On the eastern side of Busan, and about 25 minutes away by subway, HAEUNDAE (해운대) is without a doubt the most popular beach in Korea. Whether it’s the best or not is open to question – in the summer it draws in families, teens and bronzed beach bums by the bucketload, though at only 2km in length, space here is tighter than a Brazilian’s Speedos, while the sand gradually becomes a composite of cigarette butts, firework ash and other debris. Like it or not, it’s an interesting place – Haeundae is not just the name of the beach, but also its surrounding area, one that attracts all sorts throughout the year. The Pusan Film Festival, one of the biggest in Asia, rolls into town each October with a cast of directors, actors, wannabes and hangers-on; the super-fit come to splash and dash out a triathlon course each October; hungry Koreans come to chow down on raw fish and throw back a few bottles of soju from the comfort of a plastic chair; affluent expats, trendy locals and the international convention crowd populate the many luxury apartments and five-star hotels, while youngsters come from all over the country to spend a starry night on the beach. If you catch it at the right time, Haeundae can be quite magical.
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