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First Timer's Guide to Busan, South Korea

4 Apr 2019

Felicia Malolos

Klook Travel Curator

Venture off to South Korea’s largest port city

Situated along the coast of South Korea, travellers will find themselves in Busan, a quaint port city steeped in culture and history. Located just several hours from Seoul, Korea’s second largest city is home to thriving food markets, ancient temples, and white sand beaches. Find out more about this charming coastal town as we narrow down our top picks for must-see destinations, must-eat delicacies, and travel tips down below!

Klook Highlights in Busan

East Busan Exploration (Half Day/Whole Day Tour)

HALF DAY TOUR:

Start: 8:50 AM End: 1:00 PM

Places of Interest Covered:

  • Oryukdo Islands and Skywalk
  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
  • Jukseoung Dream Church
  • Gijang Traditional Market
  • Haeundae

WHOLE DAY TOUR:

Start: 8:50 AM End: 5:50 PM

Places of Interest Covered:

  • Oryukdo Islands and Skywalk
  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
  • Jukseoung Dream Church
  • Gijang Traditional Market and Lotte Premium Outlet
  • Anati Bay and Hilton Hotel
  • Cheongsapo Skywalk and Lighthouse
  • Haeundae
  • Seomyeon Station

Busan Night Tour (Original Course and Western Course)

ORIGINAL COURSE (Monday, Wednesday, Friday):

Start: 6:50 PM End: 10:00 PM

Places of Interest Covered:

  • Busan Port View Space
  • Yeongdo Seaside Park
  • Igidae Park
  • Gwangalli Beach
  • Seomyeon
  • Busan Station
  • Nampodong

WESTERN COURSE (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday)

Start: 6:50 PM End: 10:20 PM

Places of Interest Covered:

  • Illumia Let’s Run Park
  • Gamcheon Culture Village
  • Cheonmasan Road View Space
  • Nampodong
  • Busan Station
  • Seomyeon

Busan East Coast Cultural Day Tour by KTOURSTORY

Start: 8:20 AM End: 7:00 PM

Places of Interest Covered:

  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
  • Taejongdae
  • Songo Skywalk
  • Gamcheon Culture Village

Busan Skywalk, Gamcheon Culture Village and Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Day Tour

Start: 8:30 AM End: 5:30 PM

Places of Interest Covered:

  • Songdo Beach Skywalk
  • Songdo Air Cruise
  • Gamcheon Culture Village
  • Oryukdo Skywalk
  • Cheongsapo Daritdol Skywalk
  • Haedong Yonggung Temple

Getting To and Around Busan

1. Korea Rail Pass (KORAIL)

To get to Busan from Seoul, the most convenient form of transport would be the Korea Rail. Not only do you arrive at Busan in just 2.5 hours, you can also get discounted Korea Rail Pass tickets simply by booking via Klook.

Simply redeem your KORAIL voucher at the Incheon International Airport or any South Korea metro station and jump on the KTX! Plus - if you’re travelling to more cities during your trip, you can choose from a Flexible and Consecutive Day Pass to a 5 Day Pass on Klook.

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2. Private Gimhae Airport Transfer (PUS) for Busan

If you’re flying directly into Busan’s Gimhae International Airport, we highly recommend booking a Private Gimhae Airport Transfer (PUS) for Busan in order to get into the city in top speed and convenience! Say goodbye to your transportation woes and say hello to Klook’s fuss-free airport service!

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3. Busan Metro

Hop from one destination to another through Busan’s subway with the Klook T-Money pass! Pre-loaded with KRW 5,000, tourists will be able to enjoy convenient transportation all around Busan - and the rest of South Korea as well!

The Klook T-Money Pass does not have an expiration date, which allows tourists to use the same card for their future travels, as long as it is topped up. Do note that T-Money top up only ranges from KRW 1,000 to KRW 90,000 with a maximum value of KRW 500,000.

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4. Busan/Gyeongju/Tongyeong Private Car Charter with Driver and Guide

So much to do, yet so little time? Klook’s Busan Private Car Charter might just be your saving grace! With this service, tourists get to DIY their own Busan adventure and have a tour guide along with them to get the full experience. Not only do you get to dictate your own itinerary, but you get to do it all at your own pace as well.

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Things to do in Busan

1. Gamcheon Cultural Village

No trip to Busan is complete without a visit to the Gamcheon Cultural Village. Made of steep streets, twisting alleyways, and vibrant colored houses, this mountainside town is not only exciting to explore, but also makes for great photos!

While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on a photo-op with the famous Little Prince statues as well!

2. Jagalchi Fish Market

As it is situated right by the sea, you can expect Busan to have the freshest seafood in the country. For the freshest catch, drop by the Jagalchi Fish Market, the largest seafood market in all of Korea, for a scrumptious meal or two! Here you can enjoy popular seafood dishes like ganjang gejang (raw crab marinated in soy sauce), saengseon (fish), and jogae-gui (grilled shellfish).

3. Haeundae Beach

The great thing about Busan is that you can easily experience both the city life and island life, minus the 3-hour drive. One popular beach destination for locals include Haeundae Beach, a whitesand beach perfect for swimming!

Though Haeundae Beach is a sure go-to during the spring and summer season, tourists would be glad to know that there are other attractions surrounding the area to explore. So if the crowds are unbearable, or if the water is too cold, you might want to check out the Busan Aquarium or BEXCO!

4. Gwangalli Beach

For spectacular sunsets, the Gwangalli Beach falls number one in our list. As it faces the Gwangandaegyo Bridge, you can only imagine how beautiful sundown would be! The best part about this beach is that it’s lined with multiple cafes and restaurants perfect for a sunset meal, and as well as cottages for a more relaxed afternoon stay.

Although visitors are allowed to visit the beach everyday, swimming is only permitted from July 20 to August 31. However, we still recommend staying at night as the Gwangandaegyo Bridge lights up in a beautiful array of colors!

5. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

The Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is Busan’s most popular temple - and for good reason! Apart from its delicate design, the popular Buddhist temple sits right along the shore - forming a postcard-perfect image. The views from the “Temple by The Sea” are even more beautiful during the Sakura season, and during the celebration of Buddha’s birth on the fourth month of the Lunar calendar.

Klook Tip: Visit bright and early in the morning! Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a top tourist attraction, so you can expect bigger crowds later in the day.

6. Taejongdae

Taejongdae is more than just another Busan tourist attraction. This nature park is home to the Yeongdo Lighthouse, Amnam Park, and is the setting of beautiful Korean folktale. Although there is already so much you can do during your time in Taejongdae, we think that the hike up is just as magnificent!

7. Beomeosa Temple

Unlike the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, the Beomeosa Temple is hidden inside the mountain of Geumjeongsan in East Busan. However, this doesn’t mean that the 1,300 year old temple deserves any less attention! In fact, we highly encourage visiting the temple’s Daeungjeon Hall, one of the most delicate and flamboyant architectures of the Joseon Dynasty. Guests are also sure to enjoy the 9th century pavilions, gates, and pagodas situated inside the temple.

While you’re in the area, you might be interested in their Templestay program - an avenue for visitors to learn more about Buddhist culture.

8. Busan Songdo Skywalk

Skywalks are apparently a thing in Busan, and we’re not complaining! However, if we had to suggest just one skywalk, we highly recommend the Songdo Beach Skywalk. The 365-metre long promenade allows tourists to go far into the ocean without having to dip their toes into the water.

Klook Tip: Instead of venturing out into the Westside of the beach, head on over to the far East by the rocky cliffs for a photo spot that most people miss out on!

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9. Busan Tower

If Seoul has the Seoul Tower, Busan has their own Busan Tower located at Yongdusan Park. Sure, it may not be as tall as the Seoul Tower, but it does offer splendid views of the city! Visitors can visit anytime of the year for KRW 6,800 per person via Klook (KRW 1,200 cheaper than door charge).

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10. Gukje Market

There’s no such thing as too much street food! Drop by Gukje Market, or International Market, for a wide range of street food options - and more! With each street crowded in stalls extending to the Bupyeong and Kkangtong market, you’re sure to satisfy every kind of craving over here!

Must-try Food in Busan

1. Bokjiri (Puffer Fish Soup)

Puffer Fish (or bokjim) is a difficult dish to prepare due to the fact that it can be potentially poisonous if it isn’t prepared correctly. So for the best (and safest) bokjim experience, we highly recommend visiting Geumsubokguk, one of the first restaurants in Busan to ever serve puffer fish. Apart from bokjiri (puffer fish soup), they also serve bokjimi (steamed puffer fish) for visitors to try.

2. San-nakji (Live Octopus)

San-nakji is a popular dish due to its preparation - the octopus is bought live before its tentacles are chopped and served raw, causing it to “wiggle” despite being detached from the body. So it’s understandable if you get squirmy yourself, but it’s actually hardly any different from regular sashimi!

3. Eomok (Fishcakes)

Eomok, or fish cakes, is a common delicacy all over Korea, however since you’re in the second largest port city, we can guarantee that it’s 10 times better over here! Usually found in street food markets, it tastes best hot and right off the fryer! Top if off with some spicy sauce, and it’ll be one of your favorite dishes in the trip, no doubt!