25 Best things to do in Busan, South Korea. Busan Travel Guide.

Busan is a very particular place and not a cliché  destination to visit, you definitely will love it and it worth adding into your bucket list. South Korea is a well-developed country, which brings to the world the touch screen, MP3 player, Samsung, the technology of digital multimedia broadcasting, Korean BBQ and many other cool things.

South Korean cities embrace the mixture of the unique culture and traditions with the modern touch. There are hidden Ancient Buddhist temples along with skyscrapers, some undeveloped areas and luxury hotels with  exceptional customers service.

What to do in Busan

Busan is the second largest city in S.Korea with a population of 3.5 million, mostly Buddhists and Christians. Citizens follow old traditions, but at the same time they are open to everything new. While many of you have heard of Seoul and some of you, have, perhaps even been there during a flight connection stop over, not many people know about Busan, an awesome city- port. So what is interesting about it and what you can do in Busan?

1. City bay boat cruise & dine 

It’s one-and-a-half-hour cruise which takes you along the river to see the beautiful Diamond bridge. You can have the trip with a lunch/dinner on a ‘Tiffany 21’ liner. You can see amazing views of the city and a harbor, night lights and lights installations on the bridge. Take a two-hours tour around the Symbol of Busan – Diamond bridge. When was there, I got a feeling that the boat really need to be redesigned and renovated inside. The dinner is pretty average, but the view totally worth going there. Amazing ambiance and wonderful shiny bridge views, plus some live music at dinner will make your day. http://www.tiffany21.com/. Cruise starts at 12:00noon-2:00pm for Lunch tour with prices starting from 66,000 won. Cookie tour at 3:30pm-5:00pm priced at 44,000 won. Dinner Tour from 7:00pm-9:00pm which costs 99,000 won and lastly the Night tour from 10:30pm-12:30am for 77,000 won (Source).Busan tourist attractions

Busan night time-2

Busan attractions

Busan night time

2. Check Jagalchi Fish Market and order some grilled seafood!

Busan is a city port by the sea and the is seafood is a one of their biggest industries, it is home to Jagalchi, the Largest fish market in Korea. Here you can find lots of different kinds of seafood and, buy some grilled fish or have a fresh fish local lunch or dinner with Soju. Watch a weird sea creatures and try some if you are brave 🙂 !

This fish market is located in Nampo Dong area, close to Lotte Aqua Mall.

what to do in Korea

what to see in Busan

What to see in Busan

where to go in Busan

Places to visit in Busan

3. Heandae beach walk/ swim/surf

At Haendae you can take a beach walk, or go to some cafes across the beach. Here is why I personally prefer Busan to Seoul – there is a beach in Busan, which is nice even in winter time. And it is wonderful in summertime, when you can even rent a surfboard or just a sun bed. At the beginning of October there is Busan Film Festival. So the beach gets pretty busy and fun, here you can meet Korean or international celebrity.

Across the beach you can find many cafes and bars to stop by. If you walk down from Busan Aquarium, cross the road and turn right, you can find a small fish market, where they will grill some fresh seafood right in front of you. Do not miss a chance to try it! It is cheap and delicious, and it is a cool local experience. Or you can simply find Hard Rock Cafe infront of Paradise Hotel (just ask someone or look at the map), and walk left to the street behind it.

What to do in Busan

4. Walk along Dongbaegseon Island and visit APEC House

누리마루 APEC하우스

This walk is located near Heandae beach. If you are traveling by taxi – you can ask a taxi driver to drop you off at Westin Chosin Hotel and then simply walk up the hill. The track is quite easy and relaxing. It is surrounded by a beautiful landscape with pine trees and camelias. You will see the lighthouse, visit the noderm Nirimary APEC house-museum. Locals love coming here to jog or to walk and sightseeing. APEC was build to host a world summit in 2005, where the conference of the world leaders was held. Now it is open as a museum- memorial. It is a unique place, where the modern culture and Korean traditional culture collide. Busan

Busan attractionsOpening hours: 10-17.00. Free entry. Free wifi.

Address: 116, Dongbaek-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
부산광역시 해운대구 동백로 116 (우동)

 

5. Have a Beachside Dinner at Westin Chosin Hotel. ‘Camelia’

Visit this gorgeous fancy beach-side place for a dinner at Camelia or/and cocktail/ afternoon tea at Panorama Bar to enjoy the view. There is a large choice of seafood, meats, sushi, vegetable dishes and, of course, deserts.

Bookings in advance are strongly recommended for Friday and Saturday while during the week there are no problems with the tables and no time limits.

Places to eat in Busan

westin Camelia

6. Walk and Shop in Gwangbokro Culture and Fashion street

(Nampo Dong Area )

There is a cool shopping street with lots of various Korean fashion shops and many cafes and eateries. Here you can see funky bronze statues, which are very popular for taking pictures among tourists.

This place is especially beautiful during Christmas time and it is always busy and fun. If you want to eat something – just turn to any small parallel street and you’ll find more small local cafes.

Shopping in Busan

Other places to visit in Busan for shopping and entertainment are Lotte Mall and Aqua Mall.
These two Malls are located at the same place and are connected, so you can walk from one mall to the other. What I is interesting about this mall – there is a big fountain show every hour with lights and music. Tip: Watch it from the Ground floor.

7. Watch the city from the bird’s eye view. Busan Tower

On Gwanbokro street you can find an escalator which takes you up to see Busan Tower and the city from bird’s eye view. The ticket to the tower is quite cheap and it is only about $5 (5000 KRW).

Busan what to do
where to go in Busan  What to see in Busan

Places to visit in Busan

Where to go in Korea

8. Shop Korean Beauty products

Pick some super cute packaging that contains awesome beauty products. You might see pretty and appealing shops from the street – do not hesitate to come in and make sure to grab pressure products! Check Etude House, Tony Moly, Skin Food, It’s skin and other local brands for cute packaging, innovative products and low prices.

Read about my beauty shopping here – Korean beauty products haul and review.  

Korea best Beauty brands

9. Visit authentic Korean Traditional restaurant: lunch and experience.

흙시루  Visit the website 

Visit this place for authentic traditional dining Famous for it’s Duck dishes. This is a very particular place with a specific cool ambience, museum and a botanic garden where you can see some cute animals and local plants.

You can have your dinner or lunch just like Koreans did a long, long time ago – in a wooden houses sitting on the floor surrounded by lots of antiques. It is a great place for a family visit and a unique and unforgettable experience.

Korean traditional food
Busan best places to visit

10. The largest department store in Asia Pacific

For shopping in Busan I suggest to visit the biggest department store ‘Shinsagae’. Levels 1 and 2 accommodate luxury brands boutiques and make up stands. Following on the upper levels – Korean and international brands and some European brands, sports apparel (Fila, Nike, Adidas etc) and restaurants and cinemas. Cinemas in Korea are mostly screen movies in English with Korean subtitles.

Shopping in Busan

11. Gamcheon Cultural Village

감천문화마을

This is a village with lot’s of arts, street art and graffiti. Cool place to visit, to take photos and to have a walk. But get ready to walk a lot and to go up and down the stairs.

Gamcheon Culture village roofs

The entrance is free, but it is highly recommended to get a map (~2000KRW), because it is not easy to navigate your way in the village.

Tips by thetalesofatraveladdict of how to get there:

Take subway line 1 to Toseong Station. Then take Exit 6. On the way out you’ll see an intersection. Turn right at the corner and walk straight. On your right you’ll see a hospital and the mini bus stop  right out front.  Take Bus N 2 or 2-2.  The bus stop ‘Gamcheon Culture Village’ will be at the top of the hill.

 

12. Visit Jurassic Park on the rooftop of Shinsagae Department Store

 

If you are visiting Shinsagae Dpt store, take a time to go to the roof top. The exit to the park is just behind the cafes. It is a small park, that would be more exciting for the kids, but adults can have a look too, take some photos or just enjoy a small outdoor oasis and relax after the shopping.

dino park Busan

Cool things in Busan

 

13. Watch incredible sea life at Busan Aquarium

Sea Life is an international brand of Aquariums around the world.
This is a fun attraction for kids and adults. The Aquarium is easy to find at Haendae Beach.

what to do in Busan

Address: 1411-4 Jung 1-dong, Haeundae-gu.

Name and address in Korean:

SEA LIFE 부산 아쿠아리움,  해운대구 중1동 1411-4.

14. Score great deals at Shinsagae Outlet

If you are after sales and discounts – visit Shinsagae outlet, which is about 40 minutes away from the city or about 25 minutes from Haeundae beach. I took a taxi, as far as I was short in time and the entire trip costs around 50-60 Won for the way there and back to the city (Busanjin). While it is easy to get the taxi from the city, to return is a bit more difficult to catch a cab. There are also buses and trains that you can take to this place, which is much cheaper, of course (ask the concierge in your hotel how to get there).
Address: 1133 Jungwan-lo, Jangan – eup, Cijang-gun, Busan.
Shinsagae premium outlet
It is not that big, but you will need the entire day to walk around, have a coffee at the Starbucks or a lunch at the food court on the third level.
It is not that big that as some American or European famous outlets villages, but get ready to spend a few hours here.
There was only one ATM I was able to use with my foreign Visa card – the Citi Bank one at the food court. Other ATMs did not accept my cards.
It’s a small town but has big brand outlets, such as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Moschino, Armani, Ferragamo, Coach, Fendi and others. Upper levels are La Coste, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic, Nike and others. Everything is on a 50-70% discount.
I’ve found here cool Michael Kors hills just for just 70$. And I was lucky to find  a big size (9), which is quite difficult in Korea and any asian countries (due to the small Asian sizes). My other haul was another pair of leather boots at the Korean brand store – ‘Suecomma Bonnie’. It was the only one Korean brand where I liked for the shoe shopping. Korean footwear in general looks do not fashionable for some reason and mostly quite ugly lol. So do not expect great shoe shopping, but do expect good coats, jumpers, dresses and accessories.
 

15. Visit Haedong Yonggung Temple

What To do In BusanThis gorgeous breathtaking place with a very special ambience is located close to the traditional restaurant (number 9 in the list) and not far from Shinsagae Outlet (N.14), so you can do these 2-3 activities in one day.
To get here you can take Busan city Tour bus, or driving.
The bus departures from the Train station in Busan. There is a bus stop on the side (if you look at the station – on the right):
Busan City Tour stops
This tour to the Temple takes around 4 hours in total, it is inexpensive and highly recommended. Be ready to walk down the stairs at least to the middle. At least you will see an ocean view (e.g. if you walk with someone who has any difficulties to walk, e.g. aged parents or kids).
Busan Temple
 Spectacular views, magnificent serenity places and a special ambiance are all here.
Before building the temple they had to find a powerful place with a particular vibe. I am not a Buddhist, but I honestly could feel it.
If you’d like to enter the temple – please, take your off shoes and be quiet in respect to the prayers.
You can grab some souvenirs next to the buses parking area upstairs.
Even in this remote place you can find free wifi at the parking area.
I would also recommend visiting the temple during the week (more crowded on weekends).

16. Check the streets around Lotte Hotel. Visit Busanjin Area

 

If you are looking for a good supermarket/grocery – then go to the Lotte Plaza, level B1. They have all kinds of Korean food and any other everyday goods. You can also eat at their food court or numerous cafes. Food is quite good here and not expensive, plus the have all kinds of food and various cuisines, including french bakery Italian cafe and a sushi tray.

Next to the Lotte you can find a shopping street with lots of shops, cafes, clothes, cosmetics and sport outlets. Cinema, which is all in English in Korea – so if you understand English – you can go to the cinema without any problems.

City overview from the Lotte Hotel window:

Tips for travel to South Korea

17. Cross the road to Semeyon – 서면

Shopping area with a lot of shops including big Zara store, H&M, Foot Locker, lots of other sport apparel brands, local Korean shops and more.

Do not miss underground shopping, Korean cosmetics flagship stores and cute souvenirs shops.

what to do busan

where to go busanShopping, cafes, cinemas and interesting streets to see.

In this area one of the best Korean BBQ I’ve tried – good meat, great prices and lots of kimchi as always 🙂 do not hesitate to ask for more kimchi!
For a good Korean BBQ come to this place:
Busan restaurant
Shopping busan

What to do around Lotte hotel Busan

18. Try Korean street food

Around these streets you can find lots of street food – I’ve tried it and I’m still alive 🙂 It is not a dog (as some tourists may assume), not bad quality and taste is good and quite spicy, but not killer-spicy or even sweet.

Can you eat Korean street food?

Korean street food

19. Modern Art Museum

You can also visit the Modern art museum, which is not so big, but you can spend there an hour or so.
Visit a souvenir shop downstairs, where I bought my Van Gog umbrella. 

Museum Busan

It was a rainy day and we’ve decided to hide from a bad weather in a museum.

20. Get some silk and cotton at Busanjin Textile Market.

textile korea
textile market Busan
You can also visit a textile market, which is very big and has a wide selection of Korean traditional costumes and nice materials.
To find some silk and cotton, go a bit more deep and walk upstairs, where you can find more beautiful fabrics. It is good in quality and price is pretty affordable (but not too cheap thought).

21. Have a dinner at the Panoramic restaurant on top of Hyatt

Another beautiful place to go and see the beautiful panoramic view of the city – Park Hyatt. There are 3 options on top of the tower on the 60th floor and above. You can have a cocktail at the panoramic bar, have a tea or coffee at Patisserie or enjoy  fine dining at the Living Room or Dining Room.

You can enjoy the restaurants even if you do not stay at Hyatt. Dinner at the restaurant is about 50- 100$ per person with the drink.

Best places in Busan

Busan. what to see

Visit Park Hyatt dining page.

22. Try Soju

This is the most popular alcoholic beverage for Koreans. Depending on a brand and a type, alcohol may vary from 16.7% to 45 %, while 20% one is more common.

Soju is based on rice or barely. If you’ve tried Arak in Indonesia – soju is something similar, especially since Arak is an origin of Soju. However, I personally prefer Soju.

soju

23. Visit Cat’s Cafe in Semeyon

If you are a cat lover – you will definitely have to tick this point in the list. There are two cat’s cafes in Semeyon. You will need to buy a coffee and you’ll be allowed to play with the cats for unlimited time.

Cats cafe on Google Maps 35.15459, 129.06135

24. Learn to Surf

Go to Songheong-Dong Beach, which is only within 10 minutes drive away from Haeundae beach and 5000 Won by taxi (around 5$). You will find lots of surf shops, surf schools and surf rentals along the beach. Taking a surf lesson is really something unique for Korea travel experience! Normally waves here are not big not messy, which makes it perfect for learning!

 Where you can rent a surf in Busan?
Minos Surf Shop, address:
636-6 Ingu-ri Hyeonnam-myeon Yangyang-Gun Gangwon-do Korea.
tel. +820336725186 (the bonus is the owner – Minos speaks English).

25. Visit Seafood Restaurants in Haeundae Beach

There are plenty of various seafood restaurants along the beach from the opposite side of the beach from Westin Chosin hotel. You can walk from for example Paradise Hotel to the left if you look at the ocean and Paradise is behind.

26. The most scenic Bath and Luxury SPA with the ocean view

Expensive, but well worth it. Ideal place for honey-mooners and for those who loves to spoil themselves! A luxury answer to your question ‘What to do in Busan when it rains’.
Busan travel Guide
– Shopping Korean fashion brands in Semeyon underground (Busanjin Area)
– Visit Comodoro Hotel to see beautiful Korean style architecture, exteriors and breathtaking interiors.
See my favorite spots in Korea under Instagram hashtag #InnagramKorea
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More things to do in Busan:

Let me know if you have been to Korea too or would like to visit it!

x

Inna.

 ❤

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