Busan, the second largest city in South Korea, is known for its beautiful beaches, mountains, temples and a laid back atmosphere typical for a coastal city.
We visited Busan as part of our 7 day trip to South Korea. In this post we’d like to share our 2 Days in Busan Itinerary. This detailed itinerary is based on our own experience and includes Busan’s main attractions, parks, markets, beaches and other things to do in Busan.
Read also our post with practical information about travelling in South Korea (such as public transport details, mobile internet, travelling by trains, etc.) – Things to know before travelling to South Korea.
How to get to Busan from Seoul
The best way to get to Busan from Seoul is by train. A direct speed train from Seoul to Busan takes only 2.5 hours. Read the ‘Travelling by Train in South Korea’ section in our post Things to know before travelling to South Korea for the information on how to get train tickets and a special KORAIL pass for tourists.
More expensive but a quicker option is to fly to Busan. Direct flight will take you from Seoul to Busan in just 1 hour (but of course, you need to add an extra time to get to and from the airport).
Lastly, you can get from Seoul to Busan by a bus. This option would be the cheapest, but also the slowest – it will take you 4 hours to get from Seoul to Busan by direct express bus.
We took a morning train from Seoul and arrived in Busan at 10am, which gave us a full first day to explore the city.
Day 1 – in Busan
On arrival to Busan train station take a bus (#1001 or #1003 stopping in front of the train station building) or a metro to Haeundae district. Read the ‘Public Transport in South Korea’ section of our Things to know before travelling to South Korea guide about using the public transport and paying for the trips with Tmoney card.
Haeundae beach is one of the most known urban beaches in South Korea. It stretches for 1.5km, and with its white sand and clear waters the beach is a popular swimming destination in summer. If you’re not visiting in summer, don’t worry – there are still lots of things to see and do at Haeundae beach. Have a walk along the beach, go to Dongbaek Park and Lighthouse or visit SEALIFE Busan Aquarium.
There are many cafes and restaurants at Haeundae. For authentic experience and fresh seafood make sure to visit Haeundae Market. It has many kiosks with takeaway food as well as eat-in options for lunch and dinner. For a traditional takeaway dessert try Korean sweet pancake Hotteok filled with honey and seeds, or a Korean 10 Won bread filled with molten cheese.
Have a walk on Gunam-ro street – a wide street leading from Haeundae beach to Haeundae metro station. There are many places to eat-in and quite often there are art displays and festive installations on the street. When we visited, there were many pretty flowers and lights installations on Gunam-ro street.
Busan X the Sky
Next, visit Busan X the Sky – an observation deck in a skyscraper located at the far end of the Haeundae Beach (entrance to the building is from the beach side). Pay a small admission price, take a lift to the 100th floor and then walk down to floors 99 and 98. Floors 98-100 are open to the public and have amazing views over Busan, its coastline and green mountains.
While enjoying the views you can have a coffee at either Blackup Coffee on the 98th floor or at the highest Starbucks store in the world – on the 99th floor of Busan X the Sky.
Don’t forget to go to the bathroom afterwards – even toilet cabins have windows with city views there! 🙂
Scenic ride of Haeundae Blueline Park
After visiting Busan X the Sky, walk to the ‘Haeundae Blueline Park – Mipo Station’. Haeundae Beach Train and Haeundae Sky Capsule depart from here and take you on a scenic ride along the Busan coast.
Haeundae Beach Train is a sightseeing train. All seats on the train are facing the large glass windows, so that the passengers can enjoy the views during the ride. The beach train goes from Mipo Station to Songjeong Station with a few stops on the way – Dalmaji Tunnel, Cheongsapo Station, Daritol Skywalk and Gudeokpo stop. Whole ride takes about 30 minutes.
Haeundae Sky Capsule is a 4 seat capsule that runs above the train line. The capsule is much slower than the train and it only takes you halfway – from Mipo Station directly to Cheongsapo Station.
Check the official website for prices and other info on Haeundae Blueline Park. I would advise booking the tickets online in advance. We didn’t do it, and spent 45-60 minutes in line to get the tickets in the kiosk at Mipo station and then to board the train (and it wasn’t even the high season yet!).
Alternatively, you can walk from Mipo Station all the way to Songjeong Station via the Green Railway Coastal Walking Trail. The walking trail is 4.8km long.
Get off the scenic train at Songjeong Station and walk to the beach.
Songjeong Beach is a popular sandy beach in the eastern part of Busan. It’s usually less crowded than Haeundae (though if you’re visiting off peak season, then the beaches are not crowded at all), but also has a nice long stretch of white sand, a broadwalk and many cafes and takeaways in the area.
From the Songjeong Beach take a bus #181 to get to Haedong Yonggungsa temple (get off at the Skyline Luge Busan stop).
Haedong Yonggungsa temple
Haedong Yonggungsa is a Buddhist temple in a beautiful setting of sea cliffs along the eastern coastline of Busan.
Take a walk from the bus stop via Yonggung-gil to Haedong Yonggungsa temple. You will pass a small street market with souvenir and food stalls, and get to Haedong Yonggungsa Zodiac park with stone statues and benches. Then take the stairs to get down to the cliffs and Haedong Yonggungsa temple.
Haedong Yonggungsa temple is open to the public every day and the entrance is free. We visited on a weekday and there were a lot of people. But in spite of the crowds, we still enjoyed visiting the temple and would highly recommend it on your trip to Busan.
The Bay 101
To finish the first day of the 2 Days in Busan Itinerary, return to Haeundae district and walk to The Bay 101 – a waterfront with yacht club, cafes and beautiful night views. You can also walk Haeundae beach in the evening to enjoy the views and get some food at Haeundae market, which is open till late.
Day 2 in Busan
Gamcheon Culture Village
Start Day 2 in Busan with exploring Gamcheon Culture Village. It’s known for its colorful houses built on the hills, many staircases, narrow alleys and views over the city.
Now a popular tourist attraction Gamcheon Village historically was a place where poor working-class people were relocated by Busan city administration. The village was built during the 1920s-1930s, but developed and grew significantly since then. Starting from the 2000s the village started to transform by art-themed renovations, infrastructure improvements, added shops and art installations.
Walk the narrow and steep streets of Gamcheon Culture Village, enjoy the colorful houses and art displays and admire the views from the few viewpoints at the village.
To get there we took a bus from Busan train station (bus #87 or #134) and then walked up the stairs and then up the hill and then up even more stairs 🙂 We didn’t mind the walking, but if you do, then a better option would be to take bus Saha 1-1 or Seogu 2/2-2 from BIFF square, and it will take you up to Gamcheon Culture Village stop.
Yongdusan Park and Busan Tower
Next, take a bus to Yongdusan Park – a nice city park on a hill with stone monuments, pagodas and walking alleys.
There is a 120m high Busan Tower (also known as Diamond Tower) in the middle of the park. For a fee you can get to the observation deck on top of the Busan Tower to admire panoramic views over the city.
At the south end of the park there is Yongdusan Park Escalator that leads you down to the Gwangbok-ro shopping street.
BIFF Square and Gwangbok-ro shopping street
Walk Gwangbok-ro shopping street in the direction of BIFF Square. This is where Busan International Film Festival takes place (hence, the BIFF Square name). If you’re familiar with Korean movies and TV shows, check out the alleys with handprints of famous Korean actors.
While on Gwangbok-ro you will find great shopping, on BIFF Square you will find great food! There are many cafes as well as food stalls on BIFF Square and around. It’s a good place to have a lunch or a snack and have a rest before continuing exploring Busan.
A short walking distance from BIFF Square is Busan’s famous Jagalchi Market. Jagalchi Market is the largest seafood market in South Korea with indoor and outdoor stalls selling all kinds of seafood.
Walk around Jagalchi Market to see the huge variety of sea and ocean produce, buy dried seafood, order it to get cooked right there and eat it at one of the many tables at the market or buy it fresh and bring it to the one of the restaurants upstairs so they cook it for you – the choice is yours.
Songdo Beach and Songdo Cloud Trails
Next in our 2 Days in Busan Itinerary is Songdo Beach (approx. 25 mins by direct bus from Jagalchi Market). It’s a man made beach created in 1913. Songdo Beach is popular not only for the beach area itself, but for the many attractions around it.
One of the attractive features of Songdo Beach is Songdo Cloud Trails – a long walking bridge over the water. Walk the Songdo Cloud trails, peer at the see-through glass floor, take a photo of the mermaid statue and simply enjoy the views
Busan Air Cruise and Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge
After enjoying Songdo Beach, head to the Songdo Bay Station to take a cable car (Busan Air Cruise) to Songdo Sky Park station. Busan Air Cruise cable car will take you up to the Amnam Park for a great finish of the second day in Busan. Book your tickets for Busan Air Cruise online to avoid queues or simply buy them at the Songdo Bay Station.
Once at the Amnam Park station, go for a walk in the quiet and pleasant park, enjoy the panoramic views over the sea and small islands or visit Sky Harbor Observatory.
For a fee you can also walk to Dongseom Island over the Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge. The bridge goes to the island and then around its top offering great views all around it.
That concluded our 2 Days in Busan. After that we returned to Busan station to take a train back to Seoul and then flew back home to Auckland.
If you have an extra day in Busan, take a one day trip from Busan to Gyeongju – the ancient capital of South Korea. We took this trip ourselves and recommend it as a great option to visit many attractions of Gyeongju in one day. Read about it in our South Korea 7 Day Itinerary (see Day 6).
Where to stay in Busan
Alternatively, you can stay in the area of BIFF Square and Busan Tower – close to many Busan’s attractions such as Gamcheon Village and Songdo Beach.
Where to eat in Busan
There are many cafes, restaurants and street food options wherever you go in Busan. Busan is especially famous for its seafood. Head to Jagalchi Market or Haeundae Market for fresh seafood dishes.
Try some street food at the stalls of BIFF Square. For breakfast, visit one of the many bakeries and coffee shops in Busan (Tom n Toms Coffee, OPS Haeundae, Paris Baguette and others).
Try Korean style BBQ at Baeknyeon Sikdang or Goban Sikdang restaurants at Haeundae.
How many days to spend in Busan
Based on our experience, 2-3 days is a perfect amount of time to spend in Busan city.
In 2 days you will be able to see all the main highlights of the city as per our 2 Days in Busan Itinerary.
In 3 days you will get more time to explore Busan’s many coastal walks, parks and museums (e.g. go for Oryukdo Skywalk, visit Lotte World, go for Jeoryeong Coastal Walk, take a stroll at Busan Citizens Park or Oncheoncheon Park, etc.).
We wouldn’t recommend going to Busan as a day trip from Seoul (even though I’ve seen many suggestions on the Internet about it) as we think it won’t be enough. Busan is a big city and its many attractions are often located far from each other. But if a day trip to Busan is your only option, you can take Busan One Day Tour to save time on transportation between attractions and to get yourself a guide familiar with the city.
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