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The Best Things To Do In Busan


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Krissie Mcnaughton



Busan, known as the summer capital of South Korea, boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the country. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day under the sun or an adventurous water sports experience, Busan’s beaches have something for everyone.


1. Haeundae Beach: Located in the Haeundae district, Haeundae Beach is one of the most popular and well-known beaches in Busan. With its soft golden sand stretching for 1.5 kilometers, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Haeundae Beach attracts both locals and tourists alike. The beach offers various water activities such as jet skiing, banana boating, and parasailing. You can also find numerous beachfront cafes, restaurants, and bars where you can relax and enjoy the view.


2. Gwangalli Beach: Gwangalli is another must-visit beach in Busan. Known for its iconic Diamond Bridge, which lights up at night, this beach offers a picturesque setting for relaxation. Gwangalli Beach is especially popular among young locals and tourists who come here to enjoy the panoramic cityscape while lounging on the sandy shore. The beach is also dotted with trendy cafes and seafood restaurants, making it a perfect spot to indulge in delicious local cuisine.


3. Songdo Beach: Located near the city center, Songdo Beach is the oldest and smallest beach in Busan. Despite its size, it offers a unique and charming atmosphere. One of the highlights of Songdo Beach is the “Cloud Walk,” a curved walkway that stretches over the ocean, giving visitors the feeling of walking on water. The beach is also famous for its cable car, which provides a breathtaking view of the coastline.


4. Dadaepo Beach: Situated in the western part of Busan, Dadaepo Beach is known for its mesmerizing sunset views. It’s an ideal spot for a tranquil and romantic evening stroll along the shore. The beach is also home to the Dadaepo Sunset Fountain of Dreams, a music fountain show that combines water, lights, and music to create a captivating spectacle.


Visiting the beaches of Busan is a must-do when exploring the city. Whether you want to soak up the sun, catch some waves, or simply enjoy the breathtaking scenery, Busan’s beaches offer a diverse range of experiences. So pack your towels, sunscreen, and get ready for a memorable beach adventure in Busan.


Local Markets

Exploring the vibrant local markets in Busan is an essential part of experiencing the city’s culture and discovering unique treasures. From fresh produce to handicrafts and delicious street food, these markets offer a glimpse into the local way of life. Here are some of the must-visit markets in Busan:


1. Jagalchi Fish Market: As South Korea’s largest fish market, Jagalchi Fish Market is a paradise for seafood lovers. Located by the waterfront in Busan’s Jagalchi District, the market is a bustling hub where you can find a wide variety of live fish, shellfish, and other ocean delicacies. Freshly caught seafood is prepared and served right on the spot at numerous small eateries surrounding the market. Don’t miss the chance to sample dishes like sashimi, grilled fish, and spicy seafood soup.


2. Gukje Market: Established after the Korean War, Gukje Market is one of the most famous traditional markets in Busan. Spanning several blocks, the market offers a diverse range of goods, including clothing, accessories, household items, and souvenirs. Strolling through the narrow alleyways, you’ll encounter a vibrant atmosphere filled with the shouts of vendors and the aroma of street food. Don’t forget to haggle for the best prices, as bargaining is a common practice here.


3. Bupyeong Market: Located near the Nampo-dong area, Bupyeong Market is a treasure trove for fashion enthusiasts. The market is renowned for selling trendy clothing, footwear, and accessories at affordable prices. From stylish streetwear to traditional hanboks, you can find a wide range of fashion items to suit every taste. Bupyeong Market also has a food alley where you can indulge in a variety of local snacks and dishes.


4. Seomyeon Underground Shopping Center: For a unique shopping experience, head to the Seomyeon Underground Shopping Center. Located beneath the bustling Seomyeon district, this underground maze of shops offers a wide range of products, from clothes and accessories to cosmetics and electronics. It’s a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking fashionable items at reasonable prices.


Visiting the local markets in Busan not only allows you to shop for unique items and taste delicious street food but also provides a glimpse into the city’s vibrant culture and the warm hospitality of its people. So make sure to include a trip to these markets in your itinerary to fully immerse yourself in the local Busan experience.


Temples and Shrines

Busan is home to a wide range of temples and shrines, each offering a serene and spiritual escape from the bustling city. These sacred sites showcase the rich cultural and religious heritage of South Korea. Here are some notable temples and shrines to visit in Busan:


1. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: Located on the northeastern coast of Busan, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a breathtakingly beautiful temple set against the backdrop of the sea. Unlike most traditional temples in South Korea, which are nestled in mountains, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is known for its unique oceanfront location. The temple is particularly popular during the Buddha’s Birthday celebration, when vibrant lanterns light up the entire area. Visitors can also enjoy stunning panoramic views of the coastline and the iconic statue of the 12 zodiac animals found on the premises.


2. Beomeosa Temple: Nestled in the picturesque Geumjeongsan Mountain, Beomeosa Temple is one of the most prominent Buddhist temples in Busan. With a history dating back over 1,300 years, this temple exudes a sense of tranquility and offers visitors an opportunity to reflect and find inner peace. The temple complex features multiple buildings, including the main hall, the Pagoda of the Four Heavenly Kings, and the Sari Tower. Nature lovers can also embark on a hike up the mountain and enjoy the breathtaking views.


3. Samgwangsa Temple: Known for its magnificent display of lanterns, Samgwangsa Temple is a must-visit during the Buddha’s Birthday celebrations. Located in the outskirts of Busan, this temple is adorned with thousands of colorful lanterns, creating a mesmerizing scene that attracts both locals and tourists alike. The temple grounds offer a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for meditation and seeking spiritual solace.


4. Yongdusan Park and Busan Tower: While not a traditional temple or shrine, Yongdusan Park houses the iconic Busan Tower, which offers panoramic views of the city. The park is also home to the historic Bokcheon-dong Yeongungsa Temple, which dates back to the Silla Dynasty. Visitors can explore the temple grounds, marvel at the ancient stone pagodas, and enjoy the serene ambiance of the park.


Visiting the temples and shrines in Busan provides a unique opportunity to experience the spiritual side of Korean culture. Whether you’re seeking tranquility, cultural immersion, or simply the beauty of the architecture and natural surroundings, these sacred sites are sure to leave a lasting impression on your journey through Busan.


Gamcheon Culture Village

Located in the Busan’s Saha-gu district, Gamcheon Culture Village is a vibrant and colorful neighborhood known for its unique architecture and artistic charm. Once a poor hillside community, the village has undergone a transformation into a cultural and artistic hub, attracting visitors from all over the world. Here’s what you can expect when you visit Gamcheon Culture Village:


1. Colorful Houses and Street Art: As you wander through the narrow alleys of Gamcheon Culture Village, you’ll be greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors. The houses are painted in vibrant hues, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploration. The artistic vibe is further enhanced by the presence of numerous murals, sculptures, and installations created by local artists. Each turn reveals a new and unique piece of street art, making it a haven for art enthusiasts and photographers.


2. Cultural and Art Spaces: Gamcheon Culture Village is home to various cultural and art spaces, including art galleries, studios, and workshops. These spaces provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local arts scene and engage with artists who call the village home. You can discover a range of artistic creations, from traditional Korean crafts to contemporary artworks.


3. Gamcheon Culture Village Museum: The Gamcheon Culture Village Museum is a great starting point for your exploration of the village. The museum showcases the history and transformation of the area, allowing visitors to gain a deeper understanding of the community’s past and present. It also features interactive exhibits and displays that provide insights into the daily lives of the residents.


4. Cafes and Souvenir Shops: In addition to its artistic appeal, Gamcheon Culture Village is also a great place to unwind and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. There are numerous cafes and tea houses scattered throughout the village, offering a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. You can also find souvenir shops where you can purchase unique and locally made crafts and mementos to take home.


Visiting Gamcheon Culture Village is like stepping into a living art gallery. The combination of colorful houses, stunning street art, and artistic spaces create an immersive and captivating experience. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes as you navigate the steep and narrow alleys, and be sure to take your time exploring the hidden gems and delightful surprises that await around every corner.


Jagalchi Fish Market

Immerse yourself in the bustling sights, sounds, and flavors of Busan at the iconic Jagalchi Fish Market. As South Korea’s largest seafood market, Jagalchi Fish Market is a must-visit destination for seafood lovers and a fascinating glimpse into the vibrant local fishing culture. Here’s what you can expect when you explore Jagalchi Fish Market:


1. Fresh Seafood Galore: Prepare to be amazed by the vast array of seafood available at Jagalchi Fish Market. From live fish and crabs to clams, octopuses, and squids, you’ll find an unbelievable variety of marine delights. Watch as the local fishmongers expertly clean and prepare the seafood, showcasing their skills and knowledge accumulated through generations. Whether you’re planning to cook a home-cooked meal or looking to try Busan’s famous raw fish dishes, Jagalchi Fish Market is the perfect place to source your ingredients.


2. Traditional Market Atmosphere: As you wander through Jagalchi Fish Market, you’ll feel the lively energy and bustling atmosphere of a working market. Local vendors enthusiastically advertise their fresh catches, filling the air with their voices and the vibrant colors of their stalls. Take in the sights and sounds as you venture through the maze of narrow aisles, immersing yourself in the vibrant ambiance of the market.


3. Savor the Seafood: If you’re in the mood for a seafood feast, head to one of the many restaurants that surround the market. These establishments specialize in turning the fresh catch into mouthwatering dishes. Feast on sashimi, grilled fish, seafood stews, and other traditional Korean dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. The unique dining experience adds an extra layer of culinary delight to your visit to Jagalchi Fish Market.


4. Experience the Culture: Beyond the seafood, Jagalchi Fish Market is a cultural hub that offers insights into the daily lives of Busan’s fishing community. Take a moment to observe the interactions between the fishermen and their customers, witnessing the rich fishing heritage that has shaped the city’s identity. The market is also a popular spot for street performances and live music, adding to the lively and festive ambiance.


Jagalchi Fish Market is a must-visit destination that encapsulates the essence of Busan’s culinary and cultural heritage. From the freshest seafood and vibrant market atmosphere to the opportunity to experience the local fishing culture, a visit to Jagalchi Fish Market will be an unforgettable experience for all your senses.


Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Perched on the northeastern coast of Busan, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a captivating and unique gem among South Korea’s Buddhist temples. Unlike most traditional temples nestled in the mountains, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple boasts a stunning oceanfront location that adds an extra touch of serenity and beauty to its spiritual ambiance. Here’s what makes Haedong Yonggungsa Temple a must-visit destination:


1. Breathtaking Coastal Setting: The temple’s location overlooking the sea creates a mesmerizing and picturesque scene. As you approach the temple grounds, the sound of crashing waves and the salty ocean breeze instantly transport you to a place of tranquility. The panoramic views of the coastline, combined with the temple’s architecture and natural surroundings, provide a unique and unforgettable backdrop for your visit.


2. Ancient Origins and Legend: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple has a history dating back over a thousand years to the Goryeo Dynasty. According to legend, the temple was constructed by the great Buddhist teacher Naong during the 9th century, making it one of the oldest temples in Busan. The temple complex showcases a harmonious blend of Buddhist and Korean architectural styles, with intricately decorated buildings, statues, and pagodas.


3. Stunning Statues and Pagodas: As you explore Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, you’ll encounter numerous statues and pagodas that add to the temple’s mystical charm. Notable highlights include a towering statue of the Goddess of Mercy, known as the Haesu Gwaneum Daebul, as well as the 12 zodiac animal statues that line the pathway. These statues are believed to bring good fortune and blessings to visitors.


4. Spiritual Festivals and Ceremonies: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a lively and vibrant place that hosts various Buddhist ceremonies and festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular events is the Buddha’s Birthday celebration, held in May, where thousands of lanterns are lit, creating a breathtaking sea of light. Visitors can participate in the festivities and witness the unique blend of religion, culture, and community.


Visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is not only a spiritual experience but also an opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the enchanting beauty of South Korea’s coastline. Whether you’re seeking inner peace, cultural exploration, or simply a breathtaking view, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a destination that will leave a lasting impression.


Gwangalli Beach

Gwangalli Beach, situated in the Gwangan neighborhood of Busan, is a vibrant and popular destination that offers a unique beach experience. Known for its stunning views and lively atmosphere, it has become a favorite spot for both locals and tourists. Here’s why Gwangalli Beach should be on your Busan itinerary:


1. Iconic Diamond Bridge: One of the main attractions of Gwangalli Beach is the Gwangan Bridge, affectionately known as the Diamond Bridge. The bridge lights up at night, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of colors and reflections on the water. It’s a beautiful backdrop for an evening stroll along the beach, with the bridge acting as a symbol of the city’s modernity and urban charm.


2. Sandy Shoreline: Gwangalli Beach is known for its fine golden sand that stretches for about 1.4 kilometers. With its spacious beach area, it’s a perfect spot for sunbathing, picnicking, or simply relaxing. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas to make your stay even more comfortable. The beach also offers great opportunities for water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding, adding an adventurous element to your visit.


3. Cafes and Restaurants: Gwangalli Beach is lined with a wide variety of cafes, pubs, and eateries, making it a perfect place to indulge in delicious food and refreshing beverages. From traditional Korean dishes to international cuisine, you’ll find a range of options to satisfy your cravings. The beachfront cafes offer spectacular views of the ocean, allowing you to enjoy your favorite drink while basking in the scenic beauty.


4. Festivals and Events: Gwangalli Beach is a hub of exciting events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular festivals is the Gwangalli Eobang Festival, which celebrates the local fishing culture and includes performances, exhibitions, and a fireworks display. The beach also hosts various concerts and cultural events, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere.


5. Magnificent Sunsets: Gwangalli Beach is renowned for its awe-inspiring sunsets. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, casting a warm glow over the beach and the Diamond Bridge. The sight of the setting sun reflecting on the calm waters of Gwangalli Beach is truly breathtaking, and capturing this magical moment is a must for any visitor.


Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or a vibrant social scene, Gwangalli Beach has something for everyone. Its picturesque setting, lively atmosphere, and range of activities make it an essential stop for those seeking an unforgettable beach experience in Busan.


Busan Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of Busan at the Busan Museum. Located in the heart of the city, this museum offers a fascinating exploration of the region’s past, from ancient civilizations to modern times. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the local culture, a visit to the Busan Museum is a must. Here’s what you can expect:


1. Exhibitions: The Busan Museum features a diverse range of exhibitions that showcase the history, art, and culture of the region. From ancient artifacts to contemporary artworks, each exhibit offers an in-depth look into various aspects of Busan’s heritage. The museum’s permanent collection includes archaeological findings, traditional handicrafts, and historical photographs that provide a comprehensive understanding of the city’s evolution over time.


2. Haeundae History Hall: One of the highlights of the Busan Museum is the Haeundae History Hall, dedicated to the history and development of the famous Haeundae district. Through immersive displays and interactive exhibits, visitors can learn about the district’s transformation from a small fishing village to a bustling beach destination. The hall also highlights the local customs, festivals, and cultural traditions associated with Haeundae.


3. Special Events and Programs: The Busan Museum regularly organizes special events, workshops, and educational programs for visitors of all ages. These include lectures, guided tours, and hands-on activities that allow you to further engage with the exhibits and explore different aspects of Busan’s history and culture. Keep an eye on the museum’s schedule to see if any events align with your visit.


4. Seokgwangsa Pagoda: Adjacent to the museum is the Seokgwangsa Pagoda, a historic treasure and one of Busan’s oldest pagodas. Dating back to the 9th century, this ancient stone pagoda is a testament to the region’s Buddhist heritage. Take a moment to admire the intricate carvings and architectural details, and appreciate the spiritual significance of this cultural masterpiece.


Visiting the Busan Museum is an enriching experience that allows you to delve into the city’s fascinating history and cultural legacy. By exploring its exhibitions, participating in special events, and discovering the historical treasures it houses, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for Busan’s past and its place in South Korea’s cultural landscape.


Haeundae Market

Explore the vibrant and bustling Haeundae Market, located in the heart of the popular Haeundae district in Busan. This bustling marketplace is a hub of activity, offering a wide array of products, local delicacies, and a glimpse into the daily lives of the locals. Whether you’re searching for traditional Korean souvenirs, fresh produce, or a delicious street food experience, Haeundae Market has something for everyone. Here’s what you can expect when you visit:


1. Shopping Extravaganza: Haeundae Market is a shopaholic’s paradise. Here, you’ll find a plethora of shops selling a diverse range of goods, from clothing and accessories to household items and handicrafts. The market is particularly famous for its traditional Korean hanboks, intricately designed dresses that represent the country’s rich cultural heritage. Don’t forget to haggle and bargain for the best prices and deals, as it’s a common practice in the bustling atmosphere of the market.


2. Fresh Produce and Seafood: Haeundae Market is home to a vibrant produce section, where you can find an extensive selection of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The market is also renowned for its seafood, with vendors selling a variety of seafood products, from live fish and shellfish to seaweed and dried fish. It’s an excellent opportunity to experience the local fishing culture and purchase ingredients for a delicious seafood meal.


3. Street Food Haven: Indulge in a gastronomic adventure at Haeundae Market’s street food vendors. From savory snacks like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes) and hotteok (sweet pancakes) to seafood delicacies like eomuk (fish cake) and fresh sushi, the market is a paradise for food enthusiasts. With numerous stalls lining the streets, you can sample a wide variety of dishes and experience the vibrant flavors of Korean street food.


4. Cultural Immersion: Haeundae Market offers a genuine glimpse into the local way of life in Busan. As you stroll through the labyrinthine alleys, you’ll witness the hustle and bustle of vendors, hear the calls of street food sellers, and immerse yourself in the vibrant ambiance of the market. Take the opportunity to interact with the friendly locals, practice your bargaining skills, and learn about the traditions and customs that shape the market’s unique character.


A visit to Haeundae Market is an exciting and immersive experience that allows you to explore the vibrant local culture, shop for unique items, and savor the delectable flavors of Busan’s street food. Whether you’re in search of a cultural adventure or simply want to indulge in a shopping spree, Haeundae Market promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of Busan’s bustling district.


Taejongdae Park

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Taejongdae Park. Located on the southernmost tip of Yeongdo Island in Busan, this stunning coastal park offers breathtaking views, tranquil walking trails, and a glimpse into Busan’s rich history and folklore. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a serene escape, Taejongdae Park is a must-visit destination. Here’s what you can expect:


1. Spectacular Coastal Scenery: Taejongdae Park is known for its stunning coastal cliffs, dramatic rock formations, and panoramic views of the sea. Take a leisurely stroll along the walking trails that wind through lush forests and scenic overlooks, and marvel at the rugged beauty of the coastline. On clear days, you can spot the distant Oryukdo Islands and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze.


2. Taejongsa Temple: Nestled within the park is Taejongsa Temple, a tranquil Buddhist temple that adds a spiritual element to your visit. Dating back to the Silla Dynasty, the temple is dedicated to King Taejong Muyeol, one of the great kings of the dynasty. Step inside the temple grounds to admire the intricate architecture, ornate decorations, and serene atmosphere. Enjoy moments of reflection and find inner peace amidst the scenic surroundings.


3. Yeongdo Lighthouse: Located at the edge of Taejongdae Park is the Yeongdo Lighthouse, a historic landmark that guides ships along the coast. The lighthouse offers a unique vantage point to take in the panoramic views of the park and the sea below. Take your time to admire the sweeping vistas, capture stunning photographs, and feel a sense of serenity as you watch the waves crashing against the rocks.


4. Folklore and Legends: Taejongdae Park is steeped in folklore and legends. One of the most famous tales centers around a rock called Sinseon Rock, believed to have been the site where gods descended to grant blessings. According to local legend, throwing stones from Sinseon Rock onto a nearby bell will bring good luck. Immerse yourself in the captivating stories and mythical charm of the park as you explore its natural wonders.


Taejongdae Park offers a retreat into nature, history, and folklore, providing a unique and rejuvenating experience for visitors. Whether you’re seeking stunning views, moments of tranquility, or a deeper connection with Busan’s cultural heritage, Taejongdae Park is a serene oasis waiting to be explored.