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Terra Guesthouse
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Reviewed September 23, 2013

Sometimes the best part about living in Korea and being centrally located in Daejeon is the easy freedom and simplicity of booking a train ticket to quickly take you someplace new or different. It is much like I imagine living in Europe somewhere and having that mythical and romantic-sounding creation, the “Eurail Pass.”



There is not necessarily a danger in having a preconceived notion about how such a thing would work or how it would make you feel to travel by rail throughout Europe, but I am learning that it is positive and healthy to have goals and ambitions. Having expectations, however, with regards to traveling, reading, or just plain living, is the wrong way to experience life.

Having again run out of books and somewhat bored with too many recent trips to Seoul, I decided it had been too long since I had returned to one of my favorite parts of South Korea, the magical port city of Busan. Not only is it home to beautiful beaches and a great second-hand bookstore (Fully Booked), it also has an amazing fish market that I have strangely failed to visit. Cheymus and Olivia agreed to look in on foster kitty, Bean, and I found a terrific guesthouse near (literally on top of) Jagalchi Fish Market, Korea’s largest seafood market.


A rare KTX derailment in Daegu pushed my trip back by a week and it was certainly strange to see delayed arrival times on the big board at Daejeon Station for the first time. Perhaps this was an omen to postpone the trip, which I actually was happy to do. All of Korea was thrown into gridlock by the disruption to the normally punctual and efficient Korail system. Taking a bus was an option, but as I have previously mentioned, flexibility is this traveler’s best friend. It also underlines the expectations versus reality debate.

Jagalchi Fish Market, in the neighborhood of Nampo-dong in Jung-gu and Chungmu-dong, turns out to be an amazing feast for the senses, as well as the palate. What’s even more amazing is that, when viewed on a map, the market seems to be located next to a piece land (Yeongdo-gu) that looks remarkably like a real fish !?

The outdoor vendors selling live, freshly caught, or frozen varieties, are all lined up in stalls that seem to go on forever, as are the adjoining restaurants with fish tanks and friendly “barkers” or “Jagalchi Ajummas,” ‘ajumma’ meaning middle-aged or married women, encouraging you to choose their offerings or step into their shops.

Not only is this a wonderful way to look into the past at a simpler time in Korea, it is essentially a giant free aquarium full of rare, unusual, and apparently edible bounties from the neighboring sea. It was only later that I learned that most of Korea is currently avoiding seafood due to increased fears of radioactive contamination stemming from the Japan tsunami, and subsequent nuclear plant meltdown at Fukushima.

Perhaps it was best that I didn’t know this in advance as it most certainly would have prevented me from enjoying two of the best fried fish meals I have ever had (sorry Cape Cod). It might also explain why some of the vendors were reluctant to appear in my photos or attempts to shoot an Instagram video of the non-stop action. As I have since learned, most are fearful of foreigners reporting negatively on the market (and their livelihood), despite a nationwide ban on seafood from Japan, which has met with repeated requests from Tokyo to lift the embargo.



What made the weekend stay even more enjoyable was a thoroughly wonderful stay at Terra Guest House. Terra, formerly Korea Guest House Jagalchi, is conveniently located directly above the indoor portion of the market in a newer building. Not only is it one of the biggest and most well appointed hostels I have stayed at here in Korea, it boasts one of the most beautiful views of the harbor and neighborhoods surrounding the market district. I booked a stay there the week before which was conveniently refunded due to the train accident, so I returned the following week with just a vague idea of its true proximity to the market. Using Google Maps once I arrived in the area, I was amazed to find it in the very same building I was strolling through. It was sort of like that scene in Aliens when Bill Paxton’s character is having trouble reading all the blips on his tracker.

Stunned and amazed at my good fortune, I went up and checked-in after personally thanking the staff for their understanding about my previous reservation. As I have mentioned in previous posts, my favorite online reservation source, Agoda.com, does not typically offer refunds or reservation alterations, but I have found their customer service extremely helpful and responsive to assist with mix-ups and/or “acts of God,” like the train accident. Furthermore, the staff at Terra also gave me a room at an even lower price for my troubles and was thoroughly kind and helpful for the duration of my stay.

Terra is also remarkably affordable despite its central location (just a few stops from Busan Station on the #1 Orange line) and premium amenities, including a complimentary breakfast (toast, coffee, juice, and cereal) and the rooftop view from the patio/deck that is a great way to take in the harbor any time of day or night. Someone will have to explain the whole “Continental Breakfast” thing to me sometime. What continent is it exactly that this breakfast originated? There is also a nice bathroom and separate huge shower area. The lounge is also big and comfortable with beer and coffee drinks available throughout the day (as well as a cute house kitty). The whole place has free Wi-Fi and was not only relaxing, but also spotlessly clean and thoroughly modern. I cannot recommend this guesthouse enough and will look forward to staying there again on my next visit.

Now, about this matter of expectations versus reality…I guess I will save that for a separate post and let your mind wander a bit about it until then.

Room Tip: I recommend always traveling with earplugs and a sleep mask. The downside of staying at a dorm-style hostel is that one snoring guest or early riser can ruin the most relaxing part of your trip.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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Thank TheRockTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Busan_Jagalchi, 매니저 at Terra Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded September 24, 2013

Thank you for staying with us and your great review.
We'll keep us up.
Hope you visit sometime soon~~
Thank you again~~ take care~~^^

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013 via mobile

Good location, facilities and staff. Especialy roof top terrace is nice.

This area is nice because of the (fish)markets, shopping, tower and more. If you want beach and clubs, go to haeundae, but else: go here!

  • Stayed: July 2013
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Thank JutMans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Busan_Jagalchi, 매니저 at Terra Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded September 24, 2013

Thank you for staying with us.
And great review~~
Hope visit here soon.
Thank you again~take care~~^^

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

Finding this guesthouse is idiot-proof. Positioned at the top level of Jagalchi fishmarket, it's just a stone's throw from the subway station. The location of this place can't be better. It's just right beside a huge shopping district of Busan, which has a plethora of dining and shopping options. Being right at the fish market made my experience at this guesthouse extremely unique. I went back at 11pm one night and witnessed the auctioning of seafood. And at 1am on another night, I saw the market vendors set up their stores. The fishmarket is a place that never sleeps. Despite the buzz and bustle going on all day long, you'll never hear them at the guesthouse.
In addition, the guesthouse commands an AWESOME view of the Busan harbour from their balcony, where the fishermen bring in their catch. Eating breakfast and sipping coffee every morning is a must-do when you're staying at the guesthouse. Same goes for enjoying the breeze and admiring the night scene of the harbour every evening. I'm pretty sure most hotels in Busan cannot offer such magnificent views.

Location aside, the service provided by the guesthouse staff is splendid. The 2 ladies speak fluent English and gave useful information about travelling in Busan. They also offer vouchers that give discounts to various attractions like the Busan Tower. Approach them for more details.

Facilities in the guesthouse is fantastic. I've nothing to complain about. They provide a towel everyday, amenities in the shower room and toilet were sufficient, there's a washing machine and dryer that you can use for a nominal fee and breakfast (toast, bread and coffee) is provided everyday from 7am - 9am. Sitting at the top level of Jagalchi Fish Market, the guesthouse has the luxury of an extremely high ceiling, which makes the entire place feel extremely spacious. The marble floor and interior design of the place gives it a classy feel.

If you have some money to spare, choose the private rooms. Trust me, you'll never regret your experience. Not only do the rooms come with a private toilet, you'll also be rewarded with the splendid view of the harbour. Again, few hotels can rival this, in terms of price and quality.

Room Tip: If you have some money to spare, choose the private rooms. Trust me, you'll never regret your experience. Not only do the rooms come with a private toilet, you'll also be rewarded with the splendid view of the harbour. Again, few hotels can rival this, in terms of price and quality.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank HaoJun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Busan_Jagalchi, 매니저 at Terra Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded September 24, 2013

Thank you for staying with us.
And really appreacitate that your great review.
Hope visit here again soon~~
Thanks again..Take care~~^^

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

Awesome view and clean place. But that wasn't the best part about it. The staff there, especially Amy and Kay, were just phenomenal. They were very accommodating in every which way. I booked the place sort of last minute and it was during Buddha's birthday. Despite it being a holiday and notoriously busy, we were accommodated. Quick and smooth! When asking for directions to certain landmarks, the response was quick and on point. Next time we come back Jagalchi would definitely be the place we'd go to again.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank henry l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Busan_Jagalchi, Guest Relations Manager at Terra Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded June 3, 2013

Thanks for the comments! We strive to make the stay of our guests as pleasant as possible. Hope to see you again soon! :)

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Reviewed April 16, 2013

The location of the guest house has an incredible atmosphere. The guesthouse itself is very clean and the two ladies that run the place are really welcoming, kind and funny. The harbour view from the balcony is amazing. I would have my breakfast out on the balcony every morning. The showers were fantastic. Busan is a great city, and the guest house made my time there that much better. Thank you K and Amy, and see you soon, when I pass back through Busan

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Cosimo H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Busan_Jagalchi, 매니저 at Terra Guesthouse, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2013

I remember when you have a breakfast every morning at the balcony
Thank you very much for review,,I hope see you again ^^

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