Planning your stay in Busan? Discover the best neighbourhoods in this sprawling city with this in-depth guide.
Any quick glance at a map of Busan will show that it’s one hell of a sprawling city. Sure, it’s manageable to navigate during the course of a relatively short trip but many of the most well-known landmarks and villages are spread out over a large area. So, it’s super important to carefully decide where to stay.
Choosing Busan accommodation in the right location can go a long way toward making the most of your holiday.
Districts like Haeundae and Gwangalli are perfect for first-time visitors. They offer a nice mix of mid-range and luxury accommodations. But they are also very busy. Travellers looking for a more peaceful getaway in ultra-luxe hotels, could opt for Gijang-gun. The coastal and mountain villages offer a chance to experience local scenery and culture in a quieter (and absolutely gorgeous) setting.
All that to say, you need to narrow in on precisely what you want from your hotel and the neighbourhoods around it.
Do you want to be surrounded by historic ports and bustling markets or chill out on a sandy beach overlooking the bay and bright city lights?
I can help you find all the above. This guide explores the best places to stay in Busan, so you can choose which area is right for your stay.
Best Places to Stay in Busan
Want to take a quick peek at the best places to stay in Busan? Here are my top picks:
|Best Hotels in Busan – Top Picks
|Best Overall Hotel in Busan
|Grand Josun Busan
|Best Hotel for Beaches
|H Avenue Gwangalli
|Best Hotel for Views
|Fairfield by Marriott Busan Songdo Beach
|Best Hotel for Couples
|Park Hyatt Busan
Best For: First-Time Visitors
I won’t sugarcoat it. Haeundae is a touristy part of Busan. It’s home to the most popular beach (Haeundae Beach), luxury hotels, and lots to do at any time. And that’s a big reason why I love it.
But plenty of secrets lie within the city streets and skyscrapers in and around this vibey East Sea neighbourhood. Naturally, locals love it just as much as people visiting for the first time.
Haeundae is a perfect opportunity to really get to know what Busan is like. You can ride along the ocean in an adorable aerial car one minute and sip an iced coffee from 100 floors above the coastline the next.
There’s also as much to do at night as in the day.
I also thought finding good food was really easy (which isn’t always the case in tourist-centric neighbourhoods).
In fact, Korean Steak Grill served up the best KBBQ I tried anywhere in South Korea. Facts. And Geumsubokguk, Haeundae Head Store, gives you a chance to try the potentially fatal blowfish sushi prepared by licensed pros.
- Haeundae Beach – Popular stretch of sand that’s great for swimming and sunbathing.
- Haeundae Blue Line Park – A cool area with colourful aerial trams that scoot you around high above the East Sea shores. Start your ride at nearby Mipo Station.
- Korean Steak Grill – Awesome BBQ restaurant serving steak on the bone with ocean views.
- BUSAN X the Sky – Scenic viewpoint from 100 stories up the Haeundae LCT.
Suggested Places to Stay in Haeundae
Conveniently just steps from Haeundae Beach, Grand Josun Busan is my favourite hotel in the city. Featuring 2 outdoor pools (one with a sick rooftop ocean view) and a really good Cantonese restaurant, it has all the amenities you’d expect in a 5-star resort.
Located a bit north of Haeundae Beach near Centum City Subway and Suyeong River, this 4-star property offers cosy accommodations in an urban setting.
The rooms have luxurious marble bathrooms and nice views of the city, and you can add breakfast for around £12.
Looking for the best place to stay in Busan? The 5-star Park Hyatt is another one of the more luxe hotels in the city, situated between the marina and Haeundae Beach.
The rooms are quite big and have a contemporary look with incredible city views. Be sure to try one of their 3 restaurants atop the 30th floor.
Best For: Cultural Markets and Villages
Nampo is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Busan, and walking around the streets and markets, you can definitely feel the history. You can find residents and tourists still browsing Gukje Market for textiles or grabbing late-night eats at historic Gwangbokdong Food Street, as they have for decades.
The vibe is a steady mix of locals going about their days and travellers taking in the rich sights, sounds, and smells. It’s full of amazing restaurants, busy department stores, and hotels overlooking one of the busiest ports in the world.
Nampo is definitely commercialised, but it’s part of the charm.
Areas like BIFF Square (the original location of the Busan International Film Festival) embrace local and international pop culture with art installations and souveniers you can bring home.
Nampo is also a good choice if you plan to spend some time in Huinnyeoul Culture Village, as it’s just across the Yeongdodaegyo Bridge.
Nampo District Highlights
- Jagalchi Market – A historic seafood market with restaurants upstairs that will prepare the fish you pick out downstairs.
- Diamond Tower – Another beautiful observation tower with views from nearly 120 metres up.
- Gukje Market – Bustling local market that specialises in selling household items and clothing. Make sure to get some street food at Gwangbokdong Food Street, just steps from the market.
- Choryang Milmyeon Noodle Restaurant – This local favourite is actually in nearby Choryang-dong. But the restaurant serves one of the best bowls of cold wheat noodles you’ll find in South Korea.
- Gamcheon Cultural Village – Another landmark that’s not technically in Nampo. The colourful hillside village that’s famous for its art murals and boutique shops is reached easily by train from Nampo.
Suggested Places to Stay in Nampo District
If location and value are primary concerns, GnB Hotel in the heart of Nampo is perfect.
You can walk to the subway or walk to local markets in minutes, and the rooms offer really impressive views of the city and harbour.
Hotel Foret Premier Nampo is a cool hotel just steps from BIFF Square and Jagalchi Market. Guests love the location and size of the rooms at a great value.
This hotel is just south of Nampo over the Yeongdo Bridge. It offers beautiful vantage points of Nampo and the harbour.
Standard rooms are a bit basic, but the suites have plenty of space to enjoy those killer views.
Best For: Chilled-Out Vibes
Many tourists book a hotel in Gijang-gun near Haedong Yonggungsa Temple for a peaceful holiday. The quieter area away from downtown Busan is perfect for catching up on some rest and enjoying nature on land and near the sea.
But Gijang is also the best area to stay in Busan if you want to experience the city like a local. The county is full of old and new villages and offers beautiful hiking trails and coastal areas.
It’s a part of Busan that really embraces the sea. From paying respects while overlooking the ocean at sacred sites to the restaurants and markets that specialise in seafood and seaweed – you really need to take in the flavours and views of the sea.
You can stay in a village inland or along the coast. Both offer plenty of luxury accommodations perfect for a low-key stay in Busan.
- Haedong Yonggungsa Temple – This famous Buddhist temple is known as much for its incredible views as for its history. Located high up above the East Sea, the pagodas and statues are mostly new but honour a religious complex with a history dating back to the 14th century.
- 대변어촌계해녀특산물판매장 Seafood Market – Hyper local, super cool seafood market filled with numbered Haenyeochons. These are family-run eateries serving local seafood and seaweed caught by divers.
- Jukseong Dream Film Site – A K Drama filming location that’s now a permanent tourist attraction. There’s a lighthouse and church perched high on a coastal bluff that was in “Dream”.
Suggested Places to Stay in Gijang-gun
This 5-star hotel is about 20-30 minutes by train from the famous Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. It offers incredible value for guests willing to make the commute.
The “cabins” have forest and ocean views, are designed with really cool MCM furniture, and have a ton of space to enjoy over 2 levels.
Pull up to this long-standing luxury hotel on the edge of the East Sea, and you’ll notice striking architecture above the rocky shores.
Step inside and fall in love with the rooms that have dark, hardwood accents and contemporary touches alongside up-close views of the ocean or mountains.
This is a fun, funky modern hotel with some incredible ocean views. There’s even a bubble pool party, which seems to be popular with locals, but you need to pay extra to attend.
Best For: Beaches and Fun in the Sun
Hanging out at Gwangalli Beach is a lot of fun. The sandy cove not only offers one of the best beaches in Busan, but it’s also incredibly scenic both day and night.
Located near the Gwangan Bridge, you can find restaurants, bars, and hotels with views of the stunning bay and the light show. The famous suspension bridge lights up around 8 pm each evening.
There’s a ton to do here for people of any age. You can rent a kayak or SUP, grab a snack from a local restaurant or street vendor, or take a walk around the colourful flower gardens near the shores.
It’s a bustling area with fun bars and some delicious restaurants to choose from, so it’s quickly gaining steam as one of the top choices for where to stay in Busan on holiday.
A sunset cruise on Diamond Bay Yacht is an amazing way to see the Gwangan Bridge light show.
- Gwangalli Beach – Take a stroll around the promenade or flop and drop a towel on this beach. It’s one of the true hidden gems in Busan. Locals love swimming and stand-up paddle boarding along the mostly calm bay.
- Bangpajae Hoetjip – This local favourite serves up Korean sashimi and is a great place to try live octopus.
- Diamond Bay Yacht Cruise – You need to venture over to a nearby port to get this luxury catamaran, but it offers stunning views of the bridge and bay.
Suggested Places to Stay in Gwangalli
If you’re looking for a place to stay during your fist trip to Busan, Kent Hotel Gwangalli by Kensington is the perfect choice.
The popular hotel is located right on Gwangalli Beach, has optional city or ocean views, and features a popular buffet with local and international flavours.
This affordable 4-star hotel offers stylish (if a bit simple) accommodations near Gwangalli Beach.
Be sure to book a room with a view of the bridge and try to upgrade to a larger room, as some are small and outdated.
Quiet rooms with cool exposed brick interiors and absolutely stunning views of the bay and Gwangan Bridge.
Amenities are a little light, but with so many great restaurants and bars nearby, you won’t miss them.
The views from your room at typically low prices make this a true hidden gem.
Best For: City Views
Seo-gu is the best place to stay in Busan if you want beachside accommodations near many of the best new landmarks in the city.
Located near Songdo Beach, you’ll be steps away from high-flying cable cars and the tranquil ocean waters. But you’re also a short train ride away from Jagalchi Market in Nampo and Huinnyeoul Village, keeping you well connected with the city’s famous landmarks.
The neighbourhood is a lot more mellow than Haeundae or even Gwangalli, but still right by the beach. There are beautiful parks and coastlines, like at Songdo Cloud Trails. This gives you time to enjoy nature and city views before exploring busier parts of town.
Ready to eat? There are plenty of places to nosh your way around the neighbourhood.
Seafood is a major draw (no surprise). Restaurants like Jogae, Clam offer incredible seafood off the travelled path, with beautiful views of Songdo Bay and the famous Busan Air Cruise above.
You can also find a great selection of hotels in the area, as it’s becoming one of the more popular tourist destinations in the city.
- Busan Air Cruise – Starting at Songdo Bay Station, this long cable car ride sends you out over the East Sea for some of the most incredible views in the city. Upgrade to a premium ticket, and you will ride in a car with a glass floor and more windows.
- Songdo Cloud Trails – This peaceful observation deck walks you out to Geobukseon Island over a glass floor, allowing you to peer down at the ocean from the pier.
- Songdo Beach – A beautiful sandy beach with lots of room to spread out on nice days.
Suggested Places to Stay in Seo-gu
Fairfield offers contemporary beachside accommodations with jaw-dropping views of Songdo Beach and Busan Air Cruise.
Rooms are clean and modern, the service is friendly and efficient, and you can dine on-site at the hotel restaurant.
Rooms at the Wyndham Grand are better than I expected. The spacious accommodations have marble bathrooms and stellar views of Songdo Beach.
Amenities like an indoor pool and 3 restaurants make it a perfect landing spot.
This hotel is popular with business travellers, but it’s also a sneaky great pick for a vacation.
The rooms are on the smaller side, but if you can score one with a terrace and sea view, it’s one of the best deals in Busan.
Best For: High-Energy City Vibes
I don’t like to throw the term around, but most major cities have what many refer to as a hipster neighbourhood. You probably know them well. Cool coffee shops, amazing street food, and maybe a snarky comment or side-eye from young locals to unsuspecting tourists.
Seomyeon is that, but it’s also central Busan at its best. The train stations, office buildings, and shops that makeup Seomyeon connect some of the most important areas in the city.
It’s where to stay in Busan for both experienced and novice travellers.
There’s enough within walking distance or a short train ride to entertain locals and tourists – even the ones with the highest standards for bars, restaurants, and sightseeing.
You’ll be a close walk from the Seomyeon Subway Station, where you can get around to the most famous museums, attractions, and neighbourhoods in Busan. But explore Seomyeon as much as you can, too.
It might not be quite as relaxing as some of the beachy destinations on this list, but the stylish hotels, high-energy nightlife, and bustling markets make it the perfect option for cosmopolitan travellers.
- Wood Side Bar – Stylish cocktail bar that has a great whiskey list and cool ambiance upstairs in the heart of Seomyeon.
- Seomyeon Market – Popular marketplace with lots of local vendors selling delicious street food for around 60 years.
- UN Memorial Cemetery – The cemetery is actually in the Nam District, but the proximity to train stations makes it easy to reach. It’s a moving tribute to the soldiers who fought for South Korea during the Korean War and a must-see on your visit to Busan.
Suggested Places to Stay in Seomyeon
Another one of the nicest hotels in the city, Lotte Hotel Busan, is the best place to stay in Seomyeon.
You can expect excellent service and amenities, including a shopping mall, 2 pools, and a movie theatre in the hotel.
This is a cool, modern boutique hotel in the heart of Seomyeon. It has a 24-hour front desk, large contemporary rooms, and a lot of great restaurants and bars just outside.
Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Busan
Rooms and suites are spacious, modern, and feature great views of the city below. The staff is friendly, there’s a large gym on-site. Most guests love the breakfast, as well.
Tips for Your Busan Trip
- Haeundae, Seo-gu, and Gwangalli are the best options if you’re looking for a hotel on the beach.
- Busan accommodations are very reasonable, but they fill up faster in June through August when it’s prime beach weather.
- Bring a universal travel adapter. Hotels have either Type C or Type F plugs.
- Purchase a SIM card at the airport for reliable mobile service.
What is the Best Area to Stay in Busan?
I think Haeundae offers the best mix of beaches, high-end hotels, and fun things to do in Busan.
But if you want budget-friendly accommodations near the best shopping and dining places, try Nampo or Seomyeon.
How Do You Get Around in Busan?
Getting around to and from the best places to stay in Busan is easy. Buses and trains are hella reliable, or you can use Kakao T if you need to hire a taxi.
When Should I Go to Busan?
Plan a trip between May and October for the best beach weather. Alternatively, go in April if you want to see the cherry blossom trees.
How Long Should I Stay in Busan?
I recommend a 3-day itinerary when visiting Busan.
Choosing where to stay in Busan can go a long way toward making your trip run as smoothly as possible. Any of these locations offers nice accommodations, access to public transportation, and vibrant dining options.
While I think Haeundae is the best for first-time visitors, do yourself a favour and take a good look at each one of these neighbourhoods and hotels to see which works best for you.
Read More Busan & South Korea Travel Guides
- Brilliant Things to do in Busan
- The Top Things to do in South Korea
- Spend 10 Days in South Korea with this Itinerary
- Top Tips for Navigating Your South Korea Trip
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