Given that the Coronavirus has taken hold of everywhere in the world more strongly than first thought, so many people are confined to their homes. In Korea, we were never under a lockdown notice. However, as mentioned in my last post “Solo Trip to Gangneung” I’m a teacher and since it’s advised public officials don’t really do any traveling, I haven’t been to any other cities since February.
And so, I thought this might be the perfect time to catch up and upload blog posts of the places I went last year just to remind myself of a time before confinement and I had the luxury to get on a bus every weekend to a new city in this country.
(I actually wrote this blog post in November, but just never got around to posting it.)
Since around August 2019, I had begun to do a lot more day and weekend trips outside of Busan. I spent the first half of the year exploring more of Busan and just settling in. However, I wanted to explore more of the country I’ve been calling home for the past year.
On Instagram, I follow cafe tags and a few that showed up on my feed were located in Changwon. I had never heard of the city before, so I thought I should look it up. When I saw just how close it was to Busan, I knew I had to make a trip out there at some point.
I roped my friend into coming with me in October for the day so, I quickly looked up what we could do there and loosely mapped out our day. From Sasang Bus Terminal, the buses to Changwon leave every 15 minutes. The ticket cost less than 5,000 won and the journey was no more than 45 minutes.
House of Changwon (창원의 집)
Once we arrived at the bus terminal, the first place to go was House of Changwon. From the terminal, the bus ride was only about 15 minutes and we reached our destination. House of Changwon was home to a scholar named Ducheol so you can see how he lived. It consists of 14 buildings. The space is actually really beautiful, though small, and it was great to walk around. As it is now a cultural learning center it offers classes to visitors, but I don’t think there were any being offered the day we were there since it was a holiday. Oh, and entrance is completely free. There was a small area designated for visitors to play traditional games. We saw a few families playing together which was very cute.
Next to House of Changwon, there is a history museum (창원역사민속관). Changwon is actually 3 cities in one (Masan, Jinhae and Changwon) and the museum gives a little bit of history as to how that came to be. The museum is also free and I have to say it was really good and informative. There were lots of interactive features and interesting information to see and read about. There are 3 floors to the museum and there were only about 5 other people in there with us.
That day in October, the weather was absolutely beautiful. We were just getting out of summer and fall was just starting so it was perfect weather. Instead of taking the bus to our next destination we decided to just walk from House of Changwon toward the downtown area and figure out what to eat and where to go next.
That turned out to be the best decision because we got to stop when we wanted and take in the beauty of Changwon.
Changwon Garosugil (가로수길)
About a 10 minute walk from House of Changwon, we were able to take in the beautiful scenery of Changwon and we got to 창원 가로수길. This is just a long street lined with tall trees and additionally, there are a LOT of restaurants. A lot of these restaurants/cafes were in Western style houses/architecture. It just felt like I was somewhere in upstate New York.
At first we wanted to go to a Japanese curry restaurant, however when we got there they had just gone on break. No need to worry, because there are so many places to eat. We found an American style diner a few minutes away and the food was actually really good. And the interior was pretty nice.
Yongji Lake (용지못)
Next stop on the itinerary was to go to Yongji Lake. This is a popular tourist destination in Changwon. There were a lot of people enjoying the nice weather when we got there. From 가로수길, it’s about a 15 minute walk. We accidentally took the long way to get there and walked all the way around the park, up some steps, up a steep hill and then down some more steps. It could have been so much easier for us, but at least we got to see a nice little part of the park before getting to the main attraction.
I feel very calm when I’m near any body of water, so the lake was a highlight for me on the trip. It’s massive and we didn’t even walk around the whole perimeter of it. There were a bunch of ducks and a couple swans and lots of koi fish. There were also a lot of statues or possibly art pieces around the lake.
Our last stop of the day was to stop by a cafe/bakery (found this on the cafe tag I follow). My friend and I are dessert monsters so we were ecstatic to finally reach this place. I can’t remember exacrtly what we got, but I remember it was delicious and we had a great view of the sun setting and the sky turning a beautiful shade of purple/pink.
After finishing our dessert, we took the city bus back to the bus terminal, got our tickets back to Busan and were on our way home. Changwon was a really good time and I actually really liked the little city. I still think about it especially now as the weather warms up since it’s perfect for a day trip. I hope to go out there again one day.