With Busan being the second largest city in South Korea, I was expecting similarities with Seoul, the capital. But it was its differences that caught my attention. Busan is a bustling city full of vibrant individuals with eclectic styles and attitudes. With skyscrapers and market streets simultaneously layering the streets it gives the city an energetic atmosphere that attracts all types.
As I got off the subway, I was welcomed into Centum, said to be the biggest shopping centre in Asia. I was utterly in my element while wandering the floors. The food court was the first of course, and I was so stuck for choice it was almost unpleasant to decide on one dish! I’d advise going on an empty stomach, give yourself the day, and go to town in that place. There is the designer floor with Prada and Louis just waiting for you to empty your purse in, cinemas, a spa land, and anything else you’d expect in the biggest shopping centre in Asia.
Just two stops on is Haeundae, that boasts a beautiful beach (or at least it should) at the edge of the district. With soft white sand stretching down the promenade, and glistening lights from towering buildings at both edges it really is a sight to see. There is something unique about an urban city full of chaos and crowds, but with the serenity of its nature still unspoiled at the end of the city, where you can escape the bubbling, brimming energy and soak up some silence. I was very impressed with the beaches of Busan.
The nightlife needless to stay does not leave its thirsty tenants disappointed. There is plenty options from clubs and bars to casual cafes. Everywhere flaunts its own style, one word that defines the city as a whole. The people, the places, the city itself is stylish. Over the weekend it was host to the 20th International Film Festival, which brought actors, directors and writers alike from all over the world to this city of creativity and offered a platform for people to meet and question these talents, as well as a chance to soak up the atmosphere and get inspired by it over the period of the festival. I had the opportunity to meet Harvey Keitell at a Q and A on the beach, while we were having a few drinks he decided to make an appearance beside us and so we had the best of company while sipping on our Korean beer!
I had wondered why the festival wasn’t on in Seoul, it being the capital, the biggest city and the most obvious choice for an international festival of two weeks. However having been to Busan myself I can now understand and fully respect the reason why it’s held in this southern city. It’s the underdog of cities. It oozes style, sophistication and charm. The beautiful beaches invite people to its shores, its diverse people open their streets to you. It’s a welcoming city, with markets and street stalls at every corner, with tall towering buildings watching over you. The subway will get you anywhere you want to go for nothing, and you can pretty much pick up wifi everywhere you go. Things are made easy for you and with that you get a sense of relaxation and comfort in a roaring city of 3.4 million people. Give yourself the weekend at least, and soak up the culture that Busan has to offer. First impression – it would give Seoul a run for its money.