When you first plan your trip to Korea, it’s typical for most tourists to only consider visiting renowned destinations such as Seoul and Jeju Island. However, the Land of Morning Calm has so much more to offer, and Busan is one stop you shouldn’t exclude from your itinerary. Learn a bit more about this must-visit travel destination and discover what Busan has in store for you!
Get to know Busan
Also known as the Miami of South Korea, this coastal hub is its summer capital and second-largest city. It’s home to many warm and candid locals, who you can easily spot with their distinctive Gyeongsan satoori, the regional dialect unique to the Gyeongsan region.
Busan’s rich history has shaped this cosmopolitan hub into the exciting and energetic city it is today. As the city of refugees during the Korean War in 1950, the strength of a vibrant community spirit can be easily observed in all parts of the city.
Tourist attractions to check out in Busan
1. For nature lovers: Jangsan Mountain (장산)
Jangsan Mountain is located in the Haeundae district of Busan. This natural wonder promises an extensive range of hiking trails to suit both beginners and experienced hikers. Whether or not you are planning to simply immerse yourself in nature or push yourself on a safe yet challenging path, Jangsan Mountain offers a myriad of options that will suit your adventure needs.
With an elevation of 634m above sea level, this mountain overlooks the southern sea and provides a birds-eye view of Haeundae Marine City. Aside from the cascading waterfall and gorgeous views, silver grass is another key feature of this scenic spot. The wide fields of glistening silver are especially stunning in the autumn months of October and November as they reflect the sun while swaying in the cool breeze.
2. For the Instagrammer: Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을)
Gamcheon Culture Village is also known as the Santorini of Asia, and for a good reason. The multi-coloured arts district is often captured in shots with a stunning cyan blue sky and expansive ocean. The juxtaposition of colours is tasteful without gaudiness and provides the perfect backdrop for any quirky Instagram shots.
Beyond its appeal to those interested in the arts and photography, Gamcheon also possesses a rich history with immense sentimental value. Originally a settlement area for refugees and Taegukdo religious believers, the shantytown was renovated in 2009 to become one of South Korea’s most iconic attractions.
Many locals still reside in this village, so various signs are posted to remind visitors to limit their noise. As such, do be careful to display respect as you explore the village and everything else it has to offer. It’s also an opportune time to support local small businesses that run various eateries, workshops and other facilities, so do consider checking them out while basking in the beauty of this unique attraction!
3. For foodies: Busan’s exciting cuisine
If you’re a foodie, then you’re going to definitely love Busan for its exciting take on Korea’s gastronomic delights! Korean cuisine places heavy emphasis on quality natural ingredients such as sweet seasonal vegetables and fresh seafood. With ample fresh seafood and the creative use of ingredients, Busan is one of the most popular destinations to truly experience Korean cuisine at its core.
One of the most popular dishes in Busan that’s an absolute must-try would be Bibim Dangmyeon (비빔 당면), which was created during the Korean War by hungry Busanites. The dish is comprised of noodles made from sweet potatoes and the saccharine yet spicy Gochujang (고추장) unique to Korean cuisine. The chewy glass noodles are paired with simple banchan (side dishes) to form a humble yet filling dish truly reminiscent of home.
Dangmyeon is also consumed with eomuk (어묵) [also known as odeng(오뎅)], a popular street food in South Korea. Eomuk is fishcakes and other forms of ground seafood mixed with starchy ingredients. As a port city, seafood is abundant in Busan, making the local vendors’ eomuk the freshest and highest quality. It’s common to see street vendors selling skewers of eomuk in hot, flavourful fish broth. In addition, it can also be baked or deep-fried.
These dishes can be found in Gukje Market, and the true Korean experience would involve eating these hearty dishes on a plastic stool or in front of a standing food stall. Prepare cash and an open mind before you dig in and enjoy!
Busan is a place you definitely must visit at least once in your lifetime, so carefully plan out your itinerary to include this city in your travel plans. Or better yet, you can dedicate a large portion of your trip to exploring Busan!
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