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The Charm of Busan

1. Introduction

If you ask me to cite my favourite city to drop in anytime, it has got to Busan. Whether it is for cultural immersion, sightseeing, historical interests, shopping, a trip to Busan helps me fulfil all these experience. Perhaps Busan falls behind Seoul in terms of high end city experiences such as entertainment, but if you are looking for a blend of  history, culture, heritage, and city convenience--Busan has it all.

2. Getting to Busan

  • By Train

If you are travelling from Incheon Airport, there is a direct KTX train from Incheon to Busan. (Adult ticket approx: 72100 won, child 36000 won, approximately 2 hrs 20 minute journey).

Source: kojects.com, v 2016

I never find the need to make bookings for trains in Korea. There is enough options for train services, so I do not recommend booking, as it may restrict your options and itinerary.  In korea, buying tickets in advance does not give you a cheaper fare.  

 

If however you really must book in advance before you get to Korea, you can follow the link by clicking on the image on the right.

Source: kwww.hfsp.org

 If you miss the schedule, you can always take the the Airport Railroad Express AREX from Incheon to Seoul (adult 14800 won, child approximately half price, 1 hour journey) and then change to KTX from Seoul to Busan ( Adult 59800 won, 2.5 hrs journey, many options for train departure time).

But if you fly by Koreanair, keep the ticket stub.  You may be able to get a discount on AREX.

  • By Intercity Bus

If you are more of a bus traveller, you can take intercity bus services from Incheon to Busan. (Approximately 41800 won, 5 hours ride, depart every 90 minutes: 7am, 10am, 1130am, 1pm, 230om, 4pm, 530pm, 7pm, 830pm, 10pm).

Go to arrival passenger terminal 1F, look for booth 10C and purchase your ticket at the counter in the purple region (See image below). The sales crew speaks very Basic English, but it helps if you print out The Hangul version of your destination: Busan- 부산 and show it to the sales staff

Original Map from  www.airport.kr

If you are coming from other cities, you may check the following bus schedules from the Busan's bus stations .  While the schedule is for buses departing from Busan, it will give you a good idea which cities it is connected to and the cost of traveling between the cities.

You may wish to check out intercity.kr website for search queries on bus schedules. You can get more information in section 4.1.2 of the following post. Click on the image to find out more.

3. The Best of Busan- Interactive Map

Here are the must visit destinations in Busan.  Hover over the image to reveal the destinations. To read the detailed travel itinerary for each destination, click on the hyperlinks on white buttons.  You will be directed to the relevant blog post.

Suggested Itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Taejeongdae Park- Oryukdo Island - (Songdo Skywalk way, if time permits)

Day 2: Gamcheon Cultural Village- Gukje Market/Art Street (Meals and Dinner)

Day 3: Haedong Yonggung Temple- Centum City Spaland

Day 4: 40 Step Cultural and Tourism Theme street-Lotte World- BIFF- Trick Eye Museum (Many meal and shopping options at BIFF)

Day 5: Bosu-Dong Book Alley-Jalgachi Market (Dinner/Shopping for local produce)

 

If you have only 4 days, take out Bosu-Dong Book Alley and Centum City Spaland.

Should you wish to spend time at Haeundae Beach (해운대해수욕장) or watch the musical fountain lightup at night, add in another night at Busan. 

If you wish to take a day trip out to Tongyeong, which is another destination I highly recommend, factor in yet another day at Busan.  you will not regret it.  You can read more about traveling to Tongyeong from Busan at the last section  of this page.

Suggested location for accomodations

Stay at Busan KTX station. There are many hotel options which is just a few minutes' walk from the station.  The City tour bus is station is just outside Busan station. Chinatown is opposite Busan station too.  This convenience is one aspect I do not get at Seoul.

Between Agoda and Bookings.com, I will always find  a good accommodation at Busan station. Some hotels are cheaper at Agoda and some at Bookings.com.  I used the services with their Apps and it works well- No more hard copy print to check into the hotel. The Apps does everything once you have booked the accommodation with them.

If I have to make a comparison, bookings.com is slightly easier if you have to book different room types.  Agoda's app has a better interface and a taxi helper.  Both offer great services because of their responsiveness.

Busan Destinations

You may use the Interactive Busan Map (Above) to check out each destination, or browse through the destinations using the blog feed below.

 

All destinations, except  Haedong Yongung Temple is indicated in the interactive map. Haedong Yongung Temple is a bit further and cannot be captured by the Busan city map.

BIFF (Busan Interational Film Festival) square and its nearby attractions, Bupyeong/Gukje market are great for families and are popular with locals and tourists.  It is a wonderful getaway for exploring the old and new, art and entertainment and lots of food options...

Oryukdo Island is off the southern coast of Busan, and depending on the day and the tide, may appear to be five islands or six islands, hence its name ('o' meaning five and 'yuk' meaning six in Korean). Designated a monument of Busan, Oryukdo Island is a rock island th...

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple was first built in 1376 by the great Buddhist teacher known as Naong during the Goryeo Dynasty. Haesu Gwaneum Daebul (Seawater Great Goddess Buddha), Daeungjeon Main Sanctuary, Yongwangdang Shrine, Gulbeop Buddhist Sanctum (enclosed in a cave)...

Designated as a Busan monument, along with Oryukdo Island, Taejongdae represents Busan, and is especially famous for its rock beach. Featuring its highest peak at 250 meters, there are forests of pine trees and 200 other varieties of trees. Taejongdae was named after t...

The 40-step stairway, located in Jung-gu, Busan, was a hub of transportation and administration during the Korean War. Those who were displaced by the war gathered around the area and made makeshift housing out of sticks and tarps. The place also functioned as a market...

Jagalchi Market, located on the shoreside road in Busan's Jung-gu, is Korea's largest seafood market, selling both live and dried fish. After the Korean War the market solidified itself as a fish market. Most of the people who sell fish are women, so the vendors here a...

Gamcheon has long been home to the city’s poorest residents. In the 1940s, only 20 or so houses dotted the hillside, but that number swelled dramatically at the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. War refugees fled their homes for the relative safety of Busan, the onl...

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Day trip from Busan -recommended attraction

 

You can get to Tong Yeong  from 부산서부시외버스터미널 시간표 / Busan West (Seobu) Intercity Bus Terminal.

 

To get to the bus terminal, take subway line 2 to Sasang station, exit 3 or 5.

 

The ride  takes  2.5 hours  and costs 10800W. The first bus starts at 540 am and subsequent bus departs every half hourly.

If you are traveling with large groups, or has young children or elderly, you may want to consider private tour from TRAZY.  It costs USD 375 for private van which takes up to 7, and includes all admission fees. The plus point is that the driver/guide speaks english, and they pick you up from your accommodation.  If you are keen to find out more, click on the banner below and search for "Tongyeong" (easiest way).

I did not go to all places indicated in the itinerary.  Check out my blog on Tongyeong and see which suits you better.

5. Contact me!

 

If you have question, you may contact me via online form.

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For some reason, Tongyeong doesn't seemed to received as much publicity by KTO compared to other cities.  But for those who are acquainted to the historical battles of Yi Sun Shin, the place holds much significance for Koreans, or even enyone who had studied about grea...

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