Busan is Korea’s second largest city, and since it’s only a 2.5 hour train ride from Seoul, it is definitely worth checking out if you’re in Korea! Being a beach town, it has a completely different vibe than metropolis Seoul. After recently returning from my Korea trip, here is my quick travel guide on top things to do in Busan, Korea:
If you’re looking for the Space Needle of Seattle or the CN Tower of Toronto, the Busan Tower at Yongdusan Park is your answer! At the top of the observatory, you get an amazing panoramic view of the city and its ports. However, my favorite part about this attraction is the locks of love surrounding the Tower’s base. You can purchase various colors of hearts and padlocks, write notes to each other on them, and then lock them on fences. I mean, look how cute this is!
Gamcheon Culture Village (also known as Taegeukdo or Lego Village)
Although the history behind this village relates to refugees and poverty, it is still full of color and character. Narrow windy alleyways lead to pastel cubicle-shaped homes and quirky art installations surprise you around every corner. Some say this is like the Santorini of Korea, and you could easily get lost exploring and admiring this town for hours.
My absolute favorite thing to do in Korea is to eat street food. Changseondong is the perfect market for that; you can get kimbap, fish sticks, seafood pancakes (the list just goes on and on), and eat it on the side of a cart or as you’re walking. We would get snacks from at least three food carts before eating our actual meal since everything was so irresistible! There’s also a lot of flea market shopping around here that carry high-quality yet inexpensive clothes.
The clean blue water, fine sand, and a view of Korea’s longest suspension bridge, makes Gwanagalli Beach a great alternative to Haedundae Beach (Korea’s most popular beach). At night, this beach is bustling with live music performances and filled with ex-pats and locals. The bridge also lights up in different colors!
Since this park sits along an island, it is best known for its incredible views of the ocean and rocky cliffs. The long walk around the park is lovely as you’re surrounded by luscious greenery and you can enjoy recreational facilities such as a lighthouse and temples along the way.
Other must-do attractions in Busan
- Haeundae Beach: Most popular beach in Korea and a must-see. It’s beautiful but during the summer months, it gets extremely packed! Just remember to bring your swimsuit and sun tan lotion!
- Jagalchi Fish Market: With Busan being Korea’s major port, it is no surprise that Korea’s largest fish market is here. You can see and definitely smell large and fresh seafood, which you can also pick and bring to a nearby restaurant that will cook it in front of you!
- Shinsegae Department Store: Largest department store in the world. It has a wide variety of shops, a theater, a zoo, restaurants, and cafes. On the basement floor, there are tons of pretty and yummy desserts that you should try!
- No tipping: Don’t worry about tipping for anything in Korea. It seriously makes it easier and more enjoyable to travel without having to calculate and think about how much to tip for food, cab, hotel services, etc.
- Transportation: In Seoul we used the subway trains a lot, but in Busan we just used the buses, which was convenient and inexpensive. Cabs were available as well but we didn’t have a need for them.