The main attraction of Busan is the magnificent temple complex of Pomosa (“Temple of the Paradise Fish”). Founded in the 7th century, the temple was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, but managed to preserve the original old atmosphere. Here it is worth seeing the three-tiered stone pagoda, the main temple with the Donjon ceremonial hall, the One-Pillar Gate (if you look at them from a certain angle, it really seems that they rest on a single support; this symbolizes the only correct path to enlightenment), Wonyoam East and West Pagodas and an original stone lamp, as well as eleven hermit huts of amazing beauty, crowned with Buddha statues. See JIBIN123 for South Korea customs regulations and visa requirements.
Another pearl of religious architecture is the Temple-Palace of the Dragon, located right on the coastline. Among its interesting buildings is the incredible Pagoda of Prayers for Road Safety – it happens! The water in the local hot spring is believed to have healing powers. And the temple of Seokbulsa is a hermit’s hut carved into the rock, around which you can see giant bas-reliefs of Buddhas, also painstakingly carved into the rock.
You can take a walk in the fresh air in the well-groomed Yongdusan Park, where there are a lot of cute cafes and restaurants, as well as the 118-meter Busan Tower, which offers breathtaking views of the surroundings from the observation deck (admission 8000 KRW). Near the park, it makes sense to see the Forty Degrees area – several restored streets that convey the atmosphere of Korea in the 1960s with its cobbled alleys and wooden lanterns.
Nature lovers will appreciate the Nakdong Bird Reservation, where more than 150 species of birds nest from October to May, and the Busan Aquarium, where you can get acquainted with the richest underwater flora and fauna of the South Sea.
We also recommend visiting local museums: the Busan Museum exhibits more than 25 thousand exhibits from the history of the region and the city, the Museum of Modern History tells about the events after the Korean War, and the Art Museum presents works of ancient and modern Korean artists for the public to judge.
5 things to do in Busan
- Taste a soup made from a local analogue of poisonous puffer fish (no less poison than in Japanese!).
- Climb the 118-meter Busan Tower and admire the surroundings.
- Spend a day at the country-famous Haeundae Beach.
- Dedicate another day to visiting the largest Buddhist temple of Pomos.
- Marvel at the variety of marine reptiles at the colorful Chakalchi fish market.
More than one and a half hundred hotels for every taste are hospitably opening their doors to tourists in Busan – from hostels, of which there are a lot here, the reason for which is several universities and a lot of students, to magnificent resort and business “fives”. Most of them are located in the tourist Haeundaegu. Accommodation is quite inexpensive – a mid-range city hotel will cost 60-80 EUR per night in a double room.
The beaches of Busan are rightfully considered one of the best in South Korea. Despite the close proximity of the port, they are well maintained and clean, wide and have all the necessary infrastructure (and even more).
Haeundae Beach is the most popular, in the summer there are always a lot of Koreans who come here from all over the country, and tourists. In July and August, Haeundae is not the most pleasant place for a beach holiday, there is literally nowhere to set foot, but in winter, on the contrary, it is very quiet here. For about 8-9 EUR you can rent an umbrella and a sunbed. From entertainment – a lot of bars and beach restaurants, water sports stations. The Busan Aquarium is also located on Haeundae with a rich collection of marine life.
In clear weather, the Japanese island of Tsushima is perfectly visible from Haeundae Beach.
The sandy beach of Songjeong stretches in the shape of a crescent for 1.2 km along the bay. It is quieter here than on Haeundae, even during peak high season, but the beach has one drawback – it closes early – between 16:00 and 18:00. A place under the sun will cost the same 8-9 EUR. The beach is closed in winter.
Kwanalli Beach also resembles a crescent moon; there are no strong sea waves here. At 1.4 km of its useful length, you can sit comfortably and in relative privacy. In general, this beach is more democratic, and cafes and restaurants here are closer to the broad masses of vacationers.
Shopping and stores
When tourists decide to go shopping in Busan, tourists invariably start with its main shopping attraction – Chakalchi Fish Market. You need to come here from the very early morning to see how traders begin their activities and buy the freshest catch. The selected marine life will be willingly prepared for you in any of the restaurants above the market.
Another popular Canton market sells goods from all over the world – products, exotic spices and interesting gizmos. Other favorite markets for Busans and tourists are the colorful Cooke, Gwangbokdong and Nampodong. For clothes, shoes and accessories of Western brands, you should go to Lotte and Shinseke shopping centers.
You can buy products of traditional medicine, as well as get a doctor’s consultation on the “medical street” Semyon. Well, for a standard assortment of duty-free, go to the duty-free shop at the Paradise Hotel on Haeundaegu (you will need to present a passport and a return ticket).