Tuesday, June 30, 2009

탈출 서울

Took out my beach sandals and rested on the beach. The day doesn't look sunny but trust me there was a lot of sunshine. So much so that I got myself burnt.

Last Friday was the last day of Spring Semester and the start of Summer Vacation. My friend asked me to join them for their weekend Busan trip. We met up at Seoul Station and took an almost 3-hour KTX ride to Busan. The train left Seoul at 3:10PM and arrived Busan at 5:55PM. A standard KTX train ticket costs 51,200won but as we were made to take back-facing seat, a discount of 2,600won was given. We ended paying 48,600won each.

Once we arrived at Busan Station, we walked out of the station building and found our way to the subway station. Our destination, Haeundae Station (Line 2) is 21 stations away from Busan Station (Line 1) and there was a need to make transfer at Seomyeon Station from Line 1 to Line 2. The subway ride took about an hour and costs 1,300won. Coincidentally, on the day of our arrival, a strike was going on and the subway was made to operate at only 50% efficiency. As a consequence, the waiting time for train was longer and the cabin was also tightly packed with people.

We didn't made any reservation for our accommodation at Haeundae but it didn't took us very long to settle on B&B Hotel which is located just one street behind Haeundae Beach. A decent single-bed room in the hotel costs 60,000won while a twin-bed costs 70,000won. Out of curiosity, we also checked out the room rate at the 5-star Paradise Hotel. The quoted rate for sea-view and city-view room was about 380,000won and 250,000won respectively. My friends weren't really 'dazzled' by the room rate since they are from well-to-do family but I was.

B&B Hotel - the hotel we stayed in. The room is quite decent though there is no sea view. But there is a 24-hr convenience store at its lobby which makes it quite convenient for us.

The weather at Haeundae over the weekend was pretty good. There was so much sunshine that I got myself burnt. However, it felt so much cooler in Haeundae than in Seoul. The sea breezes were cool and the sea water chilly. One good (or bad) thing about Haeundae Beach is that there is free wireless. I could access the Internet through my iPhone while lying on the beach. On Saturday morning when I was out at the beach, Haeundae was covered in morning mist. On witnessing the phenomenon, I suddenly realised why Haeundae is called Haeundae. "Haeun" (해운, 海雲) means 'sea cloud' and the morning mist was like some sort of 'sea cloud'.

Haeundae covered in a thin veil of morning mist. It really lives up to its name. "Hae-un" (해운, 海雲) means 'sea cloud' and the morning mist is like some sort of 'sea cloud'.

Getting to Haeundae from Seoul is pretty much straight forward and it also doesn't cost much. A short weekend getaway can cost as little as 160,000won (S$200) with everything included but of course there won't be KTX ride or stay at 5-star resort hotel. I don't know about others but I do think Haeundae is a good getaway from Seoul though there are beaches which are nearer to Seoul and are cheaper to get to.

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