I have to admit that the only reason why I wanted to visit the second largest city in South Korea is because of the agonizing zombie horror-thriller Train to Busan. The flick moved me so much that I told myself “I should go to Busan someday.” And so it happened. My husband and I flew to the city of magnificent mountains, gleaming beaches, and divine seafood last Friday and stayed there until yesterday afternoon. We always try to make our trip laid-back since we define travel as something you do to see different things and have fun at the same time. So I usually opt for the places that are close to our hotel.
I’m a just-looking-around type of person so if you can relate, you might also find these places likable. Accessible by bus, train, taxi, and sometimes on foot depending on your hotel location. You can use Google Maps or Naver. Wear your most comfortable shoes as it requires a lot of walking in order to experience the beauty of these sightseeing spots. If you’re visiting in autumn or winter, bring your very warm coat/clothes.
- Huinnyeoul Cultural Village
A simple village located on a high cliff where you can see the sea of Busan. It keeps the remnants of the pain and time of the refugee history that was created after the Korean War. In this district, the locals are modifying some houses on the Huinnyeoul road into creative spaces, invigorating local artists to express their creative minds, and creating a culture and arts village. Lots of artsy things to see! Add nature and history to it and it will surely leave a special place in your heart.
2. Jeoryeong Coastal Walk
We enjoyed a bracing walk on this long road by the sea. This can take you to the village mentioned above. If you have a soft spot for nature, you shouldn’t miss this. There are public toilets but they can get mucky sometimes. I hope whoever uses them should be considerate enough to keep them clean.
3. Gukje Market
Also known as Nampodong International Market. It’s the largest traditional market in Busan which gives off that old-fashioned marketplace spirit. One can purchase various items at incredibly inexpensive prices here.
4. Busan International Film Festival Square
This is where Busan International Film Festival takes place but on typical days and nights, it turns into a street food paradise. Local restaurants are also found along the alleys.
5. 40-step Stairway
A gloomy history took place here. This was once a location for refugees to be reunited with their families and friends, given the lack of functional communications during the war. Today, restaurants and other establishments surround the area.
6. Gamcheon Culture VIllage
The colorful village earned the nickname “Machu Picchu of Busan” due to its appearance. The vibrant houses are put up in staircase-fashion on the foothills of a seaside mountain. Also, the alleys are prettified with murals and sculptures constructed by the residents. I’d say the place is a beautiful mess. There’s always something interesting, unique, and gorgeous to see even if the streets are narrow.
7. Jagalchi Market
Not just a market, it represents the life of the locals. Considered as the largest seafood market of the country, visitors can pig out on live and dried fish and more. We had a sumptuous seafood breakfast here and boy was I content. The main dish was the grilled giant clam prepared in Busan style. It’s a must-try!
8. Yongdusan Park
Great place to unwind after checking out Busan Tower. The “Bell of Busan Citizens” can also be found here.
9. Busan Choryang China Town
Located right across Busan Station. I saw some items, buildings, and restaurants related to China but there was something else. I noticed that there were a lot of Russian diners and shops dedicated to Russian consumers. If I didn’t read the sign China Town written in Hangeul, I would actually think it was Russiatown. Nonetheless, it didn’t hurt me to see the red accented street.
10. Texas Street
Just next to China Town is a one-stop place for clubbing, feasting, and shopping. There was something mysterious in this avenue that I felt as we strolled around. Lots of men or maybe it was purely coincidence. But it felt like a place where something else happens, if you know what I mean.
Busan is like a humble version of Seoul. Glad to have had the chance to explore its soul even just the tip of it. If you’ve visited the city, please do share your experience in the comments section.