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Busan Day 3: Songdo, Sea Life Aquarium and Weathering the Storm

Our third day in Busan was much more relaxing. We were so tired from site seeing the day prior that it made for a great change of pace. There is SO MUCH to do right here in Haeundae. We could have stayed right there and not ventured anywhere else. For us, other places took priority. This day, though, we had some places closer to our hotel we wanted to check out. We didn't stay in Haeundae all day, but we did venture around it a bit.

I didn't do a "Day 1" post because all that happened on day one was traveling, getting settled and having dinner. It was long and (thankfully) uneventful. Because I skipped this, let me give you a little spiel of the amazing place we stayed for our four day getaway.

We intentionally stayed at the Grand Josun Busan hotel because it was right on Haeundae beach and a one minute walk from the aquarium. This hotel is amazing! Although a bit pricy, it’s such a good place to stay when you have kids in tow. They have a floor particularly designed with families in mind. The rooms are themed, bright and airy. They also have a laundry room and a lending library on that floor with pack’n’plays, life jackets, puddle jumpers, high chairs, beach toys, children’s robes and slippers, etc. These items come at no extra charge if you are staying on the family floor.

One perk of staying there is the free underground parking at such a prime location. The hotel's restaurants are expensive, but they do have an E-Mart on site as well as a Starbucks. We brought breakfast and snack food with us that we kept it in our mini fridge to save money. There are so many yummy places to eat within walking distance. We wanted to eat around town instead of in the hotel, so this worked well for us. They had an infinity pool with a beautiful view overlooking the ocean, 2 pools for kids, a lap pool, jacuzzi, sauna, spa, and gym. The Grand Josun Busan is in THE prime location and has so much to offer. In the morning we attempted to go to the glass-bottom cable car (Songdo Cable Car. About 30-40 min drive from Haeundae). If you plan to do this activity, check Klook first to see if they have discounted tickets (it's like the Korean version of Groupon). You can also check the actual website for the boats to reserve a time (like a fast pass) that may let you in a shorter line on a busy day.

When we arrived, there was a storm coming in and the wind was getting to be pretty fierce. So after we parked and walked all the way down to the entrance, we found out they had just closed. We were bummed but tried to make the most of it by exploring the immediate area.

Haneul Walk Bridge is indeed a bridge, but felt more like an observation deck. The winds were strong, and we had to hold tight to our littles. But we enjoyed walking around and taking in the views of Songdo beach, the grayish-turquoise water and Songdo Mountain. The cable car runs from one side of the bay to the other where it meets Songdo Mountain.

This would be a beautiful place to come during the evening or at sunset when everything is lit up and alive with nightlife.

There is a legend here of a man who fell in love with a mermaid. You can find the story in illustrations on the wall as you walk to the bridge from the cable car area. I wanted to get a photo, but had to keep a close eye on G as the street was busy and he kept trying to climb up on the wall.

After exploring, we decided to head back to Haeundae area for some lunch and then to the Sea Life Aquarium.

The aquarium ticket desk is above ground. Klook does have discounted tickets, so I’d check there first. The aquarium was about $17 (14+) and $16 (3-13 yrs). Children under three get in free.

After you pay, you get a fun picture taken (which, if wanted, you can buy a print of when you enter the gift shop at the end) and then head down the escalator to the aquarium. We decided not to bring a stroller and that worked well for us. A is much more mobile now and I knew she’d want to walk and explore, so I brought the carrier in case I needed her to be still and The Babe wore the diaper bag. There are ways of getting around with a stroller, but with the crowds and multi-level structure it is easier without.

There are a lot of interactive displays that make it fun for everyone (holograms, sculptures, or illusions). Korea has a thing for turning every day things into fish tanks. Like, giant ”nail polish” or a fridge.

They have glass bottomed boats you can ride in that go on the top of the big tank, but you have to be a certain height to go on (I THINK it’s at least 100cm). SIDE NOTE: It is good to know your child’s height in cm when traveling Korea if you ever plan to go to theme parks and whanot. Sometimes we want to get in line for things but can’t find a measuring stick to be sure it’s allowed. So, measuring beforehand is a great way to go with no worries. Though, at this particular location they did have a measuring device.

We felt the aquarium was worth the time and money. It took just a couple hours to get through and everyone enjoyed it. We went on a Friday afternoon, so the crowds weren’t too crazy.

After the aquarium, we got back in the car and drove down to Gwangalli Beach for dinner. I did some research prior to the trip and found SOL Taphouse that supposedly has the best pizza in Korea. I will admit, it did feel like I was back in the states while in there. It has a beautiful beach view and the pizza was so good. The view of the Gwangalli Bridge all lit up would be spectacular from SOL Taphouse because it’s on the second or third floor (can’t remember which).

We found parking in a garage a few minutes walk down the beach strip. I checked for places using the parking feature on our GPS (KAKAO and Naver both have this) and was able to find parking with a little less stress.

The beach was lovely. We would have loved to spend more time there, but we weren’t dressed for it and the kids were getting tired. They had benches and chairs everywhere, light features, beautiful sand and, of course, it’s all right in front of Gwangalli Bridge which is famous for its beautiful lights after sunset. It’d be a wonderful area to go on a date and walk along the sand in your bare feet after dark.

We decided to play the “don’t get wet” game with the kids and the waves. My son and I tripped running up the incline and lost miserably. It all ended in laughing though, so we obviously didn’t mind too much. Driving back to Haeundae they finally lit up the bridge and I made the Babe grab a photo of the bridge for me.

Despite not going on the cable car, it was another successful day. There is so much to do and see in Busan, we could stay there a month and not get it all in. We definitely have to go back.

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