When people talk about a trip to Busan, it’s easy to think of popular attractions like Haeundae Beach, Gwangalli Beach, Songdo Beach, Taejongdae Resort Park, or the areas of Nampo-dong. But if you truly want to see Busan, then traveling with Busan Station in the center is a must. Through a maze of streets that are filled with attractions, your day will fly by in no time. If you still have enough energy after a day of roaming, head to The Bay 101 in Haeundae for a nightcap.
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The Busan City Tour Bus offers visitors the convenience of connecting all the major attractions in Busan. With a one-day ticket, visitors can hop on and off on four different lines with no extra charge. All lines run in circular routes and information leaflets are available (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) upon boarding.
First opened on January 1, 1905, Busan Station gives travelers their first impression of Busan. As a starting and ending station of the Gyeongbu Line, where KTX and regular trains run, Busan Station is a one of the most recognized train stations in the nation. Visitors can currently take KTX, ITX-Saemaeul, Mugunghwa, and Suseo-bound SRT trains. All the major public transportation including buses, subways, and taxis can be used from Exit 7. Tourist pamphlets in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic are available at Busan Tourist Information Center.
As the representative airport of the south, Gimhae International Airport has the second most international flights behind Incheon International Airport. Major public transportation includes the airport limousine buses, intercity buses, and local buses. The destinations of intercity buses departing from the airport include Geoje, Gyeongju, Pohang, Dong-Daegu, Ulsan and more. Local buses head to major regions of Busan including Seomyeon, Haeundae Beach and more. For those who would rather drive, rental car companies are located on the first floor of the International Arrivals Hall.
Called the Santorini of Busan, Huinnyeoul Culture Village is situated along the coastline. Huinnyeoul got its name from the snow white water bubbles that formed when fresh water from Bongnaesan Mountain met the sea. Known for its beautiful landscape, the village has become a popular film location with movies such as “The Attorney (2013),” “Nameless Gangster: Rules of Time (2011),” “Crazy First Love (2003)” and more. When visiting the village, be sure to plan a route as you can easily get lost along the 14 alleyways. For first-timers, we recommend the route from Bando Bora Apartment to Jeoryeong Coastal Walking trail or taking a bus to the top of the cliff and walking down Jeoryeong-ro Street to the village.
After walking up a steep hill for some time, you will be greeted by a big white container building. This building is SINKI café, chosen as one of the 35 most romantic cafés in Busan, as selected by the city of Busan. SINKI industry opened in 1987 as a small bell factory and has grown into a huge company that produces various character products, gifts, office supplies and more that are exported throughout the world. The headquarters were modified into a café and store in December of 2016. It is now a popular place to take in the breathtaking panoramic view of Yeongdo and the port from the rooftop as well as buy cute items from the store. With the main café in Yeongdo and a second café in Huinnyeoul Culture Village, be sure to stop by and enjoy the romantic atmosphere.
Combining the words Choryang-dong and ibagu, meaning “story” in the Gyeongsang-do dialect, Choryang Ibagu-gil offers many stories about the area. The modern-day history of Busan can be felt as you walk from the Brown Hands Design Café, a modification of the old Baekje Hospital, to the sorrows of refugees at 168 Steps, and the memory of Yu Chi-hwan, a poet and an educator, at the Yu Chi-hwan Postbox Observatory. The highlight of Choryang Ibagu-gil is the 168 steps, which can be walked up or easily surmounted using the monorail free of charge. Monorail operates from 07:00 to 21:00 during summer season and 07:00 to 20:00 during winter season.
The most difficult section of Choryang Ibagu-gil might be the 40 meter-long 168 Steps, built at a 45 degree angle. For those who might think it’s impossible to walk up, there is no need to worry, as there’s a monorail that will take you up from the base to the top.
Located in front of the Busan Station Square, Choryang Market has been running since the opening of Busan Port. With history and tradition, the owners of small but cozy shops greet visitors with a smile. When visiting the market, there are some must-try food that represents Busan such as milmyeon (wheat noodles) and dwaeiji gukbap (pork and rice soup). Located at the entrance of the market, Daegeon Myeongga Dwaeji Gukbap makes delicious pork and rice soup by boiling pork bones for hours to make the broth. On the other side of the market, the famous Samsan Myeonok restaurant serves wheat noodles to a long line of customers.
Recently featured in the Korean TV show “Welcome, First Time in Korea?,” this is one of the foods that shocked the foreign visitors. Sea eel, once thought only as a disgusting looking fish, became popular during the late Joseon dynasty when food was scarce. The poor people started catching and grilling sea eel over straw and dry grass. Marinated grilled sea eels became popular when refugees flocked to Busan and started making variations using leftover grilled sea eel. Even though the visual may not be pleasing to the eye, the chewy texture combined with the spicy and savory taste makes it hard to resist.
If Hong Kong has Victoria Park, Busan has The Bay 101. Chosen as the best place to see Busan’s nightscape, people flock to the area after nightfall. With a backdrop of Haeundae’s Marine City, visitors take memorable photos, while various dining and shopping options are also available. On the second floor, Busan souvenirs can be found including magnets, candles, beach towels, city bag and more.
* This column was last updated in July 2019, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.