Busan in 4 Days: An Insider's Guide to South Korea's Must-Visit Spots

Busan | Itinerary

Busan is a major city in the southern part of South Korea, originally rising as a city due to its natural deep-water harbor and featuring beautiful coastlines. To the north of Busan are mountains with ancient temples and monasteries, suitable for hiking. Additionally, due to numerous hot springs and convenient transportation, it also serves as a shopping and leisure haven. This time, we have arranged a four-day tour itinerary for Busan:

  • Day 1: Arrived at Haeundae accommodation early in the morning, then immediately went to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, followed by a car ride to Dongbaek Island, and finally walked back to Haeundae en route.
  • Day 2: Took a ride to Taizongtai for a hike, and in the afternoon, headed to the Nampodong Shopping District, visited Jagalchi Market, and BIFF Square, and also took the opportunity to climb up to Yongdusan Park.
  • Day 3: Took the bus to Igidae Park, viewed Oryukdo Islands, and then went to the Busan Museum and the UN Memorial Park.
  • Day 4: On the final day, with only half a day left, I chose to visit Spaland to try a steam bath for some relaxation.

Running through all the sights in four days actually felt a bit rushed in hindsight. It might have been better to spread the first two days' itinerary over three or four days, making a total of a five-day trip feasible.

Busan | Accommodations

My accommodation this time was near Haeundae, which was quite convenient in terms of transportation. If you're looking for a place to stay, you could consider finding a hotel near Haeundae Main Street. Haeundae Main Street is located close to Haeundae Beach, making it convenient to go for a swim or head into the city. The street becomes very lively at night, especially during weekends when there are street performances.

Find a stay in Busan:

Busan,Busan Attractions,Busan Itinerary 1

Busan | City Transportation

Getting around Busan can be entirely reliant on public transport, which was very convenient. You can buy a transportation card at convenience stores, which allows you to take the subway and buses, saving you 100 Won per trip.

Busan 4-Day Tour, Busan Scenic Spots Organization, Busan Itinerary

Busan | Attractions

Haedong Yonggung Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is the only temple in Korea that was built by the sea. It is located in Gijang-gun, Busan. You can get there by taking the subway to Haeundae Station, then transferring to a bus. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, mainly built in 1376 during the reign of King Go of Goryeo, is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin, and is one of the three major sanctuaries of Guanyin in Korea. Due to its location on the east coast, the temple offers exceptionally beautiful sea views, attracting a continuous stream of visitors from sunrise.

On the path leading to the entrance, many stone statues and engravings stand on both sides. Passing these statues and through the traffic safety pagoda, you arrive at the entrance.

Haedong Yonggungsa is most famous for its 108 stairs and the Sunrise Rock. Going down from the stone gate at the entrance, one has to walk down 108 steps, which is one of the unique features of Haedong Yonggungsa. Walking down these 108 steps gives one a commanding view from above, passing through the Dragon Gate Grotto to an open vista in front, where one can see Haedong Yonggungsa, situated by the mountain and the sea, facing the spectacular scene of waves crashing against the shore.

When I arrived in May, it happened to be the Buddha's Birthday, and the temple was hung with colorful lanterns. Passing under the lanterns, through the thronging crowd in the plaza, a popular spot for tourists to take pictures was the statue of the Maitreya Buddha. It is said that touching his belly can bring the blessing of bearing a son. Inside the Dragon Palace Hall, the sound of the monk's wooden fish chanting the scriptures seemed utterly unaffected by the noisy tourists outside.

Climbing to a high spot, the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple offers a seascape combined with the magnificent view of numerous colorful lanterns, uplifting one's spirits.

Haidong Longgong Temple

This place is home to the ten-meter-tall Sea Water Guanyin Buddha, which is the largest Buddha statue in South Korea made from a single piece of stone. There is also a sweet dew medicinal water grotto. Walking down to a stone well, it is said that drinking the water from this well can cure all kinds of illnesses.

After visiting Haedong Yonggung Temple, it's time to turn back and head to Sunrise Rock. From atop Sunrise Rock, one can see the most classic panoramic view of Haedong Yonggung Temple. Due to its location on the east coast, Sunrise Rock is a great place to watch the sunrise, with many people flocking here on January 1st each year to do just that. Follow the small path behind Sunrise Rock to see the breathtaking seascape of waves crashing against the shore from different angles.

The Buddha enshrined on Sunrise Rock is the Medicine Buddha.

Busan,Busan Attractions,Busan Itinerary 17


Haeundae Beach is the most famous beach in Busan, surrounded by luxury hotels, making it a symbol of Busan.

Busan,Busan Attractions,Busan Itinerary 18

My weekend trip to Busan coincided with the annual Sand Festival, which attracted many tourists, and the entire beach was covered with giant sand sculptures.

If you visit Haeundae, you could also stroll along Haeundae Main Street. Haeundae Main Street is the most vibrant at night, with many people dining and walking around. On weekends, you can also see street performances.

You can also take a walk along the Yeongdum Road from Haeundae, which is a mountain path that leads all the way to the beautiful small fishing village of Cheongsapo. Due to time constraints, I only made it to Yeongdum Ridge, where I saw the landmark Haeundae Pavilion. This area hosts a flea market on holidays, where many small shops offer a place to rest. The nearby observatory and the old Haeundae Railway are both worth visiting for tourists.

Dongbaek Island | Seobongno

Dongbaek Island is a land-tied island located southwest of Haeundae, and you can get there by walking along the coastline next to Haeundae. You can also take a bus to enter Dongbaek Island from the north and then walk east towards Haeundae. The coastal hill terrain is slightly elevated, and the walk from Dongbaek Park to the Nurimaru APEC House, where the APEC meeting was once held, is a great walking route.

On the way into Dongbaek Park from the north, one can see the urban seascape of Busan.

At the start of Dongbaek Park, next to the Haeunt Pavilion, stands a statue of Choi Chi-won, a Korean poet deeply connected to Haeundae. In fact, the name Haeundae originates from him. Choi Chi-won, a renowned poet of the Silla Dynasty, known initially by the pen name Go-un and later changed to Hae-un, went to study in China at the age of twelve. He passed the civil service examination at eighteen and gained international fame for his writings by the age of twenty-five. Returning to his country at twenty-eight to take up a government post, he faced exclusion in the official circles and was ultimately unable to reverse the decline of the nation's fortunes. At the age of forty, Choi Chi-won decided to retreat to Gaya Mountain. Passing by this place, he was captivated by the landscape and built a platform on Dongbaek Island, where he inscribed the name "Haeundae" on a rock. This is how the place got its name.

Walking uphill, one can reach the APEC House. This three-story building was specifically constructed for the 2005 APEC conference. Its modern, all-glass design was inspired by traditional Korean pavilion architecture, making it a worthwhile visit for those who appreciate architecture. Currently, it is used for high-level international meetings, but it is also open to the public on weekdays.

The Shifeng Building is open to the public for tours. Inside, it showcases the conference hall used during the APEC meetings and the Korean meals that were served. In 2005, Taiwan participated under the name "Chinese Taipei," and the nameplate is still on the table, with Lin Xinyi being the representative. Photos and signatures of the attendees are all recorded on the wall.

The outdoor space outside the Shifeng Building offers a place to stroll and take a rest in a pavilion, and from there, you can see the second biggest attraction of Dongbai Island, the lighthouse. Walking up to the white lighthouse, you can turn around to see the entire Shifeng Building and the nearby Guang'an Bridge. Continuing forward leads towards the direction of Haeundae, providing a pleasant walk along the coast.


Taejongdae is a natural park located at the southern tip of Yeongdo Island, known for its magnificent views of cliffs and the sea coast. It is said that after the unification of the three kingdoms, King Taejong Muyeol of Silla visited this place to practice archery, hence the name Taejongdae. Busan boasts eight scenic spots known as "dae," which means a high place, and Taejongdae is the most famous among them.

To get to Taizong Platform, you can take a bus. Upon arrival, follow the signs that say "Taizong Platform," and when you see a large rock with "Taizong Platform" written on it, you've reached the tourist service center. Walk about 300 meters further, and you'll find the ticket office for the park shuttle. Hiking up Taizong Platform on foot takes a lot more time and energy, so it's generally recommended that visitors buy a ticket and take the shuttle. Unfortunately, there were too many visitors that day, and I couldn't even buy a ticket... Since I couldn't buy a ticket, I had no choice but to resign myself to hiking up. Fortunately, the scenery at Taizong Platform is indeed beautiful, and walking up the slope was not too tiring.

Traveling via the park train and passing the second station, Jomyoji Temple, we arrive at the Kagejima Lighthouse. Next to the lighthouse, there is a fantastic observation deck from which, on particularly clear days, it is said that one can even see Tsushima Island of Japan across the way. The lighthouse was originally built in 1906 and serves as a landmark of Taizong Platform. The current lighthouse was renovated in 2004 and visitors can enter, climb to the top, and view the wave-eroded terrain from a glass observation deck at the summit. The beauty of Taizong Platform indeed lies in the combination of cliffs and peculiar rocks formed by the wave erosion of the coast.

Continuing forward, we reached Taizong Temple. During the summer months of June and July, Taizong Temple hosts a Hydrangea Festival, when this whole area will be brimming with blooming hydrangeas. I visited in May, and at that time, the chanting of Buddhist scriptures inside the temple added to its serene and solemn atmosphere.

Nampo-dong Commercial District

Nampodong District is the liveliest commercial area in Busan, where one side of the street hosts the largest fish market in all of Korea, Jagalchi Market, and the other side is home to BIFF Square, which is a popular spot for movie theaters, shopping, and gourmet dining.

Jagalchi Market

Jagalchi Market is the largest seafood market in Busan, with history dating back to 1889 when the Japanese established the Busan Fishery Corporation here. Over time, it gradually developed into its current size. It is said that about 30 to 40 percent of Korea's fish catch is traded here. Of course, when visiting the port city of Busan, one must make a pilgrimage to this place.

By the time I entered the market, it was around four or five in the afternoon, and the crowd had already thinned out considerably. The stalls were still plentifully stocked, brimming with seafood everywhere you looked. Typically, visitors could buy some sashimi and head to the second floor to pay a seating fee to sit down and enjoy it. Of course, you could also have the upstairs restaurant prepare it. If you're too lazy to buy your own, ordering seafood dishes directly is also an option. If you're adventurous enough, you could even try eating a live octopus.

Biff Square

Biff Square is located right across from the Jagalchi Market, gathering numerous snack vendors and shops. Together with the adjacent Gwangbok-ro shopping street, it creates an ambiance similar to Taiwanese night markets, making it an excellent place for shopping.

Yongdusan Park

Located very close to the Nampodong business district yet remarkably peaceful, Yongdusan Park features the landmark Busan Tower, which is also the tallest lighthouse in Korea. The observatory here is a great place to view Busan's night scenery, and the nearby viewing platform offers views of the cityscape of Busan.

E-Gisai | Oryukdo

The name "E-Gisai" sounds very special. It commemorates the story of two courtesans during the Imjin War who, in order to defend their homeland, got enemy commanders drunk and drowned themselves with them in the sea. E-Gisai is nestled between mountains and the sea, offering a scenic walking path along the seashore that showcases Busan's signature coastal views, with a clear view of Haeundae and Gwangan Bridge across the water. E-Gisai Urban Park is located opposite Haeundae and can be reached by bus. The park stretches about two kilometers, and by following the hiking trails within it, you can reach the southeastern end's Oryukdo Skywalk.

Oryukdo Islands are located off the southeastern coast of Busan. Viewed from the east, there appear to be six islands, but from the west, there seem to be only five, hence the name Oryukdo, which means five-six islands. The best spot for taking in the view is the famous Skywalk. The Oryukdo Skywalk has a transparent floor, making it extremely popular and often crowded with people waiting in line. The seascape of Oryukdo is incredibly beautiful. Having such a seascape within the city is truly enviable for the people of Busan. If you wish to explore Oryukdo more closely, you can also take a boat from Haeundae.

Busan Museum

If you want to understand Busan culture, come to the free Busan Museum. The Busan Museum is also located in the southern district of Busan. The museum is not very large, and the main exhibits are cultural artifacts excavated in Busan and the Gyeongsang region.

UN Memorial Park

The UN Memorial Park commemorates the soldiers of the United Nations who perished during the Korean War, including monuments to the fallen soldiers from various countries. It is the only place in the world dedicated to commemorating the UN soldiers of the Korean War. The solemn architecture and vast lawns offer an atmosphere distinctly different from other attractions. Another unique feature is that this land does not belong to Busan, as it was gifted to the United Nations in 1955, making it the only piece of land within Busan that is not part of Busan.

Busan | Cuisine

Busan has a lot of delicious food, and thoughts on Busan food are all recorded in the following article:

Busan | Hanjeungmak Experience

Koreans enjoy resting and chatting in the sauna (Hanjeungmak). When you come to Busan, you can also experience the sauna!

Thank you for visiting our website.

All the content on this site is original and shared with the purpose of providing valuable information. We sustain the operation of this site through a small amount of advertising and sponsored links. If you click on links to third-party merchants on our site and make purchases, we may receive a portion of the sales as a commission. If you click on links to third-party merchants on our site and make purchases, we may receive a portion of the sales as a commission.

Find more posts on a map Here.

My recommended resources for hotel bookings.

My recommended resources for activity bookings.
Recommended travel credit card for US-based travelers
Travel with just a backpack!
Buy me a coffee and support my contents!

If you are interested in quoting this article or using any part of its content and images on your website or publication, please contact us via email to request permission.