Visiting Busan? In this article, I’ve curated a list of things to do in Busan to make planning your travel itinerary easier!
A port city with a versatile landscape, Busan is one of the bigger metropolitans in South Korea.
It is famous for its gorgeous beaches, verdant hills with breathtaking views, and of course, the humbling Buddhist temples.
For those who would like to experience (and taste) everything that this wonderful city has to offer, we have curated a list of sights that you should not miss when visiting Busan.
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Things To Do In Busan 2021
Here is a list of the most fun things to do in Busan!
A glimpse of the city, in all its bustling, culture-rich beauty, before you get started on your touristy itinerary.
The Busan Tower is a 120 metre high tower built in 1973. In fact, the top of the Busan Tower was modelled after the baldaquin, which is a ceremonial canopy of sorts, of Dabotap Pagoda as seen in the Bulguksa Temple.
The tower has a breathtaking panoramic view of the port, with an observatory deck. This deck also features a lovely little café, so you can snack while you take in the view.
The base of the tower has a few interconnected galleries, café and souvenir shops as well.
You can reach the top of the Busan Tower via high speed elevators, but only during working hours, so make sure you look up holidays and the likes before visiting.
Gamcheon Culture Village
A vibrant little town in the Saha District of Busan, the Gamcheon Culture Village is one of the most Instagrammable and Instagrammed spots of this port city.
Popularly known as ‘Korea’s Santorini’ or ‘Machu Picchu of Busan’, this area has colourfully painted houses, streets, and alleyways.
Striking, like a kaleidoscope, this village is basically built of a steep mountain-side slope which means that you get a panoramic view of Gamcheon from the higher side.
With layered streets, labyrinth-like alleys, and hue-filled stairways, the Gamcheon Culture Village has been even more popular than before, due to its restoration a few years back.
This public art renovation project also saw a renewed scattering of art galleries, museums and shops in the alleyways, making the town an ideal one-day trip spot for locals and tourists alike.
Gamcheon-dong, Saha District, Busan
The Haeundae Beach is a picturesque expanse of water at the edge of a skyscraper dotted city. It is clean, beautiful and gorgeous!
In fact, this beach is one of South Korea’s most famous and popular beaches, especially because of the festivals that are held on the shore year round. The most widely loved event is the Polar Bear Club which has been held since 1988, in which participants bathe in freezing water.
Like most beaches, it is open all year, and is even closely associated with the visual culture. This is because Haeundae Beach partially hosts the Busan International Film Festival.
Thanks to its prevalence among tourists and locals alike and the closeness to the sea, the area around the beach is one of the most expensive ones in the country. It has been a hotspot for the major urban development projects of South Korea as well.
Most importantly, do not miss the sunsets, they are to die for!
Hauendae District, Busan.
40 minutes via train from Busan station, or an hour away from the airport.
Haedong Yonggung Temple
A temple which overlooks the sea.
So undoubtedly, the Haedong Yonggung Temple is incredible. And located just near the famed Hauendae Beach, the temple is at prime spot and one should definitely not miss it.
The temple, initially called the Bomun Temple, was first built in 1376 by Naong, who was a teacher during the Goryeo Dynasty. It was later destroyed by Japanese invaders in 1592–98, and was rebuilt in the 1930s. This time around it was renamed the Haedong Yonggung Temple.
The temple complex by itself is large and expansive, and like we mentioned, one of the very few in Korea to be set on the seaside.
The temple is particularly popular and crowded with sightseers during Buddha’s Birthday, when celebrations entail intricate decorations with paper lanterns.
A hiking dreamland for someone who is interested, Taejongdae is a natural park in Busan.
With cliffs opening up to the sea on the southernmost tip of the island, it is verdant and has a dense evergreen population of trees.
Named after the 29th king of Silla Kingdom who loved to practice archery from the location, Taejongdae now serves multiple purposes for tourism and otherwise.
It has an observatory, an amusement park, a lighthouse, and even a cruise ship terminal.
Southernmost tip of island Yeongdo-gu.
Kim Jae Sun Gallery
The Kim Jae Sun Gallery has organised over 200 exhibitions featuring homegrown artists. It has since become a hotspot for discovering and promoting local talents.
Apart from this, it has also featured international artists in art fairs and exhibitions. The Kim Jae Sun Gallery has played a key role in introducing Korean artists to foreign artists and arts, promoting a sense of collaboration and confluence.
The gallery is best known for expanding the domestic art market.
83, Cheongsapo-ro 58beon-gil, Busan.
Busan Museum of Art
The Busan Museum of Art is the port city’s largest art space, and the best part about it is that it has free entry.
Displaying works by some of the leading Korean artists, its exhibits span across mediums, from paintings and sculptures to video installations and even a library.
The Busan Museum of Art is basically five floors dedicated to the arts, and is something one should not miss.
It even features a small souvenir shop on the ground floor that sells gifts and art pieces.
It is even located in a prime location as it is close to other popular tourist attractions such as Shinsegae Centum City, Busan Cinema Centre, and the BEXCO exhibition hall.
Galmegi Brewing Co.
Founded in January of 2014, the Galmegi Brewing started off as an intimate brewpub. A group of beer enthusiasts from various cultural backgrounds came together to give the world premium beer in the port town of Busan.
Thus started their journey, which had now culminated in branching out with 6 locations including Gwangan Taphouse and franchisees in Haeundae, Nampo, PNU and KSU.
Still equally passionate about their art, they strive to bring the most exciting and world class craft beers to your table.
Sasang-ro, Sasang-gu, Busan.
Jagalchi Fish Market
The Jagalchi Fish Market in Busan is the largest in the country.
Some of the more popular fishes that you might spot (and end up buying) are the dehydrated anchovies, sea laver, and various shellfish. Near the city hall, a few shops sell homegrown herbal medicine and animal-based remedies as well.
It gets its name from the Korean word for gravel, because the market used to be surrounded by gravel.
Yet another feature of the market are the ‘Busan wives’, known for their matriarchal independence during the Korean War. They are known for their drive and determination to provide financial support to their family by paying for their children’s education. These women are also called ‘jgalchi ajumma’.
The Jagalchi Fish Market is one of the most popular spots among tourists, to get a whiff of the seafood culture and produce of the city.
It even hosts the Busan Jagalchi Festival autumn, which goes by a catchy tagline “Oiso! Boiso! Saiso!”, which translates to “Come! See! Buy!”. One can sing, dance, catch fish and savour them as well!
Nampo-dong in Jung-gu, and Chungmu-dong, Seo-gu. The market is located on the edge of Nampo Port Busan.
Gwangbokdong Food Street
To experience the city like a local, you need to do what the locals do, and most importantly, eat what they eat. It’s all in the food.
And there is absolutely no better place than the Gwangbokdong Food Street to get a taste of Busan- what they put in the food, what they eat and how they eat.
The area that stretches between Gukje Market and Nampo-dong houses more than 20 restaurants which are drenched in over 60 years of history.
Like any other good street, this one is a delight thanks to the inexpensive prices, amiable street merchants and the delectable spread of dishes!
This street continues to be one of the more loved spots by international tourists in the port city of Busan.
Restaurant Street, Gwangbok-dong, Busan.
Finally, we have the Nampo-dong Market which is The shopping street of Busan. A commercial area on the southern part of the city, it borders the city river on the north, making it quite picturesque for a shopping street.
It is easily accessible via the Nampo Station subway, and is dotted with souvenir shops, stores, cafes, restaurants, statues, and seasonal and/or permanent art exhibits. Given its popularity among all, it is very easily accessible and reachable by bus or the subway network.
The street also has a bunch of camera shops, as well those that sell foreign goods and imported products. The Nampo-dong Market has an extensive array of underground shops as well!
Invariably, it has a bunch of seafood places where you can munch on lovely local delicacies, as you shop (or window shop).
There is even a dedicated Lotte Departmental Store which has a wide range of trademark products of the brand.