was Ji & Tobico, a restaurant found near Pusan National University station (Line 1, Exit 3). The restaurant was a 7-10min walk from the subway station.
The entrance to the restaurant was rather inconspicuous, and could easily be missed. There was a small garden pathway leading up to the restaurant, which was quite cool. We ordered the cream shrimp al-bap & crab meat al-bap, which cost 6,500won each.
I preferred the cream shrimp al-bap over the crab meat, as I liked the smokey flavour and the creamy texture, which was done just right. Both dishes stood out with the generous servings of fish roe, which I absolutely love to bite into!
Following the satisfying (and relatively cheap) dinner, we headed back to the main shopping street outside the subway station.
Mom did some shopping while I tagged along dutifully. After a while, we stopped at Paik’s Coffee for a rest and some iced coffee, as it was still rather warm despite it being already past 6pm.
Nearing 7pm, we boarded the train to Yeonsan station, where we changed to Line 3, heading to Suyeong station. At Suyeong, we transferred to Gwangan (Line 2).
From Gwangan subway station, it was a 10-15min leisurely walk to Gwangan beach. There were enough signs to direct us there without much issue at all. We arrived at the beach just in time for the 8pm light show, which was.. a huge disappointment unfortunately.
We sat around to enjoy the sea breeze for a while, and the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach was rather calming as well.
Our last stop for the day was Seomyeon 1 street, and we took Line 2 direct to Seomyeon station from Gwangan station. We did some window shopping and snacked as we walked around, before heading back to the hotel to rest for the night.