This Busan itinerary makes the most of your 2 days in the prized port city of the Land of the Morning Calm.
Busan 부산 is located at the south-western tip of the country. The city is sometimes referred to in English as ‘Pusan’. This is mostly in older references and tourist documents, you may see around town.
It’s a massive Korean city with a small-town feel that captures the imagination of many a newcomer to the region.
Staring out the window of a plane above the city is breathtaking – turquoise seas against black volcanic rocks line the myriad of beaches, and rice paddies and wheat fields dot a colorful landscape that shimmers with life. It’s no different from other Korean cities in its grey apartment buildings, family convenience stores, and eclectic restaurant offerings, but there is certainly something special about Busan that’s difficult to capture for those who’ve never been there.
Busan is a city of contrasts, so typical of the country it represents. “Busan-si” is also an international powerhouse that welcomes cultural diversity as its bread and butter. The Busan International Film Festival, Dance Festival, and Comedy Festival are some of the examples of how it embraces the creativity and complexity of outsiders with a bow and a smile.
You’ll rub shoulders with foreign visitors in Busan everywhere you look. Sometimes, they’re bobbing in the giant yellow ducks on Haeundae Beach (that are only cool in Korea), other times, they are sipping on iced coffee in one of over five-hundred Twosome Place franchises dotted around the country.
What to see in Busan? There’s so much to see and do in Busan that you’ll need to prioritize. If you’re in Korea for the first time, you may also want to do some more traditional sightseeing to catch up on the rich culture of ancient dynasties still visible in daily life.
Don’t forget to try the local cuisine, too; it’s a taste extravaganza in the world of Korean cooking.
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Traveling independently throughout the country is much easier when you stay connected. Don’t lose time upon arrival at the airport and order your portable wifi device or SIM card in advance, so that it’s ready and waiting for you at the airport when you arrive.
If you plan to come to Busan by train, preorder your discounted Korea Rail Pass here.
Busan is a very spread out city and one of the most comfortable ways to discover Busan at ease is with a rental car. If you don’t want to drive yourself you can also rent a car with a driver and a guide.
Don’t forget to check out our South Korea travel guide.
Last but not least, make sure you have travel insurance.
How to get to Busan from Seoul
Busan is South Korea’s second-largest city and it is well connected to the rest of Korea by both train and bus.
The city also has an airport and several daily flights link the city to the capital.
Because of the many daily flights, it will sometimes be cheaper to fly than to travel by KTX.
There is a direct KTX service between Busan, Seoul, and Gyeongju. KTX is the high-speed rail service from Korail, the national rail operator.
The KTX train is the fastest option, it requires 2 hours to reach Gyeongju (Singyeongju station) from Seoul and getting to Busan requires about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
The KTX train leaves Seoul from KTX Seoul Station or KTX Yongsan Station.
Korail also operates slower and cheaper trains in between Seoul and Busan. These are the ITX express trains and the Mugunghwa intercity trains. Express trains reach Busan in 4 hours and 30 minutes, the intercity runs one hour longer.
You can choose passes for 3 or 5 consecutive days or you can opt for the flexible select passes.
With the select passes, you can select either 2 or 4 days within a 10-window period.
The passes offer unlimited train travel on all trains operated by Korail, including the high-speed KTX trains.
The passes are not always a good deal so make sure to compare the prices of the individual segments with the price of the pass before you buy a pass.
A return ticket for the KTX between Seoul and Busan is cheaper than the cheapest Korail pass.
Supreme Railways is a private high-speed operator. It offers train services between Seoul and Busan. Tickets tend to be slightly cheaper than those for the KTX and the journey takes 2,5 hours which is almost just as long as with the KTX.
The trains depart from Suseo station in the Gangnam district of Seoul.
Read also: The perfect Seoul itinerary for first-time visitors and things to do in Seoul in 4 days. Here you will find a Seoul 4 day itinerary. If you are looking for the best area to stay in Seoul, click here. Here you will find plenty of things to do in Seoul at night.
Various bus operators run express buses all throughout South Korea. It shouldn’t be hard to find a bus from Seoul to Busan or vice versa.
On average there are 3 buses each hour between the two cities.
The buses leave from Dong Seoul and Seoul Gyeongbu.
The most convenient way to check the bus schedules is the website of Kobus. The website shows the departure time and comfort level of each bus. You can also directly reserve your tickets and seats on the bus.
Korea can be discovered very easily with a self-drive. Koreans tend to ignore the speed-limits but beyond that, they drive very courteously.
All road signs are bilingual and with the help of a navigation system such as Naver maps (Waze, Google Maps and other foreign systems don’t work properly in South Korea) it’s easy to find your way around.
Don’t be fooled by the website of Naver which is only in Korean, the Naver maps app is perfectly bilingual.
It should take approximately 4,5 hours to get from Seoul to Busan by car.
Have you taken out travel insurance? Unfortunately, accidents tend to happen when you least expect them.
Drawing up a travel insurance policy that covers theft, damage and all kinds of medical expenses may seem expensive at first but it can potentially save you a significant sum, much more than the small insurance fee.
The good news is that it’s never too late to get cover with World Nomads, you can even get their travel insurance online while you’re traveling.
Where to stay in Busan
Busan is a spread-out city. If you are visiting the city for the first time it’s best to stay somewhere central like Seomyeon or Nampo-dong. Both are great places as they count plenty of restaurants and are close to the, albeit limited, subway system of Busan.
When you are staying in Seomyeon, you are close to subway lines 1 and 2 that take you directly to popular tourist attractions such as Haeundae and Gwangalli beach, the Beomeosa Temple and the Jagalchi Market.
Nampo-dong is a great place to stay in Busan if you love shopping and sightseeing.
Below we share the best hotels in Seomyeon and Nampo-dong. For more information you can also read our in-depth guide on where to stay in Busan.
Hotels in Seomyeon
Lotte Hotel Busan
The Lotte Hotel lies close to the Seomyson subway station. You will stay in spacious and well-kept rooms. The friendly staff speaks very well English. The hotel offers direct access to the Lotte department store and there are many other dining options nearby as well.
The perfect choice if you want to pamper yourself for a few days.
Premium Comfortable Hotel
Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Busan
The Solaria Nishitetsu hotel lies near the Lotte department store. You will also find plenty of restaurants in the neighborhood. The hotel lies a 10-minute walk from the Seomyeon subway station.
This is a good place to stay if you are looking for a comfortable well-located hotel.
The Arban hotel is located a little south of the Lotte Mall. The hotel lies within walking distance from restaurants, the underground shopping mall, and the subway. You will stay in a spacious and clean room. The staff speaks English fluently.
The perfect hotel if you are looking for good price value.
Hotels in Nampo-Dong
Premium Comfortable Hotel
Aventree Hotel Busan
The Aventree Hotel is located in the middle of the Nampo shopping street and close to tourist attractions such as the Jagalchi Fish Market, Busan Tower, and Gukje market as well as the subway. Clean rooms with comfortable beds. The hotel staff speaks fluent English.
Comfortable stay in a great location
Nampo Hound Hotel Premier
The Nampo Hound hotel is a brand new hotel. It lies within walking distance to the subway and the Nampo shopping street.
Wonderful rooms with comfy beds and a big bathroom.
2 days in Busan – Busan itinerary 2 days
Decide how slowly you’d like to savor each of the attractions in the area and remember to factor in enough travel time between stops.
If you only have 2 days in Busan, there are a few must-sees that represent authentic Korea and are easily accessible.
In our itinerary below, we’ve tried to provide public transit options for the attractions mentioned so that you have a better idea of distances between stops. In all cases, a taxi or hired car should be quicker, so be sure to factor in your preferred transport mode when planning your movements.
As with any Korean jaunt, you need to allow slightly more time for unexpected traffic, especially during peak times.
Busan can become particularly congested, so don’t quell your excitement with unreasonable expectations on transit times.
Taking the bus is so much more adventurous than jumping into a taxi that probably has some English capabilities.
Getting lost on the bus is always a possibility in a foreign county with squiggly lines for letters, which makes it a riveting experience when you’re game for a full bank of memories.
Where to go in Busan- Day 1
On day one in Busan, why not hit the more vibrant side of the seaside metropolis?
There are bustling fish markets, resort parks, cultural stops, and amazing architectural feats to enjoy around every corner.
It’s a captivating blend of tradition and technology that’s breathtaking against the backdrop of coastal industry and cosmopolitan throngs.
1. Songdo cable car
On a clear day, start your morning with a spectacular perspective of the city by the sea at the Songdo Cable Car in Amnam-dong.
For the more intrepid souls, there are several glass-bottomed cable cars for extra clarity on the scenic round-trip ride. To ride these you have to pay extra for the “crystal cruise”.
Remember to take your camera. The 360-degree views of Busan city are phenomenal.
Busan Air Cruise
171 Songdohaebyeon-ro, Amnam-dong,
How to get there
Take subway line 1 (the orange line) to Jagalchi station and take exit 2. Walk down Chungmu-daero for about 50 meters until you see a bus stop where you take bus 7, 26, 71 or 96 to Songdo beach. From here it’s about 15 minutes on foot to the cable car.
Take a bus (7, 21, 71, or 96) or taxi from Jagalchi Station. It should take less than thirty minutes.
2. Gamcheon Cultural Village
If you’re tired of blue skies and sparkling oceans (or the burgeoning crowds as the morning draws on), head over to the Gamcheon Cultural Village in Saha-gu for a cultural extravaganza.
It’s a stunning traditional setting that’s full of color, flair, street art, and photo ops.
You’ll need your walking shoes, but it’s difficult to get lost, and the views are truly a delight.
For the best panoramic views on this colorful village, you should make your way up towards the library in the old hot spring building.
If you’re with children (or the young at heart), try the ‘stamp collection’ activity that’s available from the Information Center at the entrance of the village.
It will help you enjoy the village more as you become aware of the tantalizing secrets that hide in its alleyways.
Here you can also get a paid guide map on which the major sights are indicated.
Gamcheon Cultural Village Visitor Center
203, Gamnae 2-ro,
December-February 9 am – 5 pm
How to get from the Songdo Cable car to Gamcheon Cultural Village
Take subway line 1 (the orange line) to Toseong station. Continue on the local bus to Gamcheon Elementary School Bus. (the stop will be announced in English). You can take bus Saha-1-1, Seogu 2 or Seogu 2-2.
This will take at least 40 minutes. If you are short on time, taking a taxi will be quicker.
3. Jagalchi Market
Perhaps, the most famous of all Busan attractions is the bustling fish market, called Jagalchi.
It is a massive complex of seafood stores and suppliers with the freshest fish products that you’re going to find in all of South Korea.
Busan is the epicenter of the Korean coastal culture and boasts specialist dishes that are as famous with the locals as it is with international visitors.
The Jagalchi Market is the perfect place to have lunch.
Besides the freshest ‘hwae’ (raw fish, or sashimi) that you’ll find anywhere in the country, Busan also has famous seed pancakes, ‘dwaeji gukbap’ (pork soup), and ‘milmyeon’ (a wheat noodle broth that’s fantastically refreshing in the summer).
Jagalchi Market is also a central stopping point for tours, cooking classes, and curious visitors who can’t wait to try out all the flavors. It’s housed within a complex of grocery stores, specialty shops, stalls, and street restaurants.
Jagalchi Market is also quite central to many of the attractions on Day One of our Busan 2 day Itinerary, so if you need a landmark on squiggly maps, this is it.
Jagalchi Fish Market
How to get from Gamcheon cultural village to the Jagalchi Market
25-30 minutes by bus (numbers 87 or 124) or a quick taxi ride.
4. BIFF Square, Yongdusan Park, and Busan Tower
After a scrumptious lunch at the Jagalchi Market, make your way over to the Yongdusan Park just a few minutes’ walk away.
It’s widely known for shopping, galleries, traditional markets, museums, and the famous Busan Tower (which is almost 120 meters tall) from where you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views during the day and at night.
Here you will find a list of nightlife activities in Busan.
The area is also where the popular Busan International Film Festival is held (affectionately referred to as BIFF Square), so it’s jam-packed with places to see and things to do.
If you want a healthy dose of arts and culture, the area has easy walking access to:
- Busan Modern History Museum
- Busan’s Trickeye Museum
- Museum of Musical Instruments of the World
- World Model Ship Exhibit
- Daegaksa Temple.
If it’s food and shopping you’re after, BIFF square and Yongdusan Park are also within easy walking distance from:
- Gukje Market
- Jagalchi Market
- Bupyeong Market
- Gwangbokro (Culture and Fashion street)
- Gwangbokdong (Food street)
- Bosudong Book Street
Busan Museum of Movies
The Busan Museum of Movies opened in 2017, that makes it one of the new kids on the block as far as the cultural scene is concerned, but it also houses the mind-boggling Trickeye Museum that’s so much fun (with or without children).
The museum is in Yongdusan Park itself, so you can connect with nature and enjoy the views while you’re there.
If you only visit one museum, pick this one.
Most of the exhibits are interactive, and you can try out your movie splicing skills, ride the virtual reality roller coaster, and pose with popular characters as you learn more about how movies are made, and so on.
We recommend that you acquire the affordable joint tickets for both the film and trick museums.
Spend a fascinating few hours marveling at the movies and special effects (with amazing photo ops available at the clever Trickeye exhibits along the way).
There is also an app available (Docent), which isn’t too highly rated but can make the experience slightly more meaningful for non-Korean speakers wanting to delve into more detail at each exhibit.
How to get from the Jagalchi Market to BIFF Square
BIFF Square is only a three-minute walk from Jagalchi Market. Head away from the coast around the corner on Jagalchi Road and cross the main street (Gudeok-ro) to find yourself immersed in BIFF square and surrounds.
The park itself is just as captivating as all the retail, culture, and entertainment options that surround it.
The Busan Tower is housed here, with its 118-meter spire as a clear landmark for orientation and wonder. There are gardens, monuments, pagodas, galleries, and plenty of rest stops and shady trees to take in the views of Busan below you.
Locals often recommend the view from the Busan Tower at night, so if you happen to be there when the lights are twinkling over the city, make your way up to the tower for another perspective.
How to get from the Jagalchi Market to Yongdusan Park and Busan Tower
Yongdusan Park is a fifteen-minute walk from Jagalchi Market or fifteen minutes by bus (for which you need to walk a short way to the bus stop anyway).
Busan Tower is in Yongdusan Park and accessible by foot. There is an entrance fee to go up to the top of the structure and enjoy the observatory.
5. Taejongdae Resort Park or Oryukdo Skywalk Bridge
At the end of a busy day, you may feel the need to reconnect with nature and take a last breath of fresh air before the evening’s festivities.
There are two options from your location in the BIFF area that are well worth your time: Taejeondae Resort Park or the Oryukdo Skywalk Bridge.
Option 1: Taejongdae Resort Park
If you are up for a long and leisurely stroll in view of the seaside, put on those walking shoes and get the camera ready for the stunning Taejeongdae Resort Park.
It’s advisable to take some water with you if you’re there during the summertime, as it’s a larger area than you might imagine. We wouldn’t want you to rush through it because you’ve misjudged your hydration levels.
If time is on your side, see if you can find the temples nestled on the grounds, otherwise head directly to the observatory for the best views of the coastline and a quicker round trip.
The Yeongdo Lighthouse is right on the edge of the cliffs and gives stunning views of the sparkling blue expanse far below.
Taejongdae Resort Park
24, Jeonmang-ro, Dongsam-dong
How to get from Yongdusan Park to Taejongdae Resort Park
Bus lines 8, 30, 66, 88, 88-A and 101 all head to Taejongdae. Take a bus if you have at least an hour to spare, otherwise, hop into a taxi.
Option 2: Oryukdo Skywalk Bridge
As the afternoon draws to a close, you might prefer to skip the walking and make your way over to the Oryukdo Skywalk Bridge in Nam-gu instead.
It’s a stunning natural peninsula where you can reconnect with the natural wonder of this fascinating country.
If the bridge itself is closed (due to strong winds or adverse weather), you can still enjoy the view through the massive glass windows of the restaurant on-site. It’s even better with a drink in hand and some Korean cuisine.
How to get from Yongdusan Park to Oryukdo Skywalk Bridge
Take the metro to Busan Station (line 1/orange), exit 10. From Busan station, you continue your journey on bus 27 for about 30-40 minutes. The bus stop is called Oryukdo SK back gate. It takes some time to reach Haedong Yonggungsa and Oryukdo Skywalk by public transport.
A bus will take at least an hour, so consider a taxi if you need to arrive at the bridge before closing time.
6. Seomyeon shopping street
Many visitors are glad they’ve booked their accommodation in Busan near Seomyeon Shopping Street (where the Seomyeon subway stop is located).
It’s only six subway stops from Busan Station, and it’s bustling with restaurants, shops, and entertainment to cater to tourists and locals alike. If you’re passing through during the day or night, it’s well worth taking a leisurely look around.
If you’re hoping to mingle with the young and famous in Busan, this is where it is all happening, around the clock. Some say this upmarket shopping scene is reminiscent of Gangnam (in Seoul) in many ways, but it definitely is not as crowded.
You’ll find whatever you need here after a long day on the go, and it’s conveniently accessible for whatever direction you happen to be traveling.
How to get to Seomyeon Shopping Street:
The street is easily found if you head to the Seomyeon Subway Stop. From Jagalchi Market, it’s a fifteen-minute walk to Busan station (the subway stop) and then only six stops to Seomyeon.
Follow the signs at Seomyeon to orientate yourself on the street. Exit 1 or 2 will take you to the main shopping area, Exit 12 or 15 to the underground section, and Exit 7 to the Lotte Department Store. If you’re heading to Haeundae area the following day, jump on the subway for the simplest transit (It will take about forty minutes)
Busan 2 day itinerary – Day 2
After such a busy first day in Busan, you’re going to need to put your feet up for a while and unwind.
For a final day of leisure before you hit the road, why not enjoy some of the most beautiful vistas in Busan and a relaxing few hours at the beaches and spas?
1. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
We recommend starting with the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple for quiet meditation and a heap of pious tradition. This is one of the most beautiful places in Korea.
Stairs and statues complement the spectacular ocean views below, setting the scene wonderfully for a morning of reflection and gratitude.
It’s the perfect way to start your final day in Busan.
The beautiful temple is a favorite with a great many onlookers, and it’s the kind of attraction that’s enjoyable in any season.
Snowy temple vistas by the seaside are just as breathtaking as the spring cherry blossoms or the vibrant fall tones.
It can get really busy during the weekends so we recommend visiting the temple on a weekday if you can.
86, Yonggung-gil, Gijang-eup
How to get from Haeundae Station to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Take the subway to Haeundae Station (Metro Line 2). Make your way to exit 7, right in front of exit 7 is a bus stop. Wait at this bus stop for bus 181. The bus trip should take approximately 45 minutes to an hour. You leave the bus at the Yonggungsa Temple (용궁사) stop. Signage will lead you from the bus stop to the entrance of the temple.
2. Haeundae Beach and Sea Life Busan Aquarium
When your head is clear, and your camera lens is satisfied, head back to Haeundae Beach for the rest of the morning.
If you’re in Busan with the family, stop in at the Sea Life Busan Aquarium on Haeundae Beach after a fun morning in the sun.
There are 250 species of fish to admire and a fascinating eighty-meter ‘underground’ tunnel that makes you feel like you’re walking the ocean floor.
SEA Life Busan Aquarium
Haeundae Beach is a favorite among tourists and locals alike, and it’s the kind of place that you can kick back and unwind until you’re ready to move into a leisurely lunch at the myriad of beachside restaurants.
Then, prepare for an afternoon of retail therapy and more relaxation at the impressive Lotte Department Store at Centum City.
How to get from Haedong Yonggungsa Temple to Haeundae Beach
Head back to Haeundae Station the same way you came. For orientation, the Haeundae Subway Stop is a five-minute walk from the main beach.
3. Busan Museum of Art
When you’ve had enough of the gentle surf and soft white sand, take a stroll over to the Centum City region for shopping, culture, and relaxation.
If you feel like you need a dose of culture before a serious stint as a shopaholic in Centum City, pop across the road to The Busan Museum of Art for a more contemplative experience.
It’s a small but radical collection of pieces from all over the world, and contemporary art lovers rave about the exhibition.
The Busan Museum of Art is only a few minutes away from Centum City, too, and it closes at 6 p.m.
How to get from Haeundae Beach to the Busan Museum of Art
Walk five minutes to Haeundae subway station for three stops to Busan Museum Art, or four stops to Centum City. Or, take Bus 1001 for three stops until Centum City BEXCO (a three-minute walk from Lotte Department Store).
4. Lotte Department Store, Centum City
The grand Lotte Department Store at Centum City is a sight to behold, indeed. The impressive complex provides an enlightening view of all that Korea has to offer in the way of technology, retail, and top-notch brands for the high-end market.
If glamor is what you seek, this is where you’ll find it, and the tenth-floor viewing garden is quite spectacular, too.
How to get from the Busan Museum of Art to Lotte Department Store, Centum City
The museum is two minutes away from Centum City by bus or subway, and a few more minutes to walk (but not more than ten minutes).
5. Spa Land and Gwangalli Beach
Our final two recommendations for day two of your Busan itinerary go hand-in-hand with a day of nature and relaxation: Spa Land and Gwangalli Beach.
We’ll leave it to you to decide on the order that suits you best as we are torn between the most luxurious way to end off two memorable days in Busan.
Option 1 is a glorious soak and pamper in Spa Land (Centum City) after a long afternoon of shopping. The spa will be followed by a quick taxi to take you to dinner and nightlife at Gwangalli Beach. You’ll eat and marvel under the lights of the beautiful bridge that sparkles in the bay.
Option 2 is a leisurely early supper at one of the beachside restaurants in Gwangalli for a beautiful sunset that turns into a twinkling bridge scene. Excellent Korean cuisine will be followed by a nightcap at one of the quirky pubs that line the road and a quick return to the comforts of Spa Land, Centum City. The rest of the evening will be a blur of hot tubs, massages, saunas, and bliss, until you retire to your hotel, utterly relaxed.
Shinsegae Centrum City – 1st Floor
35, Centumnam-daero, U-dong
Friday-Sunday & Holidays 10.30 am – 9 pm
How to get there:
Spa Land is located on the first floor in the Shinsegae Centrum city shopping center which is directly connected to Centum City Station on Subway Line 2 (green line).
Either way, we worry that you will not be in the least bit ready to leave your newfound love in the morning – Busan quickly turns into everyone’s favorite city in South Korea.
Spas in Korea are unlike most in the Western world, but telling you every detail would ruin the surprise. So, be prepared to do things ‘the Korean way.’ If you’re not sure about the protocol, ask for directions, and the friendly staff at Spa Land will be happy to oblige.
This itinerary will show you most of the city’s highlights over an exciting 2 days. Busan is, together with Seoul and Gyeongju, a city not to be missed during a trip to South Korea.
The city is very extensive and the subway fails in getting you to most of the tourist highlights.
If you want to check off all the items on this itinerary we recommend you rent a car. Traffic was mostly relaxed during our stay in the city although some parts of the city get congested during rush hours.
If you only have 2 days and prefer not to drive yourself, it is best to opt for an organized tour.
If you have more days to spend in Busan, it could be fun to make a day trip. Here you can find a complete overview of the best Busan day trips.
Enjoy your time in Busan and make sure to try some of the fantastic local food.