Busan is one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations in Korea. The mild temperatures, beaches, seafood and slower place of life has made this the perfect getaway for work minded locals. For us foreigners, Busan is the perfect beach getaway for the same reasons. This port city feels more welcoming to tourists than most other cities. Here, you can really tell the difference of quality of life in Busan vs Seoul. If you want a relaxing trip to Busan here is a great way to do it.
Rent an umbrella and relax on Haeundae or Gwangalli Beach
Haeundae is the most popular beach in Busan and for good reason. First, the coastline is beautiful. Standing on the beach you have an amazing view of the hotels and other tapered buildings and houses along the coast. For the best view stick around until night time. Also, there are always events happening on the beach-- from cultural events, music festivals, sand figure, etc. If you just want to relax you can just rent an umbrella and chair for ₩12,000. Since Haeundae is the most popular beach, it may not be relaxing for some because of all the crowds. Gwangalli Beach is not too far away. This beach has recently become popular with the younger crowd and there are also good photo ops here.
Watch a random performance on the beach
Streets, beaches & parks are open spaces for performers in Korea. At Haeundae Beach there is always some type of performance happening. Along the boardwalk you will see independent performers singing, doing magic tricks, playing instruments, etc. If you find you have extra time just stand around and watch with the crowds.
Go to the aquarium
Conveniently, the Busan Aquarium sits right on the beach so you can kill two birds with one stone. In my opinion, this is the best aquarium in Korea as it is in prime location. Aquariums are always super cool but this one has a glass-bottom boat that you can actually sit in and observe sharks right underneath you! Similarly, there is a glass floor where you can look at the sea life under your feet. There is also an opportunity to do a shark dive (if you are over 16) if you are brave enough.
Read More: Busan Aquarium
Eat lots of seafood
Being a port city, you can expect to have lots of seafood at your disposal. If you are a seafood lover than Busan is a great place for you to be. There are tons of fresh seafood markets where you can choose whatever you want to eat and the restaurants will prepare it for you. There are places in Seoul and other cities as well, but you would have to wonder about the level of freshness.
Read More: Jagalchi Market
Visit the largest mall-- Centum City
Centum City is the largest mall and currently has the Guinness World Record to prove that. Korean malls put malls in other countries to shame, being that malls here are not just for shopping. Inside Centum City you can find an ice rink, large movie theatre (on 3 floors), grocery store, car service, VIP lounges, spas, art galleries, golf range, etc. Whatever you are looking for they probably have! If you are planning to eat at the food court prepare to be mind blown with all the food options!
Check out some attractions
Busan has a plethora of attractions. Find one that you think is interesting and explore. If you are into art then visit Gamcheon Culture Village. Here you can explore a village of colourful houses, buy some local art and other things. If you are looking for something more cultural then make sure to visit the temple on the water, Haedong Yonggunsa Temple. This temple is absolutely breathtaking and the views are amazing! Even if you are not into the cultural stuff this is not a place to miss. Another interesting place is Oryukdo. Oryukdo is a group of islands just off the coast of Nam-gu. Here you can get beautiful views of the coastline and walk along a glass bottom bridge which is onto of cliffs and the roaring waves of the East Sea. You can also go hiking here which makes this area great for an outdoorsy person. For more attractions check out Trazy.
Take a night stroll
Haeundae Beach has one of the most beautiful coastlines at night. From the beach you can see all the beautiful bright neon lights from the buildings close by. It's also nice to take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk when it is not as crowded and all you can hear is the sound of waves. The Bay 101 is another place to check out. Here you can check out the architectural nightscape while you sit at a pub having some drinks.
Busan makes for a great weekend getaway in any season and is easily accessible by SRT or KTX. Prices vary and sell out quickly so book your tickets in advance.
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