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 seventh installment, we talked to Londoner Storm Reid about the ins and outs of life in Daeyeon-dong.
About the Area
One of the more bustling areas of the city located in Nam-gu, Daeyeon-dong is a widespread district that encompasses a university district, residential, and a large commercial area.
Located on Busan Metro Line 2, Daeyeon-dong has transformed over the years into less of a party place for university students into a more cultural space that has attracted unique restaurants, cafes, and music venues.
It also houses the Busan Cultural Center, one of the most popular places in the city for unique exhibitions and classical music concerts.
Once one of the top areas for foreigners to congregate, it still maintains its vibe as one of the places to grab a quick dinner and a fun night out.
Towards the residential areas, a host of new buildings mix with the old. A variety of sections, including student housing and single rooms, as well as large residential apartments with families are available.
Name: Storm Reid
Occupation: Assistant Professor and Freelance Videographer
Where are you originally from? London, England
What area do you live in? Daeyeon, Nam-gu
How long have you lived there? Just over 2 years.
Why did you choose there? I and my wife needed a location that would offer us easy access to the highway system, convenient commuting paths to work while also being a stone’s throw away from scenic parks, beaches, and some of the best restaurants in Busan.
What kind of people would you say tend to live in your area? My exact location is sandwiched between a university district and a densely populated residential area making for a mixed bag of locals – including a lot of young couples with children valuing the proximity to schools, hagwons, supermarkets, and extra-curricular facilities.
Do you know any of the neighbors or anyone in your building complex? Having moved into our building complex 2 years ago, when it was first built, me and my wife are gradually becoming more and more acquainted with our physical surroundings, neighbors, and local vendors. Having a toddler has definitely assisted us in bonding well with the other young couples, and their children. Furthermore, regular trips to the park, our local café, and even the humble convenience store have us running into friendly, familiar faces willing to warmly engage us and our son – especially our son.
What are the best local spots in your area? The United Nations Memorial Park has to be one of the most pristine and well-kept parks in Busan. You have the choice of visiting the official cemetery grounds, free of charge, to view the beautiful memorial in honor of the United Nations soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the Korean war. Otherwise, you can enjoy a pleasant stroll, or run, through the park where there are ponds, open spaces, and plenty of greenery. Daeyeon also has its fair share of popular restaurants, particularly Korean traditional types, offering you an authentic food experience at very reasonable prices. One more to add would be the Busan cultural center, located opposite the memorial park. The center provides a cultural and artistic space for music, theater, and dance performances both local and international.
What kind of stores are within a 5-minute walk to your front door? Within 5 minutes you are able to get to a good range of Korean restaurants, a few cozy cafes, and the odd western-style brunch café called Brunch Van. Other facilities are nearby such as two gas stations, several car parts/mechanics stores and if you add two or three more minutes to your journey, you’ll reach a Starbucks and McDonalds.
What’s the view like from your living room? We are on the 6th floor so a few buildings are impeding our view of the park. I am able to see a small stream that runs alongside the park and our apartment, the back of a middle school, and a fairly nice southwesterly view off into the horizon allowing us to appreciate a colorful sunset every evening.
Are there any restaurants, shops nearby in case you need a taste of home? As mentioned before, the Brunch Van offers a western-style brunch menu with favorites including Eggs Benedict, croissants, and some delicious paninis. Otherwise, we are in touching distance of the university district which offers a slew of burger, pasta, and sandwich restaurants.
Any recommendations on local restaurants in your area? There is a restaurant named “Chakhan nakji” (착한 낙지) which serves octopus in a chili sauce and pairs it with an incredibly crispy spring onion pancake. One other restaurant, boasting a multi-decade reputation among the locals, is a pork soup restaurant called “Sang Deungi Dwaeji Gookbab” (쌍둥이 돼지국밥). They provide generous servings of their flavorsome broth along with their own unique side dishes.
Are there any grocery shopping places nearby? Yes. We can walk 5-10 minutes to do most of our small shopping at the local marts but have the option to drive 5 minutes to the Namcheon Mega Mart for bigger weekend shopping trips.
Where could you pop out for a quick drink? The Kyungsung university/Pukyeong national university bars are the more local spots for grabbing a drink. Alternatively, a cheeky beer from the convenience store does the trick. The former considered, we prefer driving 10 minutes to Gwangali beach to enjoy a more mature drinking scene.
Is it a good area for kids to grow up in? There is an elementary, middle, and high school all in the local vicinity, and you’re very close to the neighboring residential town (LG Metro City) with its slew of hagwons. The memorial park provides one of the few large open spaces for kids to run around and play – there aren’t a great number of outdoor facilities. Also, safe children zones are circling our apartment enabling parents to feel comfortable allowing their children to walk to and from school.
Any good hangout spots to recommend? If you don’t mind the slightly younger scene, you’ll be able to find a good range of activities to pique your interest in the Kyungsung University area. There are plenty of cafes, bars, restaurants, PC rooms, and game rooms. There’s also a CGV cinema and a mini shopping complex, which I believe checks most people’s boxes when it comes to entertainment.
What are some of the stranger things you’ve seen in the area? A sudden rise in the number of cats. So much so that residents have been told to resist feeding stray cats. Other than that, there aren’t any strange things in this area that you wouldn’t have witnessed in other areas.
How expensive would you rate the area? Following the recent hike in house prices, the family-sized apartments can range anywhere between 700,000,000 – 1,000,000,000 won. If you’re looking for something smaller, like a one- or two-bedroom apartment, the proximity to a university district makes for more favorable prices and affordable local facilities.
Would you recommend your area to live in? Daeyeon is located in the inner city but doesn’t feel like a congested, bustling area. Daeyeon prides itself on being the cultural center of Busan, gaining most of its foreign interest through the Cultural center and UN Memorial park. Having large, open green spaces allows residents to capture momentary respites from the rigors of life. And you’re never too far from anything you might need, be it traditional food and culture, supermarkets, connecting highways, and a generous amount of entertainment. So, if you want to be in the city, but feel as though you are shielded from the chaos; if you’re a student needing affordable living costs; or particularly, young families who need convenience and safety then Daeyeon may be a suitable fit.
If there was any other place I could live in Busan it would be: Suyeong/Centum area. Living nearby the Suyeong river with a view of the sea sounds like an enticing proposal.