Things To Do In Busan-
Located at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, Busan is a port city in South Korea. It is the busiest port in South Korea. Busan is also southeastern South Korea’s economic and educational center. Gimhae Airport and Busan Station keep Busan connected to other countries and cities.
What Is Famous In Busan?
Busan features an ambience that has ethnic and cultural diversity. The top things to do in Busan establishes it as one the best port cities in the world. The city welcomes a cosmopolitan crowd of visitors and sailors from around the world year-round.
Busan offers a rich cultural history for visitors to explore, interesting cuisine, numerous mountains and temples, some of the best beaches and seaside things to do etc.
Busan is relatively less bustling and has a more laid back atmosphere than other cities like Seoul. That is why it is a good destination if you’re in need of a peaceful vacation.
Busan is also known for its hot springs, nature reserves and events such as the city’s renowned film festival held each fall.
How Long Do You Need In Busan?
The ideal duration of a visitor’s stay depends only on the interests of the visitor.
Because of the vastness of the city, it’s advised to explore it in parts. According to the locals, you’ll need a minimum of 2-3 days to touch down the tourist attractions of the city.
Is Busan Worth Visiting?
Yes, travel to Busan is definitely worth it! Seoul is great, but Busan is truly a gem of a city. Below is the list of best things to do in Busan, South Korea. It’ll answer this question better and may help you to plan your trip better.
GAMCHEON CULTURE VILLAGE-
The Gamcheon Culture Village, also known as “Santorini of the East” or “Lego village”, is a neighborhood rolled into the side of a mountain in Gamcheon-dong, Saha District, Busan, South Korea. It features pastel-colored, Lego-like houses and colorful, historic alleyways.
This part of the city began as a shelter for refugees during Korean War. The Gamcheon Culture village is an art gallery itself. Explore the galleries, studios, gorgeous murals, and cozy studios here.
Don’t forget to take insta-worthy photos of this artistic face of Busan. Buy a map of the village if you want to participate in the treasure hunt event or if you’re on a self tour.
TEMPLES IN BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA-
One of the greatest shrines in Korea, Beomeosa temple is located up on the eastern edge of Geumjeongsan Mountain, near Geumjeong Fortress in Busan, South Korea.
It is also called the Temple of the Nirvana Fish and is a head Buddhist temple of the Jogye Order. Beomeosa temple is a few kilometers away and secluded from the city and is an ideal place for people looking for a city break.
The ancient Buddhist temple has been destroyed and rebuilt many times since its foundation in the 7th century. The temple complex has several buildings and objects recognized as official treasures.
The temple’s preserved Daeungjeon Hall is the architecture of the Joseon Dynasty. A 3-storied pagoda dating back to the 9th century called Iljoomoon Gate is also worth a visit.
Even before reaching the temple, visitors can enjoy seeing treasures like Jogyemun, the one Pillar Gate. The landscape around the temple is home to around 6,500 plants of wild wisteria. They blossom every year in late spring giving off an extraordinary sight to this valley. (Deungungok)
The temple is famous among all types of visitors including worshippers, hikers and tourists on weekends. Beomeosa temple also offers staying facilities where you can experience monks’ life.
You can also hike uphill to the old fortifications in the left. Or head right and enjoy a lovely walk uphill to reach a viewing point with an absolutely spectacular view over the city.
HAEDONG YONGGUNGSA TEMPLE-
The Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a very popular seaside Buddhist temple complex in Gijang-gun, Busan, South Korea. Originally built in 1376 during the Goryeo Dynasty, it is also known as The Dragon Palace Temple.
South Korea’s this temple is special as it spreads along the shoreline near Haeundae Beach, unseen anywhere else in Korea. The beautiful architecture juxtaposed with the sounds of sea makes it a delightful experience.
The temple has no ticket charges and has beautiful Buddhist statues and sculptures, such as Hakeupul Buddha, a gold statue of Maitreya Buddha etc.
Hakeupul Buddhais known to give blessings of success. A giant dragon sculpture in the temple’s courtyard is also very popular. Go down the temple to find a subterranean medicinal spring (yak suh toh).
In April, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple celebrates the Birth of Buddha. It is a festive occasion with the cherry blossoms in full bloom, making it the best time to visit Yonggungsa. It also has multiple car parks, restaurants and a complete tourist market selling valuable souvenirs, edibles etc.
BEACHES INN BUSAN-
Most popular destination in summer in South Korea, Haeundae beach is a top tourist attraction in eastern Busan, South Korea. Thanks to the beach’s popularity , there are numerous hotels and other places to stay around here making it a perfect base to start the city exploration. It gets really overcrowded in late July and early August.
Haeundae beach is home to several attractions including the Busan Aquarium. The aquarium is famous for its 180° view from the sea bed in the ocean tunnel. It also has amazing displays and exhibits like 3-D rides.
In summer, the events are like a sand sculpture festival in June and the city-wide Busan Sea Festival in August. There are also concerts, beach-side fireworks, Water Carnival, dance and EDM performances.
In winter, the beach hosts various festivals and events like the BIFF and the new year Polar Bear Swim. The neighborhoods near the beach have some great restaurants and cafes and shops. The streets behind the beachfront boulevard are totally Instagram worthy.
Surfing and jet skiing is also provided by various companies here.
Unlike the other major beaches in Busan, Haeundae beach faces south.
The Gwangalli Beach is similar to Haeundae beach but it’s best experienced at night. The illuminated Gwangandaegyo Grand Suspension Bridge is visible from here. The bridge’s LED lightshow after dark lights up the beach from dusk to early hours of morning. The Gwangan bridge over Suyeong River joins Centum City to Suyeong-gu. It is the second-longest bridge in the country.
The place around the beach is rich with interesting restaurants, bars and shops, and hotels with impressive spa and sauna facilities. There are almost 300 restaurants, cafes, breweries and sushi bars around here.
Hence, it is a perfect place to enjoy evening cocktails at the sunset. American themed Galmegi Brewing Co. is just a few steps away from the beach.
Busan International Fireworks Festival in October is hosted here. It is one of the largest fireworks events in Asia.
The Songdo beach is a man-made beach in Busan, South Korea. Attractions include a cable car that connects Geobuk (Turtle) Island with Songdo and Sky Cruise.
OTHER BEACHES IN BUSAN-
Other beaches include Dadaepo Beach Park, Imnang Beach, Ilgwang Beach etc.
PLACES FOR RECREATION-
YONGDUSAN PARK – BUSAN TOWER-
Home to the emblem of Busan city, Busan Tower, Yongdusan Park is a beautiful, 69,000-square-meter area. It has over 70 species of trees, and features pavilions, and statues of Korean figures.
Yongdusan Park is also known as Dragonhead (yongdu) Mountain. The park served as the trading place of the Chosun Dynasty and Japan until the 17th and 18th century.
At Yongdusan Park, locals indulge in various recreational activities like jogging and cycling, picnicking under lush trees. The park also hosts traditional performances on Saturday afternoons, from March through November. It’s main attraction is Busan Tower, among others.
Busan Tower is a 120 meter tall tower that offers an awesome panorama of the entire city. The lower levels of the tower have some galleries and gift shops, a aquarium and science exhibition, and the top floor has the observation deck.
The circular observation deck sports large windows. There’s a beautiful view of the Busan Bridge, Jagalchi Market, the harbor at night etc. from the top. Make sure you visit the souvenir shop to buy some love padlocks to adorn the tower’s fence.
Other attractions of the park that make it one of the best things to do in Busan include the Museum of World Folk Instruments and Exhibition Hall of World Model Boats, Literary Monuments, Flower Clock, Pavilion, Dragon tower etc.
Museum of World Folk Instruments features numerous unique and bizarre instruments from around the world. Visitors can even play them! At the Exhibition Hall of World Model Boats, you’ll see over 80 sail boats.
40-steps is a theme street that celebrates the post Korean War history and culture. The 450-metre-long street is lined with a number of lamps, sculptures and bronze figures. These decorations of the street highlight the hardship that the refugees went through.
This place is very close to Yongdusan Park. The Gate of Peace near the Jungang-dong Trade Center has a small light that casts light over the 40-steps Culture and Tourism Theme Street.
Another one of the best things to do in Busan is to spend your day at Taejongdae. Located at the southernmost tip of Yeongu-du islands, it was named after King Taejong Muyeol of the Silla Dynasty. Taejondae is a natural which was even used by the King as a recreational area for practicing archery.
Apart from historical reasons, the park is also famous for having a spectacular exotic scenery with white Taejongdae lighthouse overlooking the green sea. You can indulge in a self guided tour of the park.
Its walking trail leads up to magnificent rocky cliffs facing the open. From there you can enjoy panoramic views of Busan, Daema Island, and even Japanese island of Tsushima on good weather days.
Here at the park, you can also enjoy fresh seafood on the rocky shore and wild pebbled beach. Other attractions include boating around the Olyuk Islands, seeing the famous ‘Suicide Rock, riding on a mini train called “Danubi train”, and an observatory, an amusement park, a cruise ship terminal etc. The park has free entry.
BUSAN CITIZENS PARK-
Largest park of Buan, it has pathways, trails, children’s playground,gardens etc. It is also famous for having a beach in the park, a forested book café and a culture and arts village. Speciality of this park is exquisite fountains like tunnel fountain, musical fountain etc.
Centum city is the most talked about urban development project. It has offices, exhibition halls like famous Bexco, shopping stores etc. All of this is accessible by Line Two of the Busan Metro.
SHINSEGAE CENTUM CITY-
It is home to grand Shinsegae Centum City. Shopping fanatics can’t visit Busan and not visit Shinsegae.
It is the biggest shopping complex in the world with ten floors and has stores dedicated to a multitude of products and brands. There is an ice-skating rink on the fourth floor and a multiplex cinema on the upper levels.
Busan’s home to almost 450 spas, and among them Spaland is one of the best. It has almost 20 spas, themed rooms with various healing properties, and provide exemplary services. Spas here have all-natural spring water.
The signs and instructions guide are also given here in English, making it popular among foreigners. their Korean restaurant is also worth a try. Before 8 AM and after 8 PM, entry is discounted.
BUSAN CINEMA CENTER-
Situated next to Shinsegae, it is the official venue of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). Opening and closing ceremonies of the festival take place here.
The center has awesome architecture with the longest cantilever roof called THE BIG ROOF. It also has facilities for outdoor cinema screening. At night, a light show is displayed on the ceiling.
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES-
BUSAN MUSEUM OF MODERN HISTORY-
This museum showcases modern history of Busan. You’ll get to know about Busan during Japanese occupation, its role in Korean War and its relationship with the USA.
Foreign language interpretation service is available here to keep you in loop. You can spend an hour or two here.
BUSAN MUSEUM OF ART-
It is one of the best things for art lovers in Busan. To explore the contemporary modern art scene in Busan, visit here.
It is divided into 3 galleries on five floors. The museum has no entry fees and it exhibits mostly local artists.
History lovers who want to know about the prehistoric to present day Busan, your search will end here.
It has a history experience room where you can touch relics, print a rubbed copy, erect pagoda and wooden brackets. You can also try folk arts and traditional Korean clothes here.
RADIUM ART CENTER-
Located near Haeundae beach, this art center features both permanent and temporary art exhibitions. This also offers educational programs to people.
It has permanent collections of artists including Arman, Boisgontier, César, Mas, Moya and Sosno, and André Villers’ photographs of Picasso. It also has its own café called Marie Curie.
Since busan is surrounded by hills, it has some nice hiking trails.
GEUMJEONG FORTRESS TRAIL-
Near Beomeosa temple, it is a trail of 9 kilometers. Cable car stations are situated here. This trail lets you reach the gates of Geumjeong Fortress.
JANGSAN MOUNTAIN TRAIL-
Near Huadenae, this well known trail features military bases and mine fields. You can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Busan for free from here from 634 meters from the ground.
SEOKBULSA TEMPLE TRAIL-
This hidden gem of a trail has everything that makes up for an adventurous trail. It offers from statues carved in the mountain itself to peaceful and great views.
PLACES TO SHOP AT-
JAGALCHI FISH MARKET-
The Jagalchi Market, Busan is South Korea’s largest fish and seafood market. You’ll be able to find lots of great fish and other seafood there. For non-squeamish people, there’s also an opportunity to eat squid whose tail will be wiggling when you eat it! It is a live market where freshly caught fish is bought and sold for comparatively low prices.
The first floor of the fish market building is the fish market. The second floor sells raw products at the raw fish center and dried seafood section. At the raw fish center, you can have your meal prepared at economical prices. The food has seasonings and maeuntang or spicy fish soup. Try to come very early to have the best experience.
You’ll see activities of the fish market like fish being landed etc. It is walking distance from the Jagalchi station on the Busan Metro Line 1 and Nampo-dong.
Along Gukje and Gwangbok-dong Market, Nampi-dong makes up the three major shopping districts in Busan, South Korea. These lively markets are very well connected. The shops here target people of all ages and groups. From vintage clothing to top Korean beauty care products, you can find anything in this hustling-bustling market from any budget range.
Heaven for bibliophiles, it has an alley dedicated to second hand books called Bosu-dong Alley. There’s also a dedicated alley for bargain markets.
Via Gukje market, international goods are brought to Busan. New Lotte Departmental Store fast fashion brands like H&M, Mango, Zara etc.
At night, the whole area glows up with all the neon signs of the shops.
SEOMYEON SHOPPING CENTER-
It is Busan’s largest commercial district. Vibrant shopping and entertainment are, it caters to all types of public demands from department stores to discount stores and traditional markets. You can also try some Korean food here.
PLACES TO EAT AT-
Busan hosts dishes that are not available in other parts of Korea. They are seafood and green onion pancakes called Dong-nae pajeon, cold soup called Daegu Tang, and puffer fish soup called Bokguk. Its Korean street food is its specialty.
The area around BIFF Square hosts the best Korean street food in Busan. Sweet treats like ssiat hotteok which is a pancake stuffed with seeds, brown sugar, honey and peanuts is one of the best things to eat here. Other street Korean food like chungmu kimbap (seaweed-wrapped rice), bibimbap (rice bowl with hot-pepper paste, vegetables, and ground beef) etc. are easily available here.
GWANGBOK DONG STREET FOOD-
Come here with an empty stomach because this place is an absolute treat for the taste buds. Situated in Gwangbokdong area, serves an assortment of Korean street food like dumpling, mandu, dakgangjeong, beondegi, garibi etc.
Just next to Busan station, this place serves classic fish cake (eomuk) of various kinds, shapes, sizes and flavors. It sells fish cakes in flavors like cheese, sweet potato, hot pepper, curry, shrimp and potato. Their factory is in Yeongdo where you can pay a visit for guided tours.
From sitting on the floor to eating order giant dumplings called wang mandu and traditional noodles called milmyeon, an absolutely authentic Korean house experience is provided here. It is also one of the best things to enjoy here in Busan, South Korea.
Please also read about top things to do in savannah.