Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live elsewhere?

Hallo All,

I might have to opportunity to go to Busan for 2 to 5 years. The place where I work is about 20km west of Busan, Hadan-dong. Most of the (german) colleagues live there, but they are singles and I will go there with my wife.

So the question is: Is Hadan a good place to live? Nightlife is not the big issue here, as I won't go partying every night and it should be OK to take the sub/taxi on the weekends.

Haeundae seems to be a bit too expat for our taste. Plus it is a 1h ride on the sub every morning and evening in addition to the ride on the shuttle bus to my campus.

Saha had some bad comments here, but amongst them was "it's near Hadan, so there will be good food", which I take as "Hadan is not that bad".

Thanks for your opinions.



Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

Hello T,

I didn't post on the 'Saha' topic earlier this week because I was busy, but I've lived in Saha-gu for three years and 18 months of that was spent in Hadan, which is one of the 'dongs' within Saha-gu. Saha-gu may be 20km west of certain areas of Busan by the way, but it is still very much part of the city of Busan.

Saha - including Hadan - is not an area foreigners typically live in and it is not as developed as some other areas of Busan such as Haeundae, PNU and the more central areas, although it is an area which has been targeted for development by city authorities and at least one major project including a park/shopping mall/cinema complex is being planned. I should mention that the statement by one poster that Saha's air is thick with pollution due to its industrial nature was extremely misleading and ignorant of the reality. There are people who post on these boards who want to pretend they have knowledge of things they clearly do not, so please don't believe everything you read here!

As ever in Korea, the enjoyment of the place you live is really down to what you want from it. One-third of Saha is forested mountains, and it's very close to the Nakdong river (with its nature reserve for birds) and the sea - so if you like walking and fresher air than many areas of central Busan it's great - but Saha is not particularly known for its night-life compared to other areas of the city. That said, the area around Hadan-oguri (the 'five road junction') leading up to the Dong-A University campus (perhaps from the use of the word 'campus' in your message this is where your job is?) has plenty of cafés, bars, restaurants, pool halls and other entertainment. However, the Dong-A area is around a 10-minute walk from Hadan-oguri, which is where the nearest subway currently is (there are meant to be plans to extend the line, but I think it's mainly talk right now) - although the university runs regular shuttle buses, which might be what you were referring to.

You mention the possibility of living in Haeundae and commuting. In fact I'd say it's around 1 hour 20 minutes by subway to Hadan from Haeundae, and you have to switch trains in Seomyeon. I wouldn't want to make that journey every day personally. If you don't want to live in Hadan, there are other interesting areas closer to it on the subway than Haeundae.


Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

Will your company be supplying you with a car, or would you consider buying one. If so, I would recommend living in Hauendae or somewhere similar. If you are going to be staying in this town for any length of time, living in a nice place really makes life easier.

Haeundae to Hadan is really easy. Bridge, Tunnel, Expressway, Exit. Normally takes 20-40 minutes depending on traffic.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

if you want quiet saha is okay. i lived there and personally i hated it. to away from everything for me.  if you dont care too much about the expat life or taking cabs, saha is okay. but, it does become hard in that sometimes you do want to speak english with people-say friends and there just are not that many foreigners there. there are some for sure but if you like making friends and so on it may not be for. if you like quiet and dont mind commuting, it may be okay.

as for being developed, whatever. maybe in 5 to 10 years from now but other than lotte world 2 (which has been stopped yet agan and may never be built, and if was, wouldnt be done for another 5 years) there is nothing going on there. it is as korean as it gets there. pretty bleak are in my eye. dadepo beach is near there but i wouldnt even put my foot in that water. other than that it is a conrete jungle.

as for pollution, yes, it is dirtier. how can you say it isnt-the industrial area is right there-sinpyeong. you go into there and the air is definately a little off. saying it is clean there is wrong. but the saha are is big. where in saha? near hadan station is one stop from sinpyeong. near daeti is further away. there is nothing there but...

anyway, it reads like you might not mind it. it is busy yet quiet. personally, i think after a while of being there you will get sick of it as you will always be leaving that area to do anything but i could be wrong. the one good thing is the airport is nar by if you like getting away and the train station is 10 stops away via the subway so it is convenient for that. good luck.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

Thank you very much for all the information and advice. I will be working not in Hadan, but about 20km west from that. That's why most of the colleagues are staying in Hadan. For me it will be quite a long time in Busan (minimum 2 years, but 5 years are more probable, with no upper limit).

I thought about going a bit more to the east. Maybe someplace around Nampo-dong. But this might just be a bit too noisy. Is there anyplace on the net where I can find out how long the subway will take?

I'm not quite sure, wether I will have a car there. Is it a good idea to drive through all of busan every morning? By car I would have to get to the westbound 104.

I was thinking about Seo-Myeon as well.

So let's rephrase the question:

Where to live, if I want to:

1. be someplace that's not a concrete jungle (my wife want's to see green or water)

2. be not too far away from "live", including expats

3. not in an area where there are only expats

4. be close to the exit to the west (if the city expressways are not too jammed in the mornings the eastern parts might be worth considering)

5.havve some decent infrastructure for day to day shopping

6. pay a reasonable rent

Thanks a lot for your help


Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

It sounds like you will be working in Noksan or the new port area perhaps for the German university campus. Haeundae to there everyday would do your head in. You'd spend a big part of your 2-5 years stuck in traffic especially if you'll be travelling in peak times.

Hadan would be the most convenient and the air isn't too bad. Dadaepo would be nicer, near the beach, but far away from everywhere. If your wife wants green and Seomyeon is out of the question as it is a concrete jungle and has worse air than Hadan.

My advice is Daeshin-dong. It's close to Daeshin park with some mountians and greenery. there are 3 tunnels that can allow easy access to different places. By taxi: It's 5-10 minutes to Hadan, 5-10 minutes to Busan station, 5-10 minutes to Nampodong, 20-25 to Seomyeon. It's not overpopulated with foreigners so some on this board will say it's no good. Those same people probably live in their little foreign enclave with minimal contact with the people in whose country they reside. It's also close to free football at Gudeok stadium. It's not that great for shopping in the immediate vicinity but there is the new Lotte department store in Nampodong which is 10 minutes by taxi. There are also some good restaurants I can let you know about and the rent isn't too expensive. Also, if you don't have a car it's on the subway. 10 minutes to hadan, 5 minutes to nampodong, 25 minutes to seomyeon.

The further east you go the more you will add to your commute. And there's nothing really until you get to Daeyeon/Yonghodong. This is a more foreigner friendly area with more expats and more nightlife. There are some parks like igidae and gwangan beach. this would also be good, but you might be adding another hour a day to your commute.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

Hi guys,

I just moved to Hadan on Friday so I haven't had much time to explore. I'm living about a ten minute walk from Hadan station, exit 1. I was just wondering about things to do in the area. I don't know anyone living here yet, most of the people I know are spread out all over Busan. Are there many foreigners living here? Where is the best place to shop/go out/play sports...etc.? 

It is a bit of a pain in the a## to have an hour long subway ride everytime I need to go somewhere, but it can't be helped so I'm looking to make the most of it. 

Thanks in advance!

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

honestly, there really is no "good" place in that area. dadepo is out as there is no subway line to there and between there and hadan is the industrial area so not that pleasent. seomyeon is out for sure-too far for you and soooo busy. the traffic is sick! nampodong used to be a good place to visit because of the foreigners market but now you can get deodorant and so on everywhere so it is not the place for foreigners anymore. the west side is out. traffic is brutal. i drive and man, i avoid places like the plague during rush hour.

just west of hadan is a river with some parky areas but hadan itself is bland. that whole main road through saha is bland and that is all that is there. did you look into kimhae-the city on the other side of the river? 

well, with tht said, daeshindong may be the best option. the reason is there are foreign places there where the few foreigners may frequent (dunkin donuts and so on) and there is a stadium there with some green area.  the other guy was right, there are tunnels that get you into saha and then out of the city and being a little more in the city, it is easier to get around to other parts.

i used ot live in hadan and i hated it. daeshindong would have been better for me. now that i live in haeundae daeshindong would suck but for you and your wife, it may be the best spot.

busan is huge. there is not a lot of greenery or water unless you are right on it so no matter where you live in that area, you are sort of out of luck so while that is not great, the location may be best for convenience sakes. anyway, i hope this helps. daesindong may be just the best of the worst.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

<i>as for pollution, yes, it is dirtier. how can you say it isnt-the industrial area is right there-sinpyeong. you go into there and the air is definately a little off. saying it is clean there is wrong. but the saha are is big.</i>

Saying there is clean air anywhere in Busan is probably wrong. Which is why I used the word 'fresher' air rather than fresh. I didn't use the word 'clean'. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but your reply seems to be putting a word into my mouth I never used.

The industrial area at the edge of Saha in Sinpyeong-dong may contribute negatively to air quality in the local area but Saha isn't tiny and like most things it depends on atmospherics and how the air generally moves direction. Saha is a coastal district with sea on three sides.

It's easy to become overly focused on industry as a cause of pollution while forgetting the effects of urban pollution caused by traffic, which can be especially bad in a city such as Busan due to traffic load and atmospheric temperatures. In addition to carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and all the other headline problems we've long known about, low level ozone caused by the burning of fossil fuels (e.g. traffic) is now being recognised as massively increasing the risks of respiratory diseases as well as causing premature cell ageing. You can't see it of course because it's colourless. There was a major 15-20 year study of this in the US released in the last couple of years - as I recall it was based around LA - it was in the medical journals. You might fear industrial pollution, but urban pollution is a serious killer.

When I first came to Busan I also looked into the air quality issue in some detail. At the time KMA data appeared to suggest Saha was one of the better areas and, as you'd expect, the pollution index for many of the central more urbanised areas was worse. I have a PDF from the KMA with a map which shows Saha as what you might call a Band-C to D area for nitrogen dioxide pollution with Band-A being the worst. Now, it's been four years since I came here. Maybe things have changed since I looked into this, but there certainly isn't more industry in Saha and there certainly isn't less traffic pollution in central Busan, so I don't see that it would have.

I wouldn't choose to live in Saha if I didn't have family commitments here, so there are a lot of ways in which I wouldn't defend it as a place to live, especially for foreigners needing their night-life and ex-pat community, but anyone who thinks that the air quality is somehow better in some other areas of Busan compared to Saha is really just misleading themselves on the data I've seen.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

I'll try to address you're main points, but all in all I'd say that Hadan would suit your needs.  It all depends on your plans, and if you're not planning on partying every night, I can't see any reason why you wouldn't like it there.

1. be someplace that's not a concrete jungle (my wife want's to see green or water)

Hadan is fairly green in comparison to other parts of Busan.  There is a sports park across the bridge from the bus station, so it's easy to get to some decent greenery.  There is also a wetlands park and a nice big mountain in the area too. 

2. be not too far away from "live", including expats

Busan is a "small" big city.  If you want a day out from Hadan, you're rarely going to have to travel more than an hour or an hour and a half to get to other areas you might want to visit.  Learn to love the express buses rather than the subway (1001 is much faster and goes from Hadan to Haeundae).  A taxi from Haeundae after a night out shouldn't cost you much more than 20,000w.

You may even want to try visiting Gimhae from there for an alternative to parts of Busan (Bus-58-1). 

3. not in an area where there are only expats

There are expats in the area, but I'm not sure how many.

4. be close to the exit to the west (if the city expressways are not too jammed in the mornings the eastern parts might be worth considering)

Yes, it is.  Once you get past the intersection, it's pretty much a straight run.

5.have some decent infrastructure for day to day shopping

There is a Lotte Mart (Supermarket) down the road towards Sasang, and plenty of shopping places and global brands.

6. pay a reasonable rent

I have no idea, but I'd assume it's pretty reasonable, but you'd have to shop around.

Hope that helps.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

I live in Hadan and from my point of view, it is a decent area to live in. There is always fresh air (compared to Seoul) blowing in from the ocean, the river is very close, there is a giant park just across the bridge, there is a trail along the river, and pretty mountain views.

I live less than 5 min from the subway and I am happy with everything in Hadan, except one big complaint. For me, I don't have a car yet, and trying to get to the big supermarket costs me about 5000won each way by taxi. However, all three major companies have a store nearby (E Mart, Lotte Mart, and Home Plus).

As for expats, I have no idea. I really don't care much about meeting people based on where they are from. Just never cared much, but maybe because I have a big network of Korean friends, no idea. Going to Haeundae from Hadan is a pain. If you have money, buy a boat. If not, take the express bus. There is one small stop at Hadan station. I haven't tried it, but I am eager to someday.

Personally, everything I need is here in Hadan. There are plenty of electronic stores, western name brand clothing, markets, supermarkets, old style outside veggie markets, fast food, mountains, ocean, rivers, parks, subway, buses, taxis, restaurants, and tons of medical facilities.

Good luck to you which ever way you choose. I like Hadan, but everybody is different. I don't really see anything wrong with Hadan (except the lack of public transportation to the supermarkets) so I'd recommend you keep it on the list as an option!

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

The truth is that Hadan is the biggest sh*thole on the peninsula: in fact, it's worse than most any where north of the DMZ.  The women are all mingers, the locals are pretty much all Down Syndrome-y and unkind, the food is rancid and the foreign community consists of the most boring herd of whoppers ever to waddle off a plane direct from Saskatchewan.  You'd be better off taking a job in the ocean.

I, for one, would like to see the whole place firebombed and then covered in DDT.

Just my two cents...

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

Nampo has lots more to do, but is also busier because of it.  It depends on what pace of life you're looking for.  Saha was really nice for a year, as it is quiet, the people are extremely friendly, and there are plenty of restaurants to explore.  Nampo is a great area to explore as well.  

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

tharp42 's point isn't valid, I think. Seriously, I have studied about North Korea for the majority of my undergrad and I have met several people from North Korea. Hadan is not nearly that bad. It isn't the worst place in all of Korea. I have been to worse. I live in Hadan, and it isn't so bad. Yes, the people are rude, but to a westerner, everybody in Korea is rude. I actually find that it is only the young people there that are especially rude. I have seen young people push down to the ground elderly people who are trying to get on the bus so that they can get the seat first. And there is some pollution, but it really isn't horrible. Detroit is worse overall, I think.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

Tharp42 and company harping on how crappy the Hadan, Dangri, etc. areas of Saha-gu hold up exactly why I love this place.  Those who chose to live here do so because they can function independantly of an ex-pat bar to throw away their time and money on.  People out here seem to be able to live without a social safety net and can blend into situations or deal with people who arent carbon copies of their favorite sitcom stars.

Come on, if any of you honestly lived here you wouldnt say anything close to these negitive things.  If you have a bed here and commute to your social safety net every night then why on earth did you even leave yo home town-

Ranting aside, I live in Saha-gu and I like it a good deal.  Sure it isnt on the center of the hub but just as many have said it has distinct benifits.  My choice benifits are:

1. Travel- Sure its a long subway ride to get to "popularcity#2746y3843 overpriced ex-pat bar #873gde3wy4" but lets face it every ex-pat bar is the same.  Sad foreigners complaining about how different things are here.  You may as well be that creepy group of old Itallians on the corner bickering about what tree in Scicily was the tallest.

I have a car and I can get in or out of the city in minuets, makes weekend trips very fun and shopping for big items a dream.  For the inner city stuff just ride the subway or bus and do something amazing like read, or even stranger study Korean.  <gasp>

2. Greenery- After living in some of the largest cities in the world the concerete just gets old.  Parks are scarce and not impressive in most cities, but the terrain here provides for a nice green landscape in any directoin I look.  On your off time just walking to the market can be refresing as nature is surrounding you.  The air here is very god for this size of city.  The only areas with a "smell" are right outside the factories and a mountian away from anything I breathe.

3. Work- Its pretty dman nice to live close to where you work and save that commuting time for doing enjoyable things.  Living less than 20 minuets from work is so priceless I would give up a good deal to do so.  Here I dont feel like I gave up a thing.  Driving 30 minuets or more on a daily basis is rough in Korea, I did it, doing it in a city this big would drive me bonkers.

My advice is to come on over to Saha-gu.  Pick the right area near a subway and settle down.  If you have a personality and any kind of ability to adapt to a new situation you will be very happy here. If not, well, the generic claptraps coverd that.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

No, really, living in Hadan is like having an apartment in a sick cat's lower intestinal tract.  It is WAY worse than any North Korean gulag.  Those people you talked to were just brainwashed by Southern Capitalist lackeys.  Hadan makes Mogadishu look like Geneva.  The air tastes like AIDS.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

chamberlin, you are wrong. people come here because they need to be around expats- coming here is brave as it is. they are leaving everything. people dont want to go to kyungsung and haeundae bec they have to, they do because that is what normal people is called socializing.  hadan sucks-i used to live there. it is dead. tharp is right on-although his analogies are a little out there for me; but obviously, he is just trying to make a point-IT SUCKS and i would agree. i lasted 7 months beefore i bailed. was so tired of cabbing it and if not out, being isolated, surrounded by korea. believe it or not, i dont think people come here for the culture. hard to believe but true. i think people come to work and make money and still be themselves.

 anyone who thinks it is a good place to live is someone who couldnt make it back home and came here to get away and hide. either that or is a loner, and there is nothing wrong with that. but if you are a normal person who likes meeting people, having a few drinks and seeing friends conveniently, then hadan is not for you. you need to be an introvert to like that place. if you are coming with your wife-like this person is, and she is not working and so on, you dont want to be there. she will hate it. do you want someone suffocating you because they are bored stiff- good luck.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

'Self proclaimed funny man of busan' when has tharp42 said that?   Have you ever seen him?  He is pretty funny, if it is the same guy I think it is.  In my opinion,though, he is has nothing on that short, loud dude that opens the Ha Ha shows.  He is the funniest in my opinion.  I love it when he hits us with the CRAB EYES! 

Sounds like a mixed bag on Hadan.  It is too far to go for me more than twice and neither time I thought I wanted to move there alone or with anyone else.

Re: Live in Hadan or better take a longer commute to live ...

I lived in Hadan back in 1995, it is out there that's for sure. They have made nice paths along the river in recent years and somewhat cleaned the place up. I wouldn't want to live there especially if it meant a serious commute to wherever I worked. If you have a car you are better off living on the other side of the river in that little fishing village or a little further in Noksan.