our 2022 Korea trip itinerary & recs: Seoul | Busan
Here’s part 2 of my Korea itinerary, and this time it’s all about Busan. It’s a seafood and beach lover’s paradise, with plenty of scenic nature walks, spas and shopping, so there’s something for everyone!
I’d never been to Busan before, and I was so glad to have had a full week to explore the vibrant coastal city. If you’re short on time, 4-5 days should be enough to hit up most of the places on our itinerary.
I was there when Typhoon Nanmadol passed by Busan, and watching its strong winds & rain batter the city from the comfort of my 12th floor seaside Airbnb was also a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Read on to check out my itinerary, favourite attractions & top food recommendations for Busan!
Busan Itinerary (15-22 Sep)
|Day 1 (Thu)||🚅 KTX from Seoul|
🏨Check in @ Asti Officetel Airbnb
🍽️ Jagalchi Market (fresh seafood)
🛍️ Bupyeong Kkangtong Market, Nampodong Street
🛍️ Lotte Department Store Gwangbok
|Day 2 (Fri)||🛍️ Lotte Premium Outlets – DongBusan|
🍽️ Donenu Busan Choryang (Korean BBQ)
|Day 3 (Sat)||🧖🏻♀️ SPA LAND Centum City|
🛍️ Shinsegae Centumcity Mall
|Day 4 (Sun)||🛍️ Lotte Busan DownTown Store|
🍽️ CHAI 797 (Chinese-Korean)
🍩 Knotted Donuts
🌳 Oryukdo Skywalk
🍽️ 시래마을/Silaemaeul (Korean)
|Day 5 (Mon)||🏨Check in @ Arban Hotel Seomyeon|
🍽️ Matchandeul Wang Sogeumgui Seomyeon (affordable 5⭐ K-BBQ)
🥾 Seomyeon area
🌳 Busan Citizens Park
|Day 6 (Tue)||🍞 Eggdrop (Korean breakfast toast)|
🌳🥾 Taejongdae Resort Park
🍽️ Dubuga (Korean hot stone rice)
🥾 Gamcheon Culture Village
🍢 Goraesa Fishcake Shop
🍽️ street food @ BIFF Square
|Day 7 (Wed)||🍞 Isaac Toast (Korean breakfast toast)|
🚠 Busan Air Cruise @ Songdo Beach (cable car)
🌳🥾 Amnam Park
🍽️ Jagalchi Market (fresh seafood)
🏖️ Haeundae Beach
🍡 Horangi Jella Rice Cake (mochi ice cream)
🍽️ Gijang Home-made Noodle (Korean knife cut noodles)
|Day 8 (Thu)||🚅 KTX to Seoul|
For the first half of my Busan trip, I stayed in a minimalist Airbnb/Tori’s House (SGD$446, 4 nights) with a great sea view (both in the daytime and at night), and a projector on which we could watch Netflix. It was also located a literal 1-minute walk away from Busan Station, which houses both the KTX train terminal and a metro station.
For the second half, my friend and I stayed in Arban Hotel (SGD$306, 3 nights), located in the heart of Seomyeon, Busan’s main shopping and dining district. It was a distinctly livelier and more vibrant district, but the room itself had no view.
Overall, I’d recommend the Airbnb if you’re planning to spend more time chilling in the room and soaking up the lovely views, and Arban Hotel if you want a place with plenty of breakfast/lunch/dinner options and a bare bones hotel to rest your weary feet after a long day.
Unique experiences, places and food recs in Busan
#1: Cable car from Songdo Beach + hiking at Amnam Park
- Getting there: Bus + 10-minute walk to the Songdo Beach cable car station
- Price: Air Cruise (Normal Cabin), SGD$14.05/person
The cable car ride over Songdo Beach was breezy and beautiful, giving us a panoramic view of the ocean and city. Amnam Park was even better, with a leisurely hike along a coastal trail rewarding us with stunning views of the sea and its cliffs, plus a vantage point of the city.
Taejongdae is more touristy, with a quaint tram (Danubi train) that takes passengers up and down the hills, more boardwalks and designated photo spots. When we went, the lighthouse was unfortunately under renovation, and the path down to the rocks and beach were closed due to strong winds (a common occurrence in Busan). If I had to choose between either, I would choose Amnam Park in a heartbeat (of course, I’d recommend going to both if you have time or enjoy hiking).
#2: Gamcheon Culture Village
- Getting there: a small green feeder bus that winds its way up the narrow roads (there are many different bus routes & stops, so just trust Gmaps to show you the way)
You’d probably recognise this place from that one Instagram photo everyone posts from Busan, but rest assured, it’s not a tourist trap! There’s plenty to explore up and down the hills of the cultural village, from generic souvenir stores, dessert places, postcard & knick knack shops, to cats (yes, cats!), hand-painted murals and traces of people’s daily lives (these are people’s actual homes).
#3: SPA LAND Centum City
- Getting there: Centum City metro station
- Price: ₩20 000 for a 4-hour entry pass (inclusive of a free meal drink coupon)
If you want the ultimate Korean sauna experience but fancier, this place is for you. On top of 13 themed saunas, a hot spring and an outdoor foot bath, SPA LAND Centum City also has sofas to nap in, various dining options, and massage chairs, making it the perfect half-day R&R experience. Trust me, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as eating hardboiled eggs, sipping sikhye, then napping on a beanbag.
After you’re done with SPA LAND, you could easily spend the rest of the day shopping or entertaining yourself in Centum City, a massive mall which even has its own ice skating rink!
#4: Oryukdo and Igidae coastal walk
- Getting there: bus
Have you ever been slapped in the face by wind, sand and seawater? Well, at Oryukdo Skywalk and Igidae coastal walk, you’ll get to experience all 3! It’s an absolutely stunning coastal walk (with plenty of stairs) that takes you up, down & along the cliffs along the Sea of Japan, until you reach the skywalk, a glass-bottomed walkway that stretches over the sea.
We went there the day the typhoon was due to hit Busan, so the winds were particularly vicious that day, forcing the closure of the skywalk…better luck next time.
#5: Haeundae Beach
- Getting there: Haeundae metro station
Haeundae Beach is probably the beach that most tourists have heard of, and for good reason. Stepping out from the metro station, we were greeted by a large avenue lined with restaurants, bars and cafes, stretching into the distant sunny horizon that was the beach.
The area was understandably touristy, with glitzy hotels, sparkling skyscrapers, and slightly pricier dining options, and felt like Miami Beach (but nicer). We spent 2-3 hours just strolling along the windy beach, grabbing a snack, then chilling & people-watching on a shaded bench. Not a bad way to kill time.
#6/honourable mention: Lotte Premium Outlets – Dong Busan
- Getting there: Osiria metro station
If you’re looking for ridiculously good deals on various luxury, high street or sporting brands, this is the place to go. As reference for Singaporeans, this mall generally has better deals than IMM, especially for bags and sportswear, so it might be worth the near-hour long commute!
Food recommendations in Busan
When in Busan, eat as the Busanites do. The city is famous for its fishcakes and seafood, so we ate a lot of those, and also dined at any place that looked to be filled with locals. Our meals were fairly affordable, averaging (~₩10 000-₩20 000), just slightly higher than in Seoul.
- Matchandeul Wang Sogeumgui Seomyeon – excellent, affordable K-BBQ and great service, 10/10 must-try!!
- Jagalchi Market – the fresh seafood on the first floor ‘turns’ into cooked seafood on the second floor, where you’ll be spoiled for choice with glorious grilled fish and other seafood dishes
- Goraesa Fishcake Shop – Busan’s most famous fishcake shop, with endless varieties of fishcake to choose from
- Bupyeong Kkangtong Market – the market is bustling with various dessert, tteokbokki and fishcake stores, perfect for a post-dinner snack!
- Knotted Donuts – a famous Korean bombolini franchise with truly magnificent cream donuts; my personal favourite was the kaya butter one
That’s all for my short 2-part Korea series, and be sure to follow my Insta or like my Facebook page to stay up to date with my latest adventures, day-to-day doctoring and life updates! Until next time~
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If you’re interested in exploring my blog, click here for an index of all the posts I’ve ever written (travel, musings, doctoring), or check out my most read series below:
- the Chasing Dreams series: a multi-part series chronicling my thoughts, dreams & changing ideals over the years (since 2018), including burnout, quitting the rat race, migration and trying to find my path in life
- the (not-so-definitive) guide to doctoring: Getting into Med School & FAQs | Surviving your Clinical Years | MBBS Tips | Life as a M1 // M2 // M3 // M4 // M5 during COVID // Life as a Doctor (monthly series) | Chasing Careers series