4 Reasons Busan is a Must-Visit City

By Yeseul Park, Resident Director, Busan

As BTS continues to top the Billboard charts, Korea is getting more attention worldwide and has become one of the most popular countries to study abroad in. When people hear South Korea, they automatically think of Seoul, but I want to provide some reasons for why you should choose Busan for your study abroad city!

1. Beach Vibes

Did you know there are seven public beaches in Busan? Each beach has a different atmosphere and give off different vibes. For your perfect weekend getaway, all you need to do is to choose the beach that fits your mood.

Mermaid statue on rock next to ocean front

All of the beaches have the potential to make your weekend memorable, but Haeundae Beach is arguably the most famous beach in Busan and is beloved throughout the country. Every summer, locals and tourists alike flock to the beach for the perfect summer. The sound of crashing waves, the gentle but warm sea breeze, and the radiant glow of the streetlights while you dine outdoors at one of the many restaurants combine to complete your day at Haeundae Beach.

Haeundae Beach Train and Haeundae Sky Capsule in Busan, South Korea

Other must-visit locations in Haeundae are the recently built Haeundae Blueline Park and Busan X the Sky. Haeundae Blueline Park is a core tourist facility in Haeundae which was built during an eco-friendly redevelopment of the old railway facility of the East Sea South Line. Consisting of two railway attractions – the Haeundae Beach Train and Haeundae Sky Capsule. Haeundae Blueline Park is 4.8km-long, starting from Mipo Station and ending at Songjeong Station. It connects various attractions such as Mipo Port, Cheongsapo Port, Dalmaji Tunnel, and Daritdol Skywalk.

BUSAN X the SKY is an observatory located on the 98th, 99th, and 100th floors of the Haeundae LCT Landmark Tower, the second tallest building in Korea. The 98th floor boasts a souvenir shop where you can buy some memorabilia of your trip to Busan while providing some great selfie zones. The 99th floor has a Starbucks where you can enjoy a cup of coffee with a spectacular view. While on the 100th floor, you can enjoy the thrills of walking across the SHOCKING BRIDGE, a transparent bridge high in the sky.

2. Historical Sites

Haedong Yonggung temple

Busan is bursting at the seams with history. The perfect spot to start your historical tour of the city is the Haedong Yonggung temple.

Haedong Yonggung Temple was first founded in 1376 during the Goryeo Dynasty. Unfortunately, during the early Japanese invasions, called Imjin War, the temple was nearly destroyed by a fire which left it falling into ruins. Thankfully, Monk Ungang rebuilt the temple in the early 1930’s and after reconstruction for the main sancturary in 1970, the temple hasn’t changed since.

The temple, which is located atop the rocky coast, is visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims from different parts of the world. Due to the scenic and architectural beauty of the temple, it is considered an iconic and fascinating place, and It has become a must-visit place in Busan. Haedong Yonggung Temple is a fabulous attraction that offers visitors exceptional memories and is a rare temple situated along the seashore line, as most temples in Korea are located in the mountains.

Woman in market, Nampo district

If anyone asks me to pick another fascinating historical spot in Busan, my immediate suggestion will be Nampo district area. When visiting Busan, not everyone thinks of visiting the Nampo district, but the most popular tourist spots are situated in this area such as Jagalchi Fish Market, Gukje Market, Yongdusan Park, and Busan Tower.

Nampo district was founded following the Korean War when the war refugees, who had fled to Busan, set up stalls at Gukje Market and Jagalchi Fish Market to make a living. Over time, the markets flourished and attracted more and more people. Other tourist spots have also been developed around the markets such as the Busan Tower, which is a MUST visit tourist spot in Busan for any visitor.

Jagalchi Fish Market is especially popular with the locals, as it is the largest seafood market in South Korea. Compared to other fish markets in Korea, Jagalchi Fish Market ranks high in terms of public transport accessibility, varieties of live seafood, nice ambiance with outdoor street performances on some days, and great sea views. One more interesting thing here that you can find here: you can purchase the live seafood on the ground floor and bring it to one of the many restaurants on the 2nd floor for preparation and cooking at an additional charge.

3. Perfect for a Shopping Spree

If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, or if you are looking to spend the day with the locals, a good place to go is Shinsegae Centum City Department Store.

Shinsegae Centum City Department Store, Busan, South Korea

Shinsegae Centum City Department Store is registered in the Guinness World Records as the largest shopping complex in Asia, offering a full range of entertainment options, such as a spa, ice rink, theater, art gallery, golfing, and more. Spa Land is a must-visit place to relax and indulge in a few hours of tranquil surroundings to invigorate the body and replenish the spirit after spending all day on your feet searching for your perfect outfit.

Gukje market in Nampo district

Gukje market in the Nampo district is a unique space in Korea where various cultures of the world gather. Visitors to this area can expect to see sprawling street stalls sporting a wide variety of goods from fashion, to electronics, to traditional Korean crafts and cuisine. Gukje Market is so popular that the film “The International Market” (Ode to My Father), a film depicting South Korean history from the 1950s, used Gukje market as one of the main filming locations. Thanks to the more than 14 million visitors a year, this multi-cultural market has become a main attraction of Busan.

4. Fewer Crowds and a Slower Pace

One of the biggest reasons why the Busan students chose Busan for their program site was that it is less crowded and has a slower pace than Seoul. If you want to feel the city vibe but you are looking for fewer crowds, Busan will be your perfect program site.

Want to experience Busan for yourself? Check out all of our program options!

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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