What it’s like to live in Yeongdo, Busan
What it’s like to live in Yeongdo, Busan
Looking for an area to live in Busan? Our new series looks at locals in Busan giving the inside scoop on what goes on in their neighborhood.
In our 13th installment, we talked to local Busan resident Jennifer Kang about the ins and outs of life in Yeongdo.
About the Area
Yeongdo has a long history with now approximately 120,000 residents across its 14.2-square kilometers of land.
It was originally called Jeolyeongdo before changing its name in 1957 and hosts the Busan Coast Guard which was established in 1924, the Yeongdo Bridge to connect it to the mainland in 1934, and Korean Maritime University which was established in 1945.
The island is home to eight scenic sites and hosts several festivals each year, including Cheonghak-dong Cherry Blossom Festival, Yeongdo Bridge Festival, and the Yeongdo Hydrangea Festival each year at Taejongdae.
Though the island is considered more as a countryside village by some here, it has been gaining recent popularity as a place with new cafes that offer stunning views of the harbor.
Name: Jennifer Kang
Occupation: Office worker in the shipping industry
Where are you originally from? Busan
What area do you live in? Yeongdo Island, Yeongdo-gu
How long have you lived there? 27 years
Why did you choose there? I live with my family who grew up here so our family has a long history on the island.
What kind of people would you say tend to live in your area? Yeongdo is generally a little older and people move at a much slower pace than people from the rest of Busan. It’s considered by many to be a country town that is attached to a big city.
Do you know any of the neighbors or anyone in your building complex? Many of my friends growing up have left, but there are still a few around. My parents have many friends here who I knew from growing up so I can still see many familiar faces everywhere I go.
What are the best local spots in your area? Taejongdae is probably the best spot for tourists. Besides having great nature, it was really fun to go to as a kid when they had the games and amusement rides there. Now that I am older, it is also a great place to eat clams and drink soju and talk with friends.
Huinnyeoul Culture Village is also a great space that has many tourists and is considered the “Santorini of Busan”.
What kind of stores are within a 5-minute walk to your front door? Yeongdo doesn’t have a lot of the big stores that other areas have. There is a CU Mart and a local mom-and-pop convenience store and a chicken restaurant nearby, but most people have to go to Nampo-dong to get the bigger items.
What’s the view like from your living room? Yeongdo gets some really beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Our apartment view has a lot of water, cranes, and ships from the port.
Are there any restaurants, shops nearby in case you need a taste of home? There’s a lot of Korean restaurants, but not a lot of great Western food options here. It’s still mainly an older population here but things are starting to change. We just got our first Starbucks on the island in Daegyo-dong this March, so you can imagine we are quite far behind the rest of the city.
Any recommendations on local restaurants in your area? Recently, it has become trendy to go to cafes here. A lot of them have popped up over the past year or two and offer a quieter atmosphere and great views which are a little different from the ones you usually see.
Definitely, the most popular place right now is P.ARK in Dongsam-dong, which is a huge newly opened complex that has an amazing cafe and bakery with stunning views on the fourth floor. It’s become the place for trendy couples and Instagrammers to take photos.
Are there any grocery shopping places nearby? There really isn’t a big supermarket nearby, so my family usually goes to small markets or orders online for a lot of things if we don’t feel like traveling to a bigger grocery store.
Where could you pop out for a quick drink? The best place in Yeongdo I think is the 28th floor of the Lavalse Hotel. It has really great views and is also a popular place for either a drink, a coffee, or snacks.
Is it a good area for kids to grow up in? It really depends on what you like. I enjoyed growing up here because of my friends, but I did miss being able to have many cool stores and restaurants and things. When I was in university, I always had to leave the gatherings early because my house was so far away from school. It is quieter and there’s a slower lifestyle here, but I think kids can miss out on a lot of opportunities.
Any good hangout spots to recommend? Cafes are a popular thing nowadays and I guess I am also guilty of visiting them. If you go up Bongnaesan Mountain, you can find Sinki Cafe which has a great rooftop with awesome views. They have really good desserts and coffee and it’s a fun place to hang out with friends.
What are some of the stranger things you’ve seen in the area? Sometimes the older generation people get into arguments which can sometimes be interesting because even I have a hard time understanding what they are talking about when they yelling.
How expensive would you rate the area? Yeongdo is a bit off the beaten path from most of Busan, so it’s rather affordable to live here. However, most places are a bit older and are in need of a renovation, but there are some newer places which can get quite expensive.
Would you recommend your area to live in? It is a nice place to live if you like quiet and a bit more country feel. Though if you’re younger, I think it may be a bit boring especially if you are living in a city this size.
If there was any other place I could live in Busan it would be: I’ve never really thought about living anywhere else but if I had to choose, I think I would move to the Songdo Beach area. There are many new apartments, it’s still close to my work, and I would still be near the water.
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