Busan has been recognized by Lonely Planet as the 2018 top travel destination in Asia for its many things to see and do. When visiting Busan, you cannot help but admire the beautiful architectural attractions. Of course the skyscrapers that line the beaches are nice, but there are also many older buildings that have stood the test of time with dignity and grace. Experience traveling through time with the various architectural styles found in Busan!
Baekje Hospital, Busan’s first modern hospital, opened in 1927 but was short-lived, closing its doors just five years later in 1932. Thankfully, the distinguished brick building was not torn down, and the first floor was transformed into what is now the café Brownhands Baekje. Visitors can still see the hospital’s original wooden ceiling and window frames, and perhaps even get a slight whiff of the sterile scent that can only be found in hospitals. The café’s dim interior is decorated with soft lighting and plants, providing a comfortable environment to relax in. A short five-minute walk from Busan Station, Brownhands Baekje is a great way to experience Busan’s modern history.
Choryang 845 is a restaurant and café operating within an old factory space. Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, the shipping container exterior gives no hint to outsiders of the beautiful interior within. The restaurant, Sobanbom, offers classics such as basil pesto pasta and pollock roe pasta, as well as a set menu that changes every two to three weeks. Next to the restaurant is the café, offering some rather eclectic choices. Take a seat at the window and enjoy the view of Busan over a refreshing drink.
Jeongnangak House is a remnant of the Japanese occupation, and became famous after featuring in various movies and music videos. The house has been renamed Culture Space Sujeong and is open to the public in the form of a café. Keeping the interior in harmony with the exterior, guests can enjoy the experience of drinking tea while sitting on Japanese tatami floor mats. Both levels of the house, as well as the elegantly landscaped garden, are open for visitors to explore.
Busan’s representative seafood market is none other than Jagalchi Market. With all the seafood you could hope to find and a beautiful view of the harbor to boot, this is a must-visit attraction. The market is made up of a modern-style building with a roofline in the shape of flying seagulls and market stalls by the wharf that were formed during the Japanese occupation. Hungry visitors can pick out the fresh seafood of their choice and have it served up at one of the chojangjip restaurants located on the second floor of the market. To fully enjoy what Busan has to offer, be sure to get a seat with a view!
Kangkangee Art Village is located in what was the center of Busan’s shipbuilding industry in the 1970s, and like the ‘70s, it is full of color. The village name comes from the onomatopoeia for the sound the hammers made as they clanged on the ships undergoing repairs. When the shipbuilding industry went through a depression, the youth moved away to find new jobs and the area stagnated. In order to revive the village, a plan was put forth to transform it into an art village, painting the walls with colorful murals, installing fanciful sculptures, and opening museums and galleries. The hard work paid off and now many visitors come to see the blend of old and new.
SINKI Industry’s company building in Busan has amazing views of the ocean. Established in 1987 as a bell-making factory, the building now features a café, product shop, and rooftop lounge space. Excluding the office area on the fourth floor, the entire building is open to visitors. The rooftop is the most popular spot among the public area for its open space, where one can feel the cooling breeze while taking in the ocean view. The rooftop is closed during inclement weather, but you can still get an amazing view from the floor-to-ceiling windows on the second-floor café.
For souvenirs, be sure to stop by the shop, selling everything from SINKI bells to a range of licensed Moomin character merchandise created by SINKI. From simple and classic to cute and modern goods, visitors can find the perfect gift for anyone here!
F1963 is a grand cultural space located in an old factory of Kiswire, a Korean wire manufacturing company. The F in the name is short for ‘factory’ while 1963 represents the year Kiswire was founded. The interior space is filled with a multitude of attractions, including the famous coffee shop Terarose, YES24 Used Bookstore, the makgeolli (rice wine) bar Boksoondoga, and exhibitions. In contrast, the exterior of the building is rather simple and plain, even as to give off the remote feeling of a typical factory.
The factory building has been repurposed wonderfully; the factory floor was untouched, while the entrance and interior were redesigned. In keeping with the origins of the building, metal wires artfully cover the building, allowing visitors to enjoy the past and the present at the same time.
Millak Waterfront Park opened in May of 1997 as the nation’s first waterfront park. This community rest space is located on the coast between Haeundae and Gwangalli Beaches, offering beautiful views of Gwangandaegyo Bridge and Marine City at night. As such, the park fills with locals and tourists alike on summer nights. Purchase some chicken or fresh seafood for a late-night meal with the cooling ocean breeze.
Agnello is a lamb and pizza restaurant in Marine City, located on the coastal walking path stretching from Haeundae Film Street to Dongbaekseom Island. The restaurant has views of the blue ocean bisected by Gwangandaegyo Bridge, which lights up as the sun sets, perfect for dinner. Enjoy lamb ribs and pizza cooked over the grill with a cold glass of beer.
Busan is home to SINSEGAE Centum City, recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest department store in the world. Visitors can enjoy shopping as well as year-round ice skating and a Korean-style spa. The dining area in the basement is filled with branches of famous restaurants from across the nation. Centum City Mall, opened in the annex, features a large bookstore, duty free store, electronics store and more. The department store is a great way to escape the summer heat!
The Bay 101, located at the entrance to Dongbaekseom Island, is a culture and arts space housing a gallery, shops, café and restaurants. Diners can enjoy Daedo restaurant, specializing in beef sirloin, or Fingers & Chat, serving fish and chips with cool beer. Those interested in art can visit Gallery 101, and for those looking for something unique, book a yacht tour at The Bay 101 Yacht Club. While sitting in the café during day is nice, the area is quite popular as a night-time attraction, thanks to the brightly lit skyscrapers reflecting in the water.
* This column was last updated in July 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.