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Sun, surf and sand signal summer

Sun, surf and sand signal summer

 

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While you can find something fun to do around here all year, Busan truly shines in the summer. 

This sprawling city of 3.4 million boasts seven public beaches waiting for you to enjoy. Haeundae, Songdo and Songjeong reopen the earliest, on June 1. The city's four other beaches, Gwangalli, Dadaepo, Imrang and Ilgwang, reopen July 1. All of Busan's public beaches will close out their summer seasons on Aug. 31, except Songdo and Gwangalli, which conclude on Sept. 10.

Here's just a sampling of some of the fun you could be having during beach season 2017's first month. 

 

Haeundae Beach

 

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With more than 10 million visitors each year, it's little wonder so many activities can be found on and around Busan's most famous beach. 

Hard hit by Typhoon Chaba last year, Haeundae-gu (district) quickly set about to improve the beach and nearby environs in its wake. Pedestrian roads along and leading to the beach have been improved and a makeover is underway on its information center build-ing, located in the middle of the beach. The 22-year old building is being transformed into a more accessible facility, equipped with chairs and tables inside for tourists who need a break from the summer sun.

Ocean Book Cafe, a glass-walled destination, returns for its second season. It offers a place to read books inside, as well as an open-air terrace on the second floor, with beach beds and parasols installed for people to view the ocean in comfort.

New this year is "Beach Radio," a weekend event where DJs select music accompanied by stories. The radio show is expected to air more frequently during July and August, when the most tourists crowd the beach.

Sports activities will also be available this summer season. Jet skiing and banana boating on the Mipo side of the beach will be offered for modest fees. Water slides connected to the sea have also been recently installed.

Nighttime swimming enthusiasts also have cause to celebrate this year, as the beach will stay open until 9 p.m. from July 25 through Aug. 8. This follows an initial trial period that was conducted at the beach last year. For public safety, security guards will be assigned to some parts of the water.

- How to get there: Haeundae Station (Metro line 2), exit 3 or 5. Walk about 10 minutes from the exit toward the beach.

 

Songdo Beach

 

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Songdo Beach, located on the southern tip of Seo-gu in southwest Busan, holds the distinction of being Korea's first public beach. Its 100-year history and tradition, together with new installations, continue to garner plenty of visitors to the area. 

More than a million people checked out Songdo Beach's skywalk last year. The 365-meter walkway is constructed above the sea to offer a unique experience, as its glass bottom delivers exhilarating sensations from the crashing waves underneath. The skywalk lit up at night affords visitors a different, breathtaking view.

Cable car service and a camp site are new to Song-do Beach this year. The cable cars begin service June 20 from Songnim Park at the end of the beach to Amnam Park. Traveling high above the sea, the cable car service is expected to be a popular draw for people interested in seeing the area from a different perspective.

Songdo Ocean Park is complete following three years of construction on reclaimed land on the west side of the beach. Songdo Ocean Park is home to new camping opportunities, sports facilities, a parking lot and stage. 

The camp site, scheduled to open in July, is located along the sea and is divided into large tent and caravan sections. Amenities such as shower facilities, toilets and kitchenettes can be found at the camp site.

 

- How to get there: Nampo Station (Metro line 1), exit 6. Take bus 7, 9, 30, 71 or 96 and get off at the Songdo Beach stop. Walk toward the beach.

 

Songjeong Beach

 

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Songjeong Beach is known as a surfer's paradise. 

Located not far from Haeundae, Songjeong is a more secluded alternative to its famous neighbor. It is a popular hangout for surfers traversing the sea and others simply wanting to relax.

Songjeong's shallow waters and waves make the beach a surfing haven year-round, especially with warm water temperatures and steady winds from the south and north. Nearly a dozen surf shops are located near the beach. With gear rentals and lessons available right on the beach, even beginners can learn to start surfing their first day.

Extended stays are recommended for Songjeong Beach visitors, and this year is certainly no exception. A camp site is available in the middle of the beach from April through November for people with their own tents who want to sleep on the sand, near the lulling, calming sounds of the ocean.

A capsule hotel is scheduled to open in September, which should attract visitors hoping to enjoy the beach when it's considerably less-crowded but no less attractive. Located in front of Jukdo Park, the capsule hotel will offer 6.6-square-meter spaces for solo travelers, with glass walls that face the sea. It is expected to become a sought-after option for people seeking unique accomodations.

There are plenty of cafes along the seaside for folks to linger at, as well. Try an open-air terrace while savoring a refreshing iced coffee, a creamy and sweet fresh fruit smoothie or your favorite book amidst the peaceful waterfront.

- How to get there: Centum City Station, exit 1. Take bus 39, 40, 63, 141 or 181 and get off at the Songjeong Beach entrance bus stop.

 

Beaches open in July

■ Gwangalli

Night views of the iconic Diamond Bridge, great bars and restaurants, fun outdoor performances and Millak Waterfront Park nearby. Traffic is restricted on seaside roads weekend nights in the summer. 

- How to get there: Geumyeonsan Station, exit 1 or 3 or Gwangan Station, exit 3 or 5 (both Metro line 2). Walk about 10 minutes.

 

■ Dadaepo 

Busan's western-most beach has sunsets considered so beautiful the path from it to nearby Molundae is called "Sunset Road" by locals. A new beach park is great for walks, picnics and  general relaxation. And, of course, there's the legendary Sunset Fountain of Dreams. 

- How to get there: Dadaepo Beach Station (Metro line 1), exit 2.

 

■ Ilgwang and Imrang 

Two lesser-known spots in Gijang offer peaceful nature, copious cafes and a gorgeous coastline. 

- How to get there: Both on Donghae Line. Ilgwang Station, exit 1. Walk five minutes; Imrang Station, exit 1. Take bus 188 or mini bus 3 and get off at Imrang Samgeori bus stop.