BIFF Square, Gwangbokdong and Yongdusan Park Nampodong Busan South Korea

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Walk with Cham in BIFF and Yongdusan Park.

My brother greatly influenced us to watch foreign films back when we were in college. Being a Communication Arts major, I also had a fair share of foreign/indie films titles that we got to appreciate together as a family. This sorta became our weekly family bonding. So when my brother had learned that we will be visiting Busan, he immediately mentioned that he wanted to visit Busan International Film Festival. Although we were a few months behind the actual event, visiting any landmark of BIFF would still be meaningful.

Busan International Film Festival is said to be the most significant film festival in Asia. Its main focus is to introduce new films and new directors especially those from Asian countries. BIFF is annually celebrated every October in different parts of Busan. Although its official venue is at Busan Cinema Center in Centum City, there are several venues in Busan such as the one in Nampodong, BIFF Square that is worth visiting.

BIFF Square is Busan's modern movie district, it was once the official venue of BIFF before it was transferred to Busan Cinema Center.  BIFF Square is a bustling street full of movie theaters, shops, restaurants and food stalls so with or without the festival this place is always packed.

How to go to BIFF Square
Alight Nampo Station (Line 1) Exit 1 or 3 or
Alight Jagalchi Station (Line 1) Exit 7 and walk further

Entrance: None

We visited BIFF Square after we had a scrumptious seafood dinner at Jagalchi Fish Market. Coming from the market it was just a quick walk. We recognized the area as there was a succeeding BIFF archway on the entire street of the square. 

We also noticed the hand prints of different Asian celebrities on the floor of the street.

Of course movie theaters are everywhere in the area.

There were endless options of restaurants and cafes.

But what we noticed the most aside from the stores and restaurants were the never ending selection of street foods clad in red and yellow BIFF umbrella. 

From the wide array of street stalls, Kuya tried a bacon wrapped egg while Mama was curious about the Korean version of banana crepe they call Aroi Rotti. Verdict? Skip the egg but try the crepe :)

We were smitten by the artsy items at Artbox located still at BIFF Square and so, me, Kuya and Mama bought something for friends and for ourselves. 

Every corner of this shop is just too cute

I bought cute notebooks, handy lotion and other small trinkets I can give as gift for friends

Yongdusan Park
On our second day, Mama and I went to Gamcheon Cultural Village and before heading back home we visited this well known park located in Nampodong area as well.

Yongdusan Park is one of the most popular mountains in Busan. It houses several tourists attractions like the Busan Tower. During holidays, like New Year this park serves as a center for celebrations where they hold parties and firework displays. Going here to witness the firework display was our original plan, good thing Mama and I visited this place a few hours before because we were not able to go up the park again during midnight. You'll read later on.

How to go to Yongdusan Park
Alight Nampo Station (Line 1) Exit 1 or 3  pass by Gwangbokdong then walk further until you reach a stairway and elevator with Yongdusan Park signage.

Entrance: None
Entrance to Busan Tower: 3,000 won (P120)

Going to the park was steep! Fortunately escalators are available. But not for long. And before reaching the park, we came across this Buddhist temple with colorful lotus lanterns. 

When we reached the top we were transported to a totally different world. Coming from the bustling street of Gwangbokdong who would have thought this serene park is just in the same busy area a few meters above.

The park's main attraction is the Busan Tower where you can go up the top for an entrance fee of 3,000 won. The tower gives a 360 view of the whole of Busan. And because we were already pressed for time, we skipped going up the tower but instead roamed around the park. 


Because it was New Year's eve we saw organizers fixing seats and the program, there was a TV crew setting up cameras and satellites too. And believe it or not I was even invited to talk. hehehe #dreamon

Even if we didn't go up the tower, the view from the park was already mesmerizing. Here, I witnessed the last sunset of 2015. Gazed at the sunset as I bid goodbye to 2015. 

We left the place before it became totally dark. Good thing we figured to check this place out while there was less crowd and while the escalator was still working. 

We were really excited to go back again at night during New Years eve to witness the fireworks display but when we came back, the escalators were non-operational due to the number of visitors going up the park. BUM. And because I was with Mama and Papa, we skipped the idea of walking up and instead waited for the fireworks display at cafe in Gwangbokgung. Again the fireworks were not as stunning as I imagined it to be. So yes, you can skip the fireworks display here. I suggest you to stay at your place and sleep instead.

Gwangbokdong Fashion Street
In between BIFF Square and Yongdusan Park lies another famous Nampodong street, Gwangbokdong Fashion Street.

Gwangbokdong Fashion Street is said to be Busan's Myeongdong because it is a street full of clothing stores, restaurants and food stalls. After that street food fix at BIFF Square visit Gwangbok for a retail therapy. The street is adorned with bright splendid lights (especially during holiday) and abundant flowerbeds.

How to go to Gwangbokdong
Alight Nampo Station (Line 1) Exit 1 or 3 

Entrance: None

Because we failed to go to Yongdusan Park to witness the firework display, we roamed around Gwangbokdong instead and waited for the clock to strike 12 hoping we could at least view the display from below. But as I've said, it was not so spectacular.

On our last day we visited this area again to shop at Top Ten, a clothing retail brand in Korea. They had an ongoing sale so Mama and I raided the sale rack section and bought all types of polos for only 9,000 won (P360) each. Sadly I wasn't able to take a photo of it.

After shopping we spotted a traditional Korean restaurant that looked tempting. My gut feel was right because it was indeed a really good restaurant with lots of serving and very affordable. We ordered (for the last time) Korean Barbecue. If you're in the area try to look for this restaurant. :) 

If you are to visit these sites I suggest that you do it all in the same day - Jagalchi Fish Market, BIFF Square, Gwangbokdong and Yongdusan Park for you to save time because they are all located in one area - Nampodong. Our Busan itinerary wasn't the way I planned it to be because I had to deal with my family members concerns like Kuya's deadlines and Papa's health condition (his knees hurt). Good thing we were just a few subway stations away from Nampodong - the reason why we kept on coming back here. It was our favorite area. hehehe.

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