Busan is quite huge for a city and to explore it in one day is pretty unlikely. Why? Check out here.
The activities to do and places to visit will be influenced greatly by the season for this beach city, IMO. Unless you just want to check out the city for only one day, that is a different story.
My primary reason to visit Busan: The beach is reachable within an hour from the city center by subway. Period.
Other than that….I think Seoul pretty much has everything.
But if your K-Pop boyfriend is….a Busan man (Jung Yong Hwa)….hehehe…that is more important than the primary reason yeah? ^__^
I have grouped the places below solely based on my personal experience. Your preferences might differ as everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Places to go:
Group 1 (This is your first visit in Busan )
- Yonggungsa – Yonggung temple is the ONLY buddhist temple in South Korea which was built by the sea.
- Haeundae Beach– if you are keen on swimming (reserved for summer). I pretty much think that Haeundae beach fares much better than the other beaches in Busan. It is also the filming location for the infamous ‘Haeundae’ movie starring Ha Ji Won.
- Gwangalli Bridge – for a night stroll along Gwangalli beach as you can view the amazing lights display from the bridge. Check out my experience viewing Gwangalli Firework Festival here.
- Jagalchi Market – for fresh seafood ie sashimi, maeuntang and etc. Me visiting Jagalchi Market is here.
- Gamcheon Cultural village – I love love this place, a bit tricky to go but not complicated. It reminds me of Santorini in Greece but with Korean vibe. Must must go! More information by KNTO is here.
Group 2 (This is your second visit or more)
- Busan Tower and Yongdusan Park – I kinda think that Namsan Tower is pretty much enough as your ONLY tower to visit in South Korea. You have two options to hike up the hill either via the back road as in here or….via the escalator which kinda remind me of SOHO area in HongKong
- BIFF (Busan International Film Festival) Square
- Busan Aquarium
- Beomosa Temple (autumn is the best)
Spring or Autumn
Haeundae Dalmaji road – I actually passed by this road when taking a taxi from Haeundae beach to Yonggungsa (temple). The cab driver graciously showed us the area after I chatted in Korean with him. He was surprised that I could speak Korean and without being asked he proudly showed us the place.
However, we just missed the spring in Busan which happened between middle to end of March in 2013. The road is facing the ocean and many pretty cafe’s lined up the street. Perfect for flower viewing on top of the hill while sipping your coffee! ^^
Take metro line No. 2 to Jangsan Station, then take either village/neighborhood bus No. 2 or 10. You may also check KNTO link here.
3 Days 2 Nights Itinerary.
8.30am – Reached Gimhae airport, pass the immigration, pickup your luggage, have your brunch and etc
10.00am – Reached Gimhae airport Metro
11.00am – Reached accommodation and put your luggage
For example, if you stay in Seomyeon 서면역 area, the subway ride from Gimhae airport 공항역 (Gonghangyeok) is as follows:
Duration – 30 minutes, 11 stations stop, 1 transfer at Sasang Station to Line Green.
Metro fare – 2,500won by cash, 1,700won by T-Money card
Just because it’s pretty near to every other tourist spots that I mentioned above and it’s quite central where you can do your shopping too. Try BusanBackpackers if you want to stay around the area.
Since you just arrived and will be pretty tired, I suggest that you just visit BIFF Square, Busan Tower and Seomyeon area.
Morning – Gamcheon Cultural Village
Afternoon – Yonggungsa Temple
Evening – Haeundae Beach
Night – Gwangalli Beach
** Yonggungsa Temple, Haeundae Beach and Gwangalli Beach are pretty near to each other.
** Gamcheon Cultural Village is the other direction. If you don’t want to take the bus and metro, by taxi is about 1 hour (~25,000won) from Gamcheon Cultural Village to Haeundae Beach.
Wake up early and go to Jagalchi Market.
Have your brunch of sashimi or maeuntang there and check out from your accommodation.
I hope the itinerary helps to give you a general idea although it is not as detail as you might want it to be.