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15 Best Things to do in Busan for First Time Visitors


Are you looking for things to do in Busan and the ultimate Busan itinerary for your first visit to this vibrant city? Busan is truly a captivating city; it has something to offer for everyone. From ancient temples and bustling traditional markets, to modern shopping malls and futuristic high-rise buildings, the city has something exciting no matter where you look. Whether you are looking for outdoor activities such as beach exploration or mountain hiking, or nightlife entertainment like bars and clubs, Busan has it all.

Samgwangsa Temple Busan 8

Here are the 15 best things to do in Busan. From exploring pristine beaches to tasting some of the local delicacies; from stunning views, to discovering ancient temples; with these 15 experiences in your Busan itinerary, you’re sure to have an unforgettable visit to this captivating South Korean city.

Seoul to Busan

The easiest way to get from Seoul to Busan is by car. It takes just five hours along the picturesque Gyeongbu expressway, with plenty of attractions and rest stops along the way. If you don’t have a car, you can take the KTX high speed train from Seoul Station which will have you in Busan in 3 hours and 40 minutes. The fastest way to get there is by plane; a direct flight from Gimpo International Airport in Seoul will get you there in less than 90 minutes. However you travel, make sure to go prepared with your passport and other essentials for an exciting journey!

Driving in Korea 9 1

Best time to visit Busan

The best time to visit Busan, Korea is during autumn and spring months, when the temperatures are mild and the days are bright and long. Enjoy tasty seafood dishes at nearby restaurants, stroll down Haeundae beach and explore the shopping districts of Nampo-dong and Gwangbok-dong for a truly unforgettable experience.

Busan Airbnb

When it comes to choosing a place to stay in Busan, your best bet will be getting a nice and spacious Busan Airbnb with a view of the Gwangan bridge. This was our choice for 2 couples. We found hotels a little overpriced for the standard you get as most rooms with a view will be pricier.

Best things to do in Busan

1. Gamcheon Culture Village

When you’re creating your Busan itinerary, be sure to include a visit to the Gamcheon Culture Village. Gamcheon Culture Village is an extraordinary place that captivates the heart and soul of visitors. Its vibrant streets are alive with colorful houses and artwork, creating a picturesque atmosphere that is unrivaled. Lining each street are tiled murals, intricate sculptures and graffiti pieces – all of which have been lovingly crafted by local artists over the years. There’s plenty to explore here, from spotting traditional Korean buildings to learning about some of the unique stories behind the artworks.

Don’t forget to try some delicious traditional dishes as you wander through this fascinating village! Even on a rainy day, Gamcheon Culture Village makes for an unforgettable experience – something that will leave a lasting impression on your heart for many years to come.

2. Busan Tower

Busan Tower is an iconic structure standing tall at the peak of Mount Yongdusan. The tower, affectionately referred to by locals as ‘Dae Sung Jae’, stands proudly against the skyline, inviting visitors to take in its majestic views from the observation deck. From here, you can spot serene beaches and scenic mountains, or even catch a glimpse of ships sailing along the coastline.

Busan itinerary

As night falls, ‘Dae Sung Jae’ erupts in a kaleidoscope of colour thanks to its illuminating lights. This striking display draws people near and far, creating an atmosphere like no other – one where joy and celebration are always in the air! Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening or simply some peace and quiet, Busan Tower will amaze you with its beauty.

3. Haeundae Beach

Haeundae Beach is the quintessential summer destination for locals and visitors alike. With its soft white sand, shimmering blue waters, and perfect sunny days, it’s no wonder Haeundae Beach has become an iconic spot in Busan. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll or have a dip in the ocean, you’ll find something to suit your needs here. 

Evenings at Haeundae are especially magical – as the sun sets against the horizon and night engulfs the beach, you can watch spectacular fireworks light up the night sky while enjoying some traditional Korean dishes packed with flavour. Needless to say, no trip to Busan is complete without visiting this wonderful beach – make sure to add it to your itinerary out of all South Korea’s destinations!

4. Gwangalli Beach

Gwangalli Beach is an iconic sight in Busan. Stretching from the Suyeong River to the south end of Haeundae Beach, this vibrant beach is known for its stunning views and lively atmosphere. The best way to experience Gwangalli is to grab a seat at one of the beachside restaurants or cafes and watch as boats sail by and locals gather around vibrant pools of light radiating from some of the most breathtaking night views of Gwangan Bridge.

things to do in Busan

This bridge is especially stunning when it lights up like a rainbow sprinkled with diamond-like glitters, creating an unforgettable scene sure to take your breath away! With plenty of activities and entertainment throughout the day, you’ll never run out of things to do at Gwangalli Beach.

5. Songdo Cloud Trails

Songdo Cloud Trails is an iconic spot in Busan, South Korea. Located in the middle of Songdo Skyline Park and surrounded by lush pine trees, the trails offer breathtaking views of the sea, mountains and city skyline. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities from hiking to enjoying picnic lunches with family and friends.

Songdo skywalk busan

The trails are especially beautiful when it’s foggy – walking through the clouds feels like being in another world! With its natural landscape and vibrant colors, Songdo Cloud Trails is truly a sight to behold.

6. Busan Sky Capsule at Haeundae Blueline Park

If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Haeundae Beach, hop on the 4-seater, retro-looking sky capsule. The capsule glides along an elevated railway that’s around 7-10 meters above ground level and spans 2.3 km from Mipo Station to Cheongsapo Station. Matching the colour scheme of the iconic Haeundae Beach Train, the sky capsule is painted with shades of red, yellow, green, and blue, creating a vibrant scene as it moves along its path. This is by far one of my favorite things to do in Busan.

Pro tip: make sure you arrive early to get your ticket, the sunset slots get sold out fast. We paid 48,000 KRW for the beach train one way and the sky capsule back, for two people.

7. Jagalchi Fish Market

Jagalchi Fish Market is the biggest fish market in Korea and one of the city’s top attractions. Located in the center of Busan, the market is full of energy with vendors shouting out orders and auctioning off their catch. Here you can find an abundance of fresh seafood on display – fish, shellfish, eels, octopus – all laid out in colorful arrays.

But watching others do business isn’t all you can do here – visitors are able to purchase fresh catches directly from fishermen and enjoy them for lunch! With its unique history and vibrant culture, Jagalchi Fish Market is a must-visit destination when visiting South Korea.

8. Gukje Market

Gukje Market is the liveliest and most vibrant market in Busan, South Korea. This huge marketplace is full of color, filled with vendors selling a variety of goods, including clothes, accessories, kitchenware, furniture, electronics and more! You can find almost anything at Gukje Market – from bargain items to rare antiques. With its bustling atmosphere and lively energy, it’s no wonder why this market has become such a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

9. Samgwangsa Temple

Samgwangsa Temple is a must-visit destination in Busan, South Korea. This picturesque temple has been standing proudly since the Joseon dynasty and is known for its contemplative atmosphere. The temple grounds are surrounded by lush mountain forests making it an ideal spot for relaxation and reflection.

It’s known for its two cherry blossom trees, which can be seen blooming with pink and white flowers during the spring season. During the day, visitors can enjoy exploring the grounds and admiring its traditional architecture – from its golden main hall to its iconic red gates. Samgwangsa Temple is a beautiful reminder of Busan’s rich culture and history.

10. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is an exquisite Buddhist temple situated along the shores of the East Sea in Busan. It’s a designated historical site and one of Korea’s most picturesque temples, boasting magnificent views of majestic mountains, sparkling ocean water, and grandiose architecture. The complex features multiple shrines dedicated to various gods and goddesses, as well as several colorful pagodas. In addition to the breathtaking natural surroundings, visitors can enjoy traditional rituals known as “Gosa,” which involve bowing three times before each shrine.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

They can also try their luck at fortune-telling by spinning a fortune-telling wheel or observing the movement of wooden sticks placed on a board inscribed with mysterious symbols. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is truly an awe-inspiring place that provides an unforgettable experience for worshippers and sightseers alike.

11. Taejongdae Resort Park

Taejongdae Resort Park is an idyllic coastal park located in Busan. It’s renowned for its rugged cliffs and lush vegetation, featuring a vast array of flora, fauna, and natural wildlife. There are several trails of varying difficulty that offer stunning views from the peak of the island’s highest point. Visitors can also explore a variety of historic ruins, including the famous stone pagodas which are said to have been constructed in honor of ancient kings who visited the area.

In addition to picturesque hikes and breathtaking vistas, visitors can enjoy various activities such as fishing at Danubi Train or participating in traditional rituals like “Danojibi,” which involve offerings of food and drink at a shrine dedicated to King Taejong Muyeol.

12. Huinnyeoul Culture Village 

Huinnyeoul Culture Village is a colorful and traditional villagers’ culture preservation and promotion site located in the city of Busan. This vibrant village has been well preserved since the Korean War, preserving its unique architecture and history. The village comes alive with activities and events throughout the year, including fishing festivals, temple festivals, traditional performances, street markets, and more. So if you want to visit more than one culture villages during this Busan itinerary, then head here as it’s definitely one of the more photo-friendly unique things to do in Busan.

13. Oryukdo Skywalk

Oryukdo Skywalk is an incredible seaside walkway situated in Busan. It’s renowned for its unique location and unbeatable views of the sea, offering a breathtaking array of colorful sunsets, striking cliffs, majestic islands, and more. The pathway extends over the ocean and connects the five rocky islands known as Oryukdo which have become an iconic symbol of the city.

Visitors can admire the beautiful scenery while walking along the open-air skywalk or enjoy a different perspective from atop one of its two observation decks. During low-tide, one can even walk out on the rocks and get up close with some of the local wildlife. With unparalleled sights of this South Korean gem, Oryukdo Skywalk is sure to provide an unforgettable experience that will leave you mesmerized.

14. Busan Museum of Art 

The Busan Museum of Art is a cultural gem nestled in the city of Busan and a one of the best things to do in Busan if you’re into arts and culture. Boasting an impressive collection of historic and contemporary works from across Asia, it’s the perfect place to be surrounded by art and culture.

The museum consists of three distinct buildings: the Main Building, which houses long-term exhibitions featuring over 7,000 works spanning different periods; the Annex Building which hosts meetings and special exhibits; and the Gallery Zone offering up-and-coming artists a space for display. Each building has its own unique charm, inviting visitors to take a journey into centuries of artistry. With an airy atmosphere and beautiful outdoor terraces, Busan Museum of Art is an enchanting place where one can explore both classic and modern pieces from East Asian cultures.

15. Shop at Shinsegae Centum City

Shinsegae Centum City is the largest shopping complex in the world, located in the heart of Busan. Boasting over 700 stores and a wide range of amenities, this massive mall offers something for everyone. The shopping experience is enhanced by its cutting-edge technology, which includes intelligent digital signage, voice recognition systems and an interactive robot guide.

As well as a multitude of stores and restaurants, Shinsegae Centum City also hosts an indoor amusement park, an IMAX theater, and even an ice-skating rink. From fashion boutiques to department stores to entertainment complexes, Shinsegae Centum City offers an unforgettable retail experience that combines modern comforts with traditional Korean culture.

I hope you enjoyed this Busan travel guide to the best things to do in Busan, Korea. If you have any questions, ask below!

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