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Busan Travel Guide: What To Do and Must-Visit Attractions

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Booking a trip to South Korea and wondering what all the hype in Busan is about?

The port city of Busan is a major sea, land, and air transportation center in South Korea. Bathing beaches and coastal parks are therefore among the coastal tourism attractions of Busan.

Historical structures, museums, and art galleries are just a few of the city’s other attractions that draw visitors from all over the world.

Continue reading to learn more about what to do in Busan including some tourist popular activities to try, what Busan is known for, as well as the top 3 places to stay during your trip and more.

Why Visit Busan?

There are many reasons to visit Busan, South Korea’s second-largest city. 

After all, Busan offers some fantastic tourist attractions. For example, many tourists flock to Busan simply to experience their hiking trails. 

Overall, Busan is a city that can only be fully comprehended through experience. 

This city never sleeps, with its vibrant beaches, delectable seafood, busy marketplaces, painted village streets, and outstanding cultural attractions.

What To Do in Busan?

Whether you’re looking for a historical, cultural, or natural experience, Busan offers it all. 

Tourists can delve deep into the historical roots of South Korea by touring many museums and art galleries littered throughout the city. Temples can also offer visitors a cultural experience unique to Busan.

If you’re looking for a more secluded, peaceful trip, Busan also offers a multitude of hiking trails for hikers of all experience levels. 

So, while you may enjoy the hustle and bustle of Busan life, it is also quite easy to escape the city and experience the whole other side of South Korea.

Experiencing the Local Busan Cuisine

A crucial component of experiencing a foreign culture is eating local food.

 Who knows when or if you will return to South Korea, let alone Busan, so why pass up the opportunity to purchase Busan cuisine when it won’t likely be available on the Wal-Mart shelves when you get home?

For example, many tourists are rumored to enjoy Dwaeji Gukbap.  In this cuisine, a stew is prepared using a broth made from cooked pork bones, vegetables, and spices. 

Fortunately, the best places to try this stew are thought to be the Twin Pork Soup Restaurant and Wonjo Halmae Gukbap, both of which are located in the heart of Busan.

Visit Gamcheon Culture Village

One of the best things to do in Busan includes visiting the Gamcheon Culture Village.

Gamecheon is regarded as South Korea’s mural village. This indicates that it was formerly in disrepair. 

The people sought to transform the town into the rainbow tourist destination it is today after deciding they were unhappy with the neighborhood’s run-down appearance. 

This settlement, which is perched in the hills above Busan, is now embellished with stores and businesses that are painted in vibrant pastel colors

Today, the hamlet is completely covered in intriguing murals and street art. Visitors can get a bite to eat in a restaurant or cafe while taking in whatever theme has been chosen for that location.

Visit or Hike Taejongdae Park

Taejongdae Park is a rocky beach park located along the coast of Yeongdo, Busan. 

With hundreds of hiking routes that provide views of forests as well as Buddhist temples, these trails are an excellent way to enjoy Busan’s spectacular clifftop vistas.

Taejongdae Resort Park, one of Busan’s most popular outdoor areas, is also a stop on various city sightseeing excursions. 

Admission to the park is free, but tourists can also buy a cheap ticket to ride a tiny train that stops at several spots of interest throughout the park.

The park also features a tiny dock where visitors can take short boat rides to see the island’s coastline from a different point of view.

Relax At Haeundae Beach

Haeundae Beach in Busan is one of the most well-known beaches in South Korea due to the several miles of sand that make up its shoreline.  

Haeundae Beach is, therefore, regarded as a popular destination for both tourists and residents. Relax and get a tan here or go on a trip with loved ones.

Tourists can also wander along the boardwalk once they’ve had their fill of sunbathing and resting. At the boardwalk, visitors can relax and enjoy a nice local meal.

Relax At Hurshimchung Spa

The biggest and most well-known spa in Busan is Hurshimchung. 

With roughly forty distinct baths, including the longevity bath, hinoki wood bath, cave bath, and open-air outdoor bath, this spa can accommodate up to 3,000 spa guests. 

The spa’s stunning facilities, which reflect exquisite architectural appeal and are furnished with extra-large hot spring tubs in spacious areas with skylights allowing in natural light, offer a uniquely soothing experience that can only be experienced at Hurshimchung. 

Other amenities, such as jjimjilbang saunas, are also accessible for spending quality time with your family while unwinding at Hurshimchung spa.

Witnessing The Sunset at Gwangalli Beach

Gwangalli Beach is viewed as a more tranquil and quiet alternative to Haeundae Beach. This beach also provides stunning views of the Gwangandaegyo bridge. 

After nightfall, the bridge is illuminated with glittering lights in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. 

So, if you stay after dark, the sunset, in conjunction with the lit-up bridge is a spectacle not to be missed. In addition to the sunset and bridge, an evening trip to the beach can occasionally include singers and performers.

Shop at Jagalchi Fish Market

The largest fish market in South Korea, Jagalchi Fish Market, offers both live and dried seafood. 

When compared to other fish markets in Korea, Jagalchi Market stands out for its easy access to public transportation, an enormous selection of live seafood, a pleasant atmosphere, the occasional outdoor street act, and stunning views of the ocean. 

When the outside market area is excluded, it is also considered relatively clean.

You can either go to one of the numerous restaurants on the second story and choose the meals you want, or you can buy the live seafood on the ground floor and bring it there to be prepared and cooked for an extra fee.

As an alternative, you can also sample a vast variety of fish dishes in the seafood buffet restaurant on the fifth floor of the market.

Shop at Gukje Market

Following the Korean War, refugees who fled to Busan set up stalls to sell illegal or imported goods to make a livelihood, which eventually expanded into the modern Gukje Market.

Today, one of Korea’s biggest marketplaces is Gukje Market. The market’s aisles are lined with vendors offering a variety of items, especially apparel, housewares, and mechanical tools. 

A charity store-lined alleyway also lies to the right of the market, and Kkangtong Market can be found to the left.

Explore Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

One of the rare South Korean temples with a waterfront location is Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, which is, fortunately, located in the city of Busan. It’s a unique find and a fantastic chance to escape the city and take in some breathtaking scenery.

For both locals and visitors from abroad, this picturesque area has emerged as one of Busan’s top tourism destinations. 

This temple is special and intriguing for a variety of reasons, including the rocks that surround it and the sea wind. 

Although Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is rather out of the way from the heart of Busan, it is still worthwhile to see!

Naong, a Buddhist instructor, erected the temple in 1376. It was unfortunately destroyed during the Japanese invasion, but it was reconstructed in 1930. 

In 1974, the temple was given its current name, Haedong Yonggungsa, which translates as “Korean Dragon Palace Temple.”

Before reaching the temple, you must first pass past 12 stone zodiac figures with human bodies and animal faces, which are filled with statues and pagodas and give spectacular views of the sea. 

These 12 figures, which appear to be defending the temple, will take you to this stunning 8-story pagoda. 

Explore the Wide Range of Korean Products at Nampo-dong 

Nampo-dong is a southern Busan neighborhood located miles from the city’s well-known beaches. 

Every year, tourists flock to this neighborhood to shop, dine, drink, and soak in the unique atmosphere, making it the hub of shopping in Busan.

Here you can find the finest of both old and new Korea. 

Many of the wartime-built markets are still thriving today, and travelers continue to flock to the famed BIFF Square to sample traditional Korean street food.

Where to Stay in Busan? 

Finding a place to stay is a crucial part of vacation preparation. Busan, fortunately, offers a wide range of choices. 

You can, therefore, choose whatever form of accommodation you wish to fit your budget since there are so many options available.

It is important to take note, however, that Busan is conveniently divided into three primary locations where travelers can stay. These are referred to as Haeundae, Seomyeon, and Gwangan.

Staying in Haeundae or Gwangan

The two most well-liked beachy areas of Busan are Gwangan and Haeundae. Numerous hotels can also be found in both of these neighborhoods.

 is the place to go if you want to treat yourself to a luxurious hotel stay. 

On the other hand, Gwangan is preferable if you’re seeking accommodations that are more affordable.

Overall, Haeundae and Gwangan are considered the best locations if you want to spend some relaxing days sunbathing while your kids construct sandcastles on Busan’s world-famous beaches.

Staying in Seomyeon

Stay in Seomyeon to get the most out of your time in Busan. This is the most central area of the city and the ideal starting point for your exploration of Busan. 

It’s a bustling area with lots of places to eat and shop as well as convenient access to the rest of the city.

Seomyeon offers a wide variety of food and shopping establishments as well as a vibrant nightlife. 

The city’s main attractions are also only a short bus or metro ride away, making this the ideal starting point for day trips across Busan.

What is Busan Known for?

Busan is known for many things such as historical and cultural attractions.

Historical Attractions in Busan

Are you interested in learning more about Busan’s past? 

There are several historical sites in Busan, such as venerable structures, monuments, palaces, and parks, where you can discover more about the city’s illustrious past. 

These historical landmarks and museums will offer you a tour of Busan’s colorful past.

It is advised that you join a guided tour to cover the main historical attractions if you want to experience Busan’s history in greater detail.

Cultural Attractions in Busan

Busan boasts a rich cultural history, fascinating food, a plethora of temples, beach activities, and a relatively pleasant and inviting community.

As a result, visiting Busan would be incomplete without learning about its rich history. Busan’s art and cultural events will provide you with an understanding of the city’s history, customs, and artwork.

Best of all, compared to other South Korean cities, Busan is relatively calm, making it an ideal choice for a relaxing getaway.

Final Thoughts

Busan, South Korea’s port city, is a significant sea, land, and air transportation hub. Bathing beaches and coastal parks are therefore among Busan’s coastal tourism highlights.

Other attractions that lure people from all around the world include historical sites, museums, and art galleries.

Overall, Busan is a city that can only be completely understood through personal experience. With its lively beaches, scrumptious seafood, bustling marketplaces, painted village streets, and excellent cultural attractions, this city never sleeps.

Busan has it all, whether you want a historical, cultural, or natural experience. Tourists can dig deep into South Korea’s historical past by visiting the city’s various museums and art galleries.

Temples can also provide visitors with a cultural experience that is unique to South Korea.

On the other hand, if you want to go somewhere more quiet and tranquil, Busan has a plethora of hiking paths for hikers of all skill levels.

While you may appreciate the rush and bustle of Busan life, this city also provides a rather simple escape to see a different side of South Korea.

About The Author

Photo of author

Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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