If you are planning a trip to Busan, there are lots of things you need to know. The best time of year to go, the visa required for travel to Busan, and the cost of getting there are all vital information for organising a visit. Is Busan a safe city? What are the must-sees for visitors?
This quick guide to visiting the country’s second biggest city will answer all of those questions and more, including how to get the visa you need to enter South Korea. Read on and get ready to experience Busan to the fullest.
What Is Busan Famous For?
Busan has a rich culture. It is a meeting point of the past and present, from its historic temples to the neon bustle of the Seomyeon district. Busan is well worth visiting, whether for its nightlife, its culture, or its traditional cuisine. Here are some of the things that put Busan on the map.
Temples of Busan
Busan is home to a number of temples and historical sites. The best-known of these are:
- Beomeosa Temple on Mt. Geumjeongsan is one of the most important temples in Korean Buddhism. It is known for its ornate design and spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
- Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, roughly translated as “Dragon Palace Temple” is a popular Buddhist temple complex built on the rocky coastline and connected by an stone bridge.
Gamcheon Culture Village
The Gamcheon Culture Village is a picturesque town on the side of a hill in the Saha District of Busan. Its colorful houses, winding alleys and street art have made it a hub of culture and its hilltop location have earned it the nickname “the Machu Picchu of Busan.”
Hot Springs and Spas
Busan is home to several hot springs and spa facilities, including the oldest hot spring spa in Korea.
The Hur Shim Chung Spa claims to be the largest in Asia and is built on the Dongnae hot spring. According to legend, the spring has healing properties and has attracted visits from royalty since ancient times.
Busan is the beach capital of South Korea, with tourists flocking to the city during the summer months to sunbathe and swim in the sea. There are 6 beaches to choose from in Busan, perhaps the most famous being Haeundae Beach.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Busan?
The best time of year to visit Busan depends on what the visitor wants to see or experience. Beachgoers tend to visit during summer, while others avoid the peak season of July and August and come at a quieter time of year. Many people even travel to Busan in winter.
There are specific times of year when visitors can experience:
- Events, such as the yearly Polar Bear Swim in the sea in January
- Natural wonders that occur annually, such as the cherry blossom blooming in the early spring.
- Cultural festivals, such as the Busan International Performing Arts Festival and the Busan Lotus Lantern Festival (both in May).
Summers in Busan tend to be warm and wet, with temperatures between 20-30°C and high rainfall in the form of thunderstorms and downpours rather than long-lasting rain. Busan experiences typhoons on average once a year, usually towards the end of summer or the start of fall.
April, May, October and November are often comfortable, with decent temperatures and clear skies.
Winters are cold and generally dry, sometimes dropping below freezing at night.
Is Busan Safe?
South Korea is generally a safe place to visit. It has one of the lowest crime rates of any developed country and violent crimes are uncommon. As with any tourist destination, visitors to Busan should be vigilant of their belongings, as tourism attracts opportunistic thieves.
On occasion, local residents have been known to be somewhat hostile towards foreigners. It may be worth considering traveling in a group or with South Korean friends to reduce the risk of any unpleasant incident.
Is it Safe to Travel to Busan by Yourself as a Female?
Although violence is rare, holidaymakers should exercise common sense when traveling to Busan by themselves, especially if they are female. Women wandering the city alone may encounter unwanted advances from Korean men, who are far less likely to act in this manner if the lady is accompanied by a man, particularly another Korean man.
That said, trouble is uncommon. Most visitors to Busan do not experience any problems with the locals and enjoy their stay in the city.
How Much Does it Cost to Travel to Busan?
The cost of traveling to Busan can vary dramatically, depending on a number of factors.
The price of flights can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on:
- Where the visitor is flying from
- The time of year
- The airline
- If they fly first class, business class, etc.
Once in Busan, the average price of daily meals is ₩21,341 (around $18). Accommodation will also vary in price, depending on:
- If it is a hotel or hostel
- The type of room
- Location of the hotel
- The time of year
The majority of hotel rooms for 2 adults range from around $30-150, with around $50 being the most common. However, more luxurious hotels may charge more, while hostels may charge even less.
Public transport around Busan is cheap — a journey on the Busan Metro (subway) costs between ₩1,400 ($1.20) and ₩1,600 ($1.37). Standard buses cost ₩1,300 ($1.11) for adults and even less for children.
How to Get to Busan
Busan is found on the southeasternmost tip of the Korean peninsula. It is on the far side of the country from the capital, but is well-connected by road and rail. You can drive from Seoul to Busan via the Gyeongbu Highway.
South Korea is known for having a great public transportation system and Busan is no exception. Intercity buses run to Seoul from Nopodong Station and Sasang Station in Busan.
There are also several rail options, including the high-speed KTX trains, which connect Busan to South Korea’s other cities. Busan has 4 major stations: Busan Station, Gupo Station, Haeundae Station and Songjeong Station. If you travel to Busan with a baby or child under 4, they can ride trains free of charge.
Busan’s Gimhae International Airport is the third-busiest in South Korea and has a number of fast bus routes operating to take new arrivals into the city.
Busan is also the busiest port in Korea, with regular ferry services to and from Japanese cities such as Fukuoka and Osaka.
As a final word, all those traveling to Busan from abroad must bring the correct documentation to enter South Korea and that includes necessary visas when applicable. Some eligible nationalities may qualify to apply online for a Korean eVisa and avoid queues to enter the country.