Seoul and Busan are both great cities but often get compared to each other since they’re close in proximity, similar in size, and of course, directly across from one another.
We’ve all heard that Busan is better for beach vacations and the nightlife is better in Seoul. But I’m here to give you the facts and my own experience.
Here below are some topics I’ve covered from my own experience when I was visiting Seoul and Busan a few months ago.
In Seoul and Busan, temperatures are near equal in the winter– around 27 degrees Celsius. They are significantly different from summer, where there is an average difference of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius.
However, even if one city has a lower temperature than the other on average, each city will still be pleasant to visit in both seasons. What I really like about the weather in both cities is during the spring.
Both cities are beautiful to visit, and you’ll see trees sprouting leaves, grass becoming greener, and so on. This has been one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life.
If you ever watch Korean Drama’s you’ll notice that it’s actually real and not fake. If the weather is good, it makes it good for a day trip, and you can be laid back all day.
Make sure to stay hydrated if it’s very hot outside, most people have an umbrella when the sun is too bright for them.
Busan is home to various city centers such as Seungsyung University and Haeundae. It lies in mountains and coasts along the coastline.
One of the many benefits to Busan is that I can find a trail nearby no matter where I am. Seoul, on the other hand, has soil that lacks hills, and natives live south from Seoul or north Mountain ranges cover its eastern side.
Another plus is that the people are very friendly. You can ask around if you have any questions, and people are happy to help you.
In Seoul, there are more foreigners, which makes it more appealing, but Busan is a great place too. In almost all big cities are foreigners, you just have to find the right people, and you’ll be able to make friends very easily.
Dining and Nightlife
Whether you prefer Seoul or Busan, Korean cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes – one will surely please your taste palate. Bibimbap noodles and savory beef roasted with bulgogi sauce are some of the signature dishes offered in each city.
The nightlife is amazing in Seoul, people are outside all night and you don’t have to feel in danger. You can literally walk alone at night without worrying about being looked at.
Seoul has tons of clubs that play all kinds of music. You can choose to go out on the weekend or just have a few drinks at your local bar around the corner.
Busan has fewer people on the streets at night (I don’t know why), but still a lot of foreigners who speak English. There is also a high concentration of nightclubs that play techno music all the time, which I love.
Korean hotels vary in price and quality, but Busan has few memorable hotel options though Seoul is home to a variety of Hanan-branded hotels.
What I really like about the hotels in Seoul is that most rooms have a bathtub, and I can get more variety – like the pillows or beds aren’t too soft or hard.
If you’re looking for a hotel, I would definitely recommend going with Seoul since the quality is better and you can do more sightseeing. Of course, the price will be higher, but if you’re on vacation, it’s definitely worth it.
In South Korea, buses and trains connect many of its cities. Locals have an excellent reputation for being prompt, punctual, and always on time.
Flying from the US is a convenient and easy way to get from Busan to Seoul or vice versa. Make sure to book way in advance and check the airline schedule carefully to make sure that you don’t miss your flight.
If I book a plane ticket at least 3 months in advance, it will cost about $1,000. But if you book very late, it will be way more expensive, and that means you can spend less money on food or other stuff.
In Seoul, there are way more tourists compared to Busan. This is mostly because it is more modern and therefore more popular.
If you’re traveling on a budget, I would definitely recommend Busan since most of the activities are free and there are a ton of different places to go.
Why Seoul Is Better than Busan?
Seoul is the biggest city in South Korea, and as such, it has more activities. The number of departures from Incheon Airport exceeds Gimhae International Airport, which means that you have even more access to places all over the world.
From my own experience, Seoul is definitely better than Busan. I came for vacation, and it was really nice to see all the tourist attractions that Seoul had to offer, like Lotte World, Lotte Duty Free, and it was also really awesome taking pictures as well.
It was also really fun going to Myeongdong, which is a shopping district in Seoul. It had a wide variety of food as well.
Seoul also has more variety in terms of hotels that you can stay at, which means I had a lot more choice with picking one, and it was really good for me since I wasn’t able to make up my mind on what hotel I wanted to stay at.
It also made traveling way easier because there were more things for me to see other than Busan. I really enjoyed my time in Seoul since it had a lot of things to do and places to go, which meant that there was never a boring moment for me in Seoul.
The Verdict on Seoul vs. Busan
Seoul is a popular destination for tourists, while Busan is less crowded, which makes it a great place to visit for peace and quiet. Seoul has a variety of tourist attractions that are sure to please most everyone’s taste.
I would say the best thing about Seoul is all of the cultural things I get to see while relaxing on the beach at night. While in Busan, you can be more relaxed and enjoy your stay while being able to do other things.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here below are some frequently asked questions that might help you make a decision.
Is Busan Worth Visiting?
Yes, it’s definitely worth visiting if you have the time. Make sure to visit both Seoul and Busan.
Busan and Seoul are both interesting cities, but Busan is not as vibrant or accessible as Seoul. The merits of visiting Busan grow the stronger advantage Seoul has.
Is Seoul close to Busan?
It’s actually only 3 hours away from Busan, and it is easily accessible from the airport. There are buses that take you to Seoul Airport. You can also go by train or by plane.
Are Seoul and Busan safe?
Both cities are extremely safe, one of the safest in the world with no instances of violence that you would see. In fact, there’s even a district that has an all-night police patrol to ensure that tourists will be guided safely at all times from place to place. However, it’s always better to have someone with you, like a friend or family member, for added security.
At the end of the day, it all depends on your thoughts. Both cities are amazing in their own aspects, and there’s never a dull moment with both of them having various things to do.
I would say that you should visit both Seoul and Busan but make sure that you actually take time out for yourself and rest up as well because traveling can be exhausting at times.