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Busan's oldest urban park ages gracefully

Summer Night Out 2:  Yongdusan Mountain Park

 

Busan's oldest urban park ages gracefully

 

That dastardly daytime sun gets all the negative press once August sweats its way back into the year. Thankfully, we still have the night.

Busan after dark is a better time for outings that sound less than ideal during the devilishly-dogged days of summer. In our continuing "Summer Night Out" series, Dynamic Busan heads to Yongdusan Mountain Park, Busan's first urban park, located in Nampo-dong (neighborhood).

 

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■ Yongdusan Mountain Park

Opened in 1916, this park looks pretty good for its advanced age.

With low hills that resemble the head of a dragon, the area was affectionately dubbed Yong-du-san (dragon-head-mountain). Popular among both tourists and locals, Yongdusan Mountain Park is an excellent place for some exquisite seaside views.

Take the escalator near Nampo Station to find the park's upward walkway. Local landmarks like the Dragon Tower, statue of historic Admiral Yi Sun-shin and the flower clock are scattered around the square of the park. The Citizens' Bell at one corner of the park hosts bell-tolling events on commemorative days such as the March 1 Independence Movement Day, Independence Day and on New Year's Eve. Throngs of people pack the park for the bell-ringing ceremony every Dec. 31.

If the crowds are a bit much, enjoy a lovely stroll in the densely-forested walkway nearby. Where else can you enjoy peaceful nature and the hustle and bustle of the famous Gukje Market and downtown Nampo-dong (neigh-borhood) in practically the same place?

-Address:  37-55, Yongdusan-gil, Jung-gu

-How to get there:  Nampo Station (Metro line 1), exit 7. Walk about five minutes to find the escalator on the right.

 

 Busan Tower

Fresh and fierce from a recent facelift, Yongdusan Mountain Park's landmark Busan Tower reopened on July 1.

Constructed in 1973, Busan Tower is an observatory that has been newly-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that will put it higher on the "to do" lists of many curious day trippers.

The 120-meter, five-story tower provides a grand view of Nampo-dong and nearby Yeongdo-gu (district) from its fifth-floor observation deck. Entertainment is the order of the day here, even in the elevator as videos are presented inside during your journey to the top.

During the recent refresh, virtual reality telescopes were installed to enable views of some of Busan's most famous attractions such as Haeundae Beach, Taejongdae and Jagalchi Market through a virtual reality guide. Virtual fireworks shows are projected on a special window for 15 minutes from 8 p.m. Additionally, an exhibit hall on the second floor welcomes visitors with trick art and a projection room, offering many opportunities for that perfect selfie.

Insider tip:  Try to visit Busan Tower just before sunset to watch Busan Port gradually light up at dusk, as well as bask in the impressive lights of Busan Harbor Bridge once darkness falls.

-Admission:  8,000 won for adults, 6,000 won for children

-Hours:  10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (no tickets issued after 10: 30 p.m.)

-Information:  busantower.net