Hadan-Dong, South Korea
Your Guide to Hadan in Busan, South Korea
Hadan gets a bit of a bad rap from the expats in Busan. It's not very close to the beaches like some other neighborhoods and there aren't a lot of expat bars or restaurants like in Seomyeon or Nampo.
However, there are a lot of positive things about Hadan and it's not a bad place to live, especially if you work in the area and aren't excited about a long commute from somewhere like Haeundae or Gwangali. Some of the best things about Hadan include:
1. It's very close to the Nakdong River. If you like biking, walking, or bird-watching, then this is your prime place in Busan! You can ride for hundreds of kilometers along either side of the river, or check out Eulsukdo Bird Park.
2. It's reasonably close to Dadaepo Beach, and Songdo Beach, which in my opinion are 2 of the best beaches in Busan. Dadaepo is massive and an excellent place to play some frisbee, go camping or have a bonfire.
3. Transportation is very convenient if you live in Hadan. You can take a taxi for around 10 000 Won to both Busan Station and the airport. Both should take around 20 minutes or less.
4. Hadan has everything you could possibly need, in terms of shopping and services.
The Wealthy English Teacher
Get some exercise
Lots of options
If you like biking, this is your place! You can go long and flat with a ride along the Nakdong River. Just go to the dam and then you have your choice of trails. One of my favorite ones is heading South-West from the Dam towards the Myeongji IC.
If mountain biking is your thing, just go to Dangni Station, exit 1 and then head up towards the mountain, following Jae-Seok Road. There's a nice gravel/paved road all the way up to the mountain ridge.
As for hiking, there are plenty of options. You can start at Dong-A and hike up Seunghaksan, finishing your hike at the Flower Village, Dongdaeshin, or any other point in between. You could also check out some of the small mountains around the Dadaepo area, which make a nice day out. The mountain behind Songdo beach has some stunning views as well.
Near the Dong-A main gate, there is a Muay Thai gym, as well as a MMA gym. I've heard prices are quite reasonable.
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Hospitals and Doctors in the area
For basic things, you can check out:
OK Hospital next to Hadan Subway Station exit 11, past KEB bank, open 24hrs a day. Open: M-F 9am-9pm, Sat. 9am-6pm, Sun. 9am-1pm.
There are a million and one oriental clinics around Hadan, which are often better for regular aches and pains than the Western doctor. Ask a Korean friend to show you the symbol for these clinics, or look it up on Google Translate. You might have to get a Korean friend to translate your symptoms for you, but for things like back pain, it should be no problem just to point. Visits are partially covered by your Korean health insurance, so it should be around 7000 Won/visit.
For bigger problems, you can go to:
Pusan National University Hospital - Toesong station. Go to the information desk and ask for an English interpreter. I've heard mixed reviews of this place. Definitely foreign friendly, but expensive and it's easy to fall through the cracks and not really get your problem addressed.
Dong-A Hospital- It's a short taxi ride from Dong-Dae-Shin subway station (just ask the taxi driver for Dong-A-Dae Byeong-Won). Look for the English help desk and the nice lady will handle it from there. She's on her lunch break from 12-1 usually.
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Vets in Hadan
Saha Animal Hospital is a 5 minute walk from Saha Subway Station Exit 1. Their normal clinic hours are until 6 and after that they only handle emergencies. Appointments aren't needed and most of their vets can speak English. Phone #: 051-206-1891.
PetCare Animal Hospital. It's not in Hadan, but Mina Seo has a reputation as the best expat vet in Busan. Dongeui University Subway station exit 8, walk straight for 3 min, it is on your right. Right in front of Homeplus. Open 9am-7pm. Lunch break from 12-1. It's quite helpful to make an appointment ahead of time since Mina is not there some days. I added her as a Facebook friend and she's excellent at responding to messages/ worried cat mother questions.
Where's the beach?
I'm sorry to say that there is no beach in Hadan! But, there are 2 beaches not that far away. Dadaepo is South, along the Nakdong River and about 8km from Hadan Station. It's a massive beach and a great spot for kite-boarding, one of the best in the world in fact. It's also the only spot in Busan for campfires and camping, although don't do it at the height of the summer season (July/August) because you'll have the beach police hassling you.
Songdo is about 6km away and a beautiful spot to go for a swim. It's deep and also has a diving platform. As a bonus, you can get some delicious fried chicken at Mom's Touch. Umbrella rentals are 5000 won for the day.
If you want to go to Gwangali or Haeundae, just take the 1001 express bus. It's fast if there is no traffic.
More information about Hadan-Dong, Busan
- Saha-Gu Foreigners and Friends
This Facebook group should be your first stop for further information about Hadan-Dong, South Korea. Saha-Gu is the bigger district, of which Hadan is a part of.
- Live in Hadan or commute from elsewhere?
Expats weigh in with their opinions.
- Goodwill in Hadan
Your #1 stop for cheap home furnishings.
I want to have some fun in Hadan-Dong!
If you like eating and drinking, check out the back streets across from the main gate at Dong-A. You can meet some of the students and eat some good, cheap food. There are also plenty of singing rooms, video game rooms, and DVD rooms around that area as well.
There is a group on Facebook called "Saha-Gu Foreigners and Friends." There are often weekly meetups at one of the local bars, so you can easily meet some people.
Nampo-Dong is a quick subway ride from Hadan, which has lots of options for Western restaurants and movie theaters.
People love Arun Thai!
And if you want to party like a rock-star until the wee hours of the morning, perhaps Hadan-Dong isn't your place. But, you can take the 1001 bus to Gwangali or Haeundae, party all night and then catch the first bus or subway back at around 6am.
Beer Mart: a Favorite Place to go out Drinking in Hadan
Meet some expats too!
This is where the Thursday night Saha-Gu and friends gathering happens, but you could possibly find a few expats there on other nights as well:
Come out of Hadan subway station Exit 7 and do a u-turn. You will see a CU convenience store. Turn right into that street. It's actually a red light street, but don't be put off. Continue along that road and over the hill. You will soon see a police station on the right. "Donga Bunker/Beer Mart/Beer Club" is in the next building. You'll see the big red sign above the door.
*** Note: You will pass another Beer Mart of the same brand at street level, but we prefer to meet at the basement location next to the police station as described above.
Beer in Us
Beer and fries: a winning combo
One of my favorite places for a casual drink with friends is "Beer in Us," which is up by Dong-A University. It has a good atmosphere and the guys that run it are foreigner friendly. They have delicious beer on tap, which is student-priced. Meaning a decent size glass for a decent price. As a bonus, they frequently come to refill the foam so you're never without a beer mustache. They also have delicious fries (chips), of which you can choose a couple different dipping sauces. And if you're not that hungry, they have pretzels to snack on for free.
Getting there is relatively easy. Just go to Hadan Station exit 9 and walk straight. Past the Starbucks and Top Mart for about 5 minutes. Eventually you'll see the big sign leading you towards Dong-A University. Just follow that road up towards the school and look on the right-hand side. You can't miss it.
Busan Transportation FC
If you like watching semi-professional soccer for free, then you're in luck if you live in Hadan. The games really are free and they're a pretty fun time. Plus, you can stop outside the gates of the stadium and pick up your own snacks and food. Koreans traditionally get beer and fried chicken for the game.
The games are held at Gudeok Station, which is within easy walking distance of Dongdaeshin and Seodaeshin Stations, just East of Busan. Information about dates and times are easily found online.
How to get to Costco
If you're an expat in Busan, you'll definitely want to check out Costco. They have things that are almost impossible to find anywhere else, like frozen, whole turkeys (around Thanksgiving and Christmas), a wide selection of cheeses, ground beef at reasonable prices and an impressive wine selection with none of the crap you usually find at the chain supermarkets.
And, you should really go hungry because the food court there is fabulously delicious. The pizza is really, truly American style. Hotdogs, bulgogi bakes, salads. Everything is amazing.
Take the 1001 bus to Centum City and change to a local bus 115. I usually just take a taxi from Suyeong Station because it's much easier
Learn some Korean before your trip to South Korea
Learning to read Hangul (the Korean alphabet) is VITAL to your success in learning Korean.
An excellent choice for a beginner book.
Tax and Pension Office in Hadan
If you've been working at a hagwon (private language institute) or public school in Korea, you and your employer should have been making matching contributions to the National Pension Plan (around 4-5% each). If you are from certain countries (Canada/USA for sure), you can get this money back when you leave Korea, and it's actually quite simple to do. It can add up to a substantial amount of money if you are in Korea for even a year, so don't forget to do this before you go.
Here are the directions for where you can apply for your pension refund:
Hadan station, Exit 7 corner. It's in the same building as Samsung on the corner by Exit 7. Look for the "NPS" sign on the 10th floor.
To get your pension refund, you'll need to bring: your plane ticket for departure from the country ( 1 month or less before departure date), Passport, Korean ID card, bank information.
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Should I Live in Hadan or commute from one of the "nicer" neighborhoods?
Maybe you've asked yourself this question. Lots of people have. Hadan has a bit of a bad reputation on the Internet as polluted, dirty and just not a nice place to live, which is why many people wonder if they should live somewhere else in Busan and just commute to their jobs in Hadan. My short answer is: no. If you work in Hadan, just live in Hadan because it's actually not a bad place to live. It has some decent restaurants, bars, and all the services and shopping you could possibly want, as well as lots of exercise options. Housing prices are also quite reasonable and you can get a larger and nicer place in Hadan than you could in one of the more expensive neighborhoods.
However, if you like to go out 5 or 6 nights of the week, then perhaps somewhere closer to the party scene would be more your thing. You'll end up spending a huge amount of time on public transport and then taking very expensive taxi rides home late at night.
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Are you interested in Teaching English in Busan?
- My Life! Teaching in a Korean University
Check out this blog about a Canadian teaching at a university in Hadan-Dong, South Korea.
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Favorite Restaurants in Hadan
Tulla (European), located near Lotteria in Hadan, on the road opposite from Dong-A University. They have salmon, steak and other very delicious things!
Sono (Italian), located on the main street in Hadan, past Lotteria and across from Dong-A's main gate. Great thin-crust pizzas and fantastic pastas. It's a great place to take a date.
Pho, located on the main street in Hadan, across from Starbucks.
Seoga and Cook: American/International Fare (e.g. Salads, Pastas, and Steaks). It's near Dong-A University, down from the Lotteria and across from Miller Time. The food is amazing and everything is authentic "Western Style." Each plate is 18,000 won and is for two people.
Good, cheap food. Around Dong-A University there are plenty of cheap student restaurants that are cheap and reasonably tasty. They have things like BBQ meat, chigaes and Dakgalbi. It's perfect for those on a budget with the no-frills food and service.
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How to get to the Airport from Hadan
Hadan is very close to the airport and you can get there in under 15 minutes (if no traffic) and for about 12 000 Won in a taxi.
Or, take bus 338 (from Dadaepo area), which goes to Sasang. Then, you can catch the light rail to the airport.
Of, if you're in Hadan, take bus 13 from the middle of the street near exits 3 and 5. It takes approximately 30-35 minutes from here to the airport.