Article Contributor: Guest Writer
I remember the last time I went to Busan was about 3 years ago.
It was a very nice trip with my girlfriends; though it was just a 2D1N stay in Busan with a basic overview of the city, the city left me with a very positive impression and since then I always wanted to go back again.
This time, I brought my parents, especially my dad who never been to South Korea before. I’m hoping to give my dad a good memory and impression about South Korea, so I decided to bring him to Busan instead of Seoul.
I think Busan is relatively easy to get around, people are friendly, and the city is not as crowded as Seoul an yet it is a pretty good trip for a relaxing holiday. We planned a 5 days and 4 nights itinerary in Busan, and here’s a list of things to eat and places to go in Busan.
Oryukdo Skywalk is built on Seungdumal, a border between the East and the South Sea. With a theme “walking over the sky”, the skywalk is a walking path with a transparent glass that stretches out from the top of the cliff. The construction was completed in 2012, with the 15-meter horseshoe shaped glass walkway also built over a 35-meter-high cliff. The entire bridge is made of glass, so you can watch the waves crash against the cliffs below you and also clearly see the Oryukdo islands when you overlooking from the skywalk.
Since the walkway is fully made of glass, visitors are required to wear their disposable overshoes to prevent slip and trips. But, there is a limit to the number of visitors that can be on the skywalk at any one time.
The admission to the skywalk is free of charge, with the shoe covers provided as well.
Gamcheon Cultural Village
Gamcheon Cultural Village is one of the most famous tourist destination you should visit while you’re in Busan. It is located on the mountainside, so you can see a lot of lego-like houses when you climb up to the hill. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes if you are planning to go because the place requires a little bit of ‘up and down’ walking. The village is Busan’s most colourful and artistic spot and that’s why the place is crowded everyday with tourists from all over the world.
There are many alleys, staircases, hidden corners, artsy shops, unique cafes, and lots of houses with colourful murals on the walls to explore. So, do take your time to wander around the village, walk up the hills and find nice photo spot to take pictures. Admission is free, unless you want to purchase a guide map, which costs W2000.
Jagalchi Market is the best local market in Busan to visit. The market also known as Korean’s largest seafood market, selling both live and dried seafood. No matter if you are a seafood lover not, this is another must-visit highlight in Busan. You can see many shops and stalls along the road side of the market selling different types of seafood such as live fish, abalone, mackerel, sea squirts, whale meat, octopus and many more.
And, most of the people who sell seafood are women, mainly middle-aged or married woman, so locals usually refer the vendors here as “Jagalchi Ajumma“. Another interesting part about the market is trying the live octopus inside the wet market. A small octopus cost W10,000. Anyway, there is no admission fees for entering the Jagalchi Market.
BIFF Square gets its name from the Busan International Film Festival. It used to be the place where Korean celebrated their achievements in the film industry. Therefore, while walking at the BIFF Square, you will find lots of palm prints of the famous film directors and movie celebrities on the ground along the 428-meter long street of BIFF Square. The place now has grown into a complex area, featuring not only movie theaters, but also shops and cafes, and restaurants. If you been to Seoul before, this place is just like the Myeongdong Street.
Besides shopping at BIFF Square, there are lots of stalls and food vendors selling Korean street food too, such as Korean fish cake, kimbap, topokki, Korean fried mando (dumplings), twist ice-cream and many more. It’s an open-air attraction, so the admission is free.
Busan Tower and Yongdusan Park
Busan Tower is situated at the same location as BIFF Square, so, it’s very easy to access to Busan Tower if you are already at the BIFF Square. It is a symbol of Busan that stands proudly at 69 meters above sea level and a height of 120 meters. The top of the tower is modeled after the baldaquin of Dabotap Pagoda in Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju.
Yongdusan Park is also a famous public park where Busan Tower is located. It’s actually a very nice park to walk around, especially if you arrive during the Spring or Fall season. There are also some great things to see such as locks of love, Korean traditional bell, artificial waterfall, museum of world folk instruments etc. It’s free to visit both Busan Tower and Yongdusan Park, unless you want to go up to the Busan Tower’s observatory, which can costs W8,000 for adults and W6,000 for your child.
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple has more than 600 years of history in Korea. The reason that the temple is famous for visitors is because Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is a great rare find since it is situated along the shore line, while most of the temples in Korea are located in the mountains. There are also many stone statues around the temple, such as the 12 zodiac that stand in a straight-line with the kind of soldiers position, almost look like they are protecting the temple.
Besides, you’ll also see different types of Buddhas in this temple, like the Shrine and Golden Fat Smiling Buddha right beside the main sanctuary, a Seawater Great Goddess Buddha of Mercy at the top of the temple, and also statue of dragons and little monks too. It’s such a huge place with many staircases, so a good time to build up your cardio before heading here! Best part is again, admission is free at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.
Seomyeon Underground Shopping Center
Underground shopping center in Korea is a must! From skincare and cosmetics brands, to clothing and accessories, you will be definitely guaranteed a whirlwind of a shopping experience here. In Busan, Seomyeon Underground Shopping Center is one of the famous underground shopping areas to find most of the trendy things, like clothing, bags, shoes, and accessories with good quality at affordable prices. I love K-fashion items, and most of the clothing, such as cute T-shirts, dresses, blouses that I bought at the shops are W10,000.
Must-Eat Dwaeji Gukbap
Dwaeji Gukbap is a Busan specialty dish. It is a pork-based soup and rich dish which is perfect for a cold or rainy day. This dish is relatively a rare find in Seoul, but only in Busan. It looks like just a simple soup dish with hearty pork bits and rice, yet the pork bone soup is super rich in flavour. If you visit Busan, you should also be there to experience the rich taste of the pork broth, it’s really delicious!
Bossam is one of the must eat in Korea. It’s a pork dish in Korean cuisine that consists of belly pork that is boiled in spices and thinly sliced. For some people, it’s just like the Korean BBQ meat that we usually have here in Malaysia, however Bossam are steamed meat, apparently healthier. The meat is also wrapped with lettuce, and served with side dishes such as spicy radish salad, sliced raw garlic, salted shrimp, kimchi etc.
Hotteok is a popular street food in Busan. It is a deep-fried doughnuts or pancake that filled with sugary ingredients such as nuts, sun flower seeds, cinnamon, and brown sugar. People usually eat Hotteok during winter season because it’s hot. There are many stalls selling Hotteok at BIFF Square. So, don’t miss out!
If you were asked me how many days to stay in Busan, I would recommend a 5D4N and I feel it is just perfect for a quick getaway. Trust me that shopping in Korea is a heaven for shopaholics of course, and things are not as pricey as you think. But, if you want to explore more places like Gwangalli Beach, Haeundae Beach, or even a day trip to Gyeongju, you probably can skip shopping or even extend a day or more. Happy travelling!