A day-trip around Busan by convenient subway
The beautiful port city of Busan, the second largest metropolitan area in Korea, is heavily visited by national and international tourists alike. No matter how extreme the temperature gets throughout the seasons, the city always bustles with people heading for the many attractions to see and explore! Absolutely wonderful beaches, glamorous night scenes, and traditional markets are scattered around the city, just to mention a few.
The biggest advantage of touring Busan is that all of these tourist spots are easily accessible by public transportation, mainly subway. On top of it all, tourists with light pockets needn’t worry, due to the cheap yet tasty food streets found in all directions near subway stations. Ticket holders of a one-day pass for Busan subway, which allows unlimited rides within the same day, are sure to have a full day of fun on a light budget!
Busan subway one-day pass
The subway system in Busan consists mainly of 5 different lines, with Lines 1 to 4 running within the city, and the Gyeongjeoncheol Line offering light rail services to the outskirts of the city, connecting Busan to Gimhae. Most travelers purchase one-day subway tickets upon arrival at Gimhae International Airport, Busan Station or Busan Central Bus Terminal, which are closely located by Gimhae International Airport Station (Busan Light Rail), Busan Station (Busan Subway Line 1), and Nopo Station (Busan Subway Line 1) respectively, giving convenient access to popular sightseeing areas.
The one-day pass allows unlimited rides on the same day of purchase for all subway lines except the light rail service. Tickets are available at all ticket vending machines located inside of the city’s subway stations. As they also offer assistance in four languages, including Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese, international travelers won’t feel lost even on their first time visiting. To purchase a one-day pass, simply select the specific button designed at the bottom right-hand side of the machine, and it will take you right to the ticket purchasing screen. The price is set at 4,500 won per person. However, keep in mind that these machines only accept payment by cash in the form of 1,000 won bills and 500 won and 100 won denomination coins. If you happen to run out of coins, simply ask for an exchange at the station office or use a money exchange machine to break down larger bills, as the ticketing machines do not give change.
Touring Busan by subway
Map of the Busan Subway Line: www.humetro.busan.kr/english/03/01_01.php (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
Most representative tourist spots on Subway Line 1
1. Nampo Station, Jagalchi Station, Bujeon Station (Line 1)- Busan Traditional Markets Tour
When looking at the subway map, you will see the names of a number of markets spread close to Line 1, most of which date back to almost half a century ago. This unique grouping enables travelers to experience the lively and interesting market culture inherent to Korea without having to travel far to see the unique aspects and products of each market. The most famous markets are Jagalchi Market, the largest seafood market in Korea located close to Jagalchi and Nampo Stations, Gukje Market which deals almost entirely with the merchandise imported through Busan Port, and Nampodong Street, Bupyeong (Kkangtong) Market, and BIFF Square, attracting people with their hundreds of food stalls and variety of stores to check out.
Bupyeong market is famous for halmae’s (grandma in Korean) yubu (fried tofu) pocket, just the right treat to warm you up before heading off for a day-long trip. This treat is served as a bowl of fish cakes varying in size and shape along with fried tofu that looks like a pocket full of glass noodles in a clean and nutritious broth made with vegetables and seafood. The dish starts from 3,800 won, and you will be greeted with generous portions and kind services like cutting the yubu into bite-sized pieces. Other street vendors and stalls also offer various types of deliciousness at very affordable prices so you can come out of the market with a full belly after tasting a few things here and there. Other than halmae yubu, other famous treats include bibim dangmyeon (spicy glass noodles), ssiat hotteok (deep-fried pancake stuffed with seeds and sugar), tteok eomuk (skewered rice cake similar to a fish cake on a stick) and more, only available here!
☞ Halmae’s Yubu Jumeoni (할매 유부주머니): Walk two blocks straight after entering Bupyeong Market main gate. Make a right turn and continue walking for one block, then turn left into a smaller alley for about 30m.
Bujeon Market is the largest scaled market in Busan and to compensate for the large volume of traffic it accommodates every day, it has its own nearby subway station. As soon as coming out of Exit 1, Bujeon Station, the market’s main attractions begin. It not only has food stuffs and daily commodities but also houses ginseng specialty stores and a number of critical ingredients for making high quality hanyak (Korean traditional herbal medicine).
Of course it has its own kind of street food; the famous eomuk (fish cakes) croquettes. Goraesa Co. which started making their delectable hand-made fish cakes in 1963, now operates many sub-branches in addition to their main store in Bujeon Market. Their croquettes are crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, making it hard to resist going back for a second bite. To add to the draw, only 100 croquettes are made and sold daily with prices set at 1,500 won for one or a set of 4 for 5,000 won. Be sure to stop by early in the day if you want to get one of these regional treats.
☞ Goraesa Co. (고래사): Take Exit 9 of Bujeon Station, and walk toward Starbucks Coffee shop. The market entrance will be seen shortly after locating Suhyup, within 80m distance.
2. Toseong Station (Line 1)- Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon Culture Village is found a mere 20 minutes walking distance from Toseong Station, Exit 8. The village is impossible to miss with its colorfully painted roofs and buildings. Looking at each individual house and their creative designs brings to mind scenes from children’s picture books. The village was built and founded by residents who gathered to create a community in the 1950s. Geographically, the cityscape was built up like a terrace on a hillside, one house after another added to each row, eventually completing a neatly organized town. Many years after its initial building, the village’s worn-out walls were repainted and uniquely redecorated building exteriors started to appear, marking the beginning of a new era for this village appreciated by many visitors today. The neighborhood has become a very artsy area with small galleries and craft shops operating within the community, adding yet another reason to pay a visit to this unique and fun village.
3. Other recommended spots on Line 1 (Jungang Station, Beomeosa Temple Station)
While on Line 1, be sure to make a stop at Yongdusan Park (Nampo Station) where Busan Tower (Yongdusan Park) is located, offering a birds-eye view of the main metropolitan area. The 40-step Culture & Tourism Theme Street (Jungang Station) is also approachable by the same line, holding heart-aching stories and historical evidence from the Korean War, and Beomeosa Temple (Beomeosa Station) which is rated one of the top three temples in the south of Yeongnam region and is well known for its temple stay program, is also worth a trip.
Most representative tourist spots on Subway Line 2
After a short 15 minute taxi ride from Kyungsung University • Bukyung University Station of Line 2, you will soon arrive at Oryukdo Skywalk. Opened to the public in October 2013, this skywalk has been favored by many who wish to experience ‘walking above the sea’ through its clear glass floor. You can walk out along the U-shaped bridge, stretching out toward the ocean for 9 meters before turning back to land. Nearby attractions include Igidae Park, Galmaet-gil, Haeparang-gil and various other promenades for enjoyable trekking along the coast.
2. Dongbaek Station (Line 2)– The Bay 101 & Gwangan Station (Line 2)- Busan Gwangandaegyo Bridge
Busan beats all other major cities for its beautiful nightscape, which is splendidly reflected in the sea. The Bay 101, opened in May 2014, is becoming one of the hottest places in Haeundae for viewing the city’s night scenery. The facility is similar to a luxurious yacht club equipped with a café, gallery, restaurants and more. It is close to Dongbaek Station, Exit 1, and after walking 10 minutes or so you’ll see the large and gorgeous building situated near the seashore. Their eateries are especially popular during the summer, when they are transformed into an open space. Sitting at one of their tables on the rooftop with a cool sea breeze will make for a wonderful time with good food, beverages and friends. The location is easy to find near The Westin Chosun Busan.
One other worthy stop to make on line 2 is Gwangan Station, boasting Busan Gwangandaegyo Bridge built above Gwangalli Beach. This magnificent bridge over the sea is 7.4km long and is famous for its dazzling night display made by many small light fixtures. If you are not a fan of walking tours, there’s a way to enjoy all of these sites without having to walk to them – the Busan City Tour Bus! The bus will take you to Haeundae Beach, bongsudae (beacon fire station) of Hwangnyeongsan Mountain and many more stops for you to choose from.
☞ Busan City Tour Bus: www.citytourbusan.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
3. Other recommended spots on Line 2 (Centum City Station, Jung-dong Station)
A few final places we wish to note before wrapping up this tour are Shinsegae Department Store - Centum City Branch (Centum City Station), a gigantic department store recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records; Nurimaru APEC House (Dongbaek Station) where the world’s APEC summit met in 2005; and Dalmaji-gil Road (Jung-dong Station), a charming café street full of art galleries, unique coffee shops and much more waiting to be discovered!
(First train at 05:10, last train at 23:00 / Total travel time: approx. 2 hr 40 min / Fare (for economy seats): 53,300-57,300 won)
* Regular (Mugunghwa-ho, Saemaul-ho)
(First train at 06:05, last train at 22:50 / Total travel time: approx. 5 hr / Fare (for economy seats): 27,300-42,600 won)
☞ Busan Tourism Organization: www.bto.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
☞ 1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
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