As the second biggest city in the country, Busan is one of South Korea's most popular destinations. With a rich history and a growing international cultural presence, Busan offers plenty to see and do throughout the city that caters to its locals, visitors and expat community.
Recommended attractions in Busan
Gamcheon Culture Village
For a memorable mix of art and the outdoors, expats can travel to Gamcheon Culture Village. This neighbourhood was originally formed by houses built into a mountainside, which have been restored and repainted to become one of Busan’s most picturesque views. While exploring the steep streets and twisting alleys, visitors can find brightly painted murals, sculptures, and cafés in this artists’ haven.
Busan Museum of Art
Busan is home to plenty of art galleries and museums that are situated throughout the city, the largest of which is the Busan Museum of Art near Centum City. The museum showcases art from both Korean and international artists, and hosts featured exhibitions throughout the year.
In 2019, Busan opened the Dream Theatre, its first mega-scale theatre to host touring musical productions. In addition to theatrical productions in Korean, the Dream Theatre has also hosted international English productions.
Busan Museum of Contemporary Art
Situated in Hadan is the Busan Museum of Contemporary Art, a must-visit attractions for all art lovers. This museum opened in 2018 and is Korea’s first public museum to focus on contemporary art.
Geumjeong Mountain Temples
The Geumjeong Mountain is dotted with prominent historical sites, including some fascinating ancient temples. Visitors can either hike or take a cable car up to the mountain trails. Once there, they’ll see the gates, walls, and watchtowers of Geumjeong Fortress, and on the eastern end of the mountain is Beomeosa, the largest Buddhist temple in Busan.
United Nations Memorial Cemetery
This park honours UN soldiers from 21 countries who were killed in the Korean War. There are monuments throughout the park dedicated to many of the nations and their citizens who fought in the conflict. From there, it’s just a short walk to the Busan Museum featuring historical pieces from Busan and the surrounding province.
Busan Citizen Park
At around 500,000 square meters, Busan Citizens Park is the largest in Busan. Formerly an American military base, the prime real estate near the downtown area of Seomyeon was given back to the Busan city government in 2006. The city converted the land into a spacious park with five themes and 29 attractions scattered around its many walking paths.
One of the most unique temples in Busan is Haedong Youngungsa, known as the 'Temple by the Sea'. Just a little east of Haeundae and Songjeong Beaches, the temple is one of the few in Korea that’s on the coast, making it popular with sightseers.
Taejongdae Resort Park
Busan’s most notable coastal park is Taejongdae Resort Park. On the southern tip of Yeongdo Island, the park features views of evergreen trees, seaside cliffs, and rocky beaches. The lighthouse observatory offers some of the best views of the coastline. On a clear day, observers can even see Japan’s Tsushima Island.
►For information on famous annual festivals in the city, read What's On in Busan
►Read Getting Around in Busan to learn about navigating the city
"I really enjoyed Busan because it reminded me of Cape Town. There are beaches as well as mountains to explore in Busan." Learn more about Bronwyn and her expat experience in South Korea.
"I love the expat community the most in Busan. It’s easier to make friends as an adult when we’re all sort of forced together. Busan is a hive of creativity." Read about Azra's move to Busan and her experiences in the city.
Are you an expat living in Busan?
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