3 Days in Busan: What To See & Do | 2022 Edition
Why visit Busan?
Busan is the second-largest city in South Korea after Seoul. Located on the southeastern coast, Busan is known for its beaches, mountains, and beautiful temples. Busy Haeundae Beach has a Sea Life aquarium, while Gwangalli Beach offers many bars and a view of the modern Gwangandaegyo Bridge. Beomeosa Buddhist Temple, built in 678 AD, is located at the foot of Geumjeong Mountain with its hiking trails.
During the Korean War, Busan became a city of refugees due to its southern location – away from the war near the capital. This is also how the famous Gamcheon Culture Village was created.
All in all, Busan is very different from Seoul and other cities around Korea, making it a popular destination for a visit.
How to get to Busan
There are many different convenient ways to get to Busan. Depending on where your starting point is, you can take a KTX train, an express bus, or drive.
by KTX train: One of the easiest and quickest ways to get to Busan is by taking a KTX highspeed train. From Seoul, you can get to Busan by KTX in less than 3 hours. You can also take the KTX to Busan from many other cities around Korea. Check your best train options here.
by express bus: There are also many intercity express busses going to Busan every day. This might be a great option if you are coming from other cities in the southern part of the country where there often isn’t a KTX station.
The Ultimate Busan Itinerary
Busan Itinerary Day 1
As you most likely arrive in Busan via Busan Station, it’s best to start your Busan adventure in the surrounding area of Jung-gu district. The following day 1 attractions are therefore all located relatively close to Busan Station.
Jagalchi Fish Market
Busan is all about fish and seafood. That’s why a visit to Jagalchi Fish Market, the largest of its kind in Korea, is an absolute must. The fish market is famous for the jagalchi ajumma, or Busan wives. During the Korean War, many local women would come to this area to sell fish, seafood and other goods to make a living. Today, you’ll still see many women selling fish, while their husbands’ are out at sea fishing. You can find some of the freshest seafood here that you can eat on the second floor of the vast market complex.
Address: 52 Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 중구 자갈치해안로 52
Lotte Department Store Gwangbok
Next to Jagalchi Fish Market is Busan’s Lotte Department Store. The Lotte in Busan is similar to others in Seoul – that it has everything under one roof. However, what’s even more interesting is what is located on the roof top. There, you’ll find a free sky garden with 360 views of Busan.
It’s one of the best viewpoints that many people (locals and tourists) don’t know about. From there, you have an excellent view of the surrounding fish market, harbor, Busan tower and the ocean.
Address: 2 Jungang-daero, Jung-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 중구 중앙대로 2
This is a public park situation on top of a hill with the 120-meter-high Busan Tower at the top. Literally translated, Yongdu means “dragon’s head” and “san” means “mountain”. You’ll also find a statue of Yi Sun-sin, Korea’s 16th-century naval hero and a traditional bell pavilion, where the New Year is ushered in every January 1.
Address: 37-55 Yongdusan-gil, Jung-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 중구 용두산길 37-55
Bosu Book Street
Bosu Book Street was established when Busan was designated as a temporary capital during the Korean War and a couple of North Korean evacuees set up a used book stall. When many evacuees settled in Gukje Market and had a difficult life after the war, students and intellectuals were unable to find books despite their desire to study. As a result, used bookstores on the street flourished, and as more evacuees opened new used bookstores, today’s book alley emerged.
Address: Bosudong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 중구 보수동1가
Spend your Evening at Gukje Market
Gukje Market is one of the largest markets in Korea. 3 days in Busan give you enough time to fully explore the market area. Following the Korean War, refugees fleeing to Busan set up stalls to make a living by selling smuggled or imported goods, which evolved into today’s Gukje Market (gukje means “international” in Korean).
Alleyways in the market are lined with stalls selling a variety of goods, particularly machinery tools, kitchenware, and clothing. An alleyway lined with charity shops leads to the market’s right, and Kkangtong Market leads to the left.
It’s an excellent place to try different Korean street food. You can either grab some finger food to go or sit down on makeshift tables for a cozy atmosphere.
Address: Area of Sinchang-ro 4-ga, Jung-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 중구 신창로4가 일원
The Ultimate Busan Itinerary
Busan Itinerary Day 2
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Start your day with an early visit to Haedong Yonggungsa. This temple is one of the most beautiful attractions in Busan. Do not miss it when in Busan.
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is located on the north-eastern coast of Busan. While most temples in Korea are located in the mountains, this magnificent temple is a rare example of one along the coast.
During the Goryeo dynasty, the great Buddhist teacher known as Naong founded Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in 1376. Looking out over the ocean are statues of the Seawater Great Goddess Buddha, Daeungjeon Main Hall, Yongwangdang Shrine, Gulbeop Buddhist Sanctum (enclosed in a cave), and a three-story pagoda with four lions.
The four lions represent the emotions of joy, anger, sadness, and happiness. Exactly 108 steps and stone lanterns line the rocky landscape around the temple.
On New Year’s Day, many people flock to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple to make a wish for the coming year as they watch the sun rise. April is a particularly lovely month, with cherry blossoms in full bloom. The birth of Buddha, usually celebrated in May, is also a great time to visit and provides a spectacular night view as the temple area is illuminated with glowing lanterns.
Address: 86 Yonggung-gil, Gijang-gun, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 기장군 용궁길 86
Haeundae Blueline Park
The city of Busan renovated a segment of an abandoned railway and opened the Haeundae Blueline Park. As a result, the region was renovated as a seaside attraction, complete with amenities like the Beach Train and Sky Capsule. The picturesque little trains run for 4.8 kilometers and offer breathtaking views of Haeundae Beach and Cheongsapo Port. There is also a walking route and an ecological park in the park. Check out their official website for more details.
Address: 13 Dalmaji-gil 62beon-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 해운대구 달맞이길62번길 13
The most well-known beach in Busan is Haeundae Beach. The 1.5-kilometer-long white sand beach provides a lovely coastline before a shallow bay that is ideal for swimming. The area around the beach has established a wide range of lodgings, from luxury hotels to private guesthouses, making it the ideal summer holiday site. Must-visit attractions around Haeundae Beach are Dongbaekseom Island, Busan Aquarium, and private yacht rentals.
Address: 264, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 해운대구 해운대해변로 264
The Oryukdo Skywalk is a beautiful and fascinating attraction in Busan. It is situated in a strategic location with a panoramic view of Busan’s blue and surrounding islets.
In English, the name Oryukdo can be translated as the ‘five’ (for ‘o’),’six’ (for ‘ryuk’), and ‘island/islets’ (for ‘do’). It actually means that there are five to six islands/islets depending on the tides and the visitor’s point of view.
This group of islands/islets is made up of solid rocks. However, no matter how solid the rocks are, there are always cracks and crevices where green plants and trees can thrive. As a result, depending on the season, these islands are rather colorful.
The skywalk is completely free to enter.
Address: 137 Oryuk-doro, Nam-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 남구 오륙도로 137
Evening at Gwangalli Beach
Don’t miss visiting Gwangalli during your 3 days in Busan. Gwangalli Beach in Busan is a 1.4-kilometer-long beach known for its fine powdery sand. It is also known for its beautiful views and the restaurants and cafes that are nearby.
It is made up of many cottages where you can relax and unwind. You could also go to the beach and feel the sand and waves crashing against your toes.
Gwangalli Beach has many activities for tourists to participate in because it is a popular tourist destination. You can take a stroll on its fine white sand, watch the sunset, visit Millak Waterfront Park and watch the lights of the Gwangandaegyo Bridge.
In 2022, visitors can also enjoy a free drone show between April and the end of September. The Gwangalli M Drone Light Show features 300 drones displaying spectacular performances that paint the night sky with different images. It’s truly amazing to watch. The drone show is held every Saturday at 8 PM and at 10 PM and lasts for 10 minutes.
Address: 219, Gwanganhaebyeon-ro, Suyeong-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 수영구 광안해변로 219
Busan Itinerary Day 3
The Ultimate Busan Itinerary
Gamcheon Culture Village
When visiting Busan, you’ve probably seen Gamcheon Culture Village on a variety of tour guides. The vibrant colors of the hillside houses, the numerous art installations, and the authentic vibe all contribute to the village’s popularity among visitors. Yes, Gamcheon Culture Village is a must-see while in Busan.
The colorful houses of Busan’s hillside neighborhood Gamcheon date back to the 1950s. Thousands of refugees fled their homes during the Korean War to seek refuge in Busan, the only place on the Korean peninsula that remained free of fighting.
There is no bad time to visit Gamcheon, but a weekday is much quieter than a weekend visit. Even on weekdays, the best time to visit Gamcheon Culture Village is early in the morning.
9 a.m. is a good time to arrive and begin your tour of the village. This is also the time when the tourist center opens and you can pick up a paper map of the village.
I recommend taking this Busan night tour if you want to see a different side of the village.
Address: 203, Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
주소: 부산광역시 사하구 감내2로 203
WOW, 3 DAYS IN BUSAN GOES BY SO FAST!
With this itinerary, you will get a good scope of Busan and its different areas and places to see.
If you are an efficient traveler and get through this itinerary quicker than my suggested itinerary, check out the experiences below for more things to do in Busan.
Recommended Hotels in Busan
Where to Stay in Busan
Best for budget travelers. I stayed here during one of my trips to Busan and can really recommend it. It isn’t in one of the top areas like Haeundae or Gangwalli – which is why it’s cheaper. However, the location of this hotel is still great. The neighborhood has everything you could ask for: restaurants, cafes, shops and a Starbucks in the same building. Highly recommend! Book your room now on Booking.com.
Recommended Travel Guides for Korea
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You really can’t go wrong with a lonely planet guide in your hand luggage! I’m a huge fan of Lonely Planet and own this guide myself. What I love is the brand-new pull-out, passport-size ‘Just Landed’ card with wi-fi, ATM and transport info – all you need for a smooth journey from airport to hotel! Buy this book.
Calling all my solo female travel ladies out there – this guide is amazing! Part of the #1 Travel Guidebook Series for Women (and couples), this take on South Korea will help you avoid the scams, creeps, and tourist traps and skip ahead to the cities and adventures that are worth your time (and money)! Buy this book.
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