New Year’s Eve saw me heading to Busan, Korea’s second-largest city and leaving the out-of-this-world blue ocean views of Goeje Island. Welcome to week 310 (1/12/2017) of Travel Photo Thursday. Busan was the second destination on my new year weekend adventure with Seoul Hiking. You can find the Goeje Island post, our first destination, here.
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We left Goeje Island late in the afternoon on new year’s eve, arriving in downtown Busan about 1.5 hours later at around 5:30 pm. Off the bus, and we were immediately weaving our way through the narrow streets to get a birds-eye view of Busan’s beautiful Christmas lights.
This magnificent Christmas tree is the focal point, and we were awed as it changed colors every few minutes.
The Christmas trimmed arches along one of the main downtown streets are also attention grabbers.
From there we battled the crowds to find the all-you-can-eat buffet where we had dinner. The food was good, nothing memorable. Once our tummies were full, it was back to the bus and we headed to our hotel located just around the corner from the city’s famed Haeundae Beach. The traffic was horrendous, and it took us over an hour to reach the front door. In hindsight, taking the subway and having the bus meet us at the hotel would have been a much better option. I am not much for new years eve celebrations and exhausted after our long day of traveling and seeing the sites I was in bed and asleep by 10:00 pm. The alarm was set for 6:30 am, so we wouldn’t miss the New Year sunrise on Haeundae Beach, scheduled for 7:35 am.
We made it to the crowded beach with a few minutes to spare. Wondering out loud why everyone was carrying red balloons (except us!) we didn’t have long to find out why. Minutes before the sun rose above the horizon the balloons were released in tandem to celebrate the first sunrise of 2017. It’s difficult to tell from this photo that the balloons were red. Trust me, they were, and it was a scene worthy of a new year.
A perfect sunrise to herald in 2017, and leave behind a less than stellar 2016 for many around the globe. You’re probably thinking what’s that helicopter doing belching black smoke all over this perfect setting. Well, (or so we were told) whatever was being released gets rid of smog, and that means nicer photos!
Haedong Yonggunsa Temple
We oohed and ahhed over the sunrise for a few more minutes, and then strolled back in the direction we had come to catch the bus to Haedong Yonggunsa Temple. Often referred to as “The Water Temple” due to its perch overlooking the sea. Many Koreans come to Yonggunsa on new years day to make wishes for the coming year.
The temple is an easy 20-minute bus ride from Haeundae Station subway (line 2, Exit 7).
Come back next week for a complete tour of the temple. You’ll see why this temple is not only the most popular in Pusan, but a must see for anyone visiting Korea.
Have you ever rung in the new year in another country? Tell us in the comments.
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