What are the top tourist attractions to visit in Busan, South Korea?
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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.
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 to aesthetic tourist hotspots, a wonderful port overlooking the ocean, beaches, parks, and shrines for worship.
With a vast amount of things to do and places to visit, it can get overwhelming to plan for your trip to Busan. This list collects the top 15 things that 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 wonderful activities that you can do in this bustling port city. However, we have tried our best to put together a list that incorporates a wide variety of available activities. The items on this list should appeal to everyone’s preferences.
Visit the Gamcheon Cultural Village
One main hotspot in Busan that attracts a lot of 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 that are 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
The tourist symbol of Busan is the Busan Tower. It stands 120-meters tall, at a point 69 meters above the sea level, in Yongdusan Park.
The tower is built purely for enjoyment purposes and is not functional in terms of transmission, as 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 in the café inside.
Enjoy the sun at Haeundae Beach
Haeundae (Ha-yoon-de) Beach is one of the seven public beaches in Busan, South Korea, and probably the most popular, too. 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
Watch the sunset sink down against the horizon at the Taejeongdae (Te-jong-de) Resort Park. The hike to the highest peak at 250 meters is certainly worth it for the beautiful views that this park offers.
There is a lighthouse and the famed Siseon Rock from myths. There is an observatory deck that you can unwind and rest as well as 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
Experience authentic traditional South Korea street food along the stalls that line up Gwangbokdong Food Street. These stalls are fragrant of hot pepper paste and other delicious aromas. You can find all kinds of street food in 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 (He-dong Yong-gung) Temple is located along the northeast coast of Busan. It is perched on top of a rocky beach and overlooks the ocean that provides beautiful views. Aside from offering the ocean scene, it is also a good 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. Now, it offers a lantern-lit atmosphere for travelers looking to experience peace and beauty. It’s considered to be a “romantic” place for travelers because of its ambiance.
Shop at 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 the highest quality seafood shopping experience to foreigners. There is a wide variety of seafood that is sold at these stalls; from octopus, all kinds of fishes, squid, crabs, and other crustaceans.
Jagalchi Fish Market is a must-visit that should be included in every Busan traveler’s bucket list.
Taste authentic Korean barbecue at 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, in order to truly 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
A countless number of 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 an assortment of 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
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, as well as its correlation to Japan throughout the years.
There are three-dimensional displays of sculptures, film & media as well as information on the Busan government, the history of the actual museum as well as information on the Korean war.
Participate in Beomeosa Temple Stay Program
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.
If you take a 10-minute walk from the Jagalchi Fish Market, you will reach the 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 it is its annual venue.
BIFF Square offers first-run movie theatres that were constructed way back in the Japanese occupation, street food and so much more.
However, it’s more commonly visited because of the delicious and renowned ssiat hotteok, which is a sweet Korean pancake filled with nuts and brown sugar.
Shop for housewares at Gukje Market
Gukje Market is dubbed as 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 a lot of stores that are 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 has a lot of outlets that span across East and Southeast Asia. It’s one of the common household names that are associated with South Korea. Here in Busan, in the Gwangbokdong area 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 both local and international brands as well as 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, as well as the front of the Jagalchi Fish Market where the seafood is regularly dropped off.
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 id you manage to see the bridge opening up to let in the boats.
This list alone cannot fully encapture the beauty and upbeat 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 here a small guide that will point you to the best Busan travel and tour packages, as well as 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 Korea 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 affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.