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The Unexpected Charms of Busan Travel Destinations!

Words and photos by Moon Cheol-jin

The Unexpected Charms of Busan Travel Destinations!
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Night is a time of rest for travelers as they run out of energy from walking all day while enjoying things and tasting food. After a leisurely dinner and dessert, tourists don’t feel like doing anything. Anyone would also be exhausted by the end of the day with the currently hot weather.

When you are in Busan, however, you have to enjoy nightlife. Unexpected fun is hidden all over Busan, and many travel destinations in the province are even more gorgeous at night. You’ll only experience half of Busan if you miss out on nightlife. As such, let’s travel to destinations that are completely different during the day and the night like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
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Orangdae

Located near the city, Orangdae is an unusual and famous site that represents Gijang, where the blue East Sea and unique rock formations create harmony to present a beautiful scenery. Yongwangdan Altar, a place where people wish fishermen good luck before heading out to the ocean, adds an exotic feel to the place.

“Oran” from “orangdae” means “five men.” The name originated from five Confucian scholars who were exiled to Gijang and known for sitting above the cliff and appreciating the arts.

The travel to Orangdae begins at dawn. As it is surrounded by the ocean, Busan sees the sun rise from all angles. However, Orangdae is the place to be if we had to pick a single spot to enjoy the sunrise. Rough waves move about as if they would swallow the rocks at dawn, and Yongwangsan Altar, which faces the vast ocean, sheds a flickering light on the hazy ocean. Moreover, the horizon that appears from the darkness is flushed red. Soon, the round sun emerges from the ocean, lighting up a fire in one’s mind. It is a moving sight that you can only experience at Orangdae.
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A nice coastal trail is formed along Orangdae. Daebyeonhang Port is located on the left when you face the ocean, while Hilton Hotel is on the right. For a perfect half-day course, you may start at Hilton Hotel, pass by Orangdae, and go up to Daebyeonhang Port. Get away from the craziness of Haeundae or Gwangalli to enjoy the peaceful ocean near Gijang, and take a moment to reflect.
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At night, Orangdae sets a romantic mood, thanks to the stars, which you rarely see in the city. The beach in Gijang makes for a great stargazing area as it doesn’t have much artificial lighting. The area surrounding Orangdae is also hidden by mountains, allowing visitors to have a clear view of the night sky. When you visit toward the end of the month when the moon is less visible, you will see a sky packed with stars that can be seen by the naked eyes. Listen to the splashing waves, watch the stars, and experience the true meaning of the word, “romance!”

There’s more! Little stars shine brightly along the horizon in the ocean, where darkness has settled in. They come from the lights of fishing boats to attract fish. Like the numerous stars in the night sky, these little lights also rise and set by the waters. Visit Orangdae to enjoy the ocean’s charms at night!


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Mipo, Haeundae

Everyone knows Haeundae, but most people don’t know Mipo. Some locals are also unfamiliar with the place as it is overshadowed by the magnificent Haeundae Beach. However, this place was where the protagonists of the movie, “Haeundae,” operated a shop.

Dongbaekseom Island is at the right end when facing Haeundae Beach, and Mipo sits at the left. As the leading hot spot of Busan, Dongbaekseom Island has a gorgeous natural landscape, skyscrapers, and a great night view. However, the other side is not as popular, and locals visit the area more than tourists.

Walk toward the end of Songjeong to get to the fresh fish center and cruise dock, and stroll further along the ocean to reach a fishing village with a small port. This is Mipo, which surprises people at first because of its unfamiliar scene compared to Haeundae Beach.
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Small fishing boats are lined up as if they were heading out to the ocean, and there is also an old supermarket that you would see in a TV drama. It is a place where locals live and breathe life, unlike a nicely decorated tourist town. When you lift your head, you will see 100-story skyscrapers looking down on the port. Moreover, this place seems uninterested in catching up with advancements although its surrounding area changes so quickly. This disconnect is what makes the place so attractive.

Walk further along the alleyway from the port to reach a café at a dead end, which features Busan’s best night viewing spot. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s dramatic night sky along the coast, and appreciate the surrounding scenery from Haeundae Beach to Marine City, Dongbaekseom Island, Gwangandaegyo Bridge, and Igidae Cliff.
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If you visit around late afternoon, you can also see the sunset behind Gwangandaegyo Bridge. Taste fresh seafood while sitting at an outdoor table against the backdrop of Busan’s nightscape, which is comparable to Hong Kong’s million-dollar view, to wrap up the day. What a satisfying trip!


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Hwangnyeongsan Beacon

Climb an observatory to see Busan at a glance. Many observatories are located in Busan’s numerous mountains, and Hwangnyeongsan Beacon is one of them. Located at the center, Hwangnyeongsan Mountain offers a full view of all regions in the province. Enjoy a 360° panoramic view of Haeundae, Yeongdo Island, Nampo-dong, Yeonsan-dong, Geumjeongsan Mountain, and Dongnae, where the city hall is, to the left, as well as Gwangalli in front.

There is a two-lane road going up the summit, so you don’t have to worry about hiking. Get off the parking lot, and climb the wooden deck for 10 minutes to reach the Beacon Observatory with an open view. Once there, you will see the symbolic Gwangandaegyo Bridge, Bukhangdaegyo Bridge, Yeongdo Island, Centum, and Haeundae at a glance.
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A well-organized walking path and exploration trail can be trudged upon along the beacon. If you like walking, you should follow the ridge up to Sajabong Peak, and look at places that you couldn’t see from the beacon. Walk along the road to Gwangalli, and climb up the observatory that is located in the middle to check out Busan’s view.

Visit at dawn to see the sun rise toward Haeundae, and see the sun set in Songdo in the late afternoon. You will also see an impressive landscape no matter when you visit as the spot offers great views at both significant times of the day.
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Hwangnyeongsan Beacon shines most brightly at night like a night-view gift package offered by Busan. All nightscape spots are visible from the area, and the scenery from the mountain at night is much more impressive than seeing it from the ground. The 2D space now becomes 3D, providing a much more vivid view especially for photographers who climb the mountain despite their heavy equipment. As such, Hwangnyeongsan Beacon is also the best place to watch the Busan International Fireworks Festival.

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