Busan, South Korea is a beautiful city and one of the largest cities in South Korea. There are lots of things to do in Busan from beaches, cafes, spas, and more. It is a different world when entering Busan. There is a rumor that the Korean people in Busan sound angrier when they talk. They happen to have a louder voice which sounds like they are yelling. There are also several different words or dialects that change with Koreans from Busan.
Busan, South Korea | Things to do in Busan
Best time to visit Busan
The best time to visit Busan is the same as I would say for Seoul. The best months would be March through May and September through November. Although, Busan is the hot spot during the summer months because it does have a beach and has a more beach town kind of vibe.
How to get to Busan
There are 4 ways to get to Busan and they are all quite different. It all depends on the amount of time and money you want to spend.
One of the easiest ways to get to Busan is by plane. If you happen to already be flying into Incheon and trying to get there, then this is the best route. However, if you are already in Seoul and trying to get to Busan, then there are other options to take.
Now a train to Busan is probably one of the best ways to get there. It’s affordable, you don’t have to show up at the airport so early, it gets you to Busan in about 2-3 hours, it gets you into the main city, and there is free wifi. Taking the train to Busan (like in the movie) is safer than you think as well. You can easily book one last minute in comparison to a flight. Part of the things to do in Busan is to take the train there, it makes the trip feel a little more nostalgic.
Your next option would be to take a bus. A bus is a very affordable and cheaper option, however, it takes about 4-6 hours to get there by bus. This all depends on traffic, how fast the bus is going, etc. There are a lot of factors happening in this scenario where most people just would rather take the train.
The other option is renting a car if you feel comfortable enough driving around in Korea. The good thing about this option is that you can visit a lot of other places like Ulsan, Gyeongju, Daegu, and many other stops along the way. If you want to take the scenic route, this might be a good option for you.
How to get around Busan
If you have traveled to Seoul, then you have probably noticed all of the subway lines and it can sometimes be confusing. Busan, in fact, does have a few subway lines to make traveling easy, on the other hand, there are not as many as there are in Seoul.
If you are planning to visit all the popular things to do in Busan, I highly suggest you take the Busan City Tour bus which is pretty much a hop-on and off tour bus. You can reserve your 24-hour pass here.
Where to stay in Busan
So there are a lot of great areas to stay in Busan. Think about what things to do in Busan and plan where you will stay based on that.
- Seomyeon – Seomyeong is a great location to keep you centrally located. It’s a great place to have a hotel because there are a lot of great restaurants, drinking streets, shopping, and it’s fairly close t Busan station for when you enter and leave the city.
- Gwangan-dong – This is the perfect location to stay in if you want to be close to Gwangalli beach. The beach there is very beautiful and relaxing and you can get a perfect view of the beach. There are quite a few foreigner-friendly restaurants alongside the beach as well and some great local shopping.
- Haeundae-gu – Next to Gwangan-dong is the Haeundae and Haeundae beach. There are a lot of great hotels in this area with a beautiful view and I highly suggest you stay at H Avenue where you can get a great view of Gwangalli beach.
- Nampo-dong – Not too far from Seomyeon is Nampo-dong. This area is great if you want to stay fairly close to the train station in Busan. This is also a popular area where you can go to the Jagalchi Market.
- Temple Stays at Beomeosa – A popular thing to do in Korea is to do a temple stay. These experiences are pretty great because you can experience delicious vegan or vegetarian food, have a calm and relaxing experience, and learn more about Korean Buddhist culture.
Things to do in Busan | Top attractions in Busan
When you think of things to do in Busan, oftentimes it will bring up this beach. This is a wonderful beach with an interesting bridge. The bridge has glowing lights that project different sayings or quotes at night time. There are plenty of bars right near the beach that have great views.
Busan to South Korea is like California to the United States. Obviously the weather there is not always beautiful like in California because Korea does get ice cold during the winter months. It also does snow in Busan as well.
Address: 부산광역시 해운대구 우동
One of the things to do in Busan is to visit this Fishmarket. Busan is known for this quaint fish market. Be prepared to get your bargaining on. This is a flea market with seafood such as shrimp, octopus, fish, crab, squid, and more. This will be the freshest seafood you can possibly get. We ordered octopus and fresh fish served as sashimi. It was absolutely to die for.
Address: 부산 중구 자갈치해안로 52 자갈치시장
WARNING: The butcher will cut the fresh fish right in front of you. There is an upstairs area where the waitress/waiters will take you to each fish upstairs. The butcher will have someone bring the fresh fish and octopus on a plate upstairs to the common area to be served. Of course, give you rice, lettuce, and gochujang, which is included in the bargained price for fresh seafood.
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Gamcheon Village – One of the most popular things to do in Busan
Gamcheon Village is a historical village in Busan Korea. This village really emerged in the 1950s during the Korean War. Many villagers migrated to Gamcheon to hide and get away from the War itself. Gamcheon Village is one of the most popular things to do in Busan because of its rich history and culture.
This village is placed in the hills and the houses are made very small to fit many families. Many are stacked 3 – 4 stories high and only have a single room. They have really made sure to preserve this little town and it has a lot of charm with beautiful color and art surrounding it. Additionally, be sure to try the traditional red bean soup in one of the restaurants there.
NOTE: This location is not very friendly for people who may have mobility issues because there are many stairs, hills, and cobbled roads.
Address: 부산 사하구 감내2로 203 감천문화마을안내센터
Bosu Book Street
With modern technology taking over the world and many bookstores closing, this can be a very rare sight. This street holds the most books you will probably ever see! Out of all the things to do in Busan, this was the first thing I did when I was younger. I was visiting with my cousin and we came here and strolled around while eating street food.
Most of the shops sell second-hand books, it varies from dictionaries, manga books, magazines and study books. Additionally, the books stacked up to 6ft tall or more. It is definitely an interesting stroll to take in Busan. Not to mention there is a huge flea market nearby as well.
Address: 부산 중구 대청로 67-1
If you love checking out some of the natural beauty that Busan has to offer, you must check out the Oryukdo Skywalk. Here you will be able to walk onto a glass platform with the ocean below you. This is the perfect place to get an Instagram shot. I felt this was one of those things to do in Busan that is a little underwhelming because it’s quite a small platform and far from the beaten path, but it was still interesting to do.
Address: 부산 남구 오륙도로 137
If you want to visit a traditional Korean temple, this is probably one of the most popular ones to visit in Busan. This beautiful temple is filled with gorgeous lanterns that light up at night. It’s definitely worth visiting if you haven’t visited a temple in Korea yet.
Address: 부산 부산진구 초읍천로43번길 77
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
One of the most beautiful temples in Busan lies along the cliffside. This temple is also known as the Temple by the Sea. This is a rare find in Korea since many of the temples in Korea are not along the shoreline like this one. This is probably one of the most popular things to do in Busan other than Gamcheon Village.
Address: 부산 기장군 기장읍 용궁길 86 해동용궁사
Spaland – Relaxing things to do in Busan
If you feel comfortable getting naked, want to get your body scrubbed down by Korean ajummas, this place is the perfect place for you. This was one of my favorite things to do in Busan because it’s just so relaxing. My 2 best friends and I did this when they visited me from the US. It was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time. When I was a kid I used to hate getting scrubbed down because of how rough my mom would do it.
This is a spa with pools that have 5 different temperatures and separated by sex. Everyone in the facility is naked and you can relax in the many different temperature pools. In order to get the scrub, you sign up at the board near the entrance of the spas and you must soak for at least 30 minutes. The facility provides lockers and everything you need while there.
Address: 부산 해운대구 센텀남대로 35 신세계백화점센텀시티점
로빈뮤지엄 Classic Museum
This museum showed up in my Instagram feed and as someone who grew up working on classic cars, I knew it was one of the things to do in Busan that I had to do. I had missed that sense of the classic car community and just wanted to feel like I was back home. This place has its old 50’s diner feel which is very American. It’s quite far from the rest of the things to do in Busan, so unless you live there or really are into this kind of a vibe, I would say it’s worth visiting. If you are short on time, then maybe skip this place. We went and got some cute photos, chatted about the classic cars, and also enjoyed an ice cream while there.
Address: 부산 강서구 신호산단1로140번길 71 1층
Ibagu Gil Monorail – Free things to do in Busan
A lot of people don’t seem to know about this hidden little monorail and it can be a little difficult to get to, however, there is no fee. This little monorail will take you up and you can get some of the best views of Busan here. It’s best to visit at night, but also great during the day as well. There are quite a few cute cafes in the area and it’s not too far from Gamcheon Village if you go by bus or taxi. This is a great place to get a view of the city! The monorail itself is more like an elevator, but still quite enjoyable. This isn’t one of the most popular things to do in Busan, but I still found it enjoyable.
Address: 부산광역시 동구 초량동 994-155
Haeundae Blue Line Park
This is quite touristy to do, but it was actually quite enjoyable. I would say this is great if you have kids or maybe a date. I would suggest going during sunset because you’ll get a nice view. What I love about this park are the beautiful little trolleys you get to take. The trolleys are placed high up where you can get a great view of the ocean below. This was one of the cutest things to do in Busan.
There are 2 options for trolleys you can take. There is the sky capsule which is the smaller one which holds up to 4 people or the train below which is like a subway. The sky capsule is a bit pricey costing about 30,000 won for 2 people for one way or 55,000 won for 2 people roundtrip. The train costs 7,000 for one way and 10,000 for round trip per person.
If you choose to do one way, once you get off the trolley after the trip, you can walk back on the wooden pathway along the coastline. I suggest you arrive early or purchase tickets online since they do sell out quite quickly. Additionally, there can be a long line even when you select your time frame because these trolleys in the sky capsules only go about 5km per hour, so be sure to take some time out of your day to wait.
Address: 부산 해운대구 청사포로 116 청사포정거장
Songdo Cable Car – Things to do in Busan with Kids
The cable car is quite an experience and is one of the most popular things to do in Busan. It’s pretty popular to do with kids because once you arrive on the other side, there are a lot of things to do for kids including a dino park, Songdo Suspension Bridge, Forest park and Amnam Park, and more. The ride itself costs about 15-20,000 won per person round trip depending on the car style you want to take. The 15,000 won round trip does not include a glass bottom in the cable car hence the added fee, however, the lines were shorter for the ones without the glass bottom.
Address: 부산 서구 송도해변로 171
Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge
Songdo Beach is the first beach in Korea and has a lot of old charm. This suspension bridge is a replacement for the original suspension bridge which was destroyed during a typhoon 18 years ago. I wanted to visit this place just because of how beautiful the view is when you get on it. It’s got a great view of the cargo ships out on the bay, the cable cars, and more.
Address: 부산광역시 서구 암남동 620-53 암남공원 안
Busan X the Sky
I’m sure if you visit Haeundae Beach or the Haeundae Blue Line Park, you will see this massive skyscraper. We actually kind of stumbled upon it and figured this must be one of the major things to do in Busan. We tried to enter on the backside which was an apartment complex called LCT and we thought maybe we could get a view from there. However, we were unsuccessful. So I said well let’s walk to the beachside. As we walked toward the front of the building, we saw access to Busan X the Sky.
This to me was by far one of the best Busan Attractions to stumble upon. It is a bit expensive, however, it was completely worth going to. It was about 55,000 won for 2 people to visit the observatory, cafe, and gift shop. You will have access to the 100th, 99th, and 98th floors. On the 100th floor is the observatory. The 99th floor has a steak restaurant which is very expensive. The cheapest item on the menu is a cheeseburger which costs about 37,000 won. On the 98th floor are the cafe, light show, and gift shop.
Additionally, inside you will find 2 spots you can take souvenir photos one before entering the elevator and the other on the 98th floor with a corner city view. When you enter the elevator, it will be filled with a TV display and list how fast you are going in the elevator as well. The way it was designed was magical.
Address: 부산 해운대구 달맞이길 30
After visiting Busan X the Sky, I will have to say this will be kind of cheesy or less interesting to tourists. However, I wanted to add it to the list and make sure it was an option as well. Busan has done a great job marketing to tourists on all of the popular things to do in Busan.
Address: 부산 중구 용두산길 37-55
Cafes to visit in Busan
- City Farmhouse Cafe/ DOCO Cafe – This is a beautifully elegant cafe that serves some delicious coffee. They also roast their own coffee beans and purchase your own coffee beans to take back home. You can easily get your instagrammable drinks from this location.
- Cafe in Gamcheon Village – There are a lot of great cafes in Gamcheon Culture Village. You can get a great view and some even have private terraces where you can place a lock that is only available for certain cafes.
- Waveon Coffee – This is a great location to visit if you enjoy the ocean views with a lot of beautiful outdoor seating. Although the summer months might be too hot to enjoy, it can still be relaxing.
- 랑데자뷰해운대점 Cafe – This cafe has a great view of the beach making it a popular destination for Koreans and tourists. It has a beautiful large window giving you a more panoramic indoor view.
RELATED: Popular Cafes in Seoul
What to eat in Busan
Korean Food Options in Busan
- Live Octopus – It’s important to try this dish since it is very popular to Korean cuisine. If you visit the Jagalchi Market, this is one of the most famous dishes there. Busan is one of the most famous places to get the freshest seafood in Korea so I highly suggest you try it. You may need to fight it off the plate, even though it is chopped up, the soy sauce makes it move.
- Ssiat hotteok – This is a regional Korean pancake. Hotteok is a popular Korean street food that is usually served during the fall to winter months. This specific hotteok is a bit more crunchy since it is filled with seeds and nuts which makes it different than the ones served in Seoul.
RELATED: Myeongdong Street Food
Western Food Options in Busan
If Korean food isn’t your jam or maybe you are just wanting something different during your trip, there are quite a few options for Western food in Korea. Many Koreans love Western food like pasta and make some of the best pasta in the world. Additionally, many foreigners are moving and visiting Korea now, which has encouraged an increase in Western options. If you are looking for Western food while exploring things to do in Busan, here are some of the places I suggest.
- El Chicano – If you are looking for a Mexican fix, you can definitely get your fill here. I highly suggest you order the chorizo fries, tacos, and chimichangas.
- 솔탭하우스 – If you are looking for a good view and some delicious pizza, I suggest you visit here. This place is close to the beach and has a great variety of American-style pizza. If you don’t already know, Korean-style pizza is very different from the American style. A lot of times they will top it with honey or something sweet rather than a savory flavor.
- Slice of Life Pizza
Where to drink in Busan
- Galmegi Brewing Nampo – If you want to try some local Korean craft beer, this is the perfect brewing location for you to visit in Busan. They have a small variety of beers including an IPA, Espresso Vanilla Stout, Lighthouse Blonde, and a few others.
- Gorilla Brewing
- Thirsty Thursday – This is a popular chain location and there happens to be 2 alongside Gwangalli beach. It’s highly recommended on the weekends after grabbing a bite to eat.
Things to do in Busan | Where to Shop in Busan
- Gamcheon Culture Village – There are a lot of cute small shops in this area and it’s a perfect way to get something handmade and support the local businesses. You can find anywhere from small pins, to food, to postcards, and more.
- Go crazy of Korean’s Skincare Products – You can easily purchase skincare products everywhere in Korea, however, if you want a one-stop-shop, you can easily find every skincare store in Hongdae. They literally have each brand on every corner making it easy to find and buy. There are a lot of skincare shops in Seomyeon and if worst comes to worst, visit the local olive young while they are easy to find all over.
- Go to Daiso – $1 store of Asia – Daiso is a popular Japanese dollar store that has taken over all over South Korea. Many people come here for cute and useful products to save money. If you have never been to this affordable store, I highly suggest you at least visit it once to check out all the products.
- Visit Shinsegae Department Store – If you are looking to stay out of the heat, rain, or whatever bad weather, visit the Shinsegae Department Store. This is a popular department store or mall where you can find clothes, makeup, and close to Spaland. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy yourself. You can also try some Korean food dishes in the food court area.
Other important information about Busan
Currency in Busan
The currency used in Busan is the South Korean Won. It is a good idea to have cash when bargaining at some of the shops and food locations. However, most locations and restaurants do accept credit or debit cards.
Language in Busan
The language spoken in Busan is Korean although it can be difficult even for fluent Koreans to understand. However, I have found more taxi drivers who spoke English in Busan than in Seoul.
Fun Fact: Busan is known for an accent that has more of an angry-toned pitch compared to people living in Seoul, but don’t let that fool you, because Koreans in Busan are very friendly!
Tips to save money in Busan
The best tip I have is to have cash on hand. If you have cash, you have a better shot at bartering with owners on pricing for products and at the market.
Taking public transportation (ie. buses and subways) versus taxis will save you a lot of money and time on making it to all the things to do in Busan, however, it may cost you more on time depending on where in the city you are trying to travel to.
Other Posts About South Korea:
- One Day in Seoul
- Why you Should Visit South Korea
- 10 Things to Eat in Korea
- Survival Tips for Traveling in Seoul
- Jeju Itinerary
- Cimer Spa at Paradise City
- Teach English in South Korea
- Seoul Gardens & Parks
- Myeongdong Shopping Street
- What to do in Incheon Airport for a Layover
- Things to do in Itaewon
- Gwangjang Market
- Things to do in Paju
What were your favorite things to do in Busan?
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