Busan is Korea’s second largest city and due to its beaches, spas, restaurants, nightlife (including the 7 Luck Casino) and markets is Korea’s most popular holiday destination.

Yonggungsa temple
Yonggungsa temple

What to see and do

Busan is emerging as Asia’s top shopping destination and is home to Centum City – the world’s largest shopping complex. Haeundae Dalmaji-gil Road offers shopping of a different kind – art galleries, craft shops and trendy restaurants. And yet another type of shopping can be found at Jagalchi fish market where there are hundreds of stalls selling a huge variety locally caught seafood – much of it still alive.

Jagalchi fish market
Jagalchi fish market

In contrast to Busan’s modern feel are Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, perched on cliffs overlooking the sea, the tranquillity and Bhuddist calm of 6th Century Beomeosa Temple with its mountain backdrop and Geumjeong Fortress, best reached by the cable car which offers fantastic views of the city.

A sombre but beautiful place to visit is The United Nations Cemetery. Here soldiers that were killed from the 16 countries that made up the UN force to defend Korea are buried. It is the only UN memorial park in the world.

UN Memorial Park
UN Memorial Park

Modern attractions include the aquarium, Museum of Modern Art and Busan Tower which also provides a great panorama of the city and port.

Or for a touch of pampering try Hur Shim Chung Spa, a massive natural hot spring complex which claims to be the largest in Asia, with baths, saunas and pools.

Haeundae beach
Haeundae beach

Where to eat

For a cheap but tasty dish visit Gimbap Cheongook for gimbap (a sushi type wrap),1000 won (59p) and a variety of noodles for 2500 – 4000 won (£1.47 – £2.35).

Located by Eden Park In the heart of the city is Kangchon Garden, specialising in Korean food, such as beef ribs marinated in ginseng or premium rib eye steak This restaurant has been running for 39 years and is owned by two generations of a family who have maintained their traditions throughout the years.

Where to drink

There are literally thousands of drinking places spread out all over Busan. In the Kyungsung University area there’s Ghetto, serving cheap drinks, around 1000 won (59p) for a shot of liquor. The music is loud and the place has a party atmosphere. Also in this area is Foxy, featuring hip-hop with live local performances, this is popular with a younger crowd.

For beer, live sports, live music, a relaxed atmosphere and good Western food visit O’Brien’s Irish Bar and Restaurant in Seomyeon by Gaya station.

Close to the Novotel Ambassador in Busan, is U2 Bar with live DJ’s and the occasional live band.

Where to stay

Located beside Haeundae Beach is the five-star luxury Paradise Hotel and Casino. This hotel has superb facilities including a luxurious shopping mall and world class casino, ocean front balconies and a hot spring spa.

For a no-frills two-star hotel there’s Gwangjang Tourist Hotel, close to Busan Station, rooms here have bathrooms air-con and TV.

Alternatively, for a Buddhist cultural experience, or to get a sense of spiritual calm, there’s Beomeosa Temple which offers temple stay to visitors, welcoming all faiths. Activities include, chanting, Zen meditation, prayer bead threading, tea ceremony and the opportunity to exchange ideas with the head monk.

Busan Harbour
Busan Harbour

Busan Fact File

  • Busan sits roughly 450 km (280 mi) southeast of Seoul
  • Busan is Korea’s largest sea port
  • Population 3.4 million
  • Climate mild in spring and autumn, cold and dry winter, hot and humid in summer monsoon season during summer months

Fact File (Korea)
Population 49m, of which nearly 11m are in Seoul.
Language Korean (Hangul)
Climate Mild in Spring and Autumn, can be hot and humid in summer and with cold winters.
Currency Korean Won (approx KRW1,750 = £1)
Time Zone GMT +9 hours
Useful Websites Read the Korean Cruise Guide here

For the latest information about Korea, visit www.GoKorea.co.uk

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