Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Walking, having fun and falling into Busan

Galmaet-gil Footpaths are hugely popular walkways linking the Busan sea and surrounding tour sites, offering truly irresistible places to take a stroll. The name combines two Korean words: galmaet, or "seagull," the symbol of Busan City, and gil, or "path." Galmaet-gil Footpaths incorporate beautiful natural scenery, great locations, local heroes, major symbols, historical sites and hillside mountain roads. There are 21 Galmaet-gil Footpaths courses in Busan City, with several more still under construction.

The current choice of Galmaet-gil Footpaths include six coastal paths, three riverside paths, eight forest paths and four downtown paths. With such a full selection, there’s something for everyone among the city's Galmaet-gil Footpaths.

The Galmaet-gil Footpaths run right across Busan City, providing idyllic walks to various rivers, urban areas and down by the coast. As visitors walk along the Galmaet-gil Footpaths, its paths running like veins between the sky, the shore, the forest and the shore-side rocks, they can feel the peace of the city and the beauty and composure of the walkways themselves.

Walkers can also feel nature breathe on more hidden roads passing through the mountains down to the sea. These coastal roads have been chosen by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs as one of the 52 most beautiful coastal roads in Korea.

The waves and sea provide the perfect backdrop to so many of these walks around the city. As one of the biggest tourist draws in the city, the Galmaet-gil Footpaths draws a constant supply of tourists as well. For more information on the courses, refer to the Busan map service web site (

Coastal Walk
The Gadeokdo Circular Walk combines bizarre-looking rocks with gorgeous views of the sea. Korean, Japanese and European style architecture dots the pathway, and the Gadeokdo Lighthouse provides another beautiful landmark.

 The highlight of this Galmaet-gil Footpaths is the stretch from Amnam Park, Jeolyeong Coastal Path, to Taejongdae Path. Starting from Amnam Park, the road leads over a bridge that connects to the Songdo Coastal Walk.

The route also includes a spell by Songdo Beach, the first beach to open in Korea in 1913. Walk along the Jeolyeong Coastal Walk as if riding the Jeolyeong horse, a horse said to be able to cut off shadows, and the course leads to Taejongdae, a stretch containing all the coastal beauty of Korea.

Beneath the Yeongdo Lighthouse is a 100-meter-high cliff, with a truly breathtaking trail running around the top. Have some steamed sweet potatoes here and think of ancient scholar Jo Eom, who first brought the savory snacks back here when returning from Japan, as part of the Joseon Tongsinsa mission during the Joseon Dynasty. Jo Eom is said to have planted Korea’s very first sweet potato plants right here in Yeongdo.

The Gwangalli, Igidae Cliffs and Jaseongdae-gil course connects to Igidae and Jaseongdae from Gwangalli Beach. Although it goes through downtown from Gwangalli to Namcheon-dong, it is in fact a coastal walk. Coming from the Igidae Coastal Walk, the path reveals the Gwangan Bridge, Dongbaek Island and Haeundae.

Oryuk Islets, a symbol of Busan City, is visible here, and the course also takes in the world’s one and only UN Memorial Cemetery.

Haeundae Three Fishing Villages Walk passes by the Sampo (meaning "three harbors") of Mipo, Cheongsapo and Gudeokpo.

The Igidae course boasts fantastic scenery, with long stretches right next to the sea

Riverside Walk

The Nakdong Estuary Walk is wonderful by sunset or in the morning. Along the banks of the Nakdong River, wild geese come into view across a field of reeds. Near Suyeong River, on the course running to Oncheoncheon street, visitors can find the APEC Naru Park in front of Centum City Shinsegae Department Store. This riverside park was created to commemorate the APEC Summit Talks in 2005, and walking the fantastic pedestrian course here, lined with apartment buildings, is enough to make strollers want to relocate to Busan City.

Hoedong Reservoir Philosophers Walk also boasts some of the best scenery in the city. The river, pond and wood tell their own beautiful story, and show how effectively man can co-exist with nature. The road offers a great getaway from the hassles of everyday life, and in spring and fall, the scenery is even more alluring.

Forest Walk
The starting place for the Mt. Geumjeong Trail is Beomeosa Metro Station. The old Beomeosa road and the rural area around the course make up one of the city’s most famous mountain courses, passing by three fortresses including Geumjeongsansung.

The Mt. Seunghak Trail passes by Daesin park, famous for its Japanese Cypress and Japan Cedar trees, and a dense forest leading to Gudeok Reservoir.

Passing by the Naewonjung Temple, Flower Village and Gudeok Cultural Park, the road then leads to the aeronautical radio center (Hangong Museon Pyosiso). This marks the top of the Mt. Gudeok, a mountain ridge with no curves.

The Mt. Jang Stony Trail is an easy mountain course for people who prefer something gentler than hiking. The walk includes plenty of resting areas and sites with exercise gear, so people can stop and rest or stretch along the way. The top of Mt. Jang also has a field of silver grass affording a stunning view of the ocean far below.

As one of the best known mountains in Busan City, Mt. Baikyang Trail contains many old temples and historical remains. The Mt. Hwangnyeong Trail has good views of Gwangalli Beach, with night views from the top of Bongsudae that are nothing less than fantastic. For another unforgettable, and considerably more energetic experience, take a mountain bike ride from Illgwang Theme Forest Trail

Downtown Walk
The Dongnae Culture Historical Remains trail runs through Dongnae, the ancient source of the city and now a trove of historical remains.

The Dongnae eupseongji was the site of a fierce battle during the Japanese Invasion. At the end of the walk in Oncheonjang, visitors can relax at an outside feet bath at Dongnae Spas, the oldest hot spring in Korea.
The Modern History's Walk passes by Taegeukdo village inhabited by believers in the native Taegeuk religions, who first settled here in the 1950s. To do some shopping, visitors can check out the Gukje Market and the Ggangtong Market. The Former Downtown Trail Jaseongdae-gil marks the starting and return points for the Joseon Tongsinsa, an expedition of Korean dignitaries to Japan that took place during the Joseon Dynasty. This trail also passes by the Nampo-dong theater street, the Jagalchi Market and the Gukje Market.

On the Busanpo trace-gil, walkers can drop by the Jagalchi Market, replete with traditional medicine merchants, dried fisheries stalls and a street full of fortune tellers. Drawing to a close, visitors can see the ships docked across the Yeongdo Bridge.

The Downtown Walk lets strollers find tasty restaurants only available in Busan City.

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