Busan's repurposed retro railway
△ Riding the train as the sun sets is the perfect time to snap some photos.
Once a main transportation line along the southeastern coast, the former Donghae Nambu Line has been transformed into the 9.6 kilometer Busan Green Railway promenade. Reborn to promote tourism and invigorate the local economy, the railway passes through the coastal scenery of Haeundae, Mipo, Cheongsapo and Gudeokpo, with hopes of providing a green and pleasant space for tourists and local residents.
△ Train, capsule or walking trail the choice is yours. △ The newly added skywalk juts out into the sea.
※ Green Railway Information
◎ Address: 13, Dalmaji-gil 62beon-gil, Haeundae-gu
◎ How to get to the Green Railway Mipo Stop: Take bus 141, 100, 139, 200 or 1003. Get off at the Haeundae Mipo Moontan Road stop and walk for about five minutes.
■ Independent strolls
The railway, which opened in 1935 during the occupation, was used by the Japanese military to transport goods. After Korea gained its independence, it became popular among locals and youths. Unfortunately, the number of passengers decreased due to the expansion of public transportation. Since reopening the tracks from Mipo to Songjeong, in 2013, the Green Railway has become much more than just a way for trains to travel. The railroad stretching, from Haeundae Olympic Intersection to the previous Songjeong Station, was refurbished and reborn as the Busan Green Railway promenade, the perfect way to stroll through greenery and nostalgia. Usually broken up into two courses, we'll describe the 4.8-kilometer course starting in Mipo first. Walking along the coastal trail, you can find the Blue Line Park and other hot spots that will be well worth the journey.
■ Blue Line Park
The park runs along the sea from Haeundae to Songjeong. Besides strolling along the coast, there are a few ways to get around, from Mipo, to experience the Green Railway.
△ The old Nambu railway hosts the aptly named Beach Train.
◆ Beach Train
The Beach Train is a fast way to get from Mipo to Songjeong while taking in most of the coastal and mountain scenery. The train goes 15 kilometers per hour and runs about three times per hour depending on the season, taking approximately 30 minutes one-way.
With six stops from Mipo Station to Songjeong Station, there's so much to see. Bench seats on the train require no specific reservation and give visitors a fantastic view of the ocean and the mountains.
Tickets can be purchased from unmanned kiosks at each stop, ticket windows at Mipo, Cheongsapo or Songjeong Station or online. A single-use ticket is 7,000 won and reboarding isn't allowed. A round-trip ticket is 10,000 won; reboarding once is permitted. Tickets that enable visitors to visit each station are 13,000 won and reboarding is allowed once per station.
△ Fly high above the coast in a colorful capsule car.
◆ Sky Capsule
The Sky Capsule cars, which seat a maximum of four passengers, take visitors on a journey from Mipo Station to Cheongsapo Station. The train goes about four kilometers per hour, making it easy to snap some scenic shots. The trip is about two kilometers and takes travelers on an aerial railway above the beach train.
Tickets can be purchased at Mipo Station and Cheongsapo Station. It's also available online. Packages, including both the train and capsule, are available, as are discounts based on residency and time.
Both the Beach Train and Sky Capsule run at different times, depending on the season. Visit their website (www.bluelinepark.com) for more detailed information or to make a reservation.
■ Hot Spots
Riding the train or in a capsule can be fun, but they aren't the only forms of transportation. Mipo is connected to Songjeong by a wooden deck trail made just for walking. So, allow your feet to carry you along the path, up wooden stairs and against the coastal cliffs.
Whether it's walking along the sea or over it, a summertime stroll among nature and down memory lane may be just what you need. With many maps, entrances, exits, cafes and rest stops along, this leisurely seaside walk can be taken on by anyone at any pace. The wooden path is just under five kilometers and runs through Dalmaji Tunnel and Cheongsapo to the former Songjeong Station.
◆ Dalmaji Tunnel
The first step on the walk is an ideal spot for old -fashioned selfies, which is often crowded with people trying to get that perfect picture. The external wall is filled with names of couples trying to record their place in time. Once used as a place to hide, the tunnel is now the place to be seen.
Next up on the walk is one of the hottest spots for seafood in the city, Cheongsapo. The dynamic views and landmarks of this once small fishing village never cease to amaze. The two lighthouses, one red and one white light up, when the sun goes down. Nearby is the Cheongsapo Daritdol Observatory, newly opened in 2017. The skywalk is 20 meters above sea level, 72.5 kilometers long and has a transparent glass floor giving some the feeling of walking on water. Known as one of the most famous sunrise spots, people often meet friends or family here on New Year's Day. Admission is free, but visitors must wear provided booties to protect the floor. The skywalk is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from June to August. Also, the schedule is subject to change due to weather conditions. To get there, take Haeundae-gu village bus 2 or 10 from Jangsan Station (metro line 2). Get off at Cheongsapo bus stop, the last stop, and walk along the seaside railway to Songjeong.
△ Trigger your nostalgia by visiting one of the old train stations.
◆ Songjeong Station
Often coated in sand because of its proximity to a popular family beach with the same name, the station has been standing for decades. At Songjeong Station, you can buy tickets for the Beach Train or Sky Capsule, or if the mood should strike you, take a short walk to the beach. It's said to be the best spot to catch some waves and rays.