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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Busan: Haeundae Beach

While rain usually spoils a beach trip, clouds are always welcome. At least they are when you're hoping to avoid sunburn and grateful for the cooler temperatures they provide.

Haeundae Beach is arguably the most popular and most famous beach in Korea so when I only had one afternoon to spend surf-side, that was my destination.

(Side note: A new movie called Haeundae, about a giant tsunami smacking into Busan, is fairly popular here. Not sure if it will open outside of Korea...)

Fairly small at only one mile long, the beach is absolutely packed with vacationers, both Korean and foreign. Immediately noticeable are huge numbers of people floating on yellow inner tubes and the relatively close-to-shore red barriers preventing swimmers from going out too far. Several times when a person got too close to the barrier, a police jetski came flying up to warn the swimmer to move closer to land.

The sand is rough and grainy, and the water surprisingly chilly for August, but it was ideal conditions for strolling along the water and people-watching. While most vacationers seemed content to lounge under brightly-colored umbrellas, many ventured into the cold water. The kids, especially, had adorable bathing costumes. I want a daughter just so I can dress her like this:

Funny note: an announcement was continually made warning people that "Haeundae Beach is a place for relaxing vacationers. No soccer, volleyball or any other kind of playing balls is allowing on the beach." This announcement was made only in English, not Korean. Strange-ee?

Haeundae wasn't quite what I expected, in both good and bad ways. It wasn't nearly as trashy as some people described but there was a definite lack of places to shop. I was hoping to walk away with some cheap sundresses but all the stores were for tattoos, swimsuit rental or board shorts. Maybe because it's the end of summer...?

Walking out to the lighthouse was a pretty stroll along wooden steps, providing a nice view of the entire beach.

How is it September already?!

What's your favorite thing to do at the beach?