The port call in Busan was for a partial day only, sailing again at 2 o’clock to make the long run to Tianjin, the port for Beijing. Many people stayed on board but we decided to take a short tour to get a feel for the city.
Immigration formalities were simple here. Busan, formerly Pusan, is the second largest city in South Korea. It’s an important port city evidenced by the masts, cranes, and high rise buildings. The draw here seems to be the beaches, seascapes and historical sites.
We toured the Haedong Yongguangsa Temple, unsual in its location along the coast. It took about an hour to get to the temple and then 108 steps took us through pathways decorated with lions and waterfalls to a 3-story pagoda. They celebrate the legend of the Great Goddess Buddha, who lives in the sea and is believed to appear on the back of a dragon. The day was extremely overcast so pictures were a challenge. Getting a good photograph was further challenged by the miles of rope strung up to hang the festival lanterns to celebrate the Buddha birthday.
A drive along Haeundae Beach, popular with holiday makers because it’s the longest beach around, brought us to the APEC House, built for the 2005 APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting on Dongbaekseom Island.
We had a chance to shop at a local market before returning to the ship. Being Sunday, this market was mobbed; you could barely walk between the food stalls and street vendors. We weren’t interested in buying anything so we ducked into Coffee Bean and had tea and coffee.
Back on board ship, we had lunch and watched the local entertainers who came out to serenade the passengers with song and dance.
Busan would be our least favorite port on the voyage; yet we enjoyed the brief glimpse of South Korea and the people.
Thankfully, tonight was the third and last formal dinner night; now Joe is happy, we can pack away his suit until the next cruise.
Tomorrow is an at sea day as we work our way to Beijing.