Top 15 Best Things to Do in Busan, South Korea

Busan Tourist Attractions, Best Activities to do, and Must-See Places to Visit in Busan

Best Things to Do in Busan

Busan Bucket List: What are the top tourist attractions in Busan, South Korea?

From shopping districts, beaches, mountains, and shrines, Busan, South Korea, offers a diverse landscape that caters to all different kinds of tourists and their unique preferences.

Best Things to Do in Busan
Best Things to Do in Busan

As a small port city located in the southeast of South Korea, Busan, as a tourist destination, is rich and diverse in activities. This is all thanks to the natural topography that intersects with manmade structures such as slums that are turned into aesthetic tourist hotspots, a wonderful port overlooking the ocean, beaches, parks, and shrines for worship.

With many things to do and places to visit, planning for your trip to Busan can get overwhelming. This list collects the top 15 things you should do on a trip to Busan, South Korea.

What can I do in Busan?

It’s impossible to give a complete list of all the great activities you can do in this bustling port city. However, we have tried our best to make a list that incorporates various available activities. The items on this list should appeal to everyone’s preferences.

Visit the Gamcheon Cultural Village

Gamcheon Cultural Village
Gamcheon Cultural Village

One primary hotspot in Busan that attracts many visitors because of its aesthetic, Instagram-worthy style is the Gamcheon Cultural Village. It is also known as the “Machu Picchu of Busan” and is a village constructed in a staircase fashion. The winding streets of this village are vibrant and covered by murals painted by the residents. From up above, Gamcheon Cultural Village is colorful and energetic.

Activities can include taking pictures, enjoying the streets, viewing the murals, visiting the Gamcheon Cultural Village Information Center, visiting the art museum, and winding down at cafés or restaurants.

Climb up the Busan Tower

Busan Tower
Busan Tower

The tourist symbol of Busan is the Busan Tower. It stands 120-meters tall, at 69 meters above sea level, in Yongdusan Park.

The tower is built purely for enjoyment purposes and is not functional in terms of transmission compared to other tower attractions in South Korea. However, you can still enjoy the scenic views from atop the deck while you chill out and dine inside the café.

Enjoy the sun at Haeundae Beach.

Haeundae Beach
Haeundae Beach

Haeundae (Ha-Yoon-de) Beach is one of the seven public beaches in Busan, South Korea, and probably the most popular. It is often described as a modern beach that stretches 1.5 kilometers long and is only 40 minutes away from the Busan station.

It is very popular with tourists in the summer and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in South Korea. There are lots of water activities to be done. There are hotels, guest houses, and rentals for accommodation right along the beach.

Hike up the Taejongdae Resort Park

Taejeongdae Resort Park photo via VisitKorea.or.kr
Taejeongdae Resort Park photo via VisitKorea.or.kr

Watch the sunset sink against the horizon at the Taejeongdae (Te-jong-de) Resort Park. The hike to the highest peak at 250 meters is undoubtedly worth it for this park’s beautiful views.

There is a lighthouse and the famed Siseon Rock from myths. An observatory deck where you can unwind and rest, restaurants and café, a sports park above other attractions. It houses the temples Taejeongsa and Gumyeongsa.

Go on a food trip at Gwangbokdong Food Street.

Gwangbokdong Food Street by Joyce Chuo via Facebook
Gwangbokdong Food Street by Joyce Chuo via Facebook

Experience authentic traditional South Korean street food and the stalls that line up Gwangbokdong Food Street. These stalls are fragrant with hot pepper paste and other delicious aromas. You can find all kinds of street food here—from mainstream ones of tteokbokki and fish cakes—to ones that are native to Busan.

It is situated in the network of the Gwangbokdong area and offers delicious and cheap street foods where you can eat your fill.

Visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa (He-dong Yong-gung) Temple is located along the northeast coast of Busan. It is perched on a rocky beach and overlooks the ocean, providing beautiful views. Aside from offering the ocean scene, it is also an excellent place to learn about traditional Korean Buddhism from its very roots.

The temple was erected during the Goryeo Dynasty by the famed Buddhist teacher Naong as a place of worship. It offers a lantern-lit atmosphere for travelers looking to experience peace and beauty. It’s considered a “romantic” place for travelers because of its ambiance.

Shop at Jagalchi Fish Market

Jagalchi Fish Market
Jagalchi Fish Market

Busan is a port city; therefore, it makes sense that its fish market is famed as an iconic landmark of Busan. This fish market is massive and provides foreigners with the highest quality seafood shopping experience. A wide variety of seafood is sold at these stalls, from octopus to fishes, squid, crabs, and other crustaceans.

Jagalchi Fish Market is a must-visit that every Busan traveler’s bucket list should be included.

Taste authentic Korean barbecue at Anga Korean barbecue restaurant

Anga Korean barbecue restaurant
Anga Korean barbecue restaurant

Korean barbecue or samgyeopsal (sam-gyop-sal) is an experience that has been replicated by various foreign countries—from the Philippines to the West. However, to honestly know what Korean barbecue feels and tastes like, you have to dine at Anga Korean barbecue restaurant here in Busan.

You will be provided with a cutting-edge grill where you can cook your food that is perfectly tailored to your own preferences. This is KBBQ at its finest.

Stroll and shop at Nampodong Street Market

Many stores that stretch over the Nampodong Street Market sell quality and branded but cheap items. It is the best place to shop in large quantities for various things: from fashion, accessories, electronics, and kitchenware.

It’s a bit similar to the Myeongdong Street Night Market in Seoul. There are nearby tourist attractions that make shopping here worth the visit. These attractions include the Gwangbokdong Food Street Market and Jagalchi Fish Market, which are only 10-minutes away.

Learn history at Busan Modern History Museum

Busan Modern History Museum by Katsura Roen via Wikipedia CC
Busan Modern History Museum by Katsura Roen via Wikipedia CC

If you are a huge fan of going to museums and learning about the history of the places you visit, Busan Modern History Museum is worth exploring. It offers fascinating attractions depicting the foundation of Busan way back in the Goryeo era and its correlation to Japan throughout the years.

There are three-dimensional displays of sculptures, film & media, information on the Busan government, the history of the actual museum, and information on the Korean war.

Participate in the Beomeosa Temple Stay Program

Burimun-Beomeosa's third gate
Burimun-Beomeosa’s third gate By Steve46814 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Beomeosa (Bo-mo-sa) Temple is the largest and most important temple in South Korea. It is the headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. But more importantly, it is the only temple in Busan that offers a temple stay program.

The temple stay offers different activities and shares a lot of teachings. These may include but are not limited to the following: learning about Korean meditation, relaxing around the temple courtyards, discussing with Korean monks, and eating Korean vegetarian food.

BIFF Square

BIFF Square photo via Korea Tourism
BIFF Square photo via Korea Tourism

If you take a 10-minute walk from the Jagalchi Fish Market, you will reach BIFF Square. It is often likened to the Hollywood Walk of Fame of the United States as it offers handprints and plaques of celebrities along the square. It is named after the famed Busan Film Festival as its annual venue.

BIFF Square offers first-run movie theatres constructed way back in the Japanese occupation, street food, etc.

However, it’s more commonly visited because of the delicious and renowned ssiat hotteok, a sweet Korean pancake filled with nuts and brown sugar.

Shop for housewares at Gukje Market

Gukje Market photo via Korea Tourism
Gukje Market photo via Korea Tourism

Gukje Market is dubbed the largest traditional market in Busan and is nearby BIFF Square and the Jagalchi Fish Market. While Jagalchi Fish Market was for seafood, Gukje Market has many stores offering wholesale and retail sales of quality houseware. It was previously known as the market where US military forces shopped for their amenities and where imported items were sold.

Aside from housewares, the food stalls in Gukje Market are also worth trying. They have Korean seaweed rolls, glass noodles, pancakes, and other iconic Korean dishes—all served in a street-style setting.

Wander around the Lotte Department Store in Gwangbokdong

Lotte Department Store - Gwangbok Branch photo via VisitKorea.or.kr
Lotte Department Store – Gwangbok Branch photo via VisitKorea.or.kr

Lotte Department Store has a lot of outlets that span across East and Southeast Asia. It’s one of the typical household names associated with South Korea. In the Gwangbokdong area, here in Busan is the Lotte Department Store with the world’s largest water fountain.

The main attraction here is the musical water fountains, of course. The shopping department is complete with local and international brands and entertainment amenities. It is the only Lotte Department Store that is located by the beachside.

Walk across the Yeongdo Bridge

Yeongdo (Yong-do) Bridge is the bridge that connects Yeongdo Island to Nampo-dong (mainland Busan). This bridge offers the best scenes of this port city and the front of the Jagalchi Fish Market, where the seafood is regularly dropped off.

Yeongdo Bridge by Minseong Kim via Wikipedia CC
Yeongdo Bridge By Minseong Kim – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

It was constructed in 1934 and eventually became a tourist attraction as it is the first bascule bridge in Korea and is the only one that connects an island to the mainland. Bonus points if you see the bridge opening up to let in the boats.

This list alone cannot fully encapture the beauty and festive activities in Busan. However, it offers a variety that should be enough to satisfy the preferences and curiosities of every Busan traveler.

Those were the top15 activities that one must do when visiting Busan. From temples deep-rooted to religion to bustling markets offering the freshest seafood and best food to ports opening up to the sea—Busan truly is a wonder that you just can’t get enough of.

Busan Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your travels to Busan, we have a small guide to point you to the best Busan travel and tour packages and good flight deals and accommodation.

Tripadvisor has a list of the best Busan vacation packages. You may check out Airbnb listings in Busan for cheap but high-quality accommodation. Packagekorea is also worth visiting to check out Korean tour packages that include the city of Busan.

Searching for the best Busan hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of Busan cheap hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new tourist attractions in Busan, South Korea? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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