5 Things to Do the First Time to Busan

Igidae Park

Busan is Korea’s second largest city and resting at the south-eastern tip of South Korea along the sea. We have been anticipating a visit to Busan for months and we finally were able to make a weekend trip. Tourists flock to this seaside city to enjoy the various sites. We had two days and one night to visit as much of the city as we could. We put together our five favorite things that we did in Busan plus a bonus event that happens every June in Centum city.

Gamcheon Village 

Gamcheon Village in Busan Known in Korea as the Santorini of the East is the colorful Gamcheon Village. Clusters of colorful homes cover the hillside where you can wander through the buildings and steps to admire and photograph the charming village.

This area began during the Korean War where some of the poorest people of Busan migrated to build their small, colorful homes. As you wander through you will notice the vibrant art and paintings on the buildings. You will also notice that even though this is a high traffic tourist attraction, the area is still impoverished. The homes are on top of eachother and the living conditions of the people who still live here are not that great. We even saw a young infant who was placed in a cage in the window like an animal. We felt a bit strange about this, but what could we really do?
Caged Boy in Gamcheon Village
This village is definitely worth a visit. There is a charming beauty about it and an even more interesting history. Enjoy a coffee or snacks from some of the local vendors or just enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the array of colors you will see.
Check out the Jagalchi Fish Market on the next page.

Directions to Gamcheon Village 

Take the subway to Toseong Station and exit 6. Turn right at the corner in front of the hospital and take bus 2 or 2-2 to the top of the hill. The stop is called Gamcheon Culture Village.

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  • LifeOutside of Texas

    We actually just went to Gamcheon yesterday for the first time. It’s been really hazy for the past few days so we decided to go back when it’s a bit more clear to take better photos. I definitely recommend teaching in Busan. It’s a really great place to live!

  • Carl Hedinger

    Pretty good places to visit on the first time. Writing something atm about Yonggungsa. Love that place. What about Sajik Stadium for some Lotte Giants drinking.. I mean baseball?! Anyway, I haven’t been to Igidae nor Gamcheon so I need to check those out before throwing out suggestions. Thanks for the post!

    • No no that’s awesome to get suggestions because there are people who may have temple burnout. But the option of a Baseball game might sound great to them.! Thanks for the suggestions!

  • That temple is definitely worth seeing, although overrun with tourists. The surrounding scenery is lovely. I’ve been to Busan several times, but missed out on some of these spots.

    • It definitely was one of the most crowded temples I have ever been to in Korea. But it’s pretty neat that it’s on the beach. If you can stay calm it’s a pretty nice place.

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  • I need to get back to Busan! I’ve only been once and it was forever ago. Gamcheon looks right up my alley, thanks for highlighting that! It’s always so nice to find places with a little bit of character amidst the huge towers in the big cities 🙂 Your photos at the fish market are also great. Noryangjin in Seoul is my fave place to take visitors, and I’ve heard that Jagalchi is way better, so definitely must go before leaving 🙂

    • Gamcheon was a ton of fun. It is really cute! Thanks for the comment! I haven’t visited Noryangjin so I better fix that before we leave as well!

  • I have been burnt on temples in Korea because most of them are so similar to the others. But I definitely recommend Yonggungsa Temple. Being on the coast definitely separates it from the rest in my opinion. It’s so easy to get awesome photos.
    Sorry to hear the beer festival was a bummer. Did you guys get a chance to check out Spa Land while you were in Centum City? The best jimjilbang in Korea! One of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done.

  • I had become burnt out on temples in Korea because so many of them are so similar to each other. But Haedong Yonggungsa Temple stands alone in my opinion because of how it is situated next to the water. I definitely recommend it.
    Sorry to hear the beer festival was a bummer. Did you guys get a chance to check out Spa Land while you were in Centum City? The best jimjilbang in Korea! It was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had for sure.

  • We live just outside of Busan but still haven’t been to Gamcheon! 😛
    The link for Haedong Yongungsa wasn’t working for me, fyi!
    A great list you put together, and great photos. I would have chosen similar places for first timers to Busan.

    • Thanks for the comment Evan and Rachel! There are always things we don’t see in our neck of the woods! I will look into the link for Haedong, thanks for the heads up!

  • Man, these places sound really cool! I’ve only been to Busan a few times, but would love to visit more. Haedong Yonggungsa in particular looks like a great spot to visit.

    Just a heads up: the ‘next’ link at the bottom of the Igidae Park page is broken 😉

    • We have only been once but want to go back again badly! Thanks for the heads up I will look into the links! Sorry

      • No problem! The Table of Contents links were fine, so I was able to read the full post. Just the one at the bottom of that page.

  • I’m heading to Busan for my summer holiday and now I cannot wait! Thanks for sharing your tips!!

  • janet

    I like your five things to do in….. Almost makes me want to fly back and spend more time exploring. It’s so beautiful in Korea. Guess you just need to get out of Seoul from time to time. I still love and think of morning calm

    • Morning calm is pretty awesome! We think we are going to go one more time just to see the fall colors!

  • Great post! I didn’t manage to visit Gamcheon Village when I was in Busan, but caught a glimpse of it behind Jagalchi Market. Would love to visit soon!

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