South Korea Travel Itinerary Day 1: Busan Gwangalli Beach, Spaland and Fried Chicken Army Stew!


South Korea, the land of kim chi, ginseng chicken, korean fried chicken and jjimjilbang (Korean Bath House)! We’ve always wanted to do a self-drive through South Korea but didn’t have the opportunity to do so, except for a 10 hours overnight transit at Incheon Airport. Hence, this time, we decided to do a trip covering Busan, Jeju, Gyeongju, Danyang and Seoul. In this series of posts, we will show you our South Korea Travel Itinerary as well as all the places we’ve visited during this trip!

This time, we took the Singapore Airlines Business Class from Singapore to Beijing before transiting on the Air China Business Class from Beijing to Busan. As we were flying with Singapore Airlines Business Class, we were able to access the SilverKris Business Class Lounge before our departure…

Singapore Airlines Business Class Check-In
Singapore Airlines Business Class SilverKris Lounge @ Changi Airport
Singapore Airlines Business Class SilverKris Lounge @ Changi Airport
The 'Q' and springy XO fish noodles in SilverKris Lounge (Business)
The ‘Q’ and springy XO fish noodles in SilverKris Lounge (Business)
Inside Changi Airport SilverKris Lounge
Inside Changi Airport SilverKris Lounge
Tattinger Champagne at Business SilverKris Lounge Singapore Airlines
Tattinger Champagne at Business SilverKris Lounge Singapore Airlines

This time, we boarded the 777-300ER Singapore Business Class flight and were pleasantly surprised by the spacious seats and of course, the Book the Cook menu…

Spacious 1-2-1 layout of SQ 777-300ER Business Class
Spacious 1-2-1 layout of SQ 777-300ER Business Class

SQ Business Class Classic Lobster Thermidor
SQ Business Class Classic Lobster Thermidor
Roast Lamb Chop Singapore Airlines Book the Cook
Roast Lamb Chop Singapore Airlines Book the Cook
SQ Business Class Braised Beef Noodles Review
SQ Business Class Braised Beef Noodles Review

After we landed at Beijing Capital International Airport, we were greeted by an airport staff who held a card with our names on it. Then we were led to the customs where we had to go through security checks, including a full body pat down! -_-”

Nonetheless, with the airport staff arranged by Singapore Airlines, we were able to spend some time at the Air China Business Class Lounge before flying from Beijing to Busan

Air China Business Class Lounge Beijing Review
Air China Business Class Lounge Beijing Review
Air China flight from Beijing to Busan
Air China flight from Beijing to Busan
Chinese cuisine aboard Air China Business Class Beijing to Busan
Chinese cuisine aboard Air China Business Class Beijing to Busan
Air China Business Class Beijing to Busan Western Food
Air China Business Class Beijing to Busan Western Food
View of Busan from Beijing Busan Air China Business Class Flight
View of Busan from Beijing Busan Air China Business Class Flight

Travelling from Gimhae International Airport to Busan City

CashBee from Busan Gimhae International Airport 7-11
CashBee from Busan Gimhae International Airport 7-11

After exiting the airport, we took a left turn and headed to 7-11. Not because we’re hungry, but because we needed to get our transportation cash card in Busan, known as Cashbee. To travel using the public transport in Busan, you will have to purchase a Cashbee card, akin to our EZlink card in Singapore. There are a few things that you should know about Cashbee card in Busan.

1. Cashbee or Tmoney? If you have travelled to Seoul, you’ll realise that there’s another cash card in South Korea, known as Tmoney. So the question is whether you will need to buy Tmoney for use in Seoul and Cashbee for use in Busan? The answer is no! You can use both cards, interchangeably in both cities and top up both cards in both cities as well! This was one of our biggest questions out of the way, it was an easy decision for us to buy Cashbee.

2. Where to get Cashbee in Busan Gimhae Airport? As we’ve mentioned earlier, you can get Cashbee at the 7-11 when you arrive in Busan International Airport. The card itself is 2500krw (1000 krw = $1.22SGD at time of writing), thereafter, we topped up 25,000krw for usage for our trip. Do note that you can only purchase the Cashbee card using cash. You cannot top up Cashbee card using a credit card. This is because Cashbee or Tmoney actually functions like a pre-paid credit card, allowing you to make many other purchases at shopping malls and convenience stores throughout South Korea.

Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit Directional Sign
Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit Directional Sign
More Signs for Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit
More Signs for Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit

After getting our Cashbee card, we headed towards the Busan Gimhae Light Rail Transit for our ride to Busan City. We headed towards Sasang station and take the (Green/Line 2) before transferring to Seomyeon station. At this point, there are a few things that we would like to share about travelling on subway in South Korea

Travelling on Subway in South Korea

1. Download the Subway App for South Korea

Subway Korea App Seoul Incheon
Subway Korea App Seoul Incheon

As we have mentioned on our post on driving in South Korea, we introduced the Subway app. This is a really handy app for travelling on Subways in South Korea. It tells you the time of arrival, departure, distance needed to walk for transfers and best of all, IT’S ACCURATE to the tee!

2. How to board a Subway Train in South Korea? There’s something that we found slightly different than travelling on the MRT in Singapore. That is, the platform sometimes indicates the next stop while at other times, the final stop on the line. So, if you’re only looking out for the “final destination”, you may sometimes end up at the wrong platform. Also, at some stations, the line in the opposite direction may require you to climb up, TAP OUT OF THE STATION, tap in again and climb down. This is because, the lines may be separated by the tracks in between. This also means that, if you miss a station, you may have to tap out (and pay) before you can reach the line travelling on the opposite direction. Hence, be alert while looking out for your station!

Staying at Busan Home Hotel

Home Hotel Busan Entrance
Home Hotel Busan Entrance
Lobby of Home Hotel Busan
Lobby of Home Hotel Busan

Home Hotel Busan was where we stayed when we arrived in Busan. As it’s located just minutes away from Seomyeon Station, we were able to reach many attractions easily from this location. Plus, there are many restaurants and cafes in the vicinity as well. As we were early, we dropped off our baggage and headed to Gwangalli Beach. But here’s a quick look at how Home Hotel really looks like…

Home Hotel Busan Bedroom
Home Hotel Busan Bedroom
Home Hotel Busan Gaming Computer Consoles?
Home Hotel Busan Gaming Computer Consoles?
Home Hotel Busan Huge TV
Home Hotel Busan Huge TV
Home Hotel Busan Toiletries
Home Hotel Busan Toiletries
Home Hotel Busan Bath Tub
Home Hotel Busan Bath Tub
View from room of Home Hotel Busan
View from room of Home Hotel Busan

The room was spacious and breakfast was also available daily. Though we wonder why there were 2 computers in the room…LAN gaming? Hm…

Gwangalli Beach Busan

Enroute to Gwangalli Beach from Gwangan Station
Enroute to Gwangalli Beach from Gwangan Station

From Home Hotel, we took line 2 (again) to Gwangan Station. From there, Gwangalli Beach is a 10 minutes walk away. Signs were quite obvious, even along the way, the pavement marked Gwangalli Beach as well. Moreover, there were many people who walked to and from the beach to Gwangan Station. Hence, it was quite easy for us to reach Gwangalli Beach. Along the way, we also saw tall HDB-like blocks of buildings as shown above.

Arriving at Gwangalli Beach Busan
Arriving at Gwangalli Beach Busan
View of Gwangan Bridge from Gwangalli Beach Busan
View of Gwangan Bridge from Gwangalli Beach Busan

At Gwangalli Beach, you’ll also be able to see the other attraction of Busan – Gwangan Bridge. Gwangan Bridge at night is also a sight to behold. We were also fortunate enough to visit while the 2018 Gwangalli Fishing Village Festival was being held…

2018 Gwangalli Fishing Village Festival Archery
2018 Gwangalli Fishing Village Festival Archery
Snacking at 2018 Gwangalli Fishing Village Festival
Snacking at 2018 Gwangalli Fishing Village Festival
 2018 Gwangalli Fishing Village Festival  Kite Flying
2018 Gwangalli Fishing Village Festival Kite Flying

During the festival, there were performances, food stores and of course the main event – net pulling! After soaking in the atmosphere, we headed to Shinsegae…

Shinsegae Shopping Mall Busan
Shinsegae Shopping Mall Busan
Water Feature at Shinsegae Shopping Mall
Water Feature at Shinsegae Shopping Mall

Shinsegae Shopping Mall in Busan is one of the largest mall in the world. However, we were not there to shop but to spa! Spaland to be exact! As it was the weekend, we paid 36,000krw for 4 hours inside spaland. Within, we were treated to various spa rooms with different functions such as the Pyramid Steam Room and Roman Sauna. There’s also an outdoor foot bath area to enjoy different temperature foot spas. Massage chairs in Spaland costs 3000krw for a period of 15 minutes. To end off the experience, we rounded off with the Calamansi-ade 😛 After the 3 hours experience, we were thoroughly refreshed (slept and drooled in some of the spa rooms ;P) and soon, it was time to hunt for dinner!

Food Street (Seomyeon Food Alley) near Home Hotel
Food Street (Seomyeon Food Alley) near Home Hotel
Yaa! Restaurant for Korean Army Stew!
Yaa! Restaurant for Korean Army Stew!

This time, we chose the Korean Army Stew at Seomyeon Food Alley, which costs 18,900krw. The difference with this version is that there’s an entire chicken within the army stew! Moreover, there’s no ++ to the price, which makes it relatively cheap. This could be why many young adults and students patron the food streets around Home Hotel…

Korean Army Stew with Fried Chicken
Korean Army Stew with Fried Chicken
Korean Fried Chicken Army Stew
Korean Fried Chicken Army Stew

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After a sumptuous meal, we headed off to dream land back at Home Hotel Busan.

Stay tuned as we check out the many attractions in Busan through our upcoming posts!

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