Tuesday 13 October 2015

What to Do in Busan, South Korea in One Day

What to Do in Busan, South Korea

I took a taxi and left my hostel in Jeju Island (halfheartedly) early in the morning to catch my flight going to Busan. I really loved the location of Hostel Lyndon because it was just a few minutes drive away to or from the airport. The airport was not packed and I was truly thankful for that! Forty-five minutes after take off, the plane touched down Gimhae International Airport.

From the airport, I took a taxi going to my guesthouse. I only had a day in Busan so I didn’t waste a minute and started wandering around Busan after leaving my luggage in the guesthouse.

1.        Yongdusan Park and Busan Tower (Open all year round). How to get to Yongdusan Park : I walked straight to Busan Station and took a subway (Line 1), got off at Nampo-Dong Station and took Exit 1. I walked straight and then turned left after the coffee shop called Allegiance. I then walked straight again until I get to the entrance of Yongdusan Park. Yongdusan Park is one of the most popular attractions in Busan. You may also see Busan Tower in the park. It is a symbol of Busan and it also offers stunning view of the city especially at night!

2.       Gamcheon Cultural Village (Open all year round). How to get to Gamcheon Cultural Village : From Nampo-Dong Station, I took a taxi going to Gamcheon Cultural Village. This little village in Busan is famed as Santorini of Korea. I loved the colourful, artistic charm of the village! It is a picturesque art-filled town with a lot of interesting shops and lovely caf├ęs. I explored the alleyways, tried to get lost and took as much photos as I can! I climbed until I get to the top of the hill and indulged my eyes in such a spectacular view!

3.        Haeundae Beach (Open 24 hours). How to get to Haeundae Beach : Upon exiting the village, I walked to the bus stop (located across the street) and took bus number 1-1 and then got off at Toseong Subway Station. From Toseong Subway Station, I took a subway (Line 1) and transferred to Subway Line 2 at Seomyeon Station and then got off at Haeundae Station, exit number 5. After walking for about 7 minutes, I finally arrived at Haeundae Beach. It is the most popular beach in Busan. I spent an hour watching the waves kissed the sand. It was totally relaxing!

4.       Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (4 am to 7 pm). How to get to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple : From Haeundae Beach, I walked back and looked for the bus stop. I walked past exit 5 of Haeundae Station until the intersection. I then crossed the street on my left. I took bus number 181 going to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is situated on the coast of the north-eastern portion of Busan. It is indeed a beautiful location for a temple. It was definitely worth a visit!

From Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, I took bus number 181 at the opposite side of the road and went to Haeundae Beach one more time. It was cooler in the afternoon and I thought it was a good spot to relax for a bit before heading back to the guesthouse. It was a clear and calm afternoon at the beach. I looked for a perfect spot to sit and watch the tourists come and go, lovers cuddle, and kids play. Perhaps I was lucky that day because there were only a few people at the beach. I stayed for about an hour and then decided to leave before sunset.

5.       Jagalchi Market (8 am to 10 pm). How to get to Jagalchi Market : From Haeundae Station, I took subway line 2 and transferred to subway line 1 at Seomyeon Station and then got off at Jagalchi Station, exit 10. I walked for about 5 minutes and then turned left to Jagalchi Market. Jagalchi Market is Korea’s largest seafood market. According to my research, the market represents Busan and it is famous all over the country. I am not a fan of fresh raw fish though, so I just walked around and amuse myself with the sight of women selling mackerel and whale meat. I also witnessed how to prepare some kimchi too!

I realised that I still have time since the train going to Seoul was scheduled to leave at 10:00 pm, so I went back to Yongdusan Park to see Busan Tower at night. It was lovely! It was getting colder though so after spending almost an hour there, I went to Busan Station to collect my KTX ticket which I booked a month in advance. At the KTX counter, I asked the woman if it was possible to change my ticket to an earlier departure. I didn’t expect that she would allow me to! I left Busan 1.5 hours before my original scheduled departure time. Yay!

How to Use T-Money Card in Busan

I travelled around Busan using my T-money card. Before leaving Singapore, I have already prepared an itinerary so basically I already knew where to go as soon as I arrived. There are a lot of beautiful places to see and discover in Busan, but I only had a whole day to spend there so I decided to go to places that I really wanted to see. I think I made good choices though because I loved everything about those places I visited. I still wish I stayed longer though!

Where to Stay in Busan, South Korea

I booked a single bed in a 6-bed dormitory located near Busan Station. In the beginning, I wanted to spend at least a night in Busan. However due to some circumstances (i.e. work), I had to squeeze in everything in a day. Welcome Busan Guesthouse is located right outside the exit of Choryang Subway Station. Each room has bunk beds and an en suite bathroom. Like the other guesthouses where I stayed at in Seoul and in Jeju Island, it also has free wifi and is also secured with its own password protected security lock. I didn’t have time to explore the guesthouse but I was told that there is also a communal kitchen where guests can cook and a lounge to mingle with other travellers. Busan KTX Station is just five minutes walk away from the guesthouse too, which was also one of the reasons why I chose the guesthouse.

I met a woman named Kelly in Busan. She was also a guest in the guesthouse and she was nice and friendly. We had a very good conversation about our travels and our lives in general. She was staying at the guesthouse too but she does some voluntary work like cleaning in exchange of food and free accommodation. It was awesome! I wish I could also do something like that, maybe not now but in the future. I really think that would be a great experience! The woman at the reception by the way was friendly too! She is from the United States and on a working holiday visa. I wonder how it feels like doing stuff like that. When you grew up in a society where you're expected to finish university, choose your career, buy a house and a car, get married, and then have some kids, going against the conventional often seems to be rebellious. But in the end, you always have to choose what makes you happy – and I believe that is the most important above all. And it's a great new addition to my massive and never-ending bucket list too, I suppose! The sooner, the better.

To know more information about the places you want to visit (such as opening days and hours, fees and a lot of really helpful tips, check this site.

To book accommodation, check this site.

Happy travels!


  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS!!! So glad I stumbled upon your blog :) I am visiting Korea in a few months and TRYING to plan a one day trip to Busan. Would love it if you can help with my itinerary and how to get from one place to another. I've been overwhelmed the past few days trying to figure this out :( I plan on taking an early KTX train ride from Seoul Station...hoping to get to Busan by 930am - 10ish. Would like to do the following if possible in a day:

    Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
    Oryukdo Skywalk
    Jalgachi Fish Market
    Possibly Haeundae Beach
    Gwangalli Beach and Bridge

    Any assistance is much appreciated! :D

    1. Hi!

      I’m sorry it took a while for me to answer your questions. I honestly think that going to those places is doable in a day, but my concern is the amount of time you will actually spend on each place. It might be a little exhausting if you’d try to squeeze in everything in just a day. I suggest though that you pick 4 or 5 out of those 6 places you wanted to go to. I personally think it depends on how much time you’d spend in each place and whether you’d take a cab or use the public transport. I used google maps to check the estimated travel time from Busan to the places you’ve chosen (by public transport).

      Busan Station to Seomyeon 15 minutes
      Seomyeon to Oryukdo Skywalk 45 minutes
      Oryukdo Skywalk to Gwangalli Beach 45 minutes
      Gwangalli Beach to Haeundae Beach 35 minutes
      Haeundae Beach to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 50 minutes
      Haedong Yonggungsa Temple to Jalgachi 1.5 hours

      I didn’t go to Seomyeon, Oryukdo Skywalk, and Gwangalli Beach before. Haeundae Beach is a good stop to relax for a bit after a lot of walking before heading to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from too for when you get hungry. I went to Jalgachi Market before but it was a little late so I didn’t see much there. As what I have mentioned, I’ve never been to Gwangalli Beach before but I’m thinking maybe you can just choose one between Gwangalli Beach and Haeundae Beach. It’s your call! If you will be in Busan until after sunset, I suggest you visit Yongdusan Park and Busan Tower too. It offers stunning view at night! I hope this helps. Happy travels!


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