Sunday Special – Busan, South Korea

Updated in July 2022
Originally published Aug 18,2018

South Korea’s second largest city, found in the southeast of the country, is the relaxed oceanside city of Busan. Blending urban landscapes with chill beaches and picturesque mountains lends this city of over 3.5 million inhabitants a vibrant yet down-to-earth feel, at least from what I understand (I may have to visit sometime soon). Let’s see what there is to do?

Haeundae Beach at night – Busan, South Korea. Photo credit: Haeundae District Municipality, Haeundae Beach NightViewCC BY 4.0


Beaches – Recognized for its beaches, Busan is not lacking in available sand-time. Some of the notable beaches include:

  • Haeundae Beach – very popular in summers and this site of the yearly Polar Bear Swim in the new year
  • Gwangalli Beach – which has golden sands and a view of Gwangan Bridge that lights up at night
  • Dadaebo Beach – a quieter beach popular with families and offers a light show in the eveings

And if you’d like to see the coastline in another way there is the Haeundae Sky Capsule and the Haeundae Beach Train that will whisk you along for a few kilometres to enjoy the views

Food – Food is one of my favourite topics and Korea does have some tasty dishes (as I learned when I was in Seoul many many years ago). As a seaside city, seafood is a natural delight with fish cakes being synonymous with the city’s food scene. The renown Jagalchi Fish Market is a must for foodies as is Gwangbokdong Food Street and Bupyeong Kkangtong Market. Add the abundance cafes and restaurants serving up local and regional specialities you may very well remember Busan’s food the most.

Sights – Wanting a bit of traditional culture? Perhaps take in a breathtaking view? There is no lack of places for to wander about in Busan.

  • Gamcheon Cultural Village – built into the side of a hill and is filled with colourful buildings that hold much history dating back several decades when it was a slum area until 2009
  • Haedong Yonggung Temple – a seaside temple with stunning views many consider it to be the most beautiful temple in all of South Korea
  • Beomeosa Temple – set in a mountain trail (yet easily reached by bus), this old temple has a serene relaxed feel
  • Youngdusan Park Tower – offers a view from its perch at 118 m /59 ft and a park that you can relax in
  • Oryukdo Skywalk – a glass walkway that extends beyond its cliff’s edge offers dizzying views of the crashing waves below
  • Busan Air Cruise Cable Car (a.k.a. Songdo Cable Car) – If heights don’t bother you then take your turn on this cable car that passes over Songdo Beach

Busan International Film Festival – Held every October since 1996 it runs for 10 days showcasing both international and Korean films. As it’s popular event, tickets sell out quickly.

Hiking – With the mountains as natural artwork it is not a wonder that plenty of people would want to connect with nature though hiking. Do remember to research the trails and the levels of difficulty so you won’t be surprised.

  • Jangsan Mountain – offers hikers a bit of a challenge that is rewarded with incredible views of both the ocean and the cityscape
  • Geumnyeongsan Mountain – is an easier hike and often less visited
  • Geumgang Fortress – a moderate hike that can be accessed via Beomeosa Temple, allowing you to visit both areas in one go
  • Igidae Park Path – another moderate hike, it boasts spectacular views and can be combined with Oryukdo Skywalk
Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan – Photo credit: Ken EckertGamcheon Colored Houses, Busan, KoreaCC BY-SA 4.0
The view from Oryukdo Skywalk in Busan – Photo credit: S099001Oryukdo SkywalkCC BY-SA 4.0

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