Interesting facts about life in Busan
On board a train in Busan’s subway network.
Settling into a different city, whether it be for two weeks or long-term, can be a lengthy process. With the right information, the feeling of culture-shock can be minimised and the diverse experiences of a city fully appreciated.
I stayed in Busan for 37 nights, and these are my experiences whilst I was going about my daily life. If you have any questions, feel free to message me directly on Instagram.
You need to pay for household rubbish bags
I appreciate the cleanliness of Korean households. At the place of entry, a sunken platform usually exists for visitors to place their shoes. Don’t wear your shoes into the apartment. There is a strict system for rubbish disposal. General waste is to be placed in specific bags which you can buy from the supermarket or convenience store (a 20-litre bag cost ~1 AUD). Side note, laundry detergent is in the form of squishy pellets!
Delicious meals can be bought from convenience stores
Food you might not find conventionally packaged into vacuum-sealed bags can be found in convenience stores like CU, GS-25 and 7-Eleven. My recommendation for a quick and tasty meal you could watch Netflix with? Buy a gimbap roll, a pack of sausages, and an instant noodle cup. All you need is a microwave and chopsticks (which are offered in convenience stores). Of course, if you go to supermarkets, a bigger selection of food is available.
There are mini aquariums in the supermarket
Lotte Mart Gwangbok (pictured)
Google Map link
If you’re fond of seafood (and still craving more of it after visiting Busan’s Jagalchi market), you can buy it fresh from the supermarket. Here, they are still swimming and ALIVE in water tanks.
Sing your heart out in cozy karaoke booths
Noraebang is the Korean word for private rooms where colleagues, classmates and friends can gather and enjoy vibrant musical entertainment. Many of the noraebang rooms are cash operated, have a vast list of songs, and supported by a sturdy audio-visual system.
Meet new friends while playing badminton
SPO 1 Park
Google Map link
On Friday nights, there is a group of people who gather at SPO 1 Park to play badminton. There is a massive stadium with facilities for indoor sports, and pleasant outdoor surrounds where families can relax. SPO 1 Park is far from Busan’s city centre, in the Nopo-dong region.
On Sunday nights, another group of friends play at Saha-gu (western Busan). This badminton centre is uniquely located on an upper floor of a multi-storey building. The air circulation is not the best but the group of people are warm.
If you would like to play badminton socially in Busan, message me on Instagram.
The metro system is convenient
It’s not difficult to navigate Busan’s subway system. The train map is comfortably colour-coded and on-board announcements are made in English, Japanese and Chinese in addition to Korean.
Be social in slightly sketchy bars
If you are a busy salary worker or a solo traveller, then you might appreciate the availability of these unique style of karaoke/bar rooms. Inside, there is a host (typically female) who chats with her guests and pours drinks. Guests, who might be total strangers, can sing karaoke together, or enjoy casually flame-grilled squid.
The difference between -daero, -gil, and -ro
The more you travel around Busan, or indeed South Korea, the more you will hear the suffixes -daero (boulevard), -ro (road), and -gil (street). These are in order from widest to thinnest. For example, -daero usually refers to streets with at least 8 lanes, and -gil refers to streets with less than 2 lanes.
Travellers can buy one-off, data-only sim cards
I was surprised to learn that prepaid sim cards are not typically available in the major mobile phone shops like LGU+. These shops are more for signing contracts for longer-term plans. Instead, you can buy sim cards which last for finite periods (like 1-week or 1-month). A nice shop which sells these is Somang Mobile, located in Nampo Underground shopping centre, close to Nampo subway station.