Busan is the second largest city in Korea. The natural landscape, beautiful mountains and perfect beaches are one of a kind, and along with the outdoors you can enjoy a bustling city with some of the best seafood around.
It is a busy seaside city that thrives off of local markets with freshly caught product, and international tourism. The history of the temples and markets run deep and there is an incredible culture to be found among the people in Busan.
In order to really enjoy your four days in Busan, you need to have a proper travel itinerary in place. Knowing where you are going and what you need will save you some stress and a whole lot of time. Make the most of your trip by preparing beforehand and take in all of what Busan has to offer.
The most important planning happens before you even book your tickets. There are a few things to take into consideration when booking your trip, and each needs to be thought of carefully in order for you to have a great time.
The Best Time To Travel to Busan
While Busan is beautiful all year round, spring and autumn are great months for tourists to visit the city. Spring falls between April and May and autumn between October and November.
The temperatures during these months are milder and the weather is usually quite favorable. You won’t be hit by the heat of summer or freeze in the winter. Spring and autumn are a perfect median of the other two seasons and you will be able to travel outdoors comfortably.
You don’t want to be confined to certain activities because of the weather, so planning your trip around the seasons will definitely help fit in all the site seeing and activities you have planned.
Which Airline to Use
Busan is a busy city, so there are many flight options available. When flying though, it is always a good idea to stick to the airline that has roots in your destination, so when flying to Busan, Air Busan is your best bet. They have a great service and are a trusted airline
Where to stay in Busan
You want to find somewhere central to stay in Busan that allows you to travel to different places without having too far to go. You also want to stay in a safe area that is both affordable and close to amenities. To tick all these boxes, Seomyeon is a good bet. It falls in the interchange station, giving you easy access to transport. It is also close to a food alley and a mall. Nampo-dong is also a good recommendation, as it has reliable transport to get to and from different attractions.
If you are looking for great atmosphere, Haeundae is the place for you. It also has its own beach, great for the warmer months.
READ MORE: WHERE TO STAY IN BUSAN
How to get around in Busan
Public transport in Busan is great. It is safe, it is reliable and it is easily accessible. Most forms of public transport do include some sort of English translation, so it is fairly easy to find your way around without getting too lost.
Busan offers visitors and tourists a couple of different reliable public transport options. The subway system is quite extensive and reaches just about anywhere in the city. You will need to purchase a train card at subway ticket offices.
Taxis are readily available in Busan and you can flag one down on the street. There are also call taxis that can be phoned in beforehand and deluxe taxis which cost more than the regular taxi fare. Keep in mind that taxi fares can go up 20% at night.
The three types of buses in Busan are the regular buses (blue and white), express buses (red and white) and the late night buses. Recorded messages let you know the next stop and there are signs in both English and Korean, so they are easy to use. You will also need to get a bus card which you can buy at a bus stop, or you can pay with cash.
Do I need a visa to visit Busan?
For most countries, short stays in Korea can be done without a visa. Some citizens of certain countries will even be allowed to stay for up to 3 months visa-free. Canadians can stay for up to 6 months without a visa. US citizens can enter on their passport, but will need to get a visa if staying over 90 days. Having a visa upon entry does make things easier though.
Be safe and check the requirements before leaving. Rules could change and you don’t want to be left stranded.
Day 1: Historic Busan
Busan has a rich history, and the temples found on the coast and in the mountains are really sights to behold. Immerse yourself in the culture and history of these sacred sites.
Haedong Younggung Temple
The lead up to the temple is beautiful and interesting. You pass the 12 animals in the zodiac before reaching the entrance of the temple. It is one of the most popular Buddhist temples in Korea. The surrounding areas are scenic and worth taking in. There are vendors with food and souvenirs on site as well. It does take some walking to get up to the temple, but the walk is worth the views and history of the temple.
Rich history can be found in this temple, which has been there for nearly 1300 years. Found on the edge of Mount Geumjeongsan, the original structure was lost during the Japanese invasion in 1952, but it has lasted since being rebuilt in 1713.
The walkways are lined with art which leads up to the main building. The temple is pretty extensive and the staff on site are very helpful and informative. From the temple, you can take a 1.7km hike up to the Geumjeong Fortress north gate, which offers great views and scenery.
Chungnyeolsa is a sacred shrine, where it is believed the spirits of those who fought against the invasion of Korea are enshrined. It was first built in 1605 and still holds the air of its sacred meaning from when it was first built. It is a beautiful site to visit and is located in Jeongeup.
Day 2: Excitement in Busan
Give yourself a taste of fun with these attractions in Busan.
This beach is popular among locals. There is always something happens, join in a cultural event or one of the many live concerts held there. The blue waters and fine sands frame the perfect place for both a day relaxing in the sun, as well as being active in the city’s cultural and musical life.
ALSO SEE: THE 10 BEST BEACHES IN SOUTH KOREA
Sea Life Busan Aquarium
Go for either a 4D ride in the actual aquarium or scuba dive with sharks. The aquarium has three underground levels and even features an outdoor park. It is one of the best aquariums in Korea with its state of the art equipment, exciting wildlife and good food!
Finally completed in 2012, the Skywalk really is incredible. The glass bridge lets you look down into the waves below and feel as if you are floating. When the weather is good, you can even catch a glimpse of Daemado Island in the distance. The skywalk is a great way to take in the ocean scenery.
Biff Square is great to visit at night. It is a cultural attraction that promotes the Korean film industry. It means to put Korea on the map as a cultural tourist city, and is full of different sites and excitements. The cinemas are worth visiting and there are always good films to watch.
Day 3: A Day of Shopping in Busan
You cannot visit Busan without visiting one of the busy markets or great shopping centres.
Jagalachi Fish Market
So you won’t really want to take any fish home with you, but the fish market is a great morning start to your day. Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of this sea-towns fish market, which happens to be the largest seafood market in Korea. There is live seafood, dried seafood, and pretty much any seafood you could imagine. You can wander both indoors and outdoors and even catch a bite to eat from one of the vendors. It really is a good representation of the Busan lifestyle.
Gukje Market is one of the largest markets in Korea. Stalls cover both sides of the alleys and in the market you can find pretty much anything. It was originally set up by refugees but has since transformed into a bustling and thriving international market. There are lots of food options, different clothing, electronics, trinkets, toys and much more. From Gukje Market you can link to Bupyeong Market and Kkangtong Market if you have the time.
Shinsegae Centum City
This is the world’s largest shopping complex; you do not want to miss it. You more than likely won’t even cover half of the shopping centre, but it cannot be missed. Famous for its branded discounts and large outlet shops, the mall also has spa services and plenty different restaurants to choose from. Make your way down to this mall in the afternoon, giving yourself some lazy time to wander around and pick up a few gifts for back home.
Day 4: Relax in Busan
After all your traveling and site-seeing, you will need a day to unwind and take in some of the more relaxing activities that Busan has to offer.
Gamcheon Culture Village
The bright and pastel houses in Gamcheon are iconic in Busan. Found at the foot of a mountain, these tightly knit houses are a good representation of Busan life. It is a popular tourist attraction and makes for great photos. It is the heart and life of the tourist attractions, as well as being one of the epi-centres of Busan culture.
Lotte World is truly an adventure you don't wan to miss especially if you're planning on visiting Seoul with the family. The theme park has roughly 7.3 million visitors a year and consists of the largest indoor theme park in the world and an outdoor theme park called "Magic Island." Here, you can explore shops, restaurants, themed rides, and all sorts of family friendly activities. It's essentially like the Korean Disneyland on steroids.
Hur Shim Chung Spa
You deserve a little break from the busy Busan. Take a little while to relax at this incredible spa and bathhouse aka jimjibang. It is one of the oldest spas in Korea, so you are tackling a bit of history at the same time. The water is rich in magnesium and you can also enjoy the hot spring found within its walls as well.
The panoramic beach is just astonishing. It is one of the top beach destinations and it is full of activity and life. Close by is the Folk Square which offers up some traditional Korean games, Korean wrestling and sometimes arrow throwing. Spend time with the locals in their local beach hang out spot and get to know Busan on a personal level. During the warmer months the beach is packed with sun tanners and bathers, but it is large enough to accommodate for all of this.
Take a small hike up to Taekong-Dae in order to witness incredible views. Catch the late sunset after a short hike and watch the lighthouse and observatory. Busan has some of the best scenery around, and this hike is one of the most ideal ways to take it all in.
Busan has so much to offer, from being a thriving seaside town to one with rich and extensive history and culture. The Buddhist temples give you a glimpse into the Korean past, as well as witnessing how the religious side of Busan still thrives. The markets and shopping gives you some of the best local and international products, in some of the best shopping surroundings.
There are so many local gems to be found in Busan, and this can be done in 4 days. By following an itinerary and keeping things organized, you will be able to experience Busan at its finest, and really get an insight into how life in Busan works. The locals are friendly and the public transport is great, along with the scenery and history, what else could you ask for from a tourist destination?