Busan: 25 great things to do

by Jeff Liebsch
Busan Haps

Having friends or family coming to Busan for a visit? Or planning a trip to the city? Though it’s by no means a complete list of what the city has to offer, HAPS gives you 25 great starting options to get out and have fun.

1. Check out the night view

Gwangan Diamond Bridge may be the most famous place in Busan to check out the views at night, but don’t hold yourself to just seeking out one.

Other great options include Hwangnyeong-san Mountain, the top of Lotte Department Store in Gwangbok-dong and Busan Tower just to name a few.

2. Do a shark dive

With over 35,000 marine animals on display, the Sea Life Aquarium in Haeundae is definitely one of the best in the country. And the chance to get in and dive with the sharks? Priceless.

3. Watch free movies

The Busan Cinema Center regularly hosts free movies at its outdoor theaters year-round as well as hosting plenty of film festivals from various countries around the world.

4. Eat some great Korean food

Pick one of Busan’s great restaurants to dig into some of the best local cuisine the city has to offer. We highly recommend a good bowl of dwaeji guk-bap or some Dongnae pajeon to get you started.

5. Take a bus tour

The city of Busan has been expanding their daily tours around the city to give you a quick, easy glimpse of what the city has to offer.

6. Hit the museums

Great exhibitions of ancient relics and superb art are always on display around the city’s museums.

7. Visit the APEC House

The famed Nurimaru APEC house was the location for a meeting of world leaders several years ago and is still open for tours, as well as having a some great little trails to take a night stroll.

8. Explore the temples

With 27 Buddhist temples to choose from, head on out for a relaxing day in the mountains or do a temple stay to experience the life of the monks.

9. Drink some makkeolli

What visit to Korea would be complete without a bowl of makkeolli? Enjoy the traditional rice wine with some tofu-kimchi and pajeon.

10. Take a walkabout

Busan has some great little places around the city to take a stroll to learn more about the culture or to experience some serenity from the hustle and bustle of the city. Head on out to Gamcheon Village to check out the art-filled suburb or to Suyoung Riverside Park to take a stroll along the river to Oncheon-jang.

11. Go on a shopping spree

Busan not only houses the World’s Largest Department Store, Shinsegae, as well as large outlet malls, but head on underground into the subway malls in Seomyeon and Nampodong for a dizzying array of shops that seem endless.

12. Hit the clubs

You can dance in Busan into the wee hours in the morning at either the larger clubs in Seomyeon and Haeundae, or hit one of the smaller clubs in the Kyungsung or Gwangan areas that offer a Korean club experience that are much lighter on the wallet.

13. Enjoy some great classical music

The Busan Cultural Center has regular performances from the Busan Philharmonic Orchestra as well as special events regularly, while the Busan Cinema Center also hosts a few events each year.

14. Check out the suicide cliff

Taejongdae Park on Young-do Island is one of Busan’s best parks with magnificent views and fantastic rocky cliffs that show an interesting history of Busan’s past.

15. Get lost in the park

Busan Citizen’s Park will keep you occupied for hours walking through its maze of trails, which includes over one million trees, an art gallery, and some of the old barracks left over from the former Camp Hialeah.

16. Hit the spa

Frequented by Koreans and increasingly by expats, a spa can be a place to rest and relax, connect with friends, wash up, enjoy delicious foods, or even spend the night.

17. Grab some Chi-mek

It won’t take you long to search out a chicken and beer restaurant in Busan — they’ve become as ubiquitous as a phone shop or a convenience store. If sitting in a restaurant isn’t your thing, grab some to go and hit Subyun Park in Gwangalli or Samnak Riverside Park and join the hordes of couples and groups of people out enjoying the evening.

18. Take a river cruise

One night cruises, luxury yacht cruises or just an evening cruise under the bridge has become one of the hottest date ideas in the city in recent years. Check out the city’s guide to getting out on the waters.

19. Enjoy the people watching

Busan has seen an explosion of outdoor cafes over the past decade while many bars and restaurants have also followed suit and offer outdoor seating. Gwangalli Beach may have the most options to enjoy the best views, but even a CU Mart sit with a beer and some snacks anywhere around the city will give you plenty of chances to check out the eye-candy or some of the bizarre fashions that roam the streets at all times during the day or night.

20. Be dazzled by the fountains

Dadaepo’s Fountain of Dreams has been wowing its audiences since 2009 with its 60-meter diameter and 55-meter high fountain to a lively music soundtrack, while Songjeong Beach and Busan Station also house fountains for those looking to cool off from the heat.

21. Sing to your heart’s content

Test your singing skills against your friends at any of the local noraebangs, or singing rooms, that dot the city landscape. Have fun, make some bets for the 100 point score and belt out some of your favorite tunes.

22. Bet on the horses

Located in west Busan, the Busan Gyeongnam Race Park began operations in 2005. The grandstand/betting area is capable of holding 32,000 people and is a cheap, fun option for those out looking to place a wager on the ponies.

23. Dig into some raw fish and live octopus

Busan is renowned in Korea for its fresh raw fish and there are plenty of places to be amazed by the catch from the sea. Get started by heading on out to Jagalchi Fish Market or to the massive Millak Fish Center in Gwangalli and don’t forget to order some soju to wash it all down.

24. Play at an open mic

Open mics have become a great way for local and expat artists to get exposure and to play some tunes in front of music lovers. Ol’55 in Kyungsung on Wednesday’s and Beached bar in Gwangalli on Thursday’s are the most popular to date.

25. Catch a sports game

The Lotte Giants baseball games are always a fun draw in the summer for fun crowds, singing fans and its passionate supporters, while the K League Classic’s Busan IPark and the Korean Basketball League’s KT Sonic Boom also bring a fun atmosphere for those looking to get out and cheer a local club.

Busan Haps Magazine website

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