If you have been following the blog quite some time you might be aware of my deep affection for Busan (you may read up here). Having spent a good 10 months living in the second largest city in South Korea, I am pretty confident of locating the local matjib-s (맛집, famous or popular restaurants frequented by locals) , as well as picking out must-go destinations in Busan. Taejongdae Park 태종대 is clearly one of the best destinations, if not, top on the to-do list in Busan. Although located quite out of the place, the lush, thick forest, rocky seaside cliffs and the spectacular sea that comes in different shades of blue just worth your visit.
Taejongdae is about 50-60 minutes bus rides from Nampo-dong Subway Station or Busan Subway Station. There are several ways to explore this scenic yet rustic park located at the southern-most tip of Yeongdo-gu. The public bus stops at about 5 minutes away from the park. Visitors can either hike all the way up by themselves, hire private guides, taking a cruise tour according to their preference. One popular (and a much easier) way is to take the Danubi Train (다누비열차), which goes to 5 major destinations in the park. It cost KRW2,000 for an adult and KRW 1,000 for kids to board the train. The train goes to 5 major destinations within the park. English/Chinese/Japanese and Korean broadcast service are provided along the way so visitors can easily follow the itinerary.
Danubi Train Course
Platform→ Taejongsa Temple →Observatory →Yeongdo Lighthouse → Gumyeongsa Temple → Taewon Jagal Madang → Platform
Tips for the “Lazy Traveller”:
Taejongdae is one of the Must-Visits in Busan. However, if you are in short of time and really want to skim through this attraction, I suggest you to take the Danubi train and only alight at Yeongdo Lighthouse for the magnificent view at the cliff. The landscape at the Yeongdo Lighthouse station is so impressive that you can probably skip the rest of the stations. The Observatory Station is another good choice, but I’ll still prefer Yeongdo Lighthouse: Remember to sit at the edge of the cliff and have someone to snap a picture for you – So very Instagrammable.
Basically, visitors can hop on and off the train at these 5 stops mentioned above. However, the waiting time at each station can be long. Train frequency is about 20-30 minutes depending on the crowds. I spent about 35 minutes to board the train at the starting platform, alighted only at the lighthouse (just because I have been to the park so many times and decided to just hit the main destination straight away) and waited for another 60 minutes at the lighthouse to finally board the train towards the exit. FYI, it was a weekday in December. So be prepared to spend some time waiting if you opt for the train.
Once arrived at the Lighthouse station, visitors have to pass through a fairly long flight of staircase to reach the lighthouse. If you are doing a free and easy trip to Busan with your parents, make sure you go really slow here. The picture above shows only part of the whole trail to the lighthouse. It is quite a long way down hill, and imagining after all the fun time and photo taking session, you have to climb all the way back to the Danubi train station — this is not going to be an easy trip for elderlies and for those with knee problems. But if you go slow, it is certainly doable (with the help of knee support of course).
Here we are on the platform towards the lighthouse. This is the place where you can have a bird’s eye view of what is going on at the rocky cliffs down there near the lighthouse. Two main attractions here at the Lighthouse station are: The lighthouse and the cliff — visitors are allowed to stand on the coastal cliff-top platform, which is at about 200m above sea level.
So basically this is what you’ll see from the wooden platform some hundreds of metres above the seaside cliff. I have to say it is quite intimidating watching from atop. However, once you get down there at the entrance to the cliff, it is another story. Albeit standing 200 meters to the sea below, the formation of the rock was, in fact, flat. Since it is flat, it is not so scary after all.
We spent a good 1.5 hours appreciating the beauty of nature at the cliff before we decided to move on to other areas. Tourist-y pictures is a must! Not a fan of Selfie stick, and due to my stubborn adherence to my funny ‘no silly Selfie stick’ principle, we pretty much depend on random travellers at times like this.
A solo one before we go! Pardon my messy bangs and squinting eye thanks to the bright sunlight at 3pm.
Concerning my mom’s knee condition, we did some brief touring back at the lighthouse area and decided to call it a day. Other than the cafe and the 360 degree panoramic view from the lighthouse, a trip down at the other end of the staircase will bring you to another pebble beach.
Along the beach (and the rocks) are some clam tents serving the weirdest (and nonetheless most interesting) fresh sea creatures. You get the common ones like abalone 전북, mussels 홍합, Sea cucumber 해삼, to the red and orange prickly plants (?) which they called sea pineapple (or sea squirts 멍게), or the penis looking fish 개불. I’d say it is an interesting open air dining experience by the sea. The rustic, on-the-go settings such as canvas tarps and rugs, together with the roar of the waves in the background is definitely one-of-a-kind. Food wise, I am sure it is memorable — it reminds me of the Fear Factor TV Series I used to watch when I was young.
The above picture of a fresh sashimi platter inclusive of sea cucumber, abalone and sea squirts was taken on my first visit at Taejongdae in 2009 (so pardon me for the poor resolution). I am not going to tell you about the taste as I figured it is best for you to try it out yourself. It is an interesting and memorable experience for me, but I have concluded having the platter here by the sea is all that I need once in a lifetime. yeap, ONCE. lolx
Writer’s Note: The cliff is considerably the highlight of our visit to the Taejongdae Park. It is also the reason why I skipped the first few stations and ONLY alight at the lighthouse station. If you are short of time, this is the only station you need to visit out of all. Be sure to spend some time here at the lighthouse, (and maybe get some fresh
and weird sashimi for that local taste). Taejongdae park is also listed in my 2D1N Busan Itinerary booklet available for free download here.
Public transport is available from Nampo Station and Busan Station.
From Nampo Station남포역 :
1. Coming out from Exit No.6 at Nampo Subway Station, walk straight for about half a minute, where you’ll see the bus stops roughly opposite Lotte Department Store.
2. Locate the 2nd nearest bus stop from exit no.6. Buses to Taejongdae are: No. 8, 30, 88, 88-A.
3. The journey is about 30-40 minutes. Alight at Taejongdae Station 태종대 정류장.
From Busan Station부산역:
1. Coming out from Busan Station (the subway station, not the KTX station) exit no.7, walk straight until you reach the 3rd bus station. You’ll pass by CU convenient store, Bonjuk 본죽 Porridge, BBQ Chicken Restaurant and a pharmacy called Mibo미보 before reaching the bus stop.
2. Take bus 101. It will take about 45 minutes to reach Taejongdae Station 태종대 정류장.
To travel back to Nampo/ Busan Subway Station, simply take any bus from the above (8, 30, 88, 101) at the bus stop located opposite from where you alight your bus earlier.