Fishing village connects humans to the sea
Daytripping in Busan 2: Yeonhwari
Lighthouses and small boats paint a peaceful picture along the Gijang shore.
Looking for relief from the constant noise of a busy city? An easy trip out to Yeonhwari is a great way to enjoy simple pleasures on an early spring day.
Yeonhwari is a small fishing village located along the sea in Gijang. Fishing boats of various sizes are anchored along its shoreline, and their bounty can be enjoyed at the many raw fish restaurants greeting customers nearby.
Yeonhwari has garnered greater attention in recent years due to social media outlets like Insta-gram, which have highlighted the area's slower pace, quiet corners and notable attractions like the haenyeo (women divers) village.
-How to get there: BEXCO Station (Metro line 2), exit 9. Or, Haeundae Station (Metro line 2), exit 7. Take bus 181 to the Yeonhwari stop.
■ Haenyeo village
While the legendary haenyeo of Jeju Island have received the most local and international attention, congregations of women whose livelihoods have depended on their ability to collect saleable sustenance from the seas have existed in many shoreside parts of Korea for generations. While their numbers have declined in modern times, many independent, hard-working haenyeo continue to dive, including at Yeonhwari.
The Haenyeo Village here can be found where Yeonhwari and Daebyung Port meet, where a number of ships are anchored. Female divers, many of advanced years, sell seafood here that was just caught with the same hands that clean the fish and seaweed that is then presented to customers to buy and enjoy. The connection between humans and nature on display is powerful.
Nearly 20 stalls are regularly open, offering similar stock at comparable prices, usually between 30,000 and 50,000 won for generous portions. As with anything in nature, the sizes and quantities of some items can vary, but customers can usually find plentiful sea squirts, sea cucumbers and conch, which are sliced into small pieces on the spot. Jeonbok juk (abalone rice porridge) is a particularly pleasant and highly recommended treat when enjoyed at the haenyeo village. This fresh, aromatic and very tasty porridge, at 10,000 won, tends to glow with the bluish green color of the tender abalone, adding to an already delightful dining experience.
Orangdae is a lovely place where one can appreciate the sound of waves lapping along the shore. This park area, created to provide a peaceful respite, has gained popularity among many photographers seeking the perfect sunrise shot. Who can blame them? Photos of the sunrise between rocks soaring above shallow sea waters is enough to make one's heart skip.
A small Buddhist hermitage at the edge of the rocks on the seashore easily draws eyes its way. The statue of a dragon king sitting inside further enhances this transcendant scene.
-How to get there: Haeundae Station (Metro line 2), exit 7. Take bus 181 and get off at the Haegwangsa Temple stop. Walk for 10 minutes toward the beach.
■ Lighthouse tour
Gijang is known as a great place to visit the past through its many humble fishing villages, each with their own uniquely designed lighthouses. In fact, some people even come to Gijang for the lighthouses alone.
Several lighthouses can be easily seen from Seoam Port in Yeon-hwari. The Feeding Bottle lighthouse was built with the purpose of encouraging childbirth. It is made of tiles that carry the impressions of 144 local children's feet and hands. The Cockscomb lighthouse, located opposite the Feeding Bottle lighthouse, features a red structure designed to look like the house plant sticking out toward the sea. Look further out to the sea to find the Jangseung (Korean totem pole) light-house. Its slanted eyes and white teeth look like a totem built by ancient hands.
-How to get there: Bus 181 from Haeundae Station (Metro line 2), exit 7. Get off at Yeonseo Church stop. Walk five minutes toward the beach.
■ Cafes near the beach
A local cafe provides a lovely view.
There are many attractive and simple cafes in the Yeonhwari area that are also worth the journey. Walk around and discover your new favorite.
The most famous cafe in the area is Beomgorae Cafe. This converted three-story structure serves beverages, homemade cookies and croissants, as well as a variety of familiar and favored coffee drinks. But, don't take our word for it. Explore Beomgorae Cafe, as well as the rest of what Yeonhwari has to offer, and enjoy a wonderful daytrip right here in Busan.