Busan, South Korea - Stein Travel
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Home to some of South Korea's most popular beaches, hot spring resorts and numerous other historical attractions, Busan is an integral part of any trip to South Korea. Busan, formerly known as Pusan, is the largest port and the second largest city in South Korea and is a quick three hour KTX (bullet train) trip south of Seoul. Busan often goes unnoticed as visitors flock to get a taste of the bright lights and big city feel of Seoul, but Busanites and many other Koreans will tell you that Busan is one of South Korea's friendliest and most relaxed cities.

From beaches to mountains and temples Busan has many attractions on offer. Some of the city's principal attractions include the beautiful Haeundae and Gwangalli Beaches. The Busan Aquarium also features as a fun attraction in Busan. Visitors interested in temples and historical sights can visit the Beomeosa and Yonggungsa temples as well as the Geumjeong Fortress. The markets in Busan are also an attraction in and of themselves. They offer wonderful photographic opportunities and can sometimes be a real eye-opener, particularly Jagalchi Fish Market. Visitors to the city during summer should try and include trip to one of the local baseball games on their Busan itineraries. The local team, the Lotte Giants, is based at Sajik stadium and a baseball game in Korea is a cultural experience in and of itself. Baseball games are held every weekend during summer. Busan also has great shopping, eating and sightseeing opportunities. Visitors to the city will find that this seaside city has a lot of heart and may even prove to be the highlight of a trip to South Korea.

Information & Facts


Unlike the rest of the Korean peninsula Busan enjoys a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot, humid and perfect beach-going weather while winters are dry with cold winds whipping through the city, but the temperature rarely drops below freezing and snow in Busan relatively uncommon. Busan experiences cool springs because it is situated on the coast. Typhoon season starts in late summer and continues until the end of September. Autumn is the most comfortable month in Busan with warm, mild temperatures and very little rain and wind.

Eating Out

The main shopping areas are also home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Seomyeon, Nampodong and PNU have an extensive range of western and Korean dining options including the ever popular Outback Steakhouse chain. Visitors to PNU should definitely try the popular Kebapistan Turkish kebab house or the Welcome Pho Vietnamese eatery. But perhaps the best food in Busan, and the food the city is most famous for, is seafood. Diners don't need to go to any specific restaurant to taste what Busan has to offer in terms of seafood, instead take a walk along Haeundae or Gwangalli beachfronts in the early evening when the many seafood restaurants lining the beaches open and begin serving freshly grilled fish, squid, prawns and so much more.

Getting Around

Busan is an extremely accessible city. Visitors can either fly into Busan via Gimhae International Airport or they can arrive by road, rail or ferry. Busan is a mere three hours from Seoul on the KTX (bullet train), while normal and express buses leave every hour between Seoul and Busan. Other options include the slower trains which stop at a number of smaller towns on their way to Busan from Seoul. Busan's harbour is South Korea's largest and the biggest sea port in Asia. The harbour has regular ferries departing for China and faster airfoil ferries transporting passengers between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Busan has an easy to use integrated bus and subway system that connects all parts of the city. Tourists visiting Busan will easily be able to get to all the main tourist sights, beaches and shopping districts via the Busan Subway. Subway tickets generally cost between 1, 100 and 1, 300 won, or 3, 500 won for a one-day pass, further concessions are available for those staying in the city for more than just a weekend. All subway announcements and subway maps are written in Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese. The buses are almost as easy to use as the subway. English maps of the bus routes are sometimes not available and often inaccessible, so busses are only recommended if you know that that particular bus is going where you want to go. There are also a multitude of taxis ready to transport you to most areas of the city.

The main areas where you will find taxis are in Seomyeon, Pusan National University, Haeundae, Nampodong and Gwangalli. However, if you get a taxi late at night and wish to go to a particularly remote area many taxi drivers are likely to refuse as they have little chance of picking up a fare for the return journey. Taxis charge 2, 200 won for the first 2km and a further 100 won per 143m thereafter. Deluxe taxis are also available at a higher price; these taxis are easily recognisable as they are black and red coloured. Visitors using taxis to get around Busan should always insist on the meter.


The official language is Korean.


South Korea's monetary unit is the won (KRW). Currency can be exchanged at most banks and at casinos, and travellers cheques cashed at authorised banks and hotels. Most merchants in the cities accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards, but Koreans traditionally prefer cash. ATMs at banks are usually accessible only during banking hours, and instructions on the machines are generally only in Korean. Public ATMs at convenience stores and subway stations are generally available 24 hours. US Dollars are an accepted form of foreign currency and can be used as US Dollars in the areas around the American Military bases in South Korea.


Busan is also a shopper's delight with outdoor markets spanning many city blocks as well as towering malls and department store complexes including Shinsegae in Centum City which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest department store in the world. Shoppers wanting designer labels and the department store experience should head to Centum City's Shinsegae or the Lotte Department Store in Seomyeon. The Seomyeon district has an extensive range of shops below ground as above ground, there are also many markets in the area. Some of the best markets in Busan for photography are the Jagalchi Fish market, Ggangtong market and Choryang market. The Nampodong area, also known as Kukje market, is one of the best places to find bargains and all manner of authentic and faux labels. Kukje market really lights up at night with clothing stalls as well as food kiosks throughout the area. Finally, geared toward the young and trendy the few blocks in front of the entrance to Pusan National University (PNU) are home to designer stores as well as some quaint boutique shops. At night the area lights up and the streets fill up with shopping stalls and street food kiosks.


Of the many attractions Busan has to offer the beaches are at the top of the list. Koreans flock to Busan during the summer vacation period to enjoy the city's beautiful beaches and extensive range of delicious seafood options. During this time the beaches are generally lined with beach umbrellas that you have to pay to use for the day, vendors also wander across the beach selling everything from pizza and fried chicken to iced coffee and beer. Haeundae and Gwangalli beaches are the most well known beaches in Busan; for a slightly less crowded experience visitors should take a taxi to Songjeong beach or try Dadaepo beach.

Other things to do in Busan include seeing Beomeosa Temple which serenely looks over the northern part of Busan. Yonggungsa Temple is situated just past Songjeong Beach on the rocks overlooking the ocean and is a popular place to view the sunrise, particularly on New Year's Day. Busan Tower in Nampodong is a great place for panoramas of the city with its beautiful mountain and ocean scenery. The tower is particular spectacular at night. Other places of interest in Busan include the UN Memorial Cemetery, the Busan Aquarium, the Busan Museum of Modern Art, Hur Shim Chung Spa, Geumjeong Fortress and Taejongdae Island.


Local time is GMT +9.

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