Busan Travel Guide: Top 55 Things to Do in Busan, South Korea

The second largest city in Korea and the point to where allied forces were driven back in the early, trying days of the Korean War, Busan is this nation’s metropolis by the sea.  It boasts a much milder climate than its big brother, often staying well above freezing for a daytime high in the winter; as such, hardy species of palm trees and able to survive and grow here, giving the numerous beach areas a lofty appeal with native Koreans, who flock here in droves in the middle of the hot, humid summer months. Also boosting this cities’ appeal is its world-famous international film festival, which has spurned a creative renaissance among the creative portion of the population in recent years.

Whether you are visiting to escape the cruel bite of winter that northern and inland sections suffer if you’re here as an expat, or if you just a tourist here to experience everything worthwhile that Korea has to offer, Busan should occupy a prime position on your “to-visit” list!

Busan Travel Guide: Things to do in Busan, South Korea with spectacular views of the city and golden sunshine

Busan City Guide: A Brief History Of Busan, South Korea

The city of Busan, nestled on the southeastern coast of the Korean peninsula, is a veritable tapestry of history woven over thousands of years. As I delve into the annals of time, I am transported back to a time when the city was but a small fishing village known as Geochilsan-gun, which was part of the great Silla Kingdom that reigned supreme between 57 BC and AD 935. The gentle lull of the waves of the sea was the only constant in this hamlet, which was forever changing, as the winds of history blew through its streets.

It wasn’t until the Goryeo Dynasty, which lasted from 918 to 1392, that the village was elevated to a county and renamed Dongnae-gun. During this time, the Dongnae Fortress, the city’s first fortress, was built to defend against the invading Mongols, who were forever on the prowl. The fortress was a marvel of architecture and engineering, a testament to the creativity and resilience of the people of Busan.

In the 15th century, during the Joseon Dynasty that spanned from 1392 to 1897, Busan began to develop into a bustling trading port, attracting traders from far and wide. It was here that the city’s natural harbor came into its own, its deep waters and ample space making it an ideal location for maritime commerce. The streets of the city were alive with the hustle and bustle of traders, as they bartered their wares and plied their trade.

As the years rolled by, Busan continued to evolve, and in the early 20th century, during the Japanese colonial period that lasted from 1910 to 1945, the city was transformed into a modern metropolis. The Japanese built railroads, ports, and factories, which laid the foundation for Busan’s industrialization. However, this modernization came at a heavy price, and the city was used as a major supply base during World War II.

Following the liberation of Korea from Japanese rule in 1945, Busan became the temporary capital of the newly formed Republic of Korea. But, alas, the city was soon engulfed in the flames of war, as the Korean War between 1950 and 1953 tore through the land. The Battle of Busan, which was fought between North and South Korean forces, left the city in ruins.

However, from the ashes of destruction arose a new city, as Busan underwent a period of reconstruction and development. The establishment of new industries and the construction of modern infrastructure transformed the city into a hub of commerce and culture, and today, it stands as one of the largest and most important cities in South Korea, a monument to the resilience and determination of its people.

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Busan Top Attractions and Best Places to Visit in Korea

There are two Buddhist temples that you simply must see during your visit to Busan.  The first one is called Beomeosa Temple, located up in the mountains towering above downtown.  First constructed way back in 678 and rebuilt numerous times following invasions by foreign forces, Beomeosa Temple is a sanctuary of peace sitting well above the harried pace of life that flows on beneath these hallowed grounds.  Homestays are available for those that wish to live the lifestyle of a monk for a short period of time, which includes meals that are in line with their religious practice.  For a breathtaking experience, visit during the fall months, when the hillsides are ablaze in vivid reds, ornages, and yellows, adding to the appeal of the traditional Korean architecture found here.

Next, take the 181 bus outside of Haeundae subway station and ride it to its terminus at Yonggungsa Temple, an unforgettable place of Buddhist worship situated on the jagged limestone coast east of Busan.  Here, many photographic opportunities open up to avid photographers, as mist will frequently roll off the sea in varying patterns, making for tonnes of potential prize-winning shots.  Aside from the spectacular views is a spring where people attempt to toss won coins into a tiny area of the pool, in an attempt to gain some luck in their lives, and a gorgeous statue of Kwang Yin.

Those wishing to pay their respects to the brave men and women of the multinational UN-backed fighting force that dug in at Busan, and held back the surging tide of the North Korean army can do so at the UN Memorial Cemetery.  Before heading out to this sombre place (reached by taking the Busan Subway to Kyungsung University Stn), ensure that you are wearing long pants, shirts with sleeves and close-toed shoes, or guards will deny you entry at the gate.

Finally, film buffs looking to enjoy the finest in Korean and world cinema should time their visit to Busan for the first ten days of October, as this is when the Busan International Film Festival is held every year.  This festival has become insanely popular among Koreans, so be sure to plan ahead, get your tickets early, and arrive to your show early, lest you get stuck at the end of a line that wraps around the block!

Busan skywalk sunset views in South Korea

Other Cultural Attractions: Trip to Busan, South Korea

Busan has many modern attractions well worth seeing.  Let’s start this day of touring by heading to Nampo-dong and paying 5,000 won to go up Busan Tower.  Not only go you get a sweeping view of this inspiring harbour city, your ticket also comes with an admission to a museum featuring musical instruments around the world.  Quite the random pairing, but also an interesting collection to peruse over in its own right.

After snapping panorama photos to your heart’s content, amble down to the waterfront, where the smell of seafood should herald your arrival to the Jagalchi Fish Market.  In this expansive wet market, the fishers of the sea have brought every conceivable life form that is edible, from shellfish to groundfish to that famously fatal (rarely, but it can happen!) fish known as fugu, known as bogeo in Korean.  If you wish to sample some of the aquatic life that you see on the ground floor on your dinner plate, enjoy one of the faster sea to stomach turnarounds on the third floor, where countless restaurateurs stand ready to feed your seafood habit.

If on your way to the famous beaches of Busan you realize that you need a few essentials for the beach, like a bathing suit (darn, forgot it at home!), swing by Shinsegae Centum City, the largest department store on Earth.  Try not to get distracted by the myriad of attractions vying for your attention, such as a skating rink and probably one of the best jjimjilbangs (Korean spa) in all of Busan, while you search for what you need to hit the sands further down the coast.

The beach in question, as alluded to in the previous paragraph is none other than Haeundae Beach, hands down the most popular beach in all of Korea.  As a result, those searching for solitude may be sorely disappointed here, as the sands of this public treasure are hemmed in completely by loungers, and the masses that use them during the day.  However, this portion of the city is also home to the best nightlife and foreign restaurants in the entire city, so if you’re looking to get your hair down in Busan, this is the place you’ll want to be. Those looking to actually enjoy the beach without elbowing other people constantly will be better served at Seongjong Beach just east of the Busan city limits, and at Songdo Beach in Southwest Busan, as they have ample room to spread out and relax, without the hassle of getting lost in throngs of beachgoers.

source: Tastes Seoul Good 테이스트서울굿 on YouTube

Top 55 Things To Do in Busan, Korea For Visitors

Here are the top 55 things to do in Busan:

1. Visit Haeundae Beach

Haeundae Beach is famed for its soft white sands stretching over 1.5 kilometers and crystal-clear waters. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists, offering various water sports and beach activities. The beachfront is lined with cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood. During the summer, it hosts numerous festivals and events, making it the city’s most vibrant spot.

2. Explore Gamcheon Culture Village

Known as the “Machu Picchu of Busan,” Gamcheon Culture Village is a colorful hillside community. The narrow alleys are lined with brightly painted houses, cafes, and art installations. It’s a great place for photography and to experience the artistic side of Busan. The village’s history as a refuge for Korean War refugees adds depth to your visit.

3. Take a Trip to Taejongdae Resort Park

Taejongdae Resort Park offers stunning cliffside views of the sea, a dense pine forest, and a lighthouse that’s perfect for picturesque moments. You can take the Danubi Train to explore the park’s main attractions easily. The park is also known for its rock beach and offers a ferry ride for a closer look at the cliffs and sea. It’s a beautiful place to experience nature’s beauty in Busan.

4. Shop at Jagalchi Fish Market

Jagalchi Fish Market, Korea’s largest seafood market, offers a glimpse into the local way of life and Busan’s maritime culture. Visitors can explore the indoor and outdoor sections to see a wide variety of fresh seafood. It’s an ideal place to experience Korea’s unique dining culture by having seafood prepared right after you pick it. The lively atmosphere and ocean backdrop make for an unforgettable experience.

5. Stroll Through Yongdusan Park

Yongdusan Park, one of Busan’s most beloved green spaces, is home to the Busan Tower, offering panoramic views of the city. The park is beautifully landscaped and features monuments, including the Korean War Memorial. It’s a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city and hosts various cultural events throughout the year. The park’s name, meaning “Dragon Head Mountain,” is inspired by its shape resembling a dragon’s head.

6. Ascend Busan Tower

Busan Tower, standing at 120 meters tall in Yongdusan Park, provides breathtaking 360-degree views of Busan. The tower’s observation deck is a popular spot for visitors looking to capture the city’s skyline and harbor. At night, the tower lights up, making for a beautiful sight against the city backdrop. The tower also features a cafe and a gift shop for souvenirs.

7. Discover the Sea Life Busan Aquarium

Located in Haeundae Beach, the Sea Life Busan Aquarium is an underwater adventure featuring thousands of marine species. The aquarium includes a walk-through tunnel that offers an immersive experience of being surrounded by sea life. It’s an educational and entertaining visit for families, with various interactive exhibits. The aquarium’s efforts in marine conservation and education are also highlighted through its programs.

8. Experience the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)

The Busan International Film Festival, held annually in the Haeundae district, is one of Asia’s most significant film festivals. It showcases a wide range of films from around the world, including many premieres. The festival includes screenings, discussions, and events that celebrate the art of filmmaking. It’s a must-attend for cinema enthusiasts and offers a chance to see emerging trends in the global film industry.

9. Relax at Gwangalli Beach

Gwangalli Beach is known for its fine sand, relaxed atmosphere, and the stunning view of the Gwangan Bridge, especially beautiful at night when illuminated. It’s a popular spot for water sports and has a lively beachfront area with cafes, bars, and restaurants. The beach hosts various events and music festivals, making it a cultural hub in Busan. It’s a great place to enjoy the urban beach life and nightlife.

10. Walk Across Gwangan Bridge

Gwangan Bridge, spanning over Gwangalli Beach, is an architectural marvel and one of Busan’s most iconic landmarks. The bridge lights up at night in a dazzling display of colors, creating a mesmerizing view from the beach. It’s a popular spot for photographers and couples enjoying the romantic scenery. Though walking across the bridge itself isn’t possible, the view from the beach or nearby hills is spectacular.

11. Visit Beomeosa Temple

Beomeosa Temple, located on the slopes of Geumjeongsan Mountain, is a significant Buddhist temple with a history dating back to 678 AD. The temple’s serene atmosphere is enhanced by its beautiful architecture and the surrounding ancient forest. It hosts temple stay programs for those interested in learning about Korean Buddhism and meditation. The temple’s intricate details and the peaceful mountain backdrop make it a spiritual retreat from the city.

12. Hike Geumjeongsan Mountain

Geumjeongsan Mountain offers the best hiking trails in Busan, featuring stunning views, historic fortress walls, and lush landscapes. The mountain is home to Beomeosa Temple, adding a cultural aspect to your hike. There are routes for all levels of hikers, from easy walks to challenging treks. The panoramic views of Busan from the summit are truly rewarding.

13. Explore the UN Memorial Cemetery

The UN Memorial Cemetery honors UN soldiers from 16 countries that were killed during the Korean War. It’s a peaceful and beautifully maintained space that offers insight into the impact of the war on Korea and the world. The cemetery includes memorials, sculptures, and informative displays. It’s a place of reflection and historical significance.

14. Enjoy Spa Land Centum City

Spa Land Centum City, located within the Shinsegae Centum City Department Store, offers a luxurious spa experience with various saunas, baths, and relaxation zones. It’s known for its modern facilities, including a salt room, ice room, and outdoor foot baths. Spa Land provides a high-end introduction to Korea’s jjimjilbang (public bathhouse) culture. It’s a perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring Busan.

15. Visit the National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is one of Korea’s largest museums, dedicated to the country’s maritime history and culture. The museum features interactive exhibits, historic ships, and maritime artifacts. It’s an educational visit for all ages, offering insights into Korea’s relationship with the sea. The museum’s architecture, resembling a ship, is also noteworthy.

16. Take a Day Trip to Oryukdo Skywalk

The Oryukdo Skywalk offers thrilling views over the cliffs and the sea from a glass-bottomed platform. Located on the edge of Oryukdo Island, the skywalk is a popular attraction for those seeking spectacular coastal views. The area around Oryukdo is known for its natural beauty and walking trails. It’s an excellent spot for photography and experiencing the power of the ocean.

17. Shop at Shinsegae Centum City

Shinsegae Centum City is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest department store. It features a wide range of shopping options, from high-end brands to Korean fashion, and includes a spa, ice rink, and cinema. The food court offers a variety of international and Korean cuisine. It’s a shopper’s paradise and a great place to experience the modern luxury side of Busan.

18. Discover the Trickeye Museum Busan

The Trickeye Museum Busan is an interactive art museum that features optical illusion paintings and installations that come to life through augmented reality. It’s a fun experience for families and groups of friends, offering countless photo opportunities. The museum encourages visitors to become part of the art in creative and amusing ways. It’s a break from traditional museums and a dive into imaginative play.

19. Relax at Songdo Beach

Songdo Beach, known for its scenic cable car offering views of the coastline and city, is a historic beach in Busan. It’s less crowded than Haeundae and Gwangalli, providing a more relaxed atmosphere. The beach is great for swimming, jet skiing, and banana boating. The Songdo Cloud Trails, extending over the sea, make for a beautiful walk.

20. Cross the Songdo Skywalk

The Songdo Skywalk extends over the ocean, providing stunning views of Songdo Beach and its surroundings. The glass-bottomed path adds an element of thrill to the scenic walk. At night, the skywalk is illuminated, creating a romantic atmosphere. It’s a relatively new attraction that has quickly become a favorite for both locals and tourists.

21. Attend the Busan International Rock Festival

The Busan International Rock Festival showcases rock bands from Korea and around the world, set against the backdrop of Samnak Ecological Park. It’s one of Busan’s largest music festivals, attracting a diverse crowd of music fans. The festival offers a lively atmosphere with food stalls and merchandise vendors. It’s a must-attend for rock music enthusiasts visiting Busan in the summer.

22. Explore Lotte Premium Outlet Dongbusan

Lotte Premium Outlet Dongbusan is a spacious outdoor shopping mall that offers a wide range of international and Korean brands at discounted prices. It’s located in a scenic area, making shopping a pleasant experience. The outlet includes a food court, children’s play area, and a multiplex cinema. It’s a great place for bargain hunters looking to enjoy a day of shopping.

23. Visit the Busan Museum of Art

The Busan Museum of Art focuses on contemporary art, featuring works by Korean and international artists. The museum’s exhibitions are thought-provoking and cover a wide range of media. It also hosts workshops, lectures, and cultural events. The museum’s serene atmosphere and modern architecture are perfect for art lovers.

24. Wander Through Igidae Park

Igidae Park offers coastal walking paths with spectacular views of the ocean, Gwangan Bridge, and the city’s skyline. The park’s natural beauty is a photographer’s dream, especially during sunrise and sunset. It’s also a popular spot for bird watching and hiking. The park provides a quiet escape from the urban environment.

25. Take in the Views from Hwangnyeongsan Mountain

Hwangnyeongsan Mountain, located in the heart of Busan, is an easily accessible spot known for its panoramic views of the city. You can drive or hike to the summit. The mountain is especially popular at night when the city lights create a stunning landscape. It’s a romantic spot and a favorite among locals and tourists for its breathtaking scenery.

26. Busan Cinema Center

The Busan Cinema Center is an architectural marvel and the official venue of the Busan International Film Festival. Its expansive outdoor roof, known as the Big Roof, is illuminated with thousands of LED lights, creating a mesmerizing display. Inside, visitors can explore the history of cinema and attend screenings and cultural events. The center is a must-visit for film enthusiasts and architecture lovers.

27. Gukje Market

Gukje Market is one of Busan’s largest markets, offering a vast array of goods, from clothes and accessories to electronics and household items. The market’s bustling lanes also feature a variety of street food stalls serving local delicacies. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and practice your bargaining skills. The market’s history, tied to the Korean War and refugees, adds a historical dimension to your visit.

28. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, situated along the coast, is unique among Korean temples because of its stunning ocean view. The temple complex includes a series of bridges, halls, and statues that are especially beautiful during sunrise. It’s known for its peaceful atmosphere and scenic beauty. Visitors come here to make wishes and enjoy the panoramic views of the sea.

29. Bosu-dong Book Street

Bosu-dong Book Street is a charming alley lined with second-hand bookstores and cafes. It’s a haven for book lovers, offering a wide range of books, from vintage and rare editions to contemporary novels. The street’s quaint atmosphere is perfect for leisurely browsing and sipping coffee. It’s also a great place to find unique souvenirs and gifts.

30. Oryukdo Islands

The Oryukdo Islands are a group of small islets off the southern coast of Busan, offering stunning natural landscapes and sea views. A skywalk overlooking the islands provides a thrilling experience with its glass-bottomed platform. The area is great for hiking and photography, with several viewpoints along the coast. The name Oryukdo, meaning “five-six islands,” reflects the changing number of islands visible depending on the tide.

31. Busan Tower in Yongdusan Park

Busan Tower, located within Yongdusan Park, offers panoramic views of the city from its observation deck. The tower is a prominent landmark and a popular spot for visitors looking to see Busan from above. At night, the tower is illuminated, making it a beautiful sight against the city’s skyline. The park around the tower is a peaceful retreat with monuments and sculptures.

32. Choryang Ibagu-gil Road

Choryang Ibagu-gil Road is a cultural and historical walking path that tells the story of Choryang’s past and present through murals and installations. The trail offers stunning views of Busan Harbor and includes stops at historical sites and local eateries. It’s a unique way to explore the city’s history and enjoy local flavors. The walk is both educational and entertaining, suitable for all ages.

33. Bujeon Market

Bujeon Market is renowned for its fresh produce, seafood, and Korean delicacies. It’s one of the busiest markets in Busan, offering an authentic shopping experience. Visitors can find a variety of local ingredients and try street food favorites. The lively atmosphere and the chance to interact with local vendors make it a memorable visit.

34. Nurimaru APEC House

Nurimaru APEC House, located on Dongbaekseom Island, served as the venue for the APEC summit meeting. The architecture blends modern and traditional Korean styles, and the location offers beautiful views of the sea and Haeundae Beach. It’s now a public exhibition space and conference center. The surrounding area, with its scenic walking paths and coastal views, is also worth exploring.

35. Songjeong Beach

Songjeong Beach is known for its relaxed atmosphere and clear waters, making it a favorite spot for families and surfers. The beach is less crowded than Haeundae, offering a more laid-back vibe. Surfing schools and rental shops along the beach provide lessons and equipment for visitors. The annual Songjeong Beach Festival celebrates the local surfing culture and community.

36. Dongnae Eupseong Fortress

Dongnae Eupseong Fortress is a historical site that played a crucial role in defending Busan during various invasions. Visitors can explore the remains of the fortress walls and learn about its history through exhibitions. The surrounding area is known for its hot springs, adding another reason to visit. The site is a blend of history, culture, and relaxation.

37. Jangsan Mountain

Jangsan Mountain is a popular hiking destination offering trails with varying levels of difficulty and stunning views of the city and sea. The mountain is especially beautiful in spring when the azaleas bloom. It’s a great place for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the urban environment. The peak provides a panoramic view that is simply breathtaking.

38. Huinnyeoul Culture Village

Huinnyeoul Culture Village, situated on the cliffs overlooking the sea, is known for its narrow alleys, white houses, and artistic vibe. The village has become a hub for artists and creatives, with galleries, workshops, and cafes. It’s a picturesque place for a leisurely walk, offering beautiful views and a peaceful atmosphere. The village’s transformation from a neglected area to a cultural hotspot is inspiring.

39. Centum City

Centum City, home to the world’s largest department store, Shinsegae Centum City, is a modern shopping and entertainment complex. It features a wide range of shops, an ice rink, a spa, and a cinema. The area is a testament to Busan’s development and is a shopper’s paradise. It’s also home to the Busan Cinema Center, adding to the area’s attractions.

40. Busan Gamcheon Culture & Fish Market

This combined cultural and fish market in the Gamcheon area offers a unique blend of art, history, and local seafood. Visitors can enjoy fresh fish and traditional Korean dishes while exploring the colorful streets of Gamcheon Culture Village. The market is a great place to experience the local lifestyle and cuisine. It embodies the spirit of Busan, where tradition and modernity coexist.

41. Taejongdae Clam Tents

The clam tents at Taejongdae offer a unique dining experience where visitors can enjoy fresh seafood, particularly clams, cooked right at their table. The area is known for its scenic beauty, making it a perfect spot for a meal with a view. It’s a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking to enjoy Busan’s maritime culture. The relaxed, informal setting provides a glimpse into the local way of life.

42. United Nations Memorial Cemetery

This cemetery honors the UN soldiers from 22 countries who died during the Korean War. It’s a peaceful, beautifully landscaped area that offers a space for reflection on the cost of war and the value of peace. The cemetery includes several memorials and sculptures that enhance its solemn beauty. It’s the only UN cemetery in the world, making it a unique and meaningful visit.

43. F1963

F1963 is a cultural complex converted from an old wire factory, showcasing Busan’s innovative approach to urban regeneration. It features art galleries, shops, cafes, and a popular concert hall. The space retains much of its industrial charm, blended with contemporary design. It’s a great example of how industrial spaces can be transformed into vibrant cultural hubs.

44. Amnam Park

Amnam Park, located on the western edge of Busan, offers stunning coastal views, rock formations, and hiking trails. The park is less frequented by tourists, providing a quiet retreat. It’s an excellent place for photography, picnics, and nature walks. The park’s natural beauty and tranquility make it a hidden gem in Busan.

45. Gwangbokro Culture and Fashion Street

This bustling street in the heart of Busan is a paradise for shoppers and foodies, offering a wide range of fashion boutiques, street food stalls, and restaurants. The area is also known for its cultural performances and street art. It’s a great place to experience the lively urban culture of Busan. The street’s vibrant atmosphere reflects the city’s youthful spirit.

46. Busan Museum

The Busan Museum provides an in-depth look at the city’s history and culture through its extensive exhibits. It covers various periods, from ancient times to the modern era, highlighting Busan’s role in Korean history. The museum also features an outdoor garden with sculptures and historical artifacts. It’s an educational visit that offers insights into the region’s heritage.

47. Busan Modern History Museum

Located in a historic building, the Busan Modern History Museum explores the city’s development during the 19th and 20th centuries. It highlights Busan’s significance in Korea’s modernization and its interactions with foreign countries. The museum includes exhibits on the Korean War and Busan’s role as a temporary capital. It’s a fascinating place for those interested in modern history and international relations.

48. Sajik Baseball Stadium

For sports enthusiasts, attending a baseball game at Sajik Stadium offers a chance to experience Korea’s passionate baseball culture. The stadium is home to the Lotte Giants, and games here are known for their lively atmosphere. Fans singing, chanting, and enjoying the game create an unforgettable experience. It’s a fun way to spend an evening and mingle with locals.

49. Songdo Cloud Trails

Songdo Cloud Trails is an impressive skywalk that extends over the sea, providing stunning views of Songdo Beach and its surroundings. The trail includes glass sections that give the sensation of walking over the water. It’s an excellent spot for a scenic walk, especially during sunset. The Cloud Trails are a modern addition to Busan’s attractions, offering a unique perspective of the coast.

50. Lotte Giants Game

Experiencing a Lotte Giants game at Sajik Baseball Stadium is a must-do for sports fans visiting Busan. The energetic crowd, cheering routines, and fast-paced action make for an exciting outing. Baseball is one of Korea’s most popular sports, and attending a game is a great way to engage with local culture. The stadium’s atmosphere is electric, especially during key matches.

51. Cheongsapo Daritdol Observatory

The Cheongsapo Daritdol Observatory is a relatively new attraction in Busan, offering panoramic views of the sea and surrounding coastline from its glass-floored skywalk. Located near Haeundae, it’s a thrilling experience for visitors seeking unique photo opportunities. The observatory is part of a scenic walkway that connects to various beaches and dining spots. It’s a great addition to any itinerary for those looking to explore Busan’s natural beauty.

52. Gwanganlli Beach at Night

Gwanganlli Beach is renowned for its lively atmosphere and stunning night views of the illuminated Gwangan Bridge. At night, the area comes alive with street performers, food stalls, and outdoor cafes. It’s a popular gathering place for both locals and tourists to enjoy the evening sea breeze and vibrant city life. The bridge’s light show is a highlight, creating a magical backdrop for an evening out.

53. Haeundae Market

Adjacent to Haeundae Beach, Haeundae Market is a bustling spot where visitors can sample a variety of street food and local specialties. The market is known for its fresh seafood, Korean snacks, and vibrant atmosphere. It’s a great place to grab a bite after a day at the beach or to explore the local culinary scene. The market also offers souvenirs and traditional Korean items.

54. Busan Cinema Center

As the venue for the Busan International Film Festival, the Busan Cinema Center is an architectural masterpiece known for its vast roof and outdoor theater. The center hosts various film screenings, cultural events, and art exhibitions throughout the year. Its design and lighting make it one of the most iconic structures in Busan. Visiting the Cinema Center is a must for movie buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.

55. Millak Waterfront Park

Millak Waterfront Park, located along Gwanganlli Beach, offers open spaces for leisure activities, outdoor performances, and waterfront dining. It’s a great spot for an evening walk, with spectacular views of the Gwangan Bridge. The park is popular for picnics, exercising, and simply enjoying the sea view. The combination of urban and natural elements makes it a unique place to relax and enjoy Busan’s coastal charm.

What To Eat and Drink in Busan, South Korea

Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city, is a culinary haven with an abundance of delicious seafood dishes, traditional Korean cuisine, and trendy cafes. If you’re planning a trip to Busan, here are some must-try foods and drinks that will tantalize your taste buds.

  1. Raw Fish: Known as “hoe” in Korean, raw fish is a popular dish in Busan. The fish is incredibly fresh and is often caught on the same day. It’s typically served with a variety of side dishes, including vegetables, rice, and spicy dipping sauces. Sashimi is a similar dish, but it’s thinly sliced and often served with soy sauce and wasabi.
  2. Seafood Pancake: Seafood pancake, or “haemul pajeon,” is a savory pancake made with a variety of seafood, such as squid, shrimp, and mussels, mixed into the batter. It’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and is often served with a soy dipping sauce.
  3. Spicy Seafood Soup: Spicy seafood soup, or “jjamppong,” is a hot and spicy soup made with various seafood, including shrimp, squid, and clams. The soup is typically served with noodles, vegetables, and a spicy broth.
  4. Makgeolli: Makgeolli is a traditional Korean rice wine that’s popular in Busan. It’s slightly sweet and fizzy, and it’s often served in a bowl with a ladle. It pairs well with spicy and savory dishes.
  5. Soju: Soju is a clear and colorless liquor that’s similar to vodka. It’s one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Korea, and it’s often served in small shot glasses. Soju is a popular drink to enjoy with Korean barbecue or other grilled meat dishes.
  6. Coffee: Busan has a thriving coffee culture, and there are plenty of cafes to choose from. Many cafes serve specialty coffee drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, as well as Korean-style drip coffee.
  7. Street Food: Busan has a thriving street food scene, and there are plenty of delicious snacks to try. Some popular street food dishes include hotteok, a sweet and savory pancake filled with cinnamon and sugar or meat and vegetables, and eomuk, a fish cake skewer that’s often served in a warm broth.
  8. Korean Barbecue: Korean barbecue is a popular dish that’s not to be missed in Busan. It’s typically grilled at the table, and you can choose from a variety of meats, such as beef, pork, or chicken. It’s often served with lettuce wraps, rice, and a variety of side dishes.
  9. Jajangmyeon: Jajangmyeon is a popular noodle dish in Busan. It’s made with thick noodles, black bean sauce, and a variety of vegetables, including onions, zucchini, and potatoes. It’s a comfort food that’s perfect for a chilly day.
  10. Haejangguk: Haejangguk, also known as “hangover soup,” is a hearty soup that’s believed to cure hangovers. It’s made with beef broth, vegetables, and pork or beef stomach. It’s often served with rice and kimchi.

Overall, Busan is a foodie’s paradise, with a wide variety of fresh seafood, traditional Korean dishes, and unique culinary experiences. Be sure to try some of these dishes and drinks on your visit to Busan.

source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube

Top Restaurants In Busan, Korea

Busan, is famous for its delicious and fresh seafood, Korean cuisine, and unique culinary experiences. Here are some top restaurants in Busan that offer a diverse range of dishes to satisfy your taste buds.

  1. Jagalchi Market: Jagalchi Market is a must-visit seafood market and restaurant in Busan. The market has a wide selection of fresh seafood, which can be bought and cooked on-site at one of the restaurants. The dishes are simple, but the seafood is incredibly fresh and flavorful.
  2. Suminine: Suminine is a fine-dining restaurant that offers a fusion of traditional Korean cuisine with modern techniques. The dishes are beautifully presented, and the restaurant has a tranquil ambiance that makes it a perfect spot for a special occasion.
  3. Dongnae Halmae Pajeon: Dongnae Halmae Pajeon is a popular restaurant that specializes in the savory Korean pancake dish called “pajeon.” The dish is made with a variety of seafood, such as shrimp and squid, mixed into the batter, and then fried to crispy perfection.
  4. Gukje Market: Gukje Market is another popular market in Busan that has a range of street food and sit-down restaurants. The market is particularly famous for its noodle dishes, such as kalguksu and bibim naengmyeon.
  5. Haeundae Traditional Market: Haeundae Traditional Market is a bustling market that has a variety of street food stalls and sit-down restaurants. The market is particularly known for its sashimi and raw fish dishes.
  6. Kkotgetang: Kkotgetang is a restaurant that specializes in spicy fish stew made with various seafood, including fish, octopus, and clams. The stew is served with rice and a variety of side dishes.
  7. Taejongdae Jangeo Gui: Taejongdae Jangeo Gui is a restaurant that specializes in grilled eel, which is a popular dish in Busan. The eel is grilled over charcoal and served with a variety of side dishes, such as rice and kimchi.
  8. Shinsegae Food Hall: Shinsegae Food Hall is a high-end food court located in the Shinsegae department store in Busan. The food hall has a range of restaurants and food stalls that offer a variety of cuisines, including Korean, Japanese, and Western.
  9. Busan Milmyeon: Busan Milmyeon is a restaurant that specializes in the Busan-style cold noodle dish called “milmyeon.” The noodles are made with a combination of wheat and potato starch and served in a spicy and tangy broth.
  10. Miji Sikdang: Miji Sikdang is a restaurant that offers a range of Korean dishes, including the famous Busan-style pork soup called “dwaeji gukbap.” The restaurant is particularly famous for its generous portions and affordable prices.

Busan has a wide variety of restaurants and markets that offer an incredible culinary experience. Whether you’re looking for fresh seafood, traditional Korean dishes, or unique fusion cuisine, there’s something for everyone in Busan.

Busan Yongdusan Park in South Korea featuring a traditional pagoda and tower in the background

Tours For Visitors To Busan, South Korea

Here are some top tours that you can take to experience the best of Busan.

  1. Busan City Tour: A Busan City Tour is a great way to explore the city’s top attractions in a short amount of time. The tour takes you to places like the Busan Tower, Gamcheon Culture Village, and Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, among others. The tour is usually conducted on a comfortable bus and includes an English-speaking guide.
  2. Busan Food Tour: A Busan Food Tour is an excellent way to experience the city’s diverse culinary scene. The tour takes you to various food stalls and restaurants, where you can sample traditional Korean dishes like bulgogi, bibimbap, and Korean barbecue. You can also try unique local specialties like ssiat hotteok (Korean sweet pancake) and pork soup.
  3. Haeundae Beach and Gukje Market Tour: Haeundae Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Busan, and a tour to the area includes a visit to Gukje Market, one of the largest traditional markets in the city. The tour typically includes a visit to the Busan Aquarium, Dongbaek Island, and the APEC Nurimaru House.
  4. Busan Night Tour: A Busan Night Tour is a great way to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife. The tour takes you to some of the most popular nightspots in the city, including Gwangan Bridge, Haeundae Beach, and the traditional market, where you can enjoy the city’s night scenery and taste some delicious street food.
  5. Taejongdae Park and Gamcheon Culture Village Tour: Taejongdae Park is a beautiful natural park located on a rocky cliff overlooking the sea. The park is home to several hiking trails and offers stunning views of the coastline. The tour also includes a visit to the Gamcheon Culture Village, known for its colorful houses and narrow alleyways.
  6. Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival Tour: The Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the most popular events in Busan, attracting thousands of visitors each year. The tour takes you to Jinhae, a small town located just outside of Busan, where you can enjoy the cherry blossom festival and visit historical sites like the Jinhae Naval Academy Museum.
  7. Busan Film Festival Tour: Busan is home to one of Asia’s largest film festivals, the Busan International Film Festival. The tour takes you to various film-related sites in the city, including the Busan Cinema Center, and the Busan Museum of Movies.

In conclusion, Busan offers a range of tours that cater to different interests and preferences, whether you want to explore the city’s top attractions, experience its culinary scene, or attend its famous festivals.

source: TripHunter on YouTube

Busan Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels

When it comes to accommodations, Busan offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference. Here’s a detailed guide to help you choose the best accommodations for your stay in Busan.

  1. Hostels: Hostels are the best option for budget travelers who don’t mind sharing a room with other travelers. Busan has a large number of hostels available, with prices starting as low as $10 per night. Hostels offer basic amenities such as free Wi-Fi, shared kitchen facilities, and a common area for socializing with other travelers. Some popular hostels in Busan include Guesthouse Korea, Kimchee Busan Station Guesthouse, and Pusan Central Hotel.
  2. Guesthouses: Guesthouses are another budget-friendly option for travelers. They offer private rooms with shared bathrooms, which are a step up from hostel dorms. Prices for guesthouses range from $20 to $50 per night. Guesthouses also offer amenities such as free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and a communal kitchen. Some popular guesthouses in Busan include Sum Guesthouse Busan Station, Busan Guesthouse Popcorn, and Haeundae Guesthouse.
  3. Hotels: Busan has a wide range of hotels, from budget to luxury options. Prices for hotels start at $50 per night for budget options and can go up to several hundred dollars per night for luxury hotels. Most hotels offer amenities such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and an on-site restaurant. Luxury hotels also offer additional amenities like a fitness center, spa, and pool. Some popular hotels in Busan include Paradise Hotel Busan, Westin Chosun Busan, and Novotel Ambassador Busan.
  4. Airbnb: Airbnb is another popular option for accommodations in Busan. You can find a wide range of apartments and houses available for rent, with prices starting at $20 per night. Airbnb allows you to stay in a local’s home, giving you a unique experience of the city. Most Airbnb rentals also offer amenities like free Wi-Fi, kitchen facilities, and a washing machine. Some popular areas for Airbnb rentals in Busan include Haeundae, Gwangalli, and Seomyeon.
  5. Hanok Stays: Hanok Stays are traditional Korean houses that have been converted into guesthouses. They offer a unique cultural experience and a chance to stay in a traditional Korean setting. Prices for Hanok stays start at $60 per night, and they offer amenities like free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and a communal kitchen. Some popular Hanok Stays in Busan include Haeundae Someday Guesthouse, Busan Kokoro, and Busan Heritage Guesthouse.

Busan offers a wide range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for budget-friendly options like hostels and guesthouses, or more luxurious hotels and unique experiences like Hanok stays, Busan has something for everyone. Make sure to book your accommodations in advance to ensure a smooth and comfortable stay in this beautiful city.

source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube

Day Trips From Busan, South Korea

Busan is a bustling city with plenty to see and do, but if you’re looking to explore more of the surrounding area, there are plenty of day trip options available. Here are some popular day trips from Busan:

  1. Gyeongju: Gyeongju is a city located in the North Gyeongsang Province and is known as the “museum without walls.” It was once the capital of the ancient Silla Dynasty, and today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore ancient tombs, temples, and ruins, such as the famous Bulguksa Temple, Seokguram Grotto, and Cheomseongdae Observatory. Gyeongju is easily accessible from Busan by bus or train, and the journey takes about an hour and a half.
  2. Tongyeong: Tongyeong is a picturesque coastal town located in the southern part of South Korea. It is a popular destination for visitors who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the sea and mountains. Visitors can take a cable car ride to Mireuk Island for breathtaking views, explore the historic Dongpirang Village, and visit the Tongyeong Jungang Market. The journey from Busan to Tongyeong takes about two hours by bus.
  3. Jinhae: Jinhae is a small city located in the South Gyeongsang Province and is famous for its cherry blossom festival that takes place every spring. During this time, the city is covered in pink cherry blossoms, and visitors come from all over the world to see the blooming trees. Other attractions in Jinhae include the Naval Academy Museum and the Yeojwacheon Stream. The journey from Busan to Jinhae takes about 40 minutes by train.
  4. Geoje Island: Geoje Island is the second-largest island in South Korea and is known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and fishing villages. Visitors can take in the stunning scenery by hiking the Windy Hill Scenic Trail, exploring the botanical gardens of Oedo Botania Island, and taking a boat tour to Haegeumgang Island. The journey from Busan to Geoje Island takes about two hours by bus.
  5. Gamcheon Culture Village: Gamcheon Culture Village is a colorful hillside village located in the heart of Busan. Known as the “Santorini of Korea,” it offers stunning views of the city and the sea. The village is known for its vibrant houses, murals, and art installations, making it a popular destination for art and culture enthusiasts. Gamcheon Culture Village is easily accessible by subway or bus from downtown Busan.

Busan is a fantastic destination with plenty to see and do, but if you’re looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of options for day trips. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient history in Gyeongju, enjoying the stunning cherry blossoms in Jinhae, or relaxing on the beaches of Geoje Island, there’s something for everyone within easy reach of Busan.

Gamcheon cultural village from a high vantage point in Busan, South Korea

Busan Transportation Guide

Busan has a comprehensive transportation system that makes it easy to navigate the city. Here’s a detailed guide to the various modes of transportation available in Busan.

  1. Subway: The Busan Metro, also known as the Busan Subway, is a fast, efficient, and affordable way to travel around the city. The subway system consists of four lines (Lines 1, 2, 3, and 4), and trains run from around 5:00 AM to midnight. The frequency of the trains varies depending on the time of day, but they usually run every 4-8 minutes. Fares are calculated based on the distance traveled, with the average fare being around 1,300 won ($1.15 USD). Subway maps and route information are available in English, making it easy for non-Korean speakers to navigate the system.
  2. Bus: Buses are another popular mode of transportation in Busan, with several types of buses available, including city buses, intercity buses, and express buses. City buses are the most convenient for getting around within the city, with fares starting at 1,200 won ($1.05 USD) for adults. T-money cards, a rechargeable transportation card, can be used on buses, and they offer a discounted fare of 1,100 won ($0.97 USD). Intercity buses connect Busan to other cities in South Korea, while express buses offer direct routes to major destinations within Busan.
  3. Taxi: Taxis are plentiful in Busan, and they are a convenient option for getting around the city, especially for short distances or when traveling with luggage. Taxis are metered, with fares starting at 3,800 won ($3.36 USD) for the first two kilometers, and an additional 100 won ($0.09 USD) for every 144 meters. Taxis can be hailed on the street or found at taxi stands throughout the city.
  4. KTX: The KTX (Korea Train Express) is a high-speed train that connects Busan to other major cities in South Korea, such as Seoul and Daegu. The KTX is a fast and convenient way to travel long distances, with trains running at speeds of up to 300 km/h. Fares vary depending on the distance traveled, but a one-way ticket from Busan to Seoul costs around 55,000 won ($49 USD). The KTX is a popular option for tourists who want to explore other parts of the country during their visit to Busan.
  5. Bicycle: Busan is a bicycle-friendly city, with designated bike lanes and rental services available. The city has a public bike rental program called T-bike, with rental stations located throughout the city. Rental fees start at 1,000 won ($0.88 USD) for the first hour, and additional fees apply for longer rentals. Cycling is a great way to explore Busan, especially in the summer months when the weather is warm and pleasant.

Busan has a reliable and convenient transportation system that makes it easy for visitors to get around the city. From the subway and buses to taxis and the KTX, there are several transportation options to choose from. Whether you prefer the convenience of the subway or the flexibility of a taxi, you can easily explore all that Busan has to offer.

source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube

Where To Visit After Your Trip To Busan?

South Korea is a diverse country with many unique destinations to explore beyond Busan. If you’re planning to extend your trip and explore other parts of the country, here are some places to consider visiting:

  1. Seoul: As the capital city of South Korea, Seoul is a must-visit destination. It’s home to many historical landmarks, such as Gyeongbokgung Palace and Namsan Tower, as well as modern attractions, like Lotte World and Myeong-dong shopping district. Seoul is also known for its delicious street food and vibrant nightlife.
  2. Jeju Island: Located off the southern coast of South Korea, Jeju Island is a popular vacation spot known for its stunning natural beauty. It’s home to volcanic landscapes, sandy beaches, and hiking trails. Some of the must-visit attractions include Hallasan National Park, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, and Manjanggul Cave.
  3. Gyeongju: If you’re interested in South Korea’s rich history, Gyeongju is a city you should definitely visit. It’s known as the “museum without walls” due to its many historical landmarks, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bulguksa Temple, the Gyeongju National Museum, and Cheomseongdae Observatory.
  4. Busan’s surrounding areas: Busan is surrounded by several charming destinations that are worth exploring. For example, the city of Tongyeong is known for its scenic harbor and islands, while the town of Gyeongju is home to the historic Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple. The city of Ulsan is also worth a visit for its modern landmarks, such as the Hyundai Motors factory and the Lotte Department Store.

South Korea is a fascinating country with many destinations to explore beyond Busan. From the bustling city of Seoul to the natural beauty of Jeju Island and the historic landmarks of Gyeongju, there’s something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or modern culture, South Korea has something to offer.

Busan Seagull perched on the boardwalk in South Korea

Busan Travel Guide: Final Thoughts

Busan is a captivating city that offers visitors a wealth of experiences and attractions. From its bustling markets and colorful temples to its stunning beaches and natural landmarks, there is something for everyone in Busan.

Travelers should not miss the opportunity to explore the Gamcheon Culture Village, where they can immerse themselves in the local culture and experience the beauty of the historic district. A visit to the Jagalchi Fish Market is also a must, where visitors can witness the hustle and bustle of the local seafood industry and sample some of the freshest seafood dishes.

When it comes to accommodations, Busan offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels.

Transportation in Busan is also convenient and easy, with options such as the subway, buses, and taxis available. For those looking to explore other parts of South Korea, there are many day trips and tours available from Busan.

Busan is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Its unique blend of culture, nature, and modern attractions make it a city that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Busan, city of the sea and light, A place where beauty blends with might, Where modern meets tradition old, And stories of the past are told.

Gamcheon Village, colors bright, A winding maze, a stunning sight, Art and culture, mixed in style, A place to wander and beguile.

Jagalchi Market, seafood fresh, A lively hub, a bustling mesh, The catch of the day on offer wide, A feast for all, a foodie’s pride.

Nature’s splendor, Haeundae Beach, Soft sands, clear waters within reach, A place to rest, a place to play, A haven in the heat of day.

Transportation, easy and smooth, Subway, taxi, bus to move, To explore Busan’s neighboring lands, And make the most of travel plans.

Accommodations, diverse and grand, From luxury hotels to hostels stand, A place to rest, a place to dream, A place to call home, it seems.

Busan, a city with a heart, Where memories and stories start, A place to explore, a place to find, A treasure for travelers, one of a kind.

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