Soak in the Sunshine at Haeundae Beach
Haeundae Beach is one of South Korea's most famous stretches of sand. The nearly mile-long white sand beach is just a 40 minute train ride from Busan Station and an hour away from the nearest international airport. It has a wide coastline and shallow bay, making it ideal for swimming or lounging under a beach umbrella.
Shop at the World’s Largest Department Store
Move over Macy’s Herald Square, there’s a bigger department store in town. Busan’s Shinsegae Centum City is officially the world’s largest department store, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. The 3.1 million-square-foot retail hub includes a Korean spa, an ice skating rink, a movie theater, and a theme park. It’s a multistory Busan landmark that sells everything you could possibly need for your home, wardrobe, or beauty routine.
Take in the Views From Busan Tower
If you're looking to get a bird's eye view of Busan, head to Busan Tower. The 394-foot (120-meter) tower was built in 1973 and offers a views of the city and its port, the fifth busiest in the world. The tower is located in Busan's Yongdusan Park.
Watch the Light Show at Gwangalli Beach
Gwangalli Beach is a curved half-moon beach known for its fine sand and nightly light shows. The beach is smaller and quieter than Haeundae but it's in an area with plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, and clubs. It’s also an excellent vantage point for checking out the Gwangan Bridge, which puts on five-minute light shows two or three times a night.
Visit the Mermaid at Dongbaek Island
Dongbaek Island is located just off of the western end of Haeundae Beach. It’s known for its beach views as well as a walking path that circles the island, cutting through its dense collections of pine trees. The path can be completed in less than an hour and holds a few surprises, including a mermaid statue. Dongbaek Island isn't technically an island anymore and has become an extension of the mainland. Buses and trains to Dongbaek are available from Busan Station.
Walk on Water at the Oryukdo Skywalk
The Oryukdo Skywalk is probably as close as you’ll ever be able to get to walking on water. The skywalk is a glass bridge built on the edge of a 114-foot-high cliff above the water where the East Sea meets the South Sea. It’s free to walk the bridge and watch the waves crash beneath your feet, and you can get there in about a half hour by bus from central Busan.
Watch the Sun Rise at Haedong Yonggung Temple
Haedong Yonggung Temple is a temple with a view. While many of South Korea’s temples are located in mountainous areas, Haedong Yonggung temple overlooks the water. The Buddhist temple was built under another name in 1376, but it was destroyed during Japanese invasions of Korea and rebuilt in the 1930s. It’s now a popular spot for watching the sun rise on New Year’s day and easily accessible by bus and train.
Explore Gamcheon Culture Village
This residential area housed refugees after the Korean War, but nowadays it’s known for its colorful houses and vibrant street art. The village is carved into the side of a mountain and reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast with its narrow alleys and steep stairways. While very photogenic, Gamcheon Culture Village is still a heavily residential area and a good place to get a feel for daily life in Busan.