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Do It All in Busan, South Korea

Photo by Vanessa West

No matter what kind of traveler you are, the lively South Korean city Busan is sure to have something up your alley. From the convenience stores and noraebang (Korean karaoke) dotting every street corner to the music festivals and street performers creating the soundtrack of the city, you don’t have to search for long before discovering plenty of new and enchanting attractions to last a long trip.

Gamcheon Culture Village

A trip to Busan would not be complete without a trip or two to Gamcheon Culture Village. Historically, hundreds of families moved to the village to escape the tragedy of the Korean War. The village was poverty stricken for decades, but in 2009, the Korean government carried out a publicart themed renovation project that turned the layered, labyrinthine streets into a colorful tourist favorite. Come see gorgeous street art, The Little Prince art displays, and brightly painted houses for a photo-worthy outing.

Haeundae Beach

Haeundae Beach is arguably the most famous beach in South Korea, and for good reason. The white-sand beach has a breathtaking shallow bay that is perfect for swimming. Take a visit to Haeundae Blueline Park and board a train along the Donghae Nambu Line for a scenic view of the coastline. If you have an adventurous streak, stop by Songjeong Surf School for surfing gear and lessons. When you’ve worn yourself out from swimming and surfing, make a stop by the popular food truck Cafe Moon for cheesy toast sandwiches. If you prefer to avoid the sand and seawater, you can still enjoy the beauty of the beach from the sleek Nurimaru AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) House and its neighboring lighthouse.

Photo by Vanessa West


To meet your shopping spree needs, visit Nampo-dong, a central commercial area in Busan. From here, you are not far from the Jagalchi Fish Market, where you can experience a wide variety of delightful seafood sold in booths by older women who you can try to haggle with if you’re brave enough. If seafood isn’t your thing, the Gukje Market is also in Nampo-dong. This market has everything, from household items, to souvenirs, to street food (here is a great place to try Busan’s famous seed hotteok). Finally, fans of cinema will love BIFF Square, the home of Busan’s International Film Festival. This square is popular among young foreigners and features a street lined with cosmopolitan stores and handprints of famous movie stars, similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Photo by Vanessa West

Other Sites

For more beautiful natural scenery, visit Taejongdae Resort Park and take the Songdo Beach Air Cruise over the bay to experience breathtaking views of the ocean. Next, consider dedicating a day of your itinerary to visiting the new Lotte World Adventure theme park for a day filled with rides, parades, and other whimsical attractions. Tip: enjoy a meal at the “Food Drop Restaurant” to experience your food delivered to you via rollercoaster! Finally, see “What to Expect at a Korean Buddhist Temple” (page 98) for suggestions when visiting a Buddhist temple, such as Busan’s coastal Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.
—Vanessa West