Busan Itinerary: Korea’s Most Charming City

Busan is a thriving, lively city on the coast. South Korea might not be known for its laid-back lifestyle and easy-going culture. But in Busan, there is definitely a happy ease to daily life.

Perhaps it’s the beach, or the wonderful museums, or the popular beer houses and karaoke rooms. Likely a combination of them all.

Whatever the reason, you’re sure to love the way of life in this city. And with so many things to do in busan, Korea, you’ll never want to leave.

Skyline of Busan, South Korea at night.
Skyline of Busan at sunset

If you’re on a vacation through South Korea or just completed your Seoul itinerary, this is the perfect follow up as part of your Korea Itinerary.

This Busan Itinerary 2 days is perfect for a weekend in Busan or for a 2 night visit during the week.

cherry blossoms, busan city in south korea

Busan Itinerary: How to Get to Busan

If you’re flying into seoul, you can easily take a train to Busan. I recommend taking the KTX train from seoul to Busan and arriving in just under three hours.

The most economic way to travel South Korea by train is the Korea Rail Pass. This pass is only available to foreign travellers. The KR pass covers 600 stations and 80 different high speed routes with unlimited rides. It is available in 3 or 5 consecutive days or flexible 2 and 4 days.

There is also an international airport in Busan, Gimhae International, so you can fly there directly. But you might find that these flights are a bit more expensive and less regular. But I recommend stopping in Seoul first, and checking out all the great things to do in Myeongdong and Gangnam.

Flights to Seoul

Flights to Busan

If you’re visiting Seoul one of the best deals on offer is the Discover Seoul Pass. This pass allows free entrance to 42 Seoul Attractions, discounts on 35 Seoul Attractions and it’s a transit card. There are 24/48/72 hour options available.

⇒ Check out my reviews of Qatar Airways Business Class Review, Thai Airways Business Class Review, Malaysia Airlines Business Class Review, British Airways World Traveller Plus Review and Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Review.

If you do fly into Gimhae airport, you can grab a taxi to your accommodation, or take the Sasang bound subway to Sasang station. Just keep checking Naver Maps for details about what public transport you need to jump on.

⇒ And definitely log in to 12Go when you’re organising how you’re going to get around South Korea. This super easy to use platform has all modes of transport on the one platform and allows you to compare based on time, cost, and reviews.

street market in busan south korea

How to Get Around Busan

If you’re planning to rent a car and drive, getting around is very simple. You can download the Naver navigation app and make your way easily around the city. The app is useful because it tells you when to slow down for a traffic camera, so you won’t get any fines.

But if you’re not keen to rent a car in Busan, don’t stress. The same app will help you to easily catch buses, trains and subways. You can go to any convenience store, pick out your favourite public transport card (they only differ through aesthetics), and load it with cash.

busan temple on beach

Tap this card on the reader at any public transport station, or in the bus as you get on. It might feel daunting if you’re new to this, but it really couldn’t be simpler. The Naver Map will also show you how to walk from place to place and everything else you need to know.

Tip: If a destination that you’re trying to find doesn’t come up when you type it in, translate it into Korean, and then copy and paste.

⇒ Check out my posts on the best Seoul Day Trips, 8 fantastic Things to do in Incheon, 13 things to do in Myeongdong, my Seoul Itinerary 5 Days, 7 Fantastic Seoul Boutique Hotels and the best things to do in Gangnam.

Korean lanterns

Trip to Busan – Day 1

This day will be all about cultural experiences, mingled with lots of fun and pretty Busan sights. The two things to do in Busan on the itinerary are just 7 minutes apart by subway, so it’s ideal to combine them.

Gamcheon Culture Village

This terraced village on a hill is one for the books. Brightly coloured houses climb up the hill, ending in a brilliant view from the top of Gamcheon Culture Village Busan.

And there are tons of fun interactive activities in Gamcheon Culture Village on the way up. Although I suggest that you get a taxi at least part of the way, as the top is the most exciting, and the walk is very steep.

Beautiful Architecture at Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, South Korea.
Beautiful Architecture at Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, South Korea.

South Korea has a notable photography culture, so there are lots of artworks designed specifically for you to get your best side on camera.

There are also plenty of tasty treats lining the Gamcheon streets. From cute candy floss (imagine ears and little faces on colourful clouds of sweetness) to upscale cafes with gorgeous views.

Gamcheon is one of the most colourful places to visit in Busan Korea and a highlight of this Busan travel blog.

Colorful model house architecture at Gamcheon culture village in Busan, South Korea.
Colorful model house architecture at Gamcheon culture village in Busan, South Korea.

Jagalchi Fish Market

It might not appeal to everyone, as some naturally want to stay as far away from fish as they can, but this Jagalchi Fish Market Busan is a real cultural experience. It’s the largest fish market in Asia, and there are tons of fascinating things to see.

Just be aware that you’ll see quite a lot of squirming creatures. This is one of the best places to visit in Busan.

Korea-Busan-Seafood-at-market

You can see how Koreans haggle, and how the ajummas handle their hoards at this Busan market. Ajumma’s are a cultural experience all on their own. These elderly women are so specific to South Korea, that you need to see them just doing their thing.

And if you’re a fan of seafood, you’ll be blown away. Fresh and dried, tentacled and scaled, this Busan fish market has it all.

This market in Busan also has plenty of things besides fish, from food to crafts. So be sure to experience this cultural space that has been serving locals and foreigners for decades.

⇒ Planning on travelling beyond Seoul in Korea? Check out my posts on the best things to do in Daegu , where to stay in Busan, the best things to do in JeJu Island, 26 Beautiful Places in South Korea and plan your trip with my Korea Itinerary, Jeju Itinerary and Busan Itinerary.

shopping street in busan south korea

Craft Beer Houses

While the national drink, soju might be the go-to alcohol for the majority of Koreans, good craft beer has certainly found its way into most hearts. In Busan, there is a passion for craft beer houses, where you can taste some of the finest brews that Korea has to offer.

The best street to sample craft beer in Busan is 40 minutes from the Jagalchi market, but close to where you’ll likely be staying. It’s also totally worth the trip and one of the most fun things to do in Busan at night.

⇒ One of the loveliest places to go in Asia is Bali. Check out my posts on the best 10 Days Itinerary Bali, Where to Stay in Bali, where to stay in Ubud and the best boutique hotels in Ubud, Bali Retreats for Singles, Bali Boutique Hotels, where to stay in Canggu and the best boutique hotels Seminyak has on offer.

south-korea-busan-craft-beers

If you’re a fan of beer, I’m sure you’re dying to know if Korea stands amongst the greats. These bars also often have a fun and active vibe, with darts, pool tables, and KFC (Korean fried chicken).

Fortunately for us, most of Busan’s best breweries are in Gwangnam-ro (near Haeundae). So head to Gorilla Brewing, SOL Taphouse or Galmegi Brewing for a pint or three.

And once you’re feeling a little buzzed and confident, head to one of the endless karaoke rooms that line the streets. Karaoke is one of South Korea’s most popular activities, day and night.

Busan, South Korea

You can order a couple more beers to keep you going. Add to it a shot of soju (a clear vodka-like liquor), and you’ll really be spending this night in Busan like a local. Just be sure to get enough sleep to seize the upcoming day.

A Little Language Goes a Long Way
Knowing even a small amount of the local language can add a whole new level of enjoyment to any trip. Why not learn some basic Korean before you leave home?

Busan Travel Itinerary – Day 2

Today is the day to see Busan’s most beautiful temple, and then relax by the beach and enjoy a great night out. It’s the perfect way to wrap up a quick trip to Busan.

Haedong Yonggungsa

This beautiful sea-side temple was built in 1376 and is still in perfect condition. Try to arrive at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple early if you’re visiting over the weekend, as this is one of the most popular Busan attractions.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Sea in Busan, South Korea.
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Sea in Busan, South Korea.

You’ll pass a road lined with interesting Buddhist sculptures of hybrid animals, and then down a path lined with craft merchants and little food stalls. South Korean street food is generally known to be safe for consumption, so feel free to try a few things out.

And if you’re feeling less adventurous on the food front, there are simple Korean treats like homemade caramelized sugar pops and candy covered strawberries.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Haeundae Sea in Busan, South Korea

When you get to this temple in Busan you’ll see the waves lapping against the rocks that the temple rests on. You can explore the lookout points from Haedong Yonggungsa Busan that offer amazing views. Be sure to have your camera ready.

South Korea is a safe country so you can comfortably ask someone to take a photo of you. Without worrying that they’ll nick your camera while they’re at it.

⇒ Beautiful Japan is one of my favourite countries to visit. Check out my posts on One Day in Tokyo, 2 Day Itinerary Kyoto, 10 Day Japan Itinerary, the best things to do in Kanazawa and what to expect on the Nakasendo Trail.

Museum DAH

This fascinating museum will have you feeling like you are living art. From the walls to the floors, everything at Museum DAH Busan is awash with colour and life. You’ll want to spend at least an hour or two at this fascinating Busan museum.

The contemporary gallery/ museum space in Busan is dedicated to digital art, one of Korea’s leading artistic methods of expression. The museum makes for amazing photographs and perfect Instagram posts.

Museum DAH Busan South Korea

Museum DAH is located in Haeundae, so once you’ve seen it all, you can simply hop on a bus and head to Haeundae Square, which is your next and final stop. And since you’ll be spending your evening here as well, travel is easy and minimal.

Haeundae Square and Gunan-Ro

Haeundae Busan is a very popular area for foreigners and Korean vacation-makers. It has a rather rare and interesting urban beachfront. Here you can gaze out at the sea, turn, and then stare straight into the city of Busan.

There are street performers and pop-up evening markets in Haeundae square, which make it an exciting place to spend an evening. You can then wrap up the day with a cocktail on the beach, at one of the hip bars that line the Busan shore.

Up view on skyscrapers in Busan, Haeundae district,
Up view on skyscrapers in Busan, Haeundae district,

And if you’ve decided that Haeundae is where to stay in Busan, spend the night out on the town. There are lots of popular late-night bars and clubs in this area.

Some of the best foreigner-friendly places are Wolfhound and Thursday Party. These Haeundae bars guarantee a good time but aren’t too raucous.

Busan waterfountain

These fun spots in Haeundae have friendly vibes, so even if you go alone, you’re sure to find some fun. And it’s always easy to make friends over Thursday Party’s beer pong table.

⇒ Working out where to go in Asia? Check out my Hong Kong Travel Blog, Hoi An blog in Vietnam, One Day in Singapore, Where to Stay in Bali, Kamalaya in Thailand, and Kuala Lumpur in One Day for some travel planning inspiration.

Where to Stay in Busan

Best Louis Hamilton Hotel

This elegant hotel is just 500m from Haeundae beach, so you’ll have no need for public transportation here (it can be a little stressful figuring out how to take the buses and trains, but very doable).  

louis hamilton hotel room busan korea
Louis Hamilton Hotel Busan

The Louis Hamilton Hotel Busan has flat-screen TVs in all of their rooms, air conditioning, and tons of toiletries. It all makes for a very easy, comfortable stay in this Busan South Korea hotel.

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

Mipo Oceanside Hotel

A short one-minute walk from Haeundae beach, you couldn’t ask for a better location than Mipo Oceanside Hotel. When you book, request a room with an ocean view.

You can sit at your dining table at the Mipo Oceanside Hotel Busan and watch the sunset over the fascinating cityscape.

mipo oceanside hotel room busan korea
Mipo Oceanside

If you’re happy to splash out a bit on the best accommodation option, or if you’re travelling in a group, opt for the family suite at this Haeundae hotel.

It’s huge and gorgeous, and has everything you need for a perfect vacation, including towels and toiletries. You can keep your luggage light, which is ideal if you plan to do lots of shopping.

You can also choose a Western or Korean style room here. So if you’re looking for a more authentic Korean experience, give it a try. Just keep in mind that that means you will be sleeping on a mattress on the floor!

⇒ Read reviews on TripAdvisorBook Now

⇒ For more hotels in Busan read my complete post on Where to Stay in Busan

Shortcut Travel Toolkit
Ready to Book? Here are my travel favourites:

⇒ For accommodation Booking.com – great prices, great clear layout of accommodation options & brilliant for cancellation (& good photos!)

⇒ Or feel like a local by staying at an airbnb or having one of their great local experiences Airbnb

⇒ For flights skyscanner.net – always have the cheapest prices and great tools to help easily figure out if it would be better to leave the day before etc

⇒ For car hire rentalcars.com – huge range of options and a price match guarantee

⇒ Every trip is improved if you know at least a little bit of the local language – Rosetta Stone is the best and often have great getting started deals.

Skip the Line tours – Viator have over 14,000 of these – I am always so happy when I have pre-booked one of these! And you can cancel most Viator tours with full money back if you’re more than 24 hours out

⇒ And finally and super important – Roam Right for Travel Insurance have an excellent rating and lots of choice. I particularly like their policies that just cover medical or car rental. They also have great options for adventurous travellers.

Busan Korea Itinerary: Do you need a Visa for your Korea Trip?

It can be a real pain trying to figure out if you need a visa for a country and then all the hassle of figuring out how to apply, how long you can go without your passport, when the embassy is open etc.

iVisa has completely revolutionised this process and put it all online and make it super simple and paper and hassle-free! Using iVisa is one of my top travel tips!

busan bridge and skyline at sunset

NB: Citizens of the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Canada do not need a Visa for Korea if they are staying less than 90 days. Do double check that this still holds when you book your airfares.

Check if you need a Visa for Korea

Final Thoughts on What to do in Busan

This coastal city has a really great variety of attractions. Whatever you have in mind for this vacation, you’re sure to go home happy after this stop. Hopefully, you’ll leave armed with a few souvenirs from Busan’s fascinating markets and gorgeous department stores as there are so many things to buy in Busan South Korea (the skincare products are out of this world).

City of Busan

There are tons of things to do in Busan South Korea. But equipped with this list of the most interesting places in Busan, you’re sure to have an amazing holiday. If you’re a little apprehensive to do a day of exploring on your own, you can simply take a guided city tour.

And if you still have a few days in South Korea, there are some really awesome things to do in Jeju, the Hawaii of Korea.

⇒ Interested in Nepal? Check out my posts on the Nepal tea house, a full Everest Base Camp packing list, an Everest Base Camp trek itinerary and a day by day Everest base camp trek blog And for post-trek the fantastic boutique hotel Dwarika Hotel Kathmandu, the Dhulikhel Resort and the best places to visit in Kathmandu.

Who Paid for What in this Post?

This post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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8 thoughts on “Busan Itinerary: Korea’s Most Charming City

  1. katy says:

    Great guide to a beautiful town. I’d love to visit this incredible country. Hopefully it will be possible soon. Love the cherry blossom!

  2. Jenny says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Busan! One of my favourite things to do in Seoul is go to the fish market. I’d love to go to the one in Busan as well. I’m in Mongolia and they started direct flights to Busan in the last few years. I wish I went there when I had the chance. Maybe one day I’ll make it there!

  3. Jamie says:

    I regret not taking a trip to Busan when I was in Korea a few years ago – just means I’ll have to head back. It looks very different to Seoul with it’s own incredible charm. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Paula Martinelli says:

    What a great place to visit, I love to discover small towns and really get the chance to meet locals and learn more about the local culture, and Busan sounds a great opportunity. Will need to visit next time I go to Korea. Thanks for this great guide!

  5. Ophelie says:

    Such an interesting place! I love all the colors, and the mix between tradition and modernity!

  6. Heather Markel says:

    I flew through Korea to Vietnam in 2018, and met some lovely people from Korea, and have wanted to go for some time. Thanks for this lovely post! Will add it to my lit of places to go.

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