It might come as a surprise to some that while Busan might be a coastal city, Busan can be just as busy as Seoul, especially in the lively districts of Nampo and Seomyeon.
If you’d like to head away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Taejongdae Resort Park (태종대유원지 부산) might be just the inner city break you need.
What is all the fuss about Taejongdae?
Taejongdae Park boasts stunning seascapes and landscapes, and though it only takes about an hour to get to from Nampo-Dong, you’ll feel like you’re a world away from the busy city of Busan trekking through the lush greenery and admiring the views overlooking the edge of the dramatic rocky cliffs.
Named after King Taejong of the Shilla Dynasty who enjoyed the park’s stunning natural scenery, it is said that on a clear day, you can even see as far as Japan’s Oryukdo and Tsushima Islands.
What’s to See at Taejongdae
Taejongdae functions almost like an island in itself, and there’s plenty to see and do to keep occupied.
The most famous of which is the Yeongdo Lighthouse, which reopened in 2004.
From the walking trail or Danubi Circular Train stop (more on the train below), you’ll have to walk down quite a bit of stairs to get to the lighthouse.
Depending on your level of fitness, there are several benches around to rest as well as handrails to assist the decline and incline back up.
A popular thing to do is to walk along the rocks, though I had plenty of scenic views from the various observatory decks above.
There’s also the Taejongdae Pebble Beach, which is the only proper beach accessible, though I could only look over to see it and I didn’t see anyone on the beach itself.
Tea Kettle Island is actually a small island just off the coast of Taejongdae, and is named after it’s shape.
The Observation Deck here was closed during my visit, but I still managed to get great views of Tea Kettle Island from below the Observation Deck centre. There is also a Statue of Mother and Children here which might look like an unassuming statue of a mother holding her children, but was erected due to the fact there were many cases of people taking their lives by jumping off the rocks here. The statue was built to remind those contemplating suicide of a mother’s undying love.
The last stop is the Taejongsa Temple, which features two Peepal trees donated by the Sri Lankan government. If you’re here in July, you’ll be able to catch the Hydrangea Festival which I’m sure would look beautiful in such a peaceful area.
How to Get Around Taejongdae
As mentioned, Taejongdae isn’t a small area.
For visitors, a Danubi Circular Train runs the track in a circular direction and works like any hop-on hop-off tourist transport service. For adults, the train costs 3 000KRW (approx. S$3.50 / US$2.50) which I thought was fairly reasonable.
There are only 3 stops for the train, and you get your tickets from the ticket office at the park entrance.
The train operates from 9:20am to 5:30pm and runs in 15 minutes intervals.
I asked the ticket office what happens if you’re out in the park and you miss your last train back, and was told that there’d be a last bus an hour later at 6:30pm, which I didn’t stay to find out. But regardless, you can still walk back on your own anyway.
Speaking of which, it is possible to do the trail on your own two feet too.
Once you’ve entered the trail, the circular route that the Danubi train runs will take 40 minutes on foot non-stop, and is relatively flat until you head down to the various attractions such as the Yeongdo Lighthouse, which you’d have to walk down anyway even if you take the train.
How to Get to Taejongdae
Busan’s Nampo-Dong is the easiest point from downtown Busan to get to Taejongdae, and you can get off at Nampo subway station on Line 1 and take exit 6, which will bring you to the bus stop where you’ll take either bus 8, 30, 66, 88 or 186 to the last stop.
From Busan Station, you can get off at the subway station which is similarly on Line 1 and head to exit 9, from where you can hop on to buses 66, 88 or 101.
Other Miscellaneous Information
The park is officially open from 4am to midnight in the summer and 5am to midnight in the winter.
If you’ve rented a car or are entering the park by car, you can after 6pm till 10pm, and you’ll have to leave by 11pm, where you’ll pay 2 000KRW for an admission fee, and a one-time parking fee will cost 2 000KRW for a compact car, 3 500KRW for a mid-sized car and 5 000KRW for a full-sized car which is good for 3 hours. Maximum parking fees are capped at 10 000KRW, 15 000KRW and 20 000KRW respectively.