Making a stop at Yongdusan Park was more like our way of taking a break after all the walking we did at Taejongdae. It’s safe to say that when you visit Busan, you should expect to do A LOT of walking lol. Our plan was actually to do more walking at BIFF Square and the nearby markets to grab dinner, but since it was still quite early, we had some time to chill at the park.
Yongdusan Park is a 17-acre park that sits atop the Yongdu Mountain, or Yongdusan, which is one of the three famous mountains in Busan. The shape of the mountain is said to resemble a dragon’s head, thus the name.
The famous landmark in this park is actually the Busan Tower, standing at 120 meters high. Because you can see it from a distance, it served as our beacon as we made our way from the bus stop to the park, walking up stairs and climbing up slopes. On the way, we stopped by a convenience store to purchase snacks to munch on while resting.
Yongdusan Park houses more than a hundred different species of plants, and we were looking forward to seeing them wearing their autumn attires. Unfortunately we were a bit too early and most of the trees were still green. It doesn’t really take away from the relaxing vibe of the park though.
That day there was a program at the park’s amphitheater, and the combined energy of the performer and that of the local senior residents was contagious. You can tell everyone was there to have fun, dancing and bouncing around to the beat of the music.
The younger tourists were focused on renting hanbok and scoping out the area for good photos sites. Meanwhile, we sat and had ice cream, took photos, and generally just wandered around aimlessly for a bit.
This park is really nice. Being here at this particular time, the weather was a little windy with just a kiss of warmth from the sun. It wasn’t particularly cool because autumn had not arrived in full, but it was pleasant enough to be able to spend time outside without sweating. Back when I was in university, I used to relish sitting at our campus amphitheater during the cooler months and just kind of think about nothing for a few. The time I spent here kind of reminded me of that.
Walking around, I spotted the large statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin. Considered as one of Korea’s greatest heroes, Admiral Yi was known as a gifted military man who, despite a lack of formal training, was able to lead his forces to victory against the Japanese navy during the war in the 1590’s. His status as an admiral is legendary even among foreign scholars, because his talent and his discipline ensured that he never lost a battle at sea. Apparently, he never even lost a single ship under his command.
During his final battle at the Noryang Strait, his famous last lines were: ‘The battle is at its height. Beat my war drums. Do not announce my death.’ I thought this reflected the kind of man he was even in so few words, because even in his last moments he was thinking about how not to distract and affect his men’s morale as they risked their own lives in battle. He died of a gunshot wound in 1598, but he lives on in the hearts of the Koreans. There is another statue of Admiral Yi in Seoul.
Standing right behind Admiral Yi’s statue is the Busan Tower. It wasn’t part of our plan to go inside the tower, but some say it’s a good place to view the port of Busan from high up. Unlike many of its kind, Busan Tower actually doesn’t do double duty as a broadcasting tower. It’s purely an observation tower for visitors, and one that makes the scenery at Yongdusan Park much prettier.
As we made our way to the edge of the park, we came across another famous attraction called the Flower Clock. It is an actual ticking clock, with hands set atop flowers planted in a pattern. The patterns change depending on the season, and we were lucky we got to see it looking so colorful this time. We didn’t stay here until evening so I wonder if they illuminate the clock at night.
Speaking of illumination, Yongdusan Park has this very cool illuminated escalator located along the Gwangbok-ro Shopping Street. (Also called Gwangbok-dong Cultural & Fashion Street.)
We entered the park from the opposite direction and left it via this escalator, coming out onto Gwangbok-ro Shopping Street and heading towards BIFF Square. (There were SO MANY milk tea shops on this shopping street it’s insane lol.)
This is not my first time at BIFF Square and I can honestly say it has not changed much. It looks exactly as it did from my memory, with the lighted arches and all the different food stalls lining the streets in all directions. If BIFF sounds familiar to you, this is indeed the district where the prestigious Busan International Film Festival is held. We’re not focusing on the entertainment aspect though– we’re here for the food!
If you’ve never been to a Korean food street, let me tell you, it’s an experience in itself. Lots of really interesting food and drinks to enjoy.
We went for more typical street food like tteokboki, eomuk, and mandu because we were too tired and lazy to search out anything more interesting lol. We did however line up at a famous ssiat hotteok stall that had been featured on TV before.
Ssiat hotteok is different from the regular hotteok in that the inside is filled with seeds and nuts, but it’s a little drier. I prefer hotteok with oozing caramel-flavored brown sugar as a filling, with a sprinkling of nuts inside. Nonetheless, I really like hotteok in general because I love that crispy and chewy shell made of sweet glutinous rice flour. It’s the filling that usually makes the huge difference.
Since we were already in the area, we decided to check out the nearby Bupyeong Kkangtong Market. There’s a row of restaurants lining the street on the way there, and I noticed a lot of locals having dinner in this area. I don’t think a single restaurant was empty. If the locals are here, then surely this area is a good place to eat. I think I have to include this in my next Busan itinerary.
I don’t have too much to say because we merely passed by to look and did not sit down to eat, but I will say I regret not buying some soy-marinated crabs lol. Here’s what the inside of the Bupyeong Kkangtong Market looks like. It’s nice isn’t it? Definitely something to explore next time as well.
Other posts in the BUSAN AUTUMN 2019 SERIES:
- Making a return to Gamcheon Culture Village
- A brief exploration of Taejongdae
- Snapshots from Haeundae Beach & Gwangalli Beach
- 5 Busan food experiences I loved
- 6 Recommended Places to Visit on a 2-Day Trip
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