The water world of Sea Life Busan Aquarium

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Image copyright @korevibe

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water” said famous American anthropologist and natural science writer Loren Eiseley. Indeed, the beauty and abundance of the water world magnetically attract the attention of everyone, no matter you are a kid or grown-up. There are so many unexplored things that hide below the sea level and are mostly unattainable to our view. This fact awakened human curiosity and ingenuity and, thus, aquariums were created.

Starting with the first public aquarium or Fish House, opened in London Zoo in 1853, followed by the first American aquarium opened in 1856, European aquarium – in 1860, Asian aquarium – in 1886, it seems like the “race” for the top biggest aquarium in the world has begun. Among the latest, rank of the world’s largest oceanariums are:

  • 2005-2012: The Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta, Georgia, USA) with the total volume of water tanks ~ 10 mln US gal (38 mln l) and > 100,000 animals of 700 different species.
  • 2012-2014: Marine Life Park (Sentosa Island, Singapore) with the total volume of water tanks ~ 12 mln US gal (45 mln l) and > 100,000 animals of 800 different species.
  • 2014-currently: Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (Hengqin, Zhuhai, China) with the total volume of water tanks ~ 12.87 mln US gal (48.75 mln l) and the largest single tank volume of ~ 6 mln US gal (22.7 mln l)

Impressive, isn’t it? But now we’d like to focus on aquarium located right in famous Haeundae Beach of southeastern Korean city of Busan. So, let us mention some…

 Facts about Sea Life Busan Aquarium:

Aquarium area is ~ 36 000 m2 and it has 3 underground levels: B1 with restaurants and souvenir shops, B2 and B3 with exhibits (check out the map).

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  • Its main tank contains 0.79 mln US gal (3 mln l) of water.
  • There are ~ 35,000 animals of 250 different species.
  • There are 40+ exhibits, which include sharks, piranhas, turtles, penguins, otters, sea jellies, electric eels etc.
  • The animals can be viewed through acrylic windows in the walls and partially in the floor.
  • There is a touch tank enabling the direct contact with some “peaceful” aquatic animals.
  • There is 80 m (260 ft) long and 7 m tall cylindrically-shaped underwater tunnel.

 Now, let us present a few brief word-photo impressions about some of the exhibits.

Red-lighted red-belly piranhas’ tank with human skeleton at the bottom looks alarming, do you agree? Even though, we couldn’t hear their “barking”, it was quite fascinating to observe how they calmly swish through water. Remember that in the mouth piranhas have rows of razor-sharp, triangular teeth, so do not put your hands in the tank and do not jump in!

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Image copyright @korevibe

 

20 meters Moonlight Zone creates a reef-like view of an extraordinary beauty. Here, using special goggles, you can even look for the glowing tube anemones that typically live in dark places, buried in soft sediments.

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Image copyright @korevibe

Floating sea jellies produce a calming effect. You can spend a considerable amount of time watching how gently they move their soft bodies. You can enjoy as much as you want, but only in the Aquarium. In real life, jellyfishes are dangerous due to their painful and even deadly stings.

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Image copyright @korevibe

The underwater tunnel and the transparent glass floor give you unforgettable emotions, while walking along or above the huge sharks and giant turtles. Can you imagine that you’ll be able to sit beside or step above sharks, scrutinizing multiple rows of their sharp teeth and fins, making photos with them or even teasing them. We tried to do all of these, so you can check it on the photos below😉. Where else can we get enough courage to behave like that with the predatory fish?!

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Image copyright @korevibe

Do you wonder about the history of the Busan Aquarium?

The aquarium was constructed as a joint project between Korean government and Australian company and was officially opened in November 2001.

What should you know before go there?

  1. Operating Hours:

Mon-Thu 10:00-19:00, Fri-Sun and Holidays 09:00-21:00
Hours subject to change (check the homepage before visiting: https://www.busanaquarium.com/en/).

  1. Admission fee1*:

     

  2. Discount: for foreigners, there is 30 % entry discount coupon, which you can get in the Tourist Information Center, located in the building right next to the Aquarium.
  3. Show time2*

Nowadays, there is one more exciting event – “Sea at Night Mermaid live show” at B2-3 Coral Display.

Time: (Tue-Thu) 11:00 / 13:00 / 14:00 / 15:00 / 17:00

(Fri-Sun) 11:00 / 13:00 / 14:00 / 15:00 / 17:00 / 18:00

What else can you do in Busan Aquarium?

  • 4D ride: 4D experience movie theatre with programmed seater chairs. Fees and restrictions3*:
  • Glass bottom boat ride: The tour boat with transparent floor enabling you literally see the sharks right under your feet! You’ll be provided with guide’s explanation and you can have a chance to feed fish in the shark tank.  Location: between B2 and B3 levels. Restrictions are similar to 4D ride ones.
  • Shark dive: for anyone (!), aged 16+, even without a diving certification. All diving equipment is supported by the Aquarium.

Fee: Shark Diving + Busan Aquarium admission fee + Certification Photos 150,000 Won (with Tax).

Reservation and info: http://aquaticfrontier.com/

  • Aquarium’s special souvenir shop, where you can acquire sea character products, books, stationery, clothing etc.

 How to get to Sea Life Busan Aquarium?

Address: 266, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan, Korea, 612-846 (Joong-dong). In Korean: 부산광역시 해운대구 해운대해변로 266 (중동).

If you are not in Busan City, get in there. The fastest way using ground transportation is to go by KTX train. Check out how to buy the train tickets here.

After you’ll arrive to the Busan Train Station, follow the next directions:

  • Subway Line 1: from Busan Station to Seomyun Station.
  • Transfer to Line 2.
  • Subway Line 2: from Seomyun Station to Haeundae Station.
  • Exit 3 or 5: walk ~ 500 m towards Haeundae Beach.

Enjoy your trip!

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Gamcheon (감천문화마을) – The Wonder of Busan

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Image copyright @korevibe 

You must have heard about Machu Picchu citadel in Peru that became one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, or about Santorini in Greece that is the world’s top island for travelers, or about Positano in Italy that is a small, but very popular among tourists, beautiful village, or about… Wait a minute. Have you heard about Gamcheon? If not, do not pass by – you should know it!

So, what is Gamcheon? We can say that it is Korean Machu Picchu, Santorini and Positano. Gamcheon is a picturesque Cultural Village. It is a wonder of Busan.

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Image copyright @korevibe 

How does it look like? Because it stands along the East Sea coastal mountainside, it has lots of steep hills, on small plateaus of which you can find colorful rectangular houses. The houses are tiny, densely packed and connected by alleys with numerous stairs.

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Image copyright @korevibe 

Do you wonder, how did it appear? Initially, it was a slum, something like a Brazilian “favela”, founded in 1950. But back in 2009, each house was decorated by artists with murals and wall compositions in a very unique manner. And now, you cannot find two identical houses there, they are different as fingerprints.

Gamcheon Decoration

Image copyright @korevibe 

What should you know before go there?

  1. Gamcheon has an exceptional beauty, which you are allowed to share (for free!) all year round. Just be mindful and not too loud here, the area is pretty much residential.
  2. It might take at least couple of hours to wander in this art labyrinth. So, wear your comfortable shoes (be aware of wind in a cold season as well), take your camera and be open to all the vibes of this fairy area.
  3. You might want to get the guide map of this “maze”. Go to the Tourist Information Center located just a few meters from the bus stop. (Map prize: 2,000 ₩ or less than 2 $).
  4. On the map, special highlights of Gamcheon are marked. If you’ll visit them and collect all the stamps, you’ll be able to return a map prize at the information center.

What else can you see at Gamcheon?

At the Village, you can stumble across museums (the Small Museum, the Light Museum, the Doggie Museum), galleries, souvenir shops, cafes, street food booths.

You can see the breathtaking panoramic view on the village from its highest spots along the perimeter. They are equipped with a creative photo-spots: lighthouse-shaped, love padlocks with beautiful graffiti, sculptures of the Little Prince (yes, you might say that it is his 2nd home in Korea, as the 1st Korean Le Petit France is here) and the fox on the parapet (btw, be aware of the long line if you want to take picture with these two).

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Image copyright @korevibe 

Moreover, you’ll be able to take your memorable shoot from the cafes that offer a rooftop terrace, where you can sit with your coffee (or sangria^^) and stare endlessly into the distance.

Want to go there already, but wonder when is it better to visit Gamcheon? As we’ve mentioned, you can go there all year round. Irrespective of the season, your eyes will be amazed by the colorful spectrum of the village. It is always chromatic, bright, cheerful.

Do you still have questions why is Gamcheon so special must-see attractions in Busan? Do you remember that Busan by itself is a second largest Korean city? It’s a port city, a business city, a sightseeing city… But in its busy and crowded streets you can find such a cozy corner where you can have a peaceful and rechargeable timespan. This corner is Gamcheon Cultural Village. It is truly magical place that can take you to another dimension. It can make you forget about the reality. It can change your reality (at least, while you’re there).

Gamcheon is a Korean Legoland! Gamcheon is a Korean Neverland! Gamcheon is a Korean Wonderland!

 How to get to Gamcheon Cultural Village?

Address: 203 Gamnae 2(i)-ro, Gamcheon-dong, Saha-gu, Busan

If you are not in Busan City, get in there. The fastest way using ground transportation is to go by KTX train. Check out how to buy the train tickets here. After you’ll arrive to the Busan Train Station, follow the next directions:

  • Subway Line 1: from Busan Station to Toseong Station.
  • Exit 6: walk straight and turn right to a small bus station in front of the Pusan National University Hospital.
  • Minibus 2 or 2-2: will get you up hill to the Gamcheon Culture Village.

Enjoy your trip!

 

 

How To Buy (KTX) Train Tickets in Korea (Korail App on iPhone/iOS)

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Image copyright @korevibe

We all love traveling that is the motivation for leaving home and flying all the way to this beautiful country called “Korea” with a bit of hesitation in mind about those strange letters we see everywhere, known as Hangul (한글) in other words “Korean”. It can be very frustrating not to be able to take advantage of the fascinating transport system Korea has to offer! I mean with KTX running at 300 km/h with an excellent comfort, it will take you from Seoul to Busan in no-time.

What is even more frustrating is trying to buy tickets from Korail website, as it has endless requirements that will take us hours to figure out. After 4 years of living and semi-mastering (!) Korean language, We find it much better and time-saving to use Korail app on a smart phone to buy KTX or other train tickets.

 

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Image copyright @korevibe

 

So, we will try to explain how to book or buy train tickets from Korail application hope it will help. We will show it from an IOS (iPhone) device, you should find similar if not same menus and steps from Android version as well.

  1. First you will need a Korean phone number and a Korean Debit/Credit card.
  2. Download the Korean App from app-store or google play. The app is called Korail Talk ( 코레일 톡) Should look like this:IMG_1745
  3. Once you downloaded the app open it and press on 승차관예매 tab at the bottom left corner. The page on iOS (iPhone/iPad) should look like the picture below.  First select if you want a one way ticket (편도) or a return ticket (왕복)  by selecting the options showed in the picture. Then choose your desired departure (출발) and arrival (도착) stations. If you cannot read Korean (Hangul) just use google translate and you should be able to recognize the name of the cities. For example in the picture here we selected Departure from Seoul (서울) and Arrival at Busan (부산). Next select your travel date, Korean date format is YYYY/MM/DD. After date if you scroll down ( shown with red down arrow) you will find number of passengers information where you can select how many seats or passenger tickets you would like to book. For example here Adult 1 Person (어른 1명) is being selected. Once you put all the required information press the blue button (열차 조회하기).        2

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    Number of passenger page

4. The next page will show you the trains available for the selected travel date. First you can select what kind of train you would travel with for example KTX has been chosen here in the picture, and all the KTX trains for the selected date are shown with Train number, departure and arrival time, and ticket price for economy (일반실) and business class ( 특실). First choose the desired time and class of ticket and if you care about seat location press on the 좌석선택 (Seat selection) button. A seat selection page will pop-up  as shown in the picture. On the top you can choose any of the compartment number and all the empty seats available to book will be shown in white. Select your desired seats and press OK (석택 완료)  button. This will complete your seat selection and you will be back to the train selection page. Now you can book your tickets by pressing booking (예매하기) button.

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Before booking select your desired seat from the seat selection page shown below

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Seat Selection Page

5. Once you press booking, if you are using the app for the first time it will ask you to log in! for that you will need a Korean phone number. Just select guest log in (미등록고객) and write your name, phone number, and make a 5 digit password then press OK (확인).

 

6. After you logged in, a final page will pop-up showing you all the information about your booking. Check your booking information one last time and press (결제하기) payment. If you don’t complete payment your booking will be canceled.  On the Payment page you will see the total price for your tickets in Korean Won() for example the ticket in the picture cost’s 59,8000 KWon. At the bottom you will find cancel of next (다음) button. Press next to input your debit/credit card information.

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7. Here you will need to input your credit/debit card information. First select the issued bank name for the card you will be using , card number and expiration month and year. In the next blank you will need to put first two digit of your bank account password that you use in the ATM.  Select General payment (일반) and first 6 digit of your Korean Alien Registration card. Press (결제/발관) button at the end to complete payment and you are done!

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Finally on the 마이페이지 (My Page) tab you will find your train tickets !

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It’s all done! Hope this article will help to buy train tickets in Korea. Good luck and happy  travels 🙂

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KTX linemap in South Korea