The last day in Busan, we had one final thing we wanted to do before heading back. For few days now we had passed the Busan Aquarium several times, so we decided to check it out. I’ve been to a few aquariums before, and this one was pretty good, but not as exciting as I thought it would be. The only really fun thing in there was an enclosure of otters frolicking about, both in and out of water. With nothing more of real interest to see or do (if you are not really there for the beach life, there is not all that much to this kind of beach town), we picked up our bags at the hotel, then headed for the train station.
Arriving in Seoul a few hours later, we quickly found our hotel, then went out for a bit of shopping. Funny thing, we spent several days walking around the shopping districts of downtown Seoul but never bought anything. Now that we were back for one last day, we suddenly had an urge to buy stuff. I managed to get what I wanted, but we ended up walking further, and taking longer time than expected to find my store, so shopping for Yini had to be postponed. Instead we had a really good dinner in a local barbecue restaurant (for about a quarter of the price of the first BBQ place we went to). After dinner we headed back to Siloam sauna for a few hours of comfort and relaxation.
The last day we wandered around for quite a while until we found a suitable place for brunch, after which we only had one hour left before we should head out to the airport. We spent that hour more or less power walking to Insadong shopping street so tat Yini could buy some, apparently very cheap, cosmetics, then off to the airport and home to Taiwan.
To sum up, my experience of Korea was not too much different from the everyday experience of living in Taiwan. Inside the big cities there are plenty of shopping streets and markets, broken off here and there by a park, old palace, temple or such. The country side is mainly mountainous and green and the coast rocky but beautiful. The people, the living standard and the food are kind of similar too, although the Koreans add Kimchi (spicy sour cabbage) to every meal.
The big difference is the history of war. Taiwan is the country that never really went to war with its communist neighbor. Korea on the other hand is the one where war actually happened, and the threat is ever present. For anyone interested in such things, the DMZ, especially the JSA at Panmunjom is really worth a visit. To that experience, I would add the memorial and museum I visited a few years ago (old, dead blog). On top of that, the Sauna is a fantastic place to go relax after a busy day of sightseeing. Other than those two, much of what you can find in Korea is part of a general east Asian experience but nothing truly unique. Not to say I regeret going to Korea, just that I had hoped for a bit more, something I could not see at home here in taiwan.