The title says two days in Busan, but really I meant two days and a half, but since the last half day is just leisure time and since two and a half is a long title, I just opted for ‘Two Days.’ Here is a guide to taking a brief weekend trip in Busan: Korea’s second largest city and home of the tastiest, freshest seafood. It’s going to be tiring, but totally worth it.
I recommend leaving on Friday, early morning to make the most of your time there. Since I left from Seoul, this trip will be based on the travel time from there. Travel time will also differ according to the accommodation you pick! Busan is completely navigable by bus and subway! T-money cards and student ID cards from Seoul work here too, just make sure to charge your cards so you don’t have to waste travel time later on.
We started out early morning and caught the 6:00AM express bus from the Seoul Express Bus Terminal (서울고속버스터미날). Tickets were ₩18,000 per person which is average for the normal express bus. There is a nicer bus for ₩32,000.
Make sure you are on the other side of the bus terminal (not the Honam one). You will have to exit the Shinsegae building and cross a parking lot to the older bus terminal. If you are not sure, ask the ticket counter.
Buses to Busan are frequent (10-20 minutes) and start from 5:00AM to 8:00PM on both sides (Seoul and Busan). Travel time is an estimated five hours. Going to Busan, it took us four, and coming back it took us five.
Since our hostel (shout out to DPlan Backpackers) was located in Haeundae, we started our trip from there. The Busan area is separated basically into different peninsulas and it takes approximately an hour to get to each part so we decided to start on the ‘newer’ side of town for the first day.
Lunch at 밀양순대돼지국밥
Near Haeundae station (the subway station). Try some dwaeji gukbap which is basically pork and rice soup and a local specialty. Although now popular throughout the country, its best to try it where it came from right?
Things to do
- Haeundae Beach
If you’re here in the winter, there are much less people on the beach and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the ocean breeze and clear blue water. If you dare, bring some shrimp chips to feed the seagulls-they’ll attack your fingers ferociously.
If you’re here in the summer, Haeundae Beach will be packing with people under the umbrellas. It’s the most famous beach in the country. There are often festivals on the beach so check the schedule to see if you’ll catch any!
- Centum City
Home to the largest department store in the world, Shinsegae Centum City, Centum City is the shopping destination for travelers to Busan…although my friends and I took a deeper interest in the bottom food floors than the other floors. Try our Bake’s delicious and literally explode in your mouth cheese tarts!
- Gwangan Bridge (광안대교) and Gwangalli Beach (광안리해수욕장)
When it nears sunset, head to Gwangalli Beach for an awesome view of Gwangan Bridge and the city. There are lots of restaurants there to choose from as well if you’re feeling hungry!
- Haeundae Market (해운대전통시장)
Haeundae Market is a small traditional market that you can visit for an after-dinner or afternoon snack. It offers local delicacies like the ssiat hotteok and more common street foods like steaming hot dukbokki and odeng.
Things to do
- Oryukdo Skywalk (오륙도 스카이워크)
The best thing about Oryukdo Skywalk is that its free…also because it gives you awesome angles to take pictures of the ocean. This is a small glass bridge that hovers over the ocean (but mostly over rocks) and is definitely worth a short trip to. After taking pictures from it, you can also head downhill near the rocks to catch people fishing and to strike a pose. 10/10 Instagram worthy.
- Jagalchi Market (부산 자갈치시장) and Nampodong Street (남포동거리)
When one thinks of Busan, the first thing that comes into mind is..no not CNBLUE, but the fresh seafood that the city has to offer as a harbor. Jagalchi Market is the place to go when it comes to fresh 회 (hwue) or the Korean version of sashimi for those unfamiliar. Head to the main complex where, on the second floor, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. Prices are higher than normal food at ₩40,000-₩60,000 average per plate of 회 but its worth the experience. Other dishes to try are the seafood soup and live octopus. Our party of six ordered one plate of 회 and a seafood soup and were already filled to the brim. Yum.
Across the street from the world famous Jagalchi Market is Nampodong Street, which is the main shopping street in Busan-similar to Myeongdong in Seoul. Over here, you can try more…cooked varieties of food, with tons of people lining up for the ssiat hotteoks (씨앗호떡) and other local street foods anytime of the day. There are definitely less tourists here than in Myeongdong and its a very fun place to shop and eat.
- Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을)
Take a little local bus up to the Gamcheon Culture Village down the street from Nampodong. Gamcheon Culture Village features a colorful and artsy village built along the hills of Busan. There are tons of creative murals and interactive photo points. I would recommend coming here during the day for better lighting!
It’s your last day in Busan (or half-day) so why not wake up bright (or not so bright) and early to catch the sunrise at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. The temple is right by the ocean and was a twenty minute bus ride from our hostel. Make sure to check travel time and it takes about fifteen minutes to reach prime sunrise viewing spot from the nearest bus stop to the temple! Definitely worth the view.
Additional Things to Do:
If you’re heading to Busan during the Busan International Film Festival (usually around October), make sure to check their official websites to book film screenings!
Download Naver Maps onto your phone. It really helps! You can find a guide on how to use it here: ☆