Busan – 12 Things to do and see in Korea’s Second City

Busan is South Korea’s second largest city and is located on the south coast of the country.  The setting reminds me of Vancouver.  Both cities by the water.

We spent 2 days and 3 nights in the city which I felt was adequate.  So, other than eat, here is a list of things to see and do in Busan.

  1. Haeundae Beach THREE Ways (walk from hotel)

Haeundae beach is the area of Busan we stayed, about 2 blocks from the beach.  It is probably the country’s most popular beach.  We went in winter so it was not that busy, but I can imagine the crowds in the summer.  This area is considered the newer part of the city.

We were able to see the beach three ways.







Night – Lights on the Beach

I do not know if they have this all the time or only because it was around Christmas.


2. Walk around the old city (taxi from Haeundae Beach)

From Haeundae beach to the old part is about 30-40 minutes by taxi (there is no Uber).  I recommend you download the Naver app because Goolge Maps does not work in South Korea.  In the older part of the city, there is a lot of walking you can do and shopping.  For those with pets, there are a lot of shops selling clothing for dogs.


3. Walk around the Jagalchi Fish Market (walk from old city)

Even if you don’t like seafood, the market is worth checking out for all the unique types of seafood they have and the beautiful views of the harbor.



4. Go to the top of Busan Tower (walk from Jagalchi)

There is only one reason to do this – for the incredible views of the city!





5. Shop some more on Nampodong Street (walk from Busan Tower)

This is a great walking friendly street with a lot of stores and places to eat.


6. Shop at the largest department store in the world (taxi from Nampodong)

The Shinsegae department store in Centum City holds the Guiness Book Record for largest department store at about 3.16 million square feet.  Its is located closer to the Haeundae Beach side of the city.  The place has an amazing food hall too.


…which leads us to #7, and one of the best things you can do in Busan…

7. Visit Spaland (a Korean Jimjilbang)

Actually, you can do this everywhere in Korea, but Spaland is special because it is big!  A jimjilbang is basically like a Korean Spa Themepark.


The first thing you do is take you shoes off and put them into a locker (yes, you will walk the entire place barefoot). I was not able to take pictures inside the spa so this is the last pic.


You pay an entrance fee and then you can use all the facilities (except you pay extra if you want a massage) for as long as you like.  Some are open 24 hours and make a good spot to spend time on a long layover.  Anyway, there are various hot and cold sauna theme rooms.  For example, there is a charcoal room.  There are steam rooms, foot baths, whirlpools, places to sleep, and pretty much anything you can think of.  Just note, there are co-ed areas, but in the men’s and women’s only sections, you must be completely naked to use the facilities.  We spent 2 hours at Spaland and I felt like I could of spent another hour or two.

8. See the city from the many bridges

If you take a cab between Haeundae and the older part of the city, you will cross one of the many bridges in Busan.  They are large bridges with great views.  Apparently, before the bridges were built, it took a long time to get from one part of the city to another.



9. Walk around the Gamcheon Cultural Village (by car)

It has been described as the Santorini of Korea.  The Gamcheon cultural village is a settlement in the hills of Busan where people settled who were fleeing the war further up North.  The area has developed into a huge tourist area where you can walk around and see interesting colorful buildings.  Note that people still live here.




10. Haedong Yonggungsa (by car) – Temple by the Sea

It has been called the most beautiful temple in Korea and the only one located by the sea.  Its gorgeous and definitely worth seeing.



11. The Skywalk (Oryukdo; by car)

The skywalk with glass floor is also worth checking out for the incredible view of the water.  As a bonus, when we went it was free to enter.  You have to put on shoe covers.



12. Nurimaru APEC House

This is worth seeing for the nice views of Busan and Haeundae Beach.




…and there you have it.  Let me know if we missed anything.  Busan is a beautiful city.  It is set along the sea with beaches, great food, and modern comforts of a big city.  Everywhere you look, there are views of the sea.  It is a place I highly recommend in Korea.


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