Often overlooked for the capital, Busan is located on the southern tip of Korea and is the country’s second largest city. Chosen for many film locations, including this years Black Panther, its coastal-urban landscape is no stranger to the limelight. Busan is famed for an International Film Festival, beaches, hiking trails and seafood, which makes it a prime holiday destination.
You haven’t been to Busan unless you’ve visited these places:
1. Haeundae Beach
‘The Miami of Korea’ – During the heady heights of the Summer period, not an inch of sand on this beach is left untouched by umbrellas or inner tubes. Set against a panorama of glitzy skyscrapers, Haeundae is without doubt the country’s most famous beach. Throughout the year there are a number of major festivals held here including the Polar Bear Swim Festival, Sea Festival, Fire Festival and Sand Festival! If you’ve not visited Haeundae, you have not been to Busan.
Insider Tip: Visit Dongbaekseom Island to see the mermaid statue which is based on the legend of Princess Hwagok.
2. Jagalchi Fish Market
Squirming buckets of octopus, tanks of squid and heaps of shellfish, you name it, Jaglachi fish market has it. As the largest fish market in Korea, it is epitome of the city’s maritime history. The incredible variety of indoor and outdoor stalls sell an overwhelming amount seafood which are bound to turn your head. If you want the full ‘Jagalchi experience,’ choose your meal straight from the tank and a feisty ajumma will prepare it for you.
Insider Tip: Try some live octopus (sannakji 산낙지) but be warned, this isn’t for the faint-hearted!
3. Gwangan Bridge
Also known as the Diamond Bridge, you may recognise this landmark as the backdrop for the epic car chase sequence in this years Black Panther. Every night, this double decked bridge is lit up with artistic light effects which reflect onto the sea – quite a view! This stunning beach also hosts many major festivals including a spectacular fireworks display. On New Years Day, Koreans rise early for a walk across it to catch the first sunrise – there’s no better way to welcome in the year.
Insider Tip: Eat at ‘Eonyang Bulgogi (언양불고기)’ situated on the beach front – it’s incredible
This incredible sight is Busan’s most famous Buddhist temple. Nestled on the side of the mountain, it’s beautifully crafted architecture and astonishing setting makes it feel like you’re a million miles away from the bustling city.
Insider Tip: If a visit just isn’t enough, choose to sleep overnight here on a temple stay!
5. Gamcheon Culture Village
Looking at a postcard of Gamcheon Culture Village, would you ever guess that this colourful place was in Korea? Resting on the slope of a mountain, Gamcheon was formed by refugees during the Korean War. Now a cultural hotspot, it is a maze of vibrantly painted houses and quirky cafes which are covered in ever-changing murals. This artistic village is a must-see attraction and uniquely Busan!
Insider Tip: Make sure to bring your camera – as you can see, it’s very Instagram friendly.