Shrouded by mountains and beset by the sea, Busan is one seriously interesting city for travellers making their way through South Korea. If you are one of them, take a look at the following must-visit spots to explore the dynamic beauty of this city and dive deep into its rich history and culture.
Beomeosa is the most important temple in Busan, as it is one of the head temples of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. It is also the largest temple in Busan, due in part to the 11 hermitages dotting the slopes of Mount Geumjeong around it. Beomeosa is the only temple in Busan offering a temple stay program. This experience was the highlight of all my trips to South Korea, which is why it gets the top spot on my list. During the temple stay, I got to learn how to do Korean meditation and prostration, tour the temple grounds.
Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon Culture Village is the quintessence of beauty and chaos, all round into one. This former slum area is known for its steep streets, twisting alleys, and brightly painted houses. This is a major tourist attraction Busan. The picturesque lego-like houses painted in vibrant colors will aw-struck you. This area is perfect for Instagram worthy pictures and even unique photo shoots. It is also known as the open art museum of Busan.
Haeundae is generally recognized as South Korea’s most famous beach. The insanely long (1.5 km), curving stretch of sand can pack in 120,000 beachgoers, which won’t feel like an exaggeration if you visit in summer.Even in winter, when you can’t swim, the beach is still quite beautiful, as I learned the first time I visited Busan in winter of 2008. The neighborhood around Haeundae houses the Sea Life Busan Aquarium (save money and skip the line by buying your tickets online here.
Jagalchi Fish Market
Busan is a massive seaport. With that being said, visiting a fish market is a must for every visit to the city. Jagalchi Fish Market is extremely famous for it is Korea’s largest seafood market. You can find all sorts of live and dried seafood, including whale meat. There is an indoor and outdoor section to the market, and you can even find seafood restaurants and buffets available with fresh ingredients. It is definitely a place you should visit to get a feel for the lifestyle that the Busan locals live.
How to reach?
The buses traveling from Seoul to Busan mainly depart from the Gyeongbu Bus Terminal at the Express Bus Terminal (Seoul Subway Line 3, Line 7, and Line 9). The general express bus from Seoul to Busan takes about 4.5 hours and the fare costs around 23,000 Won, which is nearly half the price of KTX.