Ready to make the most out of your 3 days in Busan? Get ready to adventure through colourful villages, stunning temples and paddleboarding with this fun Busan itinerary. 

Many call Busan South Korea’s second city. After visiting last October, I can assure you it’s so much more. 

Don’t get me wrong, Seoul deserves the hype and attention, but Busan should be anything but an afterthought when you plan a trip to South Korea

I arrived in Busan ready to dive into great beaches and great food. These are both found without much effort, and that’s hardly surprising.

But after spending more time discovering the vibrant neighbourhoods and hidden gems, I can’t get over how impossibly beautiful this place is. 

I know, I know. But honestly, Busan is that gorgeous. 

Peering out over the East Sea from the Songdo Cloud Trails in the morning or looking back at the city’s glistening lights from the Diamond Bay Yacht Cruise at night, I found the perfect photograph everywhere I went. 

It’s not all rosy retrospection, either. It’s very much a live-in-the-moment kind of destination. I spent 3 days in Busan last October and experienced many of the city’s best attractions firsthand. Now, it’s time to share.

Busan Itinerary 

Day 1: Getting to Know Busan

Diamond Bay Yacht 

Today is the first of your 3 days in Busan. Make the most of it from the start. This travel itinerary is the perfect introduction to the beautiful coastal city. 

You’ll visit lively local markets and colourful villages, take in sweeping views of the city from Busan Air Cruise, and eat a distinctly Busan dinner that’s been popular since the Korean War.

Don’t worry. I also discovered a couple of hidden gems on my last trip. Let’s get started.

Street Food Breakfast at Gwangbokdong Food Street

Gangneung Jungang Market

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Heading to a local market should be one of the first things you do in any city, anywhere in the world. Why? You can’t find a better taste of the local culture and cuisine than where the locals shop, eat, and drink. 

Gukje Market is one of the oldest in Busan, providing textiles and home goods to locals since 1945. It’s a lively scene where you can find souvenirs, handmade clothing, and (drum roll) right next door to one of the most important street food streets in the city.

Technically not part of Gukje Market, Gwangbokdong Food Street is like an unofficial extension of it. Walking from Nampo-dong or Jagalchi Station towards Gukje Market, you’ll notice a long section of vendors dishing up handmade goodies along Junggu-ro. 

Look for the stands with the longest line of locals eating grilled octopus, hearty pork soups, and sweet pancakes (called ssiat hotteok). Try anything and enjoy it at a sidewalk table, like the locals do.

Top Tip

The spicy milmyeon is popular in this area, but you should wait and try that at my dinner recommendation below.

Stroll Through Gamcheon Culture Village 

Now that you’ve had something to eat, it’s time to learn more about Busan. 

Busan went through a huge population boom around the time of the Korean War, and Gamcheon Culture Village was one of the neighbourhoods that saw a large increase of residents in a very short amount of time. 

The result? Hundreds of homes were built side by side on the hill, most made from inexpensive wood and metal. Many of the homes weren’t updated for decades and became a bit of an eyesore.

With some help from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in 2009, both artists and residents have turned the village into one of the most beautiful areas in the city. 

Hanuel Maru Observation Deck Gamcheon Village Busan South Korea
Views from the observation deck

Now, the homes feature bright colours on their roofs and facades, along with beautiful murals throughout the streets. It’s truly charming.

So, what should you make a point of seeing? Famous art installations like the Little Prince and the Fennec Fox statues overlooking Busan Bay are hard to miss. But you’ll also want to climb the 148 Stone Stairs and go to the Haneul Maru observation deck for some of the most Instagrammable vistas in South Korea.

Top Tip

This is one of the best areas to wear a Hanbok dress and pose for photos. There are a few coffee shops that offer insane (and semi-private) backdrops, like Cafe Wooin (카페 우인).

Walk Along Songdo Cloud Trails

Songdo Cloud Walk Busan South Korea

Next up? Head to Songdo Cloud Trails in Songdo Bay, where you can breathe in some of that fresh, salty seaside air. The 365-metre (1,200-foot) pier is open 365 days a year and is completely free to visit.

Stroll out on the glass-bottomed platform in the morning when you can see why it gets its name.

A mysterious layer of low-lying clouds hugs the pier like a blanket and only adds to the folklore of nearby Geobukseom Island (Turtle Island). 

The statues of the fisherman and mermaid aren’t just random art installations. The island is home to a legendary tale about the duo who fell in love with each other in the East Sea. Romantic, isn’t it?

Even if you’re a bit funny with heights, it’s a great place to stroll, and it isn’t too intense. You’ll catch great views of a lighthouse, the ocean, and Songdo Bay. 

If you can’t make it until later in the day, don’t worry. The skyline looks especially cool at night, looking back in from the pier. 

Getting There

Reaching the pier is relatively easy with public transportation, but this is one case where grabbing a taxi is considerably faster.

Ride the Busan Air Cruise

Busan Air Cruise

This isn’t the oldest tourist attraction in the city by any stretch, but it’s one of the coolest.

Since 2017, the 8-passenger cars have been a big draw for visitors, helping to make Songdo Bay one of the most popular areas in Busan. Once you’re cruising over the craggy cliffs and ocean on the 1.62 km (1 mile) journey, you’ll know why. 

Hop on the elevated cable cars at Busan Air Cruise, and you’ll whisk over the extensive stretch of the bay. 

Plan ahead for this one if you want to ensure a spot. You can book your tickets for a one-way or round-trip ride before you board. 

It only costs ₩17,000 (£10) for a standard round-trip ticket, but the Crystal Cruise upgrade is totally worth an impulse purchase. For just ₩22,000 (£13), you get a glass-bottomed car that offers insane views beneath your feet.

Have a little extra time? When you get on or off at the Songdo Sky Park Station, you can check out the rooftop park for a few minutes. Honestly, it was kind of a strange area, but the views of downtown Busan were amazing.

Top Tip

 If you’re looking for a romantic ride (or a little privacy), you can opt for the Premium Cruise for ₩300,000, which guarantees your own cabin and no waiting in line.

Explore Huinnyeoul Cultural Village

Just across the Namhang Bridge in Yeongdo-gu is one of the coolest urban hikes I’ve ever discovered. 

I know it may sound a bit tired, but you can actually just let yourself get lost in the streets at Huinnyeoul Cultural Village and find some of the most iconic views in Busan. But we’re on a bit of a timeline here, so it’s best to follow the travelled path.

You can walk the coastal or cliffside trails of the neighbourhood that skirt along the bluffs and shores. My suggestion? Walk a little bit of both. 

You’ll see tonnes of bright and beautiful murals on the walls and staircases (several of which connect the pathways). And if you go down to the Huinnyeol Coastal Tunnel, you’ll get those snapshots of the city skyline you’ve probably seen on all the socials.

The village itself is a charmer. Brightly coloured hillside homes overlooking the ocean are why many call it the “Santorini of Busan.” Being pretty familiar with both, I think it’s an apt comparison.

Top Tip

Feeling peckish? Go to Huinnyeoul Jeombbang for a bowl of ramen in a small cafe that offers stunning views from the heart of the village.

Enjoy Dinner at Choryang Milmyeon

Cold Noodles - Choryang Milmyeong

I totally understand if you feel like you’ve already had a full plate. Not to worry, because this stop is all about relaxing and refuelling before your big day tomorrow. 

Every Busan itinerary needs to include a great spot to have dinner, am I right? Choryang Milmyeon is that spot. 

It’s a little out of the way from the Huinnyeoul Cultural Village but personally, I think it’s worth the effort. The friendly neighbourhood restaurant sees a steady crowd of locals day and night. You’ll know why the moment you get there. 

For under £10 per person, you can order one of the noodle soups, which are filling and seriously delicious. The cold noodles come with a spicy sauce and a separate broth you pour over the noodles. Yes to this. 

There’s actually a bit of history to this dish. Wheat noodles became popular during the Korean War when they were shipped over from the UN. Why? Farmers weren’t producing enough rice to keep up with demand. 

But even after the war, wheat noodles remained a popular staple in many Korean pantries. They also often found their way into popular dishes, like naengmyeon (a spicy, brothy noodle dish milmyeon is based on).


Order the flagship cold noodle dish, but also try their dumplings. Both are excellent and offer a unique taste of Busan.

Top Tip

Go early or wait until late. The popular restaurant fills up quickly.

Day 2: Exploring the Port City’s History and Hidden Gems 

Huinnyeoul Culture Village

Now that you had a good look at downtown Busan, it’s time to spend some time on the water. 

But first, you’ll want to learn about the city’s role in the Korean War. You can do this by adding a stop at the UN Memorial Cemetery to your Busan trip itinerary. 

After lunch, spend the rest of the afternoon near the beach paddle boarding and enjoying the city lights on a cruise through the harbour.

Learn Korean War History at the UN Memorial Cemetery 

Busan played an important role in the Korean War, serving as a safe city for refugees from North Korea. The city’s population expanded rapidly during this time, and it was also a strategic port where the United Nations could ship supplies for the war effort.

The UN helped South Korea from 1950 to 1953, with thousands of United Nations soldiers dying in the war. The UN Memorial Cemetery is the only United Nations cemetery anywhere in the world, and it’s an emotional (and educational) tribute to the soldiers.

When you walk through the memorial, take your time to watch the video portraying the UN war effort. It taught me a lot about the conflict and how many lives were lost to help South Korea remain free. Every single person in the room was in tears by the end.

You should also walk through the manicured gardens, fountains, and tombstones. It’s a beautiful space that resonates with tourists and locals to this day.

Top Tip

Make sure you time your visit during the UN flag-raising at 10 am. It was a beautiful tribute that continues to honour the fallen soldiers over 70 years later.

Sashimi Lunch at Bangpajae Hoetjip


Busan is a historic port city surrounded by the ocean. As such, finding good seafood was a top priority on my last visit. I found it easily on my second day.

Though sashimi is traditionally thought of as a Japanese dish, Koreans eat plenty of it too. Bangpajae Hoetjip is the best place to enjoy it in Busan.

The quality of the seafood? It couldn’t get any fresher. The restaurant is set right above a fish market where you can select what you’re having for lunch. 

Choosing the fish for the sashimi
Choosing the fish for the sashimi

Once you sit down, the chef prepares your catch raw, slicing it with precision and serving it with a colourful presentation of veggies and herbs.

If you have an adventurous palate, this is where you should try live octopus. I tried it myself, and while it was a weird experience, it’s actually pretty tasty.

The live octopus

The octopus is served with sesame seeds, spring onions, and a drizzle of sesame oil. But I’m not exaggerating when I say that you might catch a sucker on your tongue (or throat) as you eat it. Not for the faint of heart, but totally worth it.

Getting There

Head to the Daeyeon Station and take the train to the Gwangan Station, which is just a short walk away.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Gwangalli Beach

Once you’ve had some lunch, you can walk over to Gwangalli Beach. While Haeundae Beach is popular with locals and tourists, Gwangalli offers something it doesn’t. SUP rentals. 

I’m all about flopping and dropping along the golden shores of Busan. But paddling out amongst the backdrop of the towering skyscrapers and sprawling Gwangan Bridge is just an epic way to spend an afternoon. 

Where do you find an SUP in Korea’s second-largest city? You can hire a paddle board from Gwangalli Ocean Leports Center, right off the beach. The best part is that they only cost about £6.30 ($8) per hour, which is a steal for how much fun it is.

And as for the ride? The bay is calmer than being on open water, but it got bumpy on my paddle out. That said, trying not to fall into the ocean is kind of part of the charm. Plus, it’s easy enough to climb back on the boards if you do.

You can also swim, ride electric boards, or rent a kayak if you want to make a longer day of it. 

Top Tip

Need a snack afterward? There’s a fun little pub across the street called Happy Monk, which has beautiful views of the bridge and beach.

Diamond Bay Yacht Cruise

Julianna on the Diamond Bay Yacht Cruise

Now that you’ve had a full day of adventure, it’s time to head back to your hotel and get ready for an evening on the water.

Diamond Bay Yacht Cruise offers a chance to float around the East Sea near Busan, looking back at the glittering lights from the city’s skyline the whole time. It’s a large catamaran that you can reserve for only £18 ($23) per seat, and it’s available day or night.

Head to the harbour near Igidae Park before your designated time, usually at least 30 minutes, to play it safe. You’ll want to book a ticket along the Haeundae Route for the sunset cruise. 

The 72-foot boat jets around the bay shortly before sunset and is an awesome way to watch the city light up at night.

One of the highlights is seeing the Gwangandaegyo Bridge around 8 pm. A daily light show illuminates the 500-metre (1640-foot) suspension bridge and the water below.

Top Tip

You can find information on tickets and if conditions are good for a sail that week by calling +82 10-9260-3332. 

Day 3: Sightseeing Up and Down the Coast 

It’s hard to believe this is the final day of your 3-day itinerary in Busan. But don’t worry. There’s a lot more you can pack in on your final day.

We’ll try more incredible food, visit one of the area’s most famous temples, and take in some city views from one of Korea’s highest viewpoints.

Brunch at Geumsubokguk, Haeundae Head Store

Geumsubokguk Fugu Restaurant Busan South Korea-2
Teriyaki fugu

In a city known for savoury meat and seafood dishes served alongside (or inside) soups and stews, you know that brunch will be one of the main events of your day. 

So, what should you order when you visit one of the most popular seafood spots in town? Blowfish, of course. 

Fugu is blowfish, and Geumsubokguk, Haeundae Head Store, specialises in the dish. They also serve the fish that’s so poisonous you can literally die from it in a soup that many people swear by as a hangover cure. Who am I to disagree?

Now, before you get too worried about impending death, rest assured you’re in good hands. You have to have a licence to prepare the puffer fish sashimi, and the expert chefs do it perfectly.

I had it 2 ways: in a teriyaki sauce and dipped into a clear broth. The soup is very popular, but it honestly wasn’t my favourite.

The teriyaki, however, was excellent. The meaty flavour of the fish was the perfect complement to the sweet and savoury sauce, and I kept going back for more.


If you’d rather try Busan’s other famous seafood dishes, head to Jagalchi Market on a walking tour (you can learn more about it below).

Head to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 

Now that you’ve seen many of the main attractions in Busan, it’s time to head out of the city centre.

If you take a train from Haeundae Station, you can arrive at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in about 45 minutes. Trust me, the ancient site perched high on the rocky edges of the East Sea is worth the detour.

One of the most popular origin stories of the temple is that scholar Naong Hyegeun spoke with a Sea God in his dreams. The deity instructed him to build the temple on this coastal cliff. Thus, he did.

The original temple was built on the hillside in the 14th century and remained there until the Imjin War.

Walking around the campus, you’ll find several temples and statues of Buddha throughout. Daeungjeon Main Hall is the focal point of the campus and features a beautiful Pagoda with traditional Korean wood and tile construction.

Even though the site itself is a historic Buddhist landmark dating back centuries, most of the current buildings are actually from the 1970s. This doesn’t detract from the experience, however. 

The tranquil setting and walk down the 108 stairs towards the ocean are truly magical.

Top Tip

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple opens at 5 am, and it’s the perfect place to see the sunrise if you decide to go before breakfast.

Take a Ride Along the Haeundae Blueline Park 

Looking for a fun way to get back to downtown Busan from the temple? Head to Songjeong Station, where you can catch a sky capsule back into the city.

Ride one of the colourful cars along the full route of Haeundae Blueline Park, which drops you off near Haeundae Beach at Mipo Station. It’s a scenic ride back towards Busan’s main attractions and only takes around 30 minutes. 

The 10-metre (33-foot) track is a bit of a challenge if you fear heights, but it wasn’t too bad overall. The scenery is beautiful, and I liked that the city revitalised the abandoned Donghae Nambu Line train track.

Tickets start around £21 ($27) and give you access to a small car for 2 passengers that pootles its way over Busan. Have your camera ready; these things are totally adorable.

Alternatively, you can buy a package fare for an additional £13 ($17), which gives you additional access to the Beach Train along the coast. This is a great option if you want a change of perspective along the journey. 

Take in the City From BUSAN X the Sky

Views from Busan X the Sky Busan South Korea

Busan is an ultra-modern metropolis with an impressive 62 skyscrapers dotting the port city skyline. Of these, the Haeundae LCT Landmark Tower is home to one of the highest observation decks you’ll find anywhere in the world.

BUSAN X the Sky is another one of Busan’s famous cloud walks. Ok, not technically, but at the top of the nearly 412-metre (1,350-foot) building, you are likely eye-to-eye with the clouds.

The good times start rolling right away, riding the elevator to the 100th floor of the building. You can actually watch yourself soaring up the tower on a virtual hot air balloon. I admit this distracted me from the fact that I was actually climbing a quarter mile into the sky.

The views from up top were insane. Really. It was fascinating to see from the Busan Coastline all the way to Dongbaekseom Island. 

Unlike N Seoul Tower, the view isn’t the only attraction. There’s actually a lot to do inside.

Shocking Bridge was the most unique (if legitimately terrifying) feature. You can walk across a glass-bottom platform and dare to look down 100 floors.

You can also choose from 2 coffee shops, including “the world’s tallest Starbucks.” Enjoy an iced americano with an unbeatable view of the city lights at night.

Dinner at Korean Steak Grill

Korean Food South Korea

End your Busan 3-day itinerary on a high note at Korean Steak Grill (전설의 우대갈비 해운대직영점)

Korean BBQ is popular around the world, known for its deliciously flavoured meats that you cook to order at your table and pair with brightly pickled vegetables and spicy sauces.

Korean Steak Grill is my favourite place for KBBQ in Busan (and honestly anywhere in South Korea). It combines all the elements I love in a restaurant while somehow defying the odds as a really good restaurant in a really touristy area.

Let’s start with the food. Friendly staff walk incredible cuts of steak on the bone to your table. Once they’re grilled, you can cut them into small pieces, and you begin enjoying the rich, smoky flavours of grilled beef. Shall I go on?

There’s also a vibe here. The bustling restaurant is only a short walk from the popular Haeundae Beach, so it’s a lively, festive setting (especially later in the evenings). 

The cosy booths are perfect for sharing with a couple of friends, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have a view from 3 stories above the beach outside. All in all, it’s kind of perfect.

Top Tip

This place is best to go with a group. You’ll have a tonne of food to share, allowing you to try more than one type of meat.

Have More Time? Add These To Your Itinerary 

Oryukdo Skywalk and Haeparang-gil

On day 2, you can squeeze in another one of Busan’s skywalks after you visit the UN Memorial Cemetery. I recommend visiting the Oryukdo Skywalk if you need a little fresh air. It’s a lovely little observation deck nestled over the East Sea. 

It’s a really short walk out (only around 15 metres), but the views of Solseom and Oryukdo Islands are worth heading over for.

If you want to make a day of it, take a short walk to the Haeparang-gil trailhead. 

The 10.6-mile point-to-point hike takes you all the way to Haeundae Beach. But you can cut it short at Gwangalli Beach to resume day 2 of my Busan itinerary.

Try Fresh Seafood at Jagalchi Market

Busan is one of the most active port cities in the world, so it’s no surprise that you can get fresh seafood that rivals anywhere I’ve been.

Jagalchi Market is the place to go if you love a great fish market, as it’s tough to beat the biggest of its kind in South Korea. 

So what do you order when you’re here? You’re in good hands with just about any fish or shellfish, as boats drop them off each day in the nearby port.

You can sample raw items in the market or head upstairs to eat at one of the restaurants. It’s fun because you can choose the fish you want to eat and they’ll prepare it for you to eat upstairs, if for a bit of a high price.

Day Trip to Gyeongju

If you’ve ever heard of South Korea’s “Museum Without Walls,” that’s Gyeonju. The good news is it’s only about 2 hours by train, making it a fantastic day trip from Busan.

So, what should you see while you’re in Gyeongju? Lots. 

The former capital of the Three Kingdoms and Silla Kingdom has a long history in South Korea. Some of the architecture and landmarks from hundreds of years ago are still there to see.

If you have a full day, I recommend seeing Cheomseongdae Observatory (a 7th-century stargazing tower), learning more about Silla history at the Gyeongju National Museum, and stopping by at least one of the ancient temples. 

Bunhwangsa is one of the most historic Buddhist Temples at nearly 1,400 years old, so it’s a perfect choice for history buffs.

Handy Tips for Planning Your Busan Trip 

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 

Top Tips

  • Bring lots of beachwear if you visit in the summer. Cover-ups are helpful, as South Koreans dress conservatively.
  • Delete Uber. Rely on the cheap and affordable trains and buses or Kakao T taxi service.
  • An upgrade to first class on KTX is well worth the extra money for its comfortable seats and great views.
  • Late March and early April are perfect for seeing the cherry blossom trees around Busan.
  • While I recommend visiting in spring or summer, Busan is home to several fun winter events, like the Haeundae Light Festival.
  • Pollution isn’t as severe in Busan as in other South Korean cities, but you should avoid November through January if you are sensitive to changes in air quality.
  • Naver or Kakao are a lot more reliable than Google Maps when navigating the city.

What to Pack 

Don’t Forget to Pack Your… 

Recommended Hotels

Quick Tips


Gimhae International Airport (PUS)


UN Memorial Cemetery, Gwangalli Beach, Gamcheon Culture Village, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, BUSAN X the Sky

Plugs: Type C, Type F

  • Currency: South Korean Won (₩)
  • Time Zone:  Korean Standard Time (GMT +9)
  • Budget: Moderate

Getting Around 

Take the KTX high-speed train into Busan from Seoul (or most major cities you might be visiting from). It only takes around 3 hours, and it’s cheap(ish) at around £60 ($75). 


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