Haeundae Beach, February 2015. Not only is Haeundae considered the prettiest of Busan’s two beaches, but do a bit of digging around online and you’ll find a bucket of platitudes along the lines of “The most gorgeous beach in South Korea”. My own Haeundae experience came on a grey, chilly February weekday morning. While it’s safe to say I didn’t see the place at its shimmering best, Haeundae still succeeded in channeling a calm and dignified majesty, free from all the distractive trappings of summer tourism.
Haeundae Beach, February 2015. I was well wrapped up that day as I negotiated Haeundae’s 1.5 km stretch. Strolling couples said hello as I passed, toddlers threw stones into the sea and middle-aged men intermittently puffed past me on their morning runs.
Haeundae Beach, February 2015. The selfie stick is king in Korea, with just about every other person waving one about wherever I went. You’ll see more than your share on Haeundae and there’s even a nearby market stall selling them should you find yourself short.
Haeundae Beach, February 2015. The longer I spent here, the more I felt Winter Haeundae was probably a far more authentic experience than the summer crowds and their invasive sand-swallowing parasols. Staring out to sea at a lone ghost vessel, my thoughts began to turn to the coffee and breakfast I’d have at a nearby eatery as the rumble of the ocean synched with the vibrations rattling around my stomach.
Haeundae Beach, February 2015. In addition to simply walking the beach, you can also dip into the forest-side coastline walkway with elevated views across the bay. There’s a lighthouse to climb and a little statue set atop rocks, Korea’s answer to The Little Mermaid. Many people also break off to check out Sea Life Busan Aquarium, home to around thirty five thousand marine animals.