Just a three-hour train ride away from Seoul, Busan is a delightful offering of lush landscape and beaches, hot springs, natural hiking retreats and fresh, delectable seafood. Home to the country’s most famous beach and seaport as well as the second largest city in South Korea, Busan is a metropolis and a beach destination all wrapped up in one. Needless to say, many locals flock to Busan to seek respite from the hectic urban city. Well you know what they say, the locals know best. So following in their footsteps, we explore Busan and the sights it has in store for us.
Where to stay
Ranked fifth in the Traveller’s Choice 2012 of Best Hotels in South Korea, you can be sure that the Westin Chosun Busan offers pristine accommodation and exceptional service for the discerning traveler. Idyllically located along Haeundae Beach, guests can expect to be treated to impressive views of the sea as well as Gwang-An Bridge from one of their 290 newly renovated guest rooms.
Tailored for both business and pleasure, Westin Chosun offers a 24-hour full-service business centre as well as a natural mineral spring and indoor heated pool.
Westin Chosun Busan, 737 U 1(il)-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea
Where to visit
Haeundae beach is the most famous beach in South Korea, and at the peak of summer, there is nary a space on the beach that isn’t occupied by happy local vacationers or tourists. Despite its size of 1.5 kilometres in length and 30-50 metres in width, between July and August there may only be standing space, and expect to see the area covered in colourful parasols. Basically, you can’t come to Busan without visiting Haeundae beach. The beach also offers spectacular views of Gwangan Suspension Bridge, the second largest bridge in Korea.
Take the subway line 2 to Haeundae Station and leave exit 5. Head straight and you will arrive at Haeundae Beach.
If Busan is known for anything, it’s their seafood. In Seoul, seafood is relatively difficult to find and often expensive. But in Busan, there is plenty to go around for everyone.
So while you’re there, do as the Koreans do and visit Jagalchi Fish Market, the country’s largest fish market. You can easily spend a morning or afternoon here, and be sure to try fresh, raw fish in the market. The ground floor is filled with elderly ladies perched on wooden boxes selling fish, whom you can address as “jagalchi ahjumma”. Common seafood delicacies include barbequed eel, raw octopus, mackerel, and even whale meat. Don’t forget to head to the second floor for a meal at one of the several fresh seafood restaurants located there.
Take the subway line 1 to Jagalchi Station and leave at Exit 10.Turn right onto Jagalchi 3(sam)-gil Street. Walk for five minutes and turn left to arrive at Jagalchi Market.
Where to eat
Having been recommended by many, there is nothing but good things to be heard about Yangssi Sanghoe. For 20,000 won per person, be prepared to be served up big portions of mouth-watering sashimi, scallop, seafood stew, grilled fish and eel. They are especially known for their fresh sashimi, which is to be expected since they are located right above Jagalchi Market. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense yet reliable restaurant to have a taste of Busan’s iconic seafood, then Yangssi Sanghoe’s the perfect place.
Yangssi Sanghoe, 1-1 Nampo-dong 4-ga, Jung-gu, Busan, South Korea. Tel: 051-245-2280
Not too keen on seafood and more of a meat lover? There are hundreds of barbeque joints peppered across Busan, but finding a quality joint is the challenging part. Well the search is over; pay a visit to An-Ga Korean BBQ, where some say serves the best and most succulent meat in town. The interiors are stylish and the restaurant is almost always packed. So be sure to call ahead for a reservation at 051-742-7852.
An-Ga, 1276-1 Jung-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea