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.
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).
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.
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.
4. Walk along Dongbaegseon Island and visit APEC House
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.
Opening 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.
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.
7. Watch the city from the bird’s eye view. Busan Tower
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.
9. Visit authentic Korean Traditional restaurant: lunch and experience.
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.
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.
11. Gamcheon Cultural Village
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.
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.
13. Watch incredible sea life at Busan Aquarium
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
15. Visit Haedong Yonggung Temple
16. Check the streets around Lotte Hotel. Visit Busanjin Area
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.
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.
Shopping, cafes, cinemas and interesting streets to see.
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.
19. Modern Art Museum
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.
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.
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.
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. Lern 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!
25. Visit Seafood Restaurants in Haeundae Beach
26. The most scenic Bath and Luxury SPA with the ocean view.
Let me know if you have been to Korea too or would like to visit it!