**Note to Seoul-ers – Your T-Cards (subway) WILL work in Busan! The problem is, you can’t recharge/top-up your cards in Busan.
Narrowing Busan down to two days is a bit of a challenge. While there are relatively few ‘absolutely must see’ landmarks, there are tons of tough to find, but worth checking out spots. That makes a “best of” listing both difficult and worthy of long debate. So instead, we’ll just list some places that we think all visitors should see. Click on the links for maps and more detailed instruction. If you’ve got any better suggestions, leave us a comment or send an email.
The first step is planning where to stay. We’d suggest either Gwangalli or Seomyeon, since they’re fairly central. Haeundae and Nampo are a bit further out, but still good. You’re best to pack light and take advantage of subway station lockers. Check out our motel guide to find where the clusters of cheap love motels are in each neighborhood.
Day 1: early afternoon – Take the subway from Busan Station (assuming you’ve arrived by train) two stops to Nampo-dong. Whether or not to check out Jagalchi fish market is completely a matter of personal taste. I enjoy it, others I’ve taken, not so much. Regardless, Nampo is a great area to wander around. Enjoy some street food, along with any kind of shopping you could want. Be sure to head into the back streets for some livelier street shopping. Yongdusan Park and Busan Tower is cool, though unless it’s very clear, the view from the top may not be worth the price. You can try the sky garden roof of the Lotte Department store for a lower, but considerably free-er view of the port and other areas of Busan. Stop in for a cupcake at Red Velvet and eat lunch at Farmer’s Burgers.
Day 1: afternoon – Take a taxi or bus south and go hiking at Amnam Park (click the link for directions). There are fantastic ocean views and some nice cliffs along this seaside park. It’s good for either a casual walk or a longer hike. There is an amazing spot to descend some steps and have a picnic and some beer while listening to the waves crash against the cliffs. Also very near Songdo Beach if you feel like a swim. Stop by Songdo Haesoopia Spa on your way down to the beach, on your way back up to Nampo if you’re into that.
Day 1: later – Dinner at the Kyungsung University (KSU) area. Get back on the subway (metro line 1 (orange); transfer at Seomyeon; then line 2 (green) to Kyungsungdae-Pukyeongdae metro stop. (Or take bus 1003 to Kyungsung-dae) for dinner and drinks. There are about 1000 good galbi and samgyeopsal restaurants, as well as any other kinds of food that you’d want. Some cool ones to try: Ayuta Indian pub for some curry, drinks and awesome atmosphere; Siksinga for Korean Barbecue + fondue; or Aussie Burger.
After dinner, take a cab to Gwangalli Beach (should only be about 3000-4000 won). No trip to Busan is complete without an evening spent looking at the bridge. There are tons of restaurants and bars with excellent views, or you can just buy a cheap blanket and a lot of beer and chill out on the beach. Stock up on fireworks and enjoy an amazing evening.
Day 2: morning – Haeundae: Start the morning off with breakfast and a walk along Haeundae beach. Watch the masses of people and admire the amazing sea of umbrellas. If you’re up for it, a walk around the Dalmaji Hill moon trail or Dongbaek Island can provide some nice views. Some places with a decent brunch are the Wolfhound, Gecko’s on the beach, or Breeze Burn’s.
Day 2: afternoon – Haedong Yongungsa/Songjeong beach: Before you get swept away by the crowds at Haeundae, grab a taxi to Haedong Yonggungsa, also called the water temple. Spend an hour or two wondering the grounds, taking photos, and trying to throw coins in buckets, then head to Songjeong beach. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on this beautiful, and often less crowded, city beach.
Day 2: evening – If you’ve got time before your train leaves, Either visit busy & bustling Seomyeon for some shopping and food, or seek out the elusive“Dragon Dream” cave bar near Seomyeon at Beomil (line 1) metro stop (click on the link to see our detailed directions, and scroll down to the comments for some hangeul that you can show to your taxi driver). Get some kimchijeon and a few bowls of dongdongju to help you relax for the long train ride. If you’re short on time, run over to Amby’s, across from Busan station for an exciting mix of people, and the wonderful combination of Russian and Phillippino foods that remind you that you’re in a port city.
In case of rain:
-Check out Shinsegae: The World’s Largest Department Store
-Go cafe/bar hopping through either Kyungsung University, Seomyeon, or PNU.
-Double or even triple your going home money at one of the casinos (Seomyeon and Haeundae)