Busan is South Korea’s second-largest city after Seoul, but what sets itself apart is how picturesque this gorgeous port town is. We reveal the nine most beautiful spots that will get your camera excited.
1. Gamcheon Culture Village
This is a super cute little village consisting of steps of houses built on the foothills of a coastal mountain, painted in an array of bold colours. As well as homes, the alleyways are intertwined with tiny cafes, art galleries, shops and sculptures.
203 Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
Nearest subway: Toseong (get out at exit 6, take bus 2 or 2-2 to the village at the top of the hill)
2. Haeundae Beach
This is the most famous beach in Busan and is especially busy during the summer months. To avoid the crowds and get some tranquillity, we recommend setting alarms early and going for a blissful morning jog along the 2km beach at sunrise.
Nearest subway: Haeundae (exit 5, 7; walk for 500m)
3. Seokbulsa Temple
One of Korea’s hidden gems, Seokbulsa Temple (also known as the ‘Stone Buddha Temple’) boasts incredible views and huge intricate stone carvings. The hike up to the temple is for the more experienced hiker, but with difficulty comes beautiful sights that are unspoiled by crowds of tourists. Seokbulsa Temple is our favourite spot in Busan.
San 2, Mandeok 1-dong, Buk-gu, Busan
Nearest subway: Mandeok (exit 2; 45-60min walk) or Oncheonjang (exit 1; take the cable car at Geumgang Park)
4. Dongbaekseom Island
Not far from Haeundae Beach is Dongbaekseom Island where dongbaek trees and luscious evergreens thrive. At the top sits a statue and monument of Choe Chi-Won, a scholar and writer during the Silla Kingdom. In addition, there is a famous mermaid statue en route from Island to the beach.
U-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Nearest subway: Dongbaek (exit 1, walk 700m)
5. Beomeosa Temple
Beomeosa Temple is the chief temple of Busan and dates back to 678, founded by Buddist monk UiSang. Despite its location within the city in Geumjeong, it is an oasis of serenity and striking beauty. The temple comes with a backdrop of Mount Geumjeongsan, a scenic wonder. On its website, visitors can sign up for the ‘temple stay’ programme to experience Korean Buddhist monastic life including witnessing pre-dawn chanting and taking part in meditation and tea ceremonies. A 2D1N programme costs 70,000 KRW (US$ 63).
546 Cheongryong-dong, Geumjeong-gu, Busan
Nearest subway: Beomeosa (exit 5; take bus 90 to temple entrance)
6. Gwangandaegyo Bridge
At 7.4km, the Gwangandaegyo bridge is one of the longest in Korea, and from it, you can expect views of Hwangnyeongsan mountain and Oryukdo island. In the evening it is lit with LED lighting which changes through the seasons. With each visit, we’ve found the bridge a quiet landmark to visit and therefore makes for a wonderful evening stroll.
203 Suyeonggangbyeon-daero, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Nearest subway: Jung-dong (walk to the observation platform at the lower end of Dalmaji-gil road)
7. UN Memorial Cemetery
The UN Memorial Cemetery is the only United Nations cemetery in the world and the final resting place of 2,300 men who supported the South in the 1950-53 Korean War. The graves are set out in 22 sites designated by the nationalities of those buried including the UK, Australia and Canada. The cemetery is beautiful and moving and the gardens are immaculate.
93 UN Pyeonghwa-ro, Nam-gu, Busan
Nearest subway: Daeyeon (exit 3)
8. Shinsegae Centum City
Expect a shopping experience like no other in the world’s largest shopping complex. Not only does it house every store imaginable, but there is also an indoor skating rink, golf driving range, and a huge spa. Shinsegae Centum City is a pretty impressive piece of modern architecture itself, taking into account its monster size.
Centum Namdae, ro 35, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Nearest subway: Centum City
9. Yongdusan Park
The wonderful city park is home to Busan Tower, which reopened in July 2017. It gives visitors a brilliant soaring view over the city. Other points of interest include the statue of Yi Sun-sin, Korea’s 16th-century naval hero, as well as 70 species of trees within 69,000 square metres of the park. It is a great place to sit down with a picnic and soak in the rays during the summer months.
37-55 Yongdusan-gil, Jung-gu, 48950, Busan
Nearest subway: Nampo-dong (exit 1)
PHOTOS: KIM JIHO (KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION), CHOI YEONG-GEUN (KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION), LEE BEOMSU (KOREA TOURISM ORGANIZATION)
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.