Winter trip to Busan

Feb 17th, 2015, 12:04 PM
  #1  
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Winter trip to Busan

As stated in the topic, i am hoping to go to Busan, or rather South Korea, this winter, possibly the latter 3 weeks of december and maybe a week or 2 of January. My main concern is that, well, i havent really traveled much, and when i did it was cross country with only the clothes on my back. This trip, while daunting to me, is something i am determined to do, and would really appreciate help.

To give some sort of structure, i know that i will want to spend at least 2.5 weeks in Busan, and can spend 2-3 weeks exploring other parts of the country. any must see things throughout korea and in busan, or even local attractions during that time of the year? any resources that someone could link for lodging? advice on when/how to do certain things or get to certain places?

i am sincerely grateful for any help that is offered.
Rika_shinozaki is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 02:05 PM
  #2  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Although I traveled in May, you might find some useful information in my trip report, which also describes the resources I used for planning my time in South Korea.
http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...outh-korea.cfm

And if you search for trip reports on South Korea, you'll see a recent report by nelsonian on their time in Busan in winter.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 02:11 PM
  #3  
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after looking at some other threads, i feel like ive left mine incredibly bare.

my desired 2.5 weeks in busan is not set in stone, just what im wanting to try and do, but from what ive read, it seems like there is much more to see, even in winter, then what i would be allowing myself to experience with that kind of time frame. i have read a small bit of "the rough guide to korea", and it is full of information, and i think i might be able to plan the trip as is, but i definitely will want input from others as to what i should try to do while there. some info:

-i would like to experience some local festivities in, but am not certain where or when these will be happening.

-i love to hike, ive spent more than 20 hours at a steady pace, stopping only for food and bathroom breaks(not my best idea by far)

-the weather doesnt seem to be that big of an issue for me, as it seems i live in colder temperatures. coldest temp. found in other threads were 1 degree celsius, and i live where it can reach -42

i am also going to plan another trip to korea later next year to see what its like in the summer/fall months.
Rika_shinozaki is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 02:36 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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Get the Seoul Selection guidebook on Korea -- it is, by FAR, the most informative of those I used. Among many other things, it will provide information about local festivities, good hiking areas, etc.

Read (or at least skim) our trip reports.

There don't seem to be too many Fodorites who have traveled to South Korea, but I think you'll find that many who have will be very generous with their knowledge.
kja is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 05:38 PM
  #5  
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after reading the first couple entries for your visit, i feel like i would benefit more by staying in seoul than i would busan, and your report is definitely a wealth of information that i will be working through along with the suggeseted guide, and maybe a few more different threads. already went through one where the focus had turned to the DMZ, which i, sadly, will not see.

while your report will be very informative, the first time i looked was intimidating, it seemed very intensive, especially for me. i will be slowly working through it, as i only have access to a computer during work times, and not nearly enough down time to read through as much as i like.
Rika_shinozaki is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 06:00 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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I thought Busan also very interesting with LOTS to see.

I was not trying to suggest that you would want to do what I did -- just that you might find useful information in my report. I do pack a LOT into my trips -- more than many, I think, and honestly, I think we should each go at the pace that works for us as individuals. I chose to write in such detail not to intimidate (sorry about that!), but because relatively few Fodorites seem to have traveled to South Korea, and I thought people might find the detail helpful.

I trust you've found that you can search threads on Fodor's? Once you open a thread, look to the upper right part of the screen -- you should see a search box in the orange band. Type in what interest you (say, Busan). That could make a huge difference if your computer access is limited!
kja is offline  
Feb 17th, 2015, 11:45 PM
  #7  
kja
 
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BTW, a few things I didn't say earlier and should have:

Welcome to Fodor's!

You have an awesome ability to deal with long walks and cold temperatures -- WOW!

The Rough Guide was the guidebook I thought 2nd best for South Korea, so it should be a great place to start.

There is NO reason to think that your trip will be anything other than wonderful! Focus on what most interests you, ask us questions, and - last but not least -- be sure to pack a sense of humor. ;-)
kja is offline  
Feb 18th, 2015, 10:47 AM
  #8  
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i am currently living in alaska, so cold is an unavoidable part of life here. due to extenuating circumstances, i had lost most, if not all interest in exploring the great state and seeing what i wanted to before i got here. now, i am finding my desires for travel and adventure being rekindled.

im looking forward to quite a few things, after looking through both your report and nelsonians, and yonggsungsa is on my list, as well as the UN cemetery. the fish market sounds like it would be fun as well, and maybe a little tasy, havent had a lot of fish, or seafood in general.
Rika_shinozaki is offline  
Feb 18th, 2015, 05:34 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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Yes, Busan's fish market -- Jigalchi -- is something! I think it may be South Korea's largest fish market.

If your focus is on Busan, do consider a day trip to Tongdo-sa -- I thought it very special.
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Feb 19th, 2015, 09:48 AM
  #10  
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one thing that i have been curious about, according to the rough guide, there is a relative abundance of places to stay for a night or 2. i am questioning the validity of that, and would like to know for sure if it is true. on the parts of the trip where you had only spent maybe a night, was there a decent amount of choics to stay, or had you already had all overnight stays booked ahead of time?
Rika_shinozaki is offline  
Feb 19th, 2015, 05:18 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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I did book ahead for everywhere I went except Yeongju because it is my preference to book ahead. There were MANY options for accommodation everywhere I went. If you speak Korean, I'm sure it would be VERY easy to find a suitable place to stay in any major destination in South Korea. Search my trip report for the word "lodging" -- you'll see an entry the might answer your question at about the 4th time the word occurs.
kja is offline  
Feb 19th, 2015, 07:14 PM
  #12  
 
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Hi. Well I can't tell you much about Busan as I've only stayed very briefly a couple of times but I can help out with hotels.

I am also remiss in not putting up a trip report for my last one in October ( my excuse -it's been busy)

I only booked an hotel in Seoul for the last few days of the trip. I didn't want to trudge around with luggage and knew where I wanted to be anyway. I think Seoul hotels get booked up earlier and October is a good month so busy. Even so I only booked that a week before we left as my dates were uncertain - wouldn't rely on that though if you want somewhere specific - I was lucky to get what I wanted.

Everywhere else we just winged it. Partly because we didn't know how long we would stay in a number of places and also there are generally only rather more expensive options available to book on the net and we were trying to do a cheapish trip. I will say I have been to Korea a few times so was less stressed about where to stay

We opted for motels everywhere. There are heaps of them with most concentrated around bus stations. Generally called love motels but not all are like that Some are over the top but most are just simple motels You may not be able to book into some before 6.00 but I found we could everywhere we tried

Generally they don't take bookings unless you phone and speak good Korean but there are so many that unless you are in a small town at the time of a big event there is always another motel nearby with room.

You may find the cheapest rooms booked but they are generally inexpensive. The ones we were staying at ranged from 35000won to 65000won. Sometimes they charge more on a Friday and Saturdays and occasionally the weekdays cost more. The most expensive at 65000won was in Suncheon where it was dearer on a weeknight but that bought a very nice room. One motel we had to buy a twin room (sleeps 3) as the doubles were booked. It was a nice place and relatively expensive at 55000won - the double was 50000. We were there for a week so paying for a nicer place was worth it. They don't usually offer breakfast but have a fridge/kettle tea etc. We just stopped at a grocery shop and bought yoghurt and fruit.

Before you go print out a card in Korean asking for a room and the price and how many nights you want as few of the motel keepers speak English. Just use Google translate for this. Keep you sentences short. Long ones translate oddly sometimes. Also translate back and forth a few times to make sure it makes sense - sometimes you just need to alter a word or two

My Korean is appalling but I can read a little which helps with signs and buses. Its easy to learn. I also use a few Korean hotel sites to pick a few likely motels before I get to a town. At least you have a idea then. The problem is they are in Korean but if you use Chrome as a browser it will translate them for you. You do need a bit of imagination as those translations can be very odd sometimes.

One useful hotel site ( in Korean) is www.hotel365.ci.kr. You can get an idea of rooms and prices.

Hope that helps a bit. Its a lovely country with kind generous people.
MaryW is offline  
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