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If you are thinking of traveling to Busan, South Korea, this is the ultimate guide. We'll tell you 10 of the best things to do in Busan without missing a thing. We'll also give you 5 day trip ideas from Busan, 10 restaurants you need to try, and 5 tips for staying in Busan.
10 Best Things to do in Busan
If you're headed to Busan, South Korea for vacation, you're in for a treat. Busan is a dynamic city with a ton to offer, and it's especially popular during the summer thanks to the beautiful beaches. But no matter what time of year you visit, there are always plenty of things to do. When you get there, don't forget to check out these 10 best things to do in Busan:
Taejongdae Resort Park
At Taejongdae Resort Park, you'll get a chance to explore some of the most beautiful natural settings in Busan. It's located on the southernmost tip of Yeongdo Island, and it's home to some gorgeous landscapes as well as some amazing rock formations. If you'd like to learn more about the history of the area, there are also a couple museums with some interesting artifacts—or, if you're feeling really adventurous, you can hike up one of the mountains for an incredible view of the sea!
Another incredible place to visit is the Busan Aquarium. The Busan Aquarium is one of the largest in Korea, with over 10 million visitors every year! It features an interactive touch pool where kids can see starfish and sea cucumbers up close, as well as an underwater tunnel that goes through an artificial ocean habitat filled with sharks and stingrays swimming above your head. It's located on Haeundae Beach so you can enjoy both attractions at once!
Songdo Base Station
Songdo Base Station is the perfect place to start your trip in Busan. This place has a wide variety of activities for tourists, with a boardwalk, lighthouse, bay walking trails, and cafes. You can get a fantastic view of the area from the cable cars! The base station was originally built in 1966 as an observation point for locals to watch the ships come into port. Later it became popular with tourists, who flocked to take pictures from the top of the lighthouse.
Songdo Beach is a beautiful beach located just south of Haeundae Beach on the southeastern side of Busan. It's known for having soft sand and clear, warm water during the summer months, making it a popular destination for swimming and watersports. There's also a small park nearby where you can relax and enjoy views of nearby Gwangan Bridge, one of the most iconic bridges in South Korea!
Yonggung Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple that dates back over 700 years. The temple is perched on a cliffside overlooking the ocean, giving it an air of serenity and peace. The temple has beautiful architecture and is known for its distinctive statues of Buddha carved into nearby cliffs. It's said that some visitors have even seen ghosts or other spiritual apparitions at the temple!
This bridge, which crosses the Nakdong River, is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world! It's also the pride of Busan; it's an architectural marvel that was built to withstand earthquakes more than twice as powerful as any earthquake this region has ever had—so you can rest assured your walk over this bridge will be safe… but it might also just make you feel like you're walking on air!
This glass skyscraper is one of Busan's most iconic buildings, and it almost looks like a giant diamond rising up out of the city! It's a popular place for tourists to get a 360-degree view of the entire city, so we recommend getting there early if you want to beat the crowds.
Gamcheon Culture Village
This is a neighborhood that has been completely transformed into a work of art, with murals and installations hidden around every corner. This is one of the best things to do in Busan for anyone who loves street art and exploring new neighborhoods.
One of the biggest seafood markets in all of Asia, Jagalchi is a must-see for any foodie visiting South Korea. You'll find everything from live fish to dried fish here, and if you want a sample of some local cuisine or want to bring some fresh seafood back home with you as a souvenir, this is the place to do it!
BIFF Square is a 1.5 square kilometer shopping district in the heart of Busan that includes the Busan Cinema Center and lots of places to eat and drink.
The Busan Cinema Center has a rooftop terrace with amazing views of Busan and its port, as well as an IMAX theater, a movie museum, and two theaters (one designed by acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid). BIFF Square also hosts the annual Busan International Film Festival every October, which showcases hundreds of films from around the world.
5 Day trips and tours in Busan, South Korea
Busan is a beautiful city in South Korea, full of amazing architectural structures, natural beauty, and delicious food. Here are five day trips and tours to take when you're in Busan that will make you fall in love with the city and everything about it.
Full-Day Busan City Tour
A full-day tour of Busan will give you the opportunity to explore its beautiful sights, including Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Jagalchi Market, and Gwangalli Beach. You'll also enjoy lunch at a traditional Korean restaurant and get a chance to taste some of the local cuisine. This tour is perfect if you're looking for an adventure in Busan that will keep you busy all day long!
Day Trip to the Beautiful Korean Marine National Park
Why not get out of town and see the beautiful Korean marine national park, Hallyeohaesang? It's just a short trip away. The national park is made up of 3,000 islands, offering visitors a wide variety of things to do and see. You might spend your time exploring the many caves that can be found along the shoreline. Or head inland to see the beautiful waterfalls. Whatever it is you decide to do while you're there, you're sure to come back feeling refreshed and relaxed from your time spent in nature. If you're looking for something a little different than what's offered in Busan, then Hallyeohaesang is your best bet!
If you're looking for a relaxing day trip to enjoy the beauty of South Korea's marine national park, then the Oedo Island Day Trip from Busan is just right for you! This botanical garden paradise has something for everyone: sparkling beaches, a diverse collection of flora and fauna, breathtaking ocean views, and even a hot springs resort with an indoor waterfall! There's no better way to enjoy Busan than by taking a break from sightseeing and visiting this idyllic island paradise.
If you want to learn more about Korean food culture and get hands-on experience cooking Korean cuisine, why not join a Korean cooking class? You will get to learn about traditional Korean ingredients and techniques used in Korean cuisine, as well as learning to make traditional dishes like kimchi and other popular dishes. Then enjoy eating your own creations!
History of Busan: Bokcheon Museum & Beomeosa Temple
Bokcheon Museum is located in Gukje Market and is dedicated to the history of Busan. While there, you can learn about the roots of this city through exhibits that feature relics from the Gaya and Silla Kingdoms. After your visit there, stroll through Gukje Market, which offers a wide variety of vendors selling everything from souvenirs to electronics. Next up is Beomeosa Temple, a Buddhist temple that dates back to 678 AD. It's one of the country's most well-known temples and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding forest. After this tour you'll definitely return home understanding why so many people have fallen in love with South Korea!
If you're planning a trip to Busan, South Korea, and you're looking for the perfect meals to fuel your adventures, look no further. We've rounded up ten of the best eats in town so that you can spend your time exploring without worrying about where to stop for dinner.
Geumsubokguk is a tiny, unassuming restaurant serving up wonderfully warming pork soup. It's on the second floor of an innocuous building in Seo-gu, but you won't have to worry about missing it—just look for the line of people waiting for their turn to slurp down a bowl!
When you're at Geumsubokguk, the question isn't "what do I want to eat?" but rather "how many bowls can I fit in my stomach?" The only option is pork soup with rice, and that's all you could ever want. The broth is packed with flavor while maintaining a clean taste, and the meat melts in your mouth as you drink it. It comes in two sizes; order small if you plan on having room for dessert elsewhere. If not, go big—you won't regret it!
Bonjeon Dwaeji Gukbap
The restaurant is located in Nampodong, a touristy area known for its shopping and food. It's an excellent place to stop during a day of exploring. The owners are friendly and many of the signs are written in English. The menu has pictures if you don't read Korean and the staff will help you figure out what to order if need be. The restaurant is also vegetarian-friendly.
Bonjeon Dwaeji Gukbap may be small, but it serves generous portions at a reasonable price (about $5 per person).
Namaste Haeundae is a restaurant with a unique, exotic menu offering tasty, authentic Indian cuisine. The owner is from India and has lots of experience cooking there before opening his own restaurant in Busan. He only serves dishes that he himself likes to eat, so you can be sure that it's all good. Try the curry and naan bread combo — it's delicious and filling! The prices are a little high, but they're worth it for how tasty the food is.
Gaemi-jip Main Branch
This restaurant is everything a good Korean BBQ spot should be. The menu has a wide variety of dishes, the atmosphere is serene, and the food is excellent. They're famous for their galbi (marinated beef short ribs), but other popular offerings include samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) and grilled bulgogi (thinly sliced beef). Gaemi-jip Main Branch has a location near Gwangalli Beach, so if you get full—which would be surprising—take your leftovers to go and enjoy them on the sand.
Haeundae Gaya Milmyeon
Close to Haeundae Beach and Busan Aquarium, this milmyeon (cold wheat noodle) specialty restaurant is a must if you're visiting in summer. The chilled noodles are served with a spicy sauce, and there are dozens of varieties of toppings you can add (for an extra cost). Beef, duck, beef rib, chicken breast, pork belly... there's something for everyone! It's a fun place to go in the hot weather.
If you're looking for a place to eat with friends and maybe catch a drink, we highly recommend THE PARTY. The view is spectacular as well—you'll need to take an elevator up to get there. This restaurant/bar has a very lively atmosphere, so if that's not your thing, make sure you come early or book a smaller group reservation. Another plus: the food is amazing! They have an extensive menu filled with delicious authentic Korean cuisine and lots of vegetarian options too. If drinks are more your style, they also have an extensive bar selection as well as some awesome Korean beers on tap! This is one place you won't forget any time soon!
If you're looking for a dish that is as unique as it is delicious, then you need to stop by Choryang Milmyeon. Their specialty is milmyeon: a chewy buckwheat noodle served in an icy broth. The noodles are topped with slices of cucumber, beef and pears. Sounds crazy? They are, but they are also ridiculously good. The cool broth transforms the hot day into something freezing cold (in a good way) and the contrasting textures of the noodles and toppings make them feel like they should be impossible to eat together.
The restaurant itself has a casual atmosphere that encourages eating solo or with friends, so don't think twice about sitting down even if you have no companion!
Ssangdung-e Dwaeji-gukbap is a restaurant that specializes in one thing: pig bone soup. It's served with a delicious mix of kimchi and radishes, and their house sauce adds the finishing touch. You can't go wrong with this place—it's small but cozy, and the food is perfect for cold winter nights.
You'll find Pohang Dwaeji-gukbap in the Gwangbokro station area, where you can sample a local favorite: pork bone broth soup. The menu is simple; you won't find any appetizers or sides here. But don't let that stop you. They do one thing and they do it well.
A favorite among locals, this restaurant is always packed with patrons slurping away on their piping hot bowls of soup. Made with pork bones, vegetables and spices, the soup has a rich flavor without being too salty. It's best enjoyed in the winter months when it's chilly out, but many swear by its restorative powers after a night of drinking as well!
Matchandeul, on the other hand, is a great spot for lunch or brunch. They serve traditional Korean favorites like bibimbap (a hot rice dish) and beef bulgogi (marinated meat). Plus, they have an incredible selection of teas and coffees to enjoy while you wait for your order to arrive. If you're looking for something lighter on your stomach, try their dwenjang jjigae (soybean paste stew) with rice and vegetables!
5 Hotel ideas for staying in Busan
With so many excellent options, narrowing down the right hotel for your trip to Busan can be a difficult task. There are hotels located in the city center, on the beach and all over Haeundae. Whatever you need in a hotel, you can probably find it in Busan.
Hotel Aqua Palace
If you're looking for a more affordable option that offers a good value for money, you might want to try Hotel Aqua Palace. It is located just north of Gwangalli Beach and the Diamond Bridge, which connects it to Haeundae Beach. The rooms are plain but well-equipped with air conditioning and an ensuite bathroom, while the hotel itself offers guests access to a small gym, spa facilities (including sauna), and laundry room. There's also free parking available onsite. If you're looking for restaurants or shopping close by, there are many within easy walking distance from the hotel.
I Square Hotel is a great choice for the budget-conscious traveler who still wants to stay in an upscale environment. With modern, tasteful decor and such amenities as a swimming pool, lounge area, and restaurant, it's all the more surprising that you can stay here for just $73 USD per night. The hotel is located right near Lotte department store and other major shopping destinations, so if you're looking to spend a day or two exploring Busan's shopping scene on foot, this would be an excellent choice.
The Baymond Hotel is a great place to stay in Busan if you want to be close to the beach. It's also within walking distance of many restaurants, bars, and shopping centers. If you don't feel like going out, there's tons of restaurants and shops inside the hotel itself. The hotel rooms are clean and comfortable, but if you really want a taste of luxury, check out the Presidential Suite—its panoramic views will make you never want to leave.
You'll be just a short distance from the vibrant streets and shopping of Busan when you stay at the Pine Grove Hotel. Each room comes with a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, and plenty of other amenities to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. The hotel has onsite laundry facilities and air conditioning should you need them during your visit. Its convenient location in the Jung-Gu district makes it less than fifteen minutes from attractions like Gwangbok-Dong Fashion Street, Gukje Market, and Lotte Department Store by bus or car.
If you want to be in the thick of it all and still be able to relax, the Westin Josun Busan is a fantastic option. Located right on Haeundae Beach, this hotel offers guests luxurious amenities and access to some of the best shopping and restaurants in the city.
With an on-site spa, fitness center, four bars and five restaurants, you'll have plenty to keep you entertained without ever leaving the hotel. The rooms are spacious and bright with large windows that give you a beautiful view of either Busan or the ocean. The beds are incredibly comfortable with plush linens that make each night feel like a stay at a five-star resort.
Busan is a city that you can keep coming back to again and again. With so many things to do, places to eat, and beaches to visit, you'll never run out of options. Just make sure to bring your camera (or smartphone) with you. You're definitely going to want to capture some of the incredible sights Busan has in store for you.
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