This post contains five Busan local tips from a resident in the city. Read on for a little bit of quick inspiration as to what to do in South Korea’s second city.
by Michael Geer
Why you should Visit Busan
Busan is an incredible city! Though not as large as Seoul, it possesses a vibrancy and vitality that Seoul often lacks. Here the weather is milder, the people friendlier, and the sites have that sweet, sandy charm only a beach city can claim. Here are five awesome things to enjoy in Busan! (In no particular order).
Busan Local Tips – 5 things to Do
1. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: The “water” temple
Perched on the rocky cliffs a short hike from Sonjeong beach, Yonggungsa Temple is often high on the list of “must see sights” in Busan. Accessible by bus, taxi, or foot, Younggungsa is worth the trek out of town to see this charming temple.
The above photo of the temple was taken during the Lotus Lantern Festival, May 5th 2014 “Buddha’s Birthday”.
2. Gwangalli Beach
Nestled between Gwangan and Geumyeonsan subway stops is Gwangalli Beach. This is the site of the annual international fireworks festival. The Gwangan (Diamond) Bridge is a hell of sight at night, as the entire bridge is illuminated and even features a light show on special occasions.
Gwangalli is also near Kyungsung University (KSU), where most foreigners prefer to do their partying and clubbing. Yet, that doesn’t mean Gwangalli isn’t loaded with great bars and restaurants worth visiting day or night! Great for a day at the beach or an evening drinking on the shore, Gwangalli Beach is a favourite!
3. Jagalchi Fish Market
Near Busan International Film Festival Square is Jagalchi Fish Market. This massive area contains both indoor and outdoor fish markets where one can haggle for the freshest seafood in Korea. The indoor fish market even contains upper floors where one’s freshly caught fish can be prepared to your liking. Few visits to Busan can be called complete without one visit to Jagalchi.
Read more from the Author – Getting around South Korea
4. Geumjeong Mountain
This mountain runs north to south along the northern half of Busan. Running from Beomosa Temple south to Dongnae, one can hike along the ancient fortress wall atop the ridge. Here spectacular views of the city can be seen. The fortress runs in a circle around the mountain and provides dozens of paths from challenging to easy. The easiest path being the cable car from Oncheonjang to the summit near the South Gate. Perfect for a diverse day of hiking!
5. Seokbulsa Temple
For those who find most temples boring, this might be a challenging alternative. Hidden away in Geumjeong Mountain is Seokbulsa Temple, the oft forgotten gem of local Buddhist architecture. Even if one were to take the cable car from Oncheonjang to the top of Geumjeong mountain, one would still face another 2 hours of hiking to reach Seokbulsa. However, it’s worth the climb. This small, remote temple is unique in that it has been carved into the cliff side! If you’re looking for a unique experience off the beaten path, Seokbulsa is a daylong trek worth investigating!
Michael is a resident English teacher in Busan. Educating my day and adventuring by night (and weekend) he fills his time with writing, photography, and exploration.
Read more about his experiences in and out of the classroom.
This article was first published in May 2014.