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Discover South Korea’s Seaside Paradise: 3-Day Busan Itinerary

Image via Shutterstock

South Korea isn’t all about Seoul! Have you considered Busan? Film enthusiasts, beach bums, and seafood lovers alike will love South Korea’s bustling port city. If the only thing you know about Busan is the mere mention of it in the hit Korean horror movie, “Train to Busan”, then you’re seriously missing out.

There’s so much to do at the country’s second most populated city! Savor squid caught fresh from the Pacific, chill by the picturesque coastline of Haeundae Beach, and enjoy a challenging hike at the artsy Gamcheon Culture Village. Because Busan is often enjoyed last-minute as part of a stopover to Gwangan or Seoul, you might not know how to plan your trip. Not to worry—here’s our detailed 3-day Busan itinerary that covers major attractions, where to shop, what to expect, and more!

What You Should Know Before You Visit Busan:

How To Get There

Gimhae Airport (Image via Shutterstock)
Gimhae Airport (Image via Shutterstock)

Depart from Seoul

By Train

Aside from flying directly from Gimpo Airport (Seoul) to Gimhae Airport (Busan), which takes an hour, boarding the high-speed KTX train Korea is next fastest way. Head to either KTX Seoul Station or KTX Yongsan Station, where one ‘train to Busan’ (heh) will departing once or twice per hour.

We recommend getting a discounted KORAIL Pass if you’re traveling with a group. Seoul-savvy tip: check out more discounts, passes, and general budget tips here.

  • Cost: 109957
  • Duration: 2.5 hrs

By Bus

The cheapest option! Depart from Seoul Gyeongbu bus terminal and brave the traffic to Busan. Book your bus tickets here or buy them at the bus station upon arrival.

  • Cost: Beginning at 592883 (Surcharge Economy seats) and upwards
  • Duration: minimum of 4 hours, depends on traffic

Here’s Your 3-Day Itinerary Around Busan:

Day 1: Intro to Busan’s Vibrant Culture

After checking in: Jagalchi Fish Market

Jagalchi Fish Market (Image via Shutterstock)

The best way to immerse yourself in a new city is to check out the local market, and you’re in luck. Jagalchi Fish Market is Korea’s largest seafood market, boasting all sorts of live or dried fish-including whale meat!

If you’re hungry from the flight, have your brunch or lunch inside various buffets and restaurants surrounding the market. And how fresh is the food? Most of them may even still be alive! While you’re there, shop for fresh ingredients like squid, crabs and flounder. You can take them to the local restaurants and no-name stalls to have them cooked.

  • Opening Hours: 5:00am – 10:00pm
  • Location: 52, Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan

Lunch: Stop by Lotte Department Store Sky Garden

Lotte Mart (Image via Shutterstock)

Why not unwind with a bit of retail therapy? From the fish market, walk to the nearby Gwangbok branch of Lotte Department Store, located at Nampodong Station. Enjoy tons of international shops (like  Zara, Mango, and Gap) and restaurants at either of its combined buildings, Main Store or Aqua Mall. At the latter, delight in the world’s largest indoor musical water fountain! After you’re done, climb to the 11th floor for the Skypark Garden or 12th for the Observation Deck for sweeping views of Busan and the Bay.

  • Opening Hours: 10:30am – 8:00pm
  • Location: 2, Jungang-daero, Jung-gu, Busan

Explore Gamcheon Culture Village

(Image via cezzie901, Flickr)

For a huge dose of art, history, culture, and more, you have to visit Gamcheon Culture Village. Discover crayon-colored houses, charming galleries and coffee shops, and amazing street art! Collect stamps as you pass through strategic viewpoints and Insta-worthy alleyways! After walking around, you would not believe that it used to be a poor district housing refugees from the Korean War.

Fun fact: back in 2009, a group of students decided to brighten up the houses by repainting them. The project completely transformed the village. Today, the Gamcheon Culture Village is brightly colored with murals and sculptures created by the residents. Visit this quaint coastal village—often nicknamed the ‘Machu Pichu of Busan’—and be moved by the passion of the community.

  • Location: 2(i)-dong, Gamcheon, Saha-gu, Busan
  • Transportation: Metro Line 1 to Toseong Station, from exit 6 turn right and walk for 3 minutes, Take Bus 2 or 2-2
  • Western Busan Bus Tour

Day 2: Uncover Busan’s Ocean Gems

Morning: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

(Image via Shutterstock)

No trip to Busan is ever complete without paying a visit to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Busan’s most beautiful temple in the northeastern area. Unlike most South Korean temples which look spectacular against the mountainside, this Buddhist temple boasts a unique coastal setting. Wander around the grounds and encounter cliffs overlooking the deep blue sea.

Mediate amongst dozens of statues including the Twelve Zodiac Figures, stone wishing wells, an eight-story pagoda, and a tranquil sanctuary. During spring, the area is sprinkled with blush-pink cherry blossoms! Perfect for unleashing your inner poet.

  • Opening Hours: 5:00am – 7:00pm
  • Location: 86, Yonggung-gil, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan
  • Transportation: Take Line 2 to Haeundae Station. Once at Haeundae Station 해운대역, take bus 100 to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Lunch: Gijang Crab Market

(Image via Shutterstock)

Gijang Crab Market is a traditional seafood market dating back all the way to 1944. What sets it apart from Jigalchi Fish Market, however, is their extraordinary seasonal catches such as anchovy, seaweed and cutlass fish. We recommend purchasing snow crabs and eels, which are sought after by locals and visitors all over the world. Have your snow crabs steamed and the eels grilled right there for a sumptuous feast. They even sell fishery and agricultural items since it’s near Haeundae Beach!

  • Opening Hours: 6:00am – 9:00pm
  • Location: 16, Eumnae-ro 104beon-gil, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan
  • Transportation: Board bus 181 from the temple side of the Outlet Mall. The ride will take around 40 mins to get to the market

Haeundae Beach

(Image via Shutterstock)

Busan’s Haeundae Beach is equivalent to Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. There’s always something going on within the area, from culture fests and upscale shopping venues to a photo museum and art galleries. If none of these appeal to you, simply sit back, relax, and bask in the sunshine while dipping your toes in the fine white sands. The coastline contrasting with glamorous modern buildings in the background is simply gorgeous.

  • Opening Hours: Night swimming until 9:00pm from the Information Center
  • Location: 264, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan

SEA Life Busan Aquarium

(Image via KKday)

Delve deeper into the sea and discover the beauty of life underwater at SEA Life Busan Aquarium. Meet over 35,000 species of marine lives, algae, reptiles, and amphibians! With state-of-the-art facilities covering 3 floors underground, walk alongside thousands of fish along the ocean floor while admiring sea creatures swimming above. Delight in fascinating shark feeding shows, learn about rare sea animal ecology, and touch sea anemones in the Rockpool exhibits.

  • Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10:00am – 8:00pm

Friday – Sunday and national holidays: 9:00am – 10:00pm

  • Location: Address: 266, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
  • Transportation: Walking distance within the Haeundae Beach area
  • SEA Life Busan Aquarium Tickets

Evening: Gwangalli Beach

(Image via Shutterstock)

Yeah, we know, it’s another beach within the same day, so why should you go to this one? This 4-kilometer white sand beach is too good to miss! If you watch tons of K-drama shows, you’ll easily recognize the view of Gwangandaegyo (Diamond) Bridge. Unwind on the fine sands and gaze upon the glittering rays of the city reflecting over the sea. It’s best to go at night to witness light shows and occasionally, fireworks over the iconic bridge.

Feel the youthful vibe of the crowds and marvel at the bridge illuminations that change in time with the seasons. Should you wish to drink and dine, there are a lot of great seafood restaurants and cafes scattered around the area. Note: Try to catch the Busan International Fireworks Festival from Gwangalli Beach, which happens late-October every year!

Day 3: Last-Minute Shopping and Historic City Sights Before You Go

Bosu-dong Book Street

(Image via Republic of Korea, Flickr)

Before you leave the city, squeeze in some book shopping at Bosu-dong Book street. The historic area was formed right after the independence of Korea, quickly becoming a hub for new and secondhand books. Stroll the streets and check out comics, specialty shops, and DIY events.

  • Opening Hours: Cultural Hall – 10:00 – 6:00pm
  • Location: 8 Chaekbanggolmok-gil, Bosudong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea

BIFF Square

(Image via Shutterstock)

The site of the Busan International Film Festival and renowned movie district, BIFF Square is a must for a cinematic experience. Asia’s biggest film celebration happens every October, but all year round this place is packed with people. There are tons of things to do: snack on street food, watch indie movies, check out restaurants, and view the star-studded handprints of famous Asian celebrities!

  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Location: 58-1 Gudeok-ro, Nampo-dong, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea
  • Transportation: Go down from Nampo Station (Line 1) Exit 1 or 3 or alight Jagalchi Station (Line 1) Exit 7 and walk to BIFF Square

Now that you have the general idea of your trip, are you ready to take the plunge? Just follow our 3-day Busan itinerary to maximize your stay in South Korea’s second largest city. When in Busan, enjoy the glitz and glamour of the city life, the chaos of massive fish markets, and the peaceful seaside, all at once. Go fish for happy memories today!

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