5 Ideas for Busan – Things to see and Places to visit Busan
Busan is a coastal city located in the southeastern part of South Korea. It’s the second-largest city in the country, after Seoul, and has a population of over 3.5 million people. Busan is known for its beautiful beaches, hot springs, temples, and seafood cuisine. It’s also a major port city and a hub for international trade, commerce, and culture. Some of the popular tourist attractions in Busan include the Gamcheon Culture Village, the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, the Jagalchi Fish Market, and Haeundae Beach. Busan is also famous for its film industry and hosts the annual Busan International Film Festival. The city has a well-developed public transportation system, including a subway, buses, and taxis, making it easy to get around. Overall, Busan is a vibrant and dynamic city that offers a unique blend of traditional Korean culture and modern urban life. There are many things to see and do in Busan. Here are some of the top attractions and sights to visit:
So, what can you do in Busan? Here’s my low-down on the five things that you need to see, do and experience in the city on the sea.
1. Fish Market
Being a port city, Busan has a natural affinity for seafood, and it’s served up in all shapes and sizes. You can smell the place from a mile away, and when you finally make your way there, you find a living, breathing, crawling world of nautical wonder.
I’m not joking about the crawling. An octopus had escaped and was making its way across the street, prompting the woman who intended to slice it up to run after it, start hitting it, and shouting “bad octopus!”, before flinging it back in its tank.
The reason we went to the fish market was largely due to the fact that my co-worker wanted to try live, baby octopus. I thought to myself, “that’ll be pretty hard to find.”
The first restaurant we came across in the covered section of the market sat us down and whipped up some fresh, crawling, moving baby octopus with the suction cups still active.
2. Boat Ride
After successfully managing to avoid the tentacled monstrosities of the fish market, my co-workers then announced that we were going to a place called Taejeondae (태정대). When I asked, it turns out that it was a cliff.
Those who’ve been reading my blog for a while may well know that I have a deathly fear of heights, so a trip to a cliff didn’t sound like my idea of a good time, especially as the taxi continued winding uphill, the roads becoming ever steeper.
Luckily there was no walking on the cliff and I was able to not plummet to my death onto the rocks below. Instead, it turned out we were going to Taejeongdae for a boat ride. We would observe the cliffs from onboard the boat.
Now, boat rides I can handle. I snapped photos of the cliffs, got photo-bombed by seagulls, and stalked one adorable Korean couple in matching red t-shirts. And by “stalked”, I mean “checked out the guy whilst wishing that the girl wasn’t there.”
The boat ride was a great way to see a little bit of nature without really being in nature – perfect if you’re a city slicker at heart like me. It was a little cloudy during the boat ride, so I’d love to do it again on a sunny day to see the colours that come out.
3. More Food
If you caught Expat Kerri‘s post on Friday, you’ll have noticed that street food is a pretty big part of Korean culture. This is no exception in Busan.
Busan’s street food has a slightly different feel than elsewhere in Korea – especially the hook (호떡), a kind of pancake. Usually flat, sugary, and covered in cinnamon, in Busan they’re thick, with only a bit of sugar and bursting with sunflower seeds. Busan hook is by far and away from the best I’ve ever tried.
If you’re unsure which of the many street carts to choose from, then go with the one with the biggest line.
4. Diagon Alley
OK, OK, so it’s not the Diagon Alley (calm down, Potterphiles), but there are a couple of pretty decent markets worth checking out that have all manners of oddities and intricacies.
The International Market is a place where you can fulfil your need for Hello Kitty-themed merchandise, fish heads, lanterns, silverware, raspberries and ten kinds of kimchi all in the same place – and witness an ajumma fight if you’re lucky, like me.
5. Busan At Night
By far my favourite thing about Busan was how the city looks at night. Glitzy high-rise apartments and hotels transform and light up the skyline.
You can take a walk on a wooden boardwalk above and around the sea, which gives you amazing views of the city. I won’t say much more other than putting a few photos up and letting them speak for themselves.
Top 10 Places to visit Basun
Located in the Haeundae District of Busan, Haeundae Beach is one of the most famous and beautiful beaches in South Korea. It’s a great place to enjoy water sports, swimming, or just relax in the sun. The white sand, crystal-clear waters, and stunning scenery make it a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The beach is also surrounded by a variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes, providing visitors with plenty of options for food and drinks. The beach is especially lively during the summer months, with various events and festivals taking place.
Gamcheon Culture Village:
Known as the “Santorini of the East,” Gamcheon Culture Village is a picturesque hillside village in Busan. The village is famous for its colorful houses, unique art installations, and murals. Visitors can wander through the narrow alleyways, climb the steep stairs, and explore the various cafes, shops, and art galleries. The village also offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding mountains.
Taejongdae Park is a scenic park located on the southern coast of Busan. It’s known for its cliffs, beaches, and walking trails, providing visitors with a perfect escape from the busy city. The park is home to several unique rock formations, including a 200-meter high rock cliff that offers breathtaking views of the sea. The park also features a lighthouse, a temple, and a variety of flora and fauna, making it a great place for nature lovers.
Jagalchi Market is one of the largest seafood markets in South Korea, located in the heart of Busan. The market has been operating for over 80 years and is a great place to experience the local culture and cuisine. Visitors can see a wide range of live seafood, including octopus, crabs, and fish, and can also try fresh sashimi, grilled seafood, and other traditional dishes. The market is also surrounded by various shops selling souvenirs, clothes, and other items.
Beomeosa Temple is a historic Buddhist temple located in the mountains of Busan. The temple was first built in 678 AD and has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times throughout history. It’s a great place to experience Korean Buddhism and to admire the beautiful architecture and art. Visitors can explore the various halls and temples, including the Daeungjeon (Main Hall), the Geukrakjeon (Hall of Paradise), and the Iljumun (One Pillar Gate).
Gwangalli Beach is another popular beach in Busan, located in the Gwangan District. It’s famous for its stunning view of the Gwangan Bridge, especially at night when the bridge is lit up with colorful lights. The beach is also known for its lively atmosphere, with various restaurants, cafes, and bars lining the boardwalk. Visitors can enjoy water sports, swim in the ocean, or just relax on the sand and enjoy the view.
Busan Tower is an iconic landmark in the city, standing at 120 meters tall. It’s located in Yongdusan Park and offers panoramic views of the city and the sea. Visitors can take an elevator to the observation deck and enjoy the stunning views while learning about the history and culture of Busan. The tower is also surrounded by various restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops.
Shinsegae Centum City:
Shinsegae Centum City is the largest shopping mall in the world, covering an area of 3.3 million square feet. The mall is home to over 500 shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, making it a paradise for shoppers and foodies alike. Visitors can find a wide range of luxury brands, local and international fashion stores, electronics, home goods, and more. The mall also has an ice rink, a spa, a cinema, and a variety of kid-friendly activities, making it a great place for the whole family.
Yongdusan Park is a hilltop park located in the Jung-gu district of Busan. It’s known for its large observation deck, the Busan Tower, and the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin. Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the harbor from the observation deck, which is accessible by an escalator or a stairway. The statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin, a legendary naval commander, is a popular photo spot for tourists. The park also has several walking trails, a flower garden, and a traditional Korean pavilion, making it a great place to relax and enjoy nature.
Busan Museum is a museum that showcases the history and culture of Busan, from prehistoric times to the modern era. The museum has a vast collection of artifacts, documents, and artworks, including pottery, metalwork, textiles, and calligraphy. The exhibits cover a wide range of topics, such as the early history of Busan, the development of the port, and the culture and traditions of the local people. The museum also has a permanent exhibition of Buddhist art and relics, including a stone pagoda from the 8th century. Visitors can learn about the rich history and culture of Busan and gain a deeper understanding of the city’s past and present.
How to reach
The best way to reach Busan depends on your starting point, but here are some common options:
- By air: Busan has its own airport, the Busan International Airport (also known as Gimhae International Airport), which has direct flights from many cities in Asia and beyond. From the airport, you can take a taxi, bus, or subway to reach your destination in Busan.
- By train: If you’re coming from Seoul, you can take the KTX (Korea Train Express), which is a high-speed train that takes about 2.5 hours to reach Busan. The train departs from Seoul Station and arrives at Busan Station. There are also slower trains and regional trains that connect Busan to other cities in South Korea.
- By bus: There are many long-distance bus routes that connect Busan to other cities in South Korea, including Seoul, Daegu, and Gyeongju. The bus terminals in Busan are the Central Bus Terminal, the Sasang Bus Terminal, and the Seobu Bus Terminal.
- By car: You can also reach Busan by car, but keep in mind that traffic in and around the city can be heavy, especially during peak hours. There are several highways that connect Busan to other cities in South Korea, such as the Gyeongbu Expressway and the Jungbu Expressway.
Sure, here are some frequently asked questions about Busan:
What is the best time to visit Busan?
The best time to visit Busan is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant. Summer (June to August) can be hot and humid, while winter (December to February) can be cold and windy.
What are some popular local dishes in Busan?
Some popular local dishes in Busan include dwaeji gukbap (pork and rice soup), milmyeon (cold noodle soup), ssiat hotteok (sweet pancakes filled with seeds and nuts), and seafood dishes such as hoe (raw fish) and grilled eel.
What are some popular beaches in Busan?
Some popular beaches in Busan include Haeundae Beach, Gwangalli Beach, Songdo Beach, and Dadaepo Beach.
What are some popular festivals in Busan?
Some popular festivals in Busan include the Busan International Film Festival, the Busan Sea Festival, the Busan Fireworks Festival, and the Busan International Rock Festival.
What are some popular tourist attractions in Busan?
Some popular tourist attractions in Busan include the Gamcheon Culture Village, the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, the Jagalchi Market, the Busan Tower, and the Shinsegae Centum City mall.