Busan: Days 1 to 3

Three days ago, I took the train from Seoul to Busan. It was the worst train ride during my Asia trip so far. First, I thought I had bought the express train ticket, but it was the local train that took close to five hours to Busan. Second, due to a Korean holiday that's similar to American's Thanksgiving, there was only standing room tickets available at the ticket counter. Most people had reserved their tickets on the website, which I didn't do. So for a good part of the train ride I was standing with some other unfortunate Koreans. Luckily for me I spotted an open fold up seat next to the door that allowed me to have a proper seat for the last couple of hours.

When I arrived in Busan around 3:30 PM, I was so hungry since I didn't eat anything. I walked over to Chinatown and had an Uzbekistan wrap. I took the subway to the hostel and checked in. When I went to the dorm room I noticed some people were sleeping. That's quite unusual. I thought I'm the only one who slept that early. In any case, I didn't think too much of it and went to bed soon after.

That night, I didn't sleep well. My throat was hurting and my joints were aching. I might also had a fever since I felt myself feeling hot. The following morning, I walked around the vicinity of the hostel trying to find a coffee shop that's open. Due to the holiday I mentioned before, which is called Chuseok, almost all the restaurants are closed. I ended up having a Hawaiian pizza at the only restaurant that's open near the hostel. My next few meals were packaged food from the local GS25 convenient store since that pizza restaurant was closed the following day.

I took a rest day the day before yesterday. The hostel has a decent rating and the common room has decent lighting to sit and work on the laptop. However, I didn't really connect with anyone in the hostel. Most of travelers are younger, in their 20s. I found that it's a hit and miss when finding interesting people in hostels, especially around my age. I certainly feel I'm too old for the hostel scene.

Yesterday, I felt better and decided to take the subway to Busan Tower, which is in Yongdusan Park. I didn't bother to go up to the tower since it was hot in the afternoon and I just wanted to take some photographs and get out of there. I did want to to see the highlight of Busan, which is the Gamcheon Culture Village that's not too far. After getting out of the train station, I walked at least a mile, zigzagging up a hill, to finally reach the Gamcheon Culture Village gate. I followed the tourists and found the most picturesque spot to take a picture of the place that looked like the Santorini of South Korea. By the time I walked down the hill I was farther away from the subway station. I decided to take the public bus for the first time in Asia so I didn't have to walk up and down the same hill, then I took the subway back to the hostel.

Last night, I was sweating a lot. More than the night before. I have an irking feeling that I might have caught Covid. I decided to do some research to see what the treatment is and where to buy a Covid test kit. Good thing I have all my booster shots before I left the US and my symptoms are mild now. Just a sore throat and the occasional cough. Though, I still decided to stay away from people and quarantine as much as possible.

I went to look for a Covid test kit at the convenient store, but I didn't see any, contrary to what the internet told me. I feel like there are multiple people in the hostel who has cold or flu, or worse, Covid. Since the weather changed from summer to fall it's hard to tell if people have the flu or Covid since the symptoms are very similar.

To make things worse, the Chuseok holiday lasts for three to four days, so the availability of food for me is limited. I think most restaurants will open on Monday.

I've been thinking if traveling is still my passion after I quit my job in March. Sure, I have bicycled to Florida from King of Prussia, PA, to attend a wedding. But unlike my original plan, I didn't ride my bike to Argentina since I realized that I didn't like camping. So I decided to backpack in the Asia Pacific. Now I feel I'm too old for hostels and I didn't even like the conditions of some of the hostels I've stayed at. I was also very close to book a return ticket from Taipei to Philadelphia in mid-October. To be honest, I think I've had enough of traveling this time around. The loneliness really hits me hard too at my age. Maybe it's time to find some stability when I return to the US.

The welcome sign at Busan Station

Chinatown Gate

Busan Tower

Busan Tower in Yongdusan Park

Gamcheon Culture Village

Love the mountain in the back of Gamcheon Culture Village

Little Prince statue in Gamcheon Culture Village

A fake Banksy directly in front of the hostel


  1. Now that I'm home again I finally get to catch up on your posts. As always beautiful pictures.

    1. Thank you! Hope your bike trip was good!


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