What to do in Busan for 3 days or more
Busan has become a popular day-trip destination from Seoul thanks to convenient transportations. Many people have asked me to help with their Busan itinerary; however, I often get baffled because one day is just not enough time in this lively city. My first advice always is that you need at least 3 days in Busan to get a taste of it. Better yet, make it 5 days!
Busan is the second-largest metropolitan city in South Korea. The robust town is in the Southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula and is the economic, cultural, and historic center of the region. Naturally, Busan offers myriads of things to do, see, and eat. That means you will need to prioritize to make the best of your vacation.
This Busan itinerary for 5 days helps you decide what to do in Busan whether you have 3 days (my recommended minimum stay) or more. I tried to give you many alternatives and insider tips instead of sharing my exact journey. Feel free to take my suggestions and custom-build your plan.
By the way, if one day is all you got in Busan, I highly recommend taking this Full-Day City Tour departing from Busan Station, or hire a private tour, or join this 12-hour City Tour. These tours will show you the highlights of Busan – including Gamcheon Culture Village, Songdo, and Taejongdae – in just one day.
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Busan Itinerary Summary
Day 1: Busan Station – Choryang Ibagu-gil – Busan Tower (Yongdusan Park) – Bupyeong & Nampo Traditional Markets | Day 2: Gamcheon Culture Village – Songdo Cable Car or Oryukdo Skywalk – Seomyeon or Gwangalli | Day 3: Cheongsapo – Moontan Road – Haeundae Beach – The Bay 101 | Day 4: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple – Ananti Cove | Day 5: Taejongdae – Huinnyeoul Culture Village
Where to Stay in Busan
I like to make a bucket list for cities I want to visit one day. While it might be a tedious task for other people, I take joy in planning a trip.
However, even for me, planning a trip to Busan was challenging. I stared at the Busan map with the wide-spread dots (i.e., attractions) over the sprawling city. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to come up with either itinerary or the best area to stay.
Then, I made a decision I regretted later. I chose to hop hotels from one area to another in our 5-day stay in Busan. It was very, very tiring just to check out of a hotel and check into another. I do NOT recommend doing this, hence the importance of selecting a hotel in the best area for your itinerary.
I wrote a detailed guide on 6 best areas to stay in Busan with top things to do and the best hotels in each neighborhood. Please read it, so you don’t have to make the same mistake as I did.
Busan Travel Essentials
- Pick up 4G SIM card with unlimited data at Seoul or Busan airport. I always use this telecom company every time I visit Korea. To connect multiple devices, rent a 4G Pocket WiFi.
- Buy a discounted KTX pass. A high-speed rail takes you from Seoul to Busan in less than 2.5 hours.
- Book your airport pickup or private transfer service from Busan Station. (No Uber in Korea.)
- Speaking of stress-free travel, why not use a super-efficient luggage delivery service? I used a hotel-to-hotel service (between two cities) and would highly recommend it.
Busan Itinerary Day 1: Choryang & Nampo
Morning: Busan Station
If you are coming from Seoul or other cities, my recommendation is to take a KTX train. (See below How to Get to Busan from Seoul). So let’s assume you arrive at Busan Station.
For those who stay in hotels near Busan Station can first check-in. If your hotel is in other areas, you can store your luggage at the coin locker inside the station (use T-money card), or have your luggage delivered on the same day.
Lunch: Choryang Milmyeon
Only a 5-minute walk away from Busan Station, Choryang Milmyeon, is one of the most famous Busan eateries. Enjoy its delicious Milmyeon (cold wheat noodles) and dumplings.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Address: 225 Jungang-daero, Choryang-dong, Dong-gu, Busan
How to Get there: Metro Line 1 Busan Station (Exit #7)
Afternoon: Choryang Ibagu-gil
After satiating your tummy, head over to Choryang Ibagu-gil. Choryang (=neighborhood name) Ibagu (=story in Busan dialect) gil (=street) literally means alleyways with stories in Choryang.
This hilltop area used to be one of many refugee towns in Busan after the Korea War. These refugees picked up daily labor works from the nearby train station and the Port of Busan.
There are many historical sites in this neighborhood, including the first church in the South of the Han River and the first modern elementary school in Korea. Also, it is worthwhile to visit Chang Keeryo (also spelled as Jang Gi-ryeo, “the Schweitzer of Korea”) Memorial Hall.
It is “kind of” challenging to get to 168 Stairs MonoRail, which is the main attraction here. But no worries. The elderly in the neighborhood will kindly point where to go, even without you asking.
You can attempt to hike up the steep 168 stairs. But monorail is available for free. It is fun and scary at the same time. Once up, you will be rewarded with an unobstructed view of Busan city and the port.
If you want, rest at one of many coffee shops in a renovated historical building. One of them is BrownHands Cafe in the old Baekje Hospital, which was the first modern hospital in Busan.
Monorail Hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Address: 49 Choryang-ro, Choryang-dong, Dong-gu, Busan
How to Get There: Metro Line 1 Busan Station (Exit #7), turn left to walk up the hill. Follow the sign.
Afternoon: Busan Tower (Yongdusan Park)
Yongdusan Park is an urban park with the 120-meter-high Busan Tower. It is a great place to stroll on a clear day. Also, go up to Busan Tower Observatory (reserve your ticket here) to get a panoramic view of the city. The media gallery and exhibition also help you understand the history of Busan.
Alternatively, head over to Lotte Department Store Gwangbok. The Sky Deck is open to the public for free. And you can see the skyline of Busan with Busan Tower.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Last admission by 10:30 p.m.)
Address: 13, Daecheong-ro, 116 Beon-gil, Jung-gu, Busan
Evening: Traditional Markets
For quintessential Busan experience, visit traditional markets in Bupyeong and Nampo. The cluster of wet and dry markets consists of Jagalchi, Gukje, Bupyeong Kkangtong markets, and BIFF Square. These markets share an unclear borderline. Tackle the area as a whole, and you will most likely hit up all of them.
This area is an excellent place to gobble up street food, seafood, and local specialty food. So be ready to explore and forage your dinner here.
Jagalchi Market: It is the largest fish market in the southeast region. Buy fresh daily catches to eat raw (“Hoe”) or cook at the restaurants in the market. You can also buy dried fish to pair with beer.
Gukje Market (International Market): Equivalent of Namdaemun Market in Seoul, Gukje Market offers affordable souvenirs and home goods. As for the food, try the original Ssiat Hotteok (Seed Pancake) and Bibimdangmyeon along Arirang Street.
Bupyeong Kkangton Market (Tin Can Alley): From Lee’s Tteokbokki to Busan Daewon Eomuk to Giant Fried Chicken, Bupyeong Market is a foodie’s heaven. Also, don’t miss the night market for diverse international food.
BIFF Square: Commemorating the annual Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), this square is home to Korean Stars’ Hall of Fame. But for foodies, it’s better known as a hot place for Korean street food. You will find Tteokbokki, Eomuk, Hotteok, skewers, and all the others here.
How to Get there: Metro Line 1 Jagalchi Station
>> Don’t know where to go? Join Busan Night Market Tour to try out the best of local specialty food.
>> For authentic Korean food experience, take this Market Tour+Cooking Class to go grocery at these markets and learn how to cook Korean food. Or, make Busan fish cake with this Local Food Market Tour.
Busan Itinerary Day 2: Gamcheon & Seomyeon
Morning: Gamcheon Culture Village
Let’s start your second day bright and colorful at the iconic Gamcheon Culture Village!
Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을) is a coastal hilltop village in Busan. A stunning ocean view aside, this beautiful town is also beautifully colored and decorated with murals.
You can easily spend hours here, exploring its winding alleyways. Chase after street arts, sip a coffee at cafes, enjoy the ocean view, appreciate arts at micro galleries, buy souvenirs, snack on Busan street foods, and mail a postcard to yourself.
Ok, shutterbugs, you may take lots of photos. This photogenic village is very instagrammable! But note that drone is not allowed.
Don’t forget to get a quick bite or snack on street foods before you leave this lovely place.
Hours: March – Oct. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Nov. – Feb. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Address: 203, Gamnae 2-ro, Saha-gu, Busan
How to Get there: Metro Line 1 Toseong Station (Exit 6) → Transfer to Bus Saha-gu 1-1, Saha-gu 2 or 2-2.
Afternoon: Songdo Marine Cable Car or Oryukdo Skywalk
Busan boasts many scenic coastal walks and observatories. The four main coastal vista points include Songdo Marine Cable Car and Could Walk, Oryukdo Skywalk, Taejongdae, and Daritdol Observatory. For efficiency sake, you could select one to experience on this trip.
Option 1: Songdo Marine Cable Car
Riding a Songdo Marine Cable Car (Buy a discounted ticket here) is one of the unmissable things to do in Busan. Take the Crystal Cabin for a thrilling journey over the beautiful Songdo Beach to the Amnam Park.
Songdo Marine Cable Car Station is closer to Gamcheon Culture Village (30-minute bus ride). You can also enjoy the view from Songdo Cloud Walk, which is a skywalk stretching 800m over Songdo Beach.
Hours: Sun.-Thurs. & holidays: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Fri.-Sat.: 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Address: 171 Songdohaebyeon-ro, Amnam-dong, Seo-gu, Busan
Option 2: Oryukdo Skywalk
Another scenic coastal walkway that I recommend is Oryukdo Skywalk. This U-shaped, 15-meter glass bridge is set over a 35-meter-high coastal cliff. It faces the Oryukdo Islands. On bright days, you can even see as far as the Japanese Island of Tsushima with bare eyes.
If you are up for some hiking, right behind Oryukdo Skywalk is Igidae Galmat-gil. It is a coastal walk up the cliff with a stunning ocean view. From Oryukdo Skywalk to the end is 4.7km long. This moderate hike on wooden decks takes about 2.5 hours.
Hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Address: 137, Oryukdo-ro, Nam-gu, Busan
How to Get there: Metro Line 2 Kyungsung University Station (Exit 3, 5) → Transfer to Bus #27, #131
Evening: Seomyeon or Gwangalli
Option 1: Seomyeon for a Night-Out
I hope you are not too tired from earlier walking on the hillside. Seomyeon is a fun place to spend an evening in Busan whether you are looking for chic cafes, shopping, or Korean food.
Explore Jeonpo Cafe Street if you need some caffeine kick to bring up your energy level. This neighborhood used to be full of hardware shops. About 10 years ago, young entrepreneurs started to renovate the empty industrial warehouse and shops in the back alleys into cute coffee shops and restaurants. While it’s named a street, it grew into a large urban regeneration district where 170 cafes and eateries co-exist with 300 electronics and hardware stores.
Seomyeon is a trendy place where you can experience Korea’s hottest trend. “‘Retro hip” is the keyword in Korea right now (as of 2020), and is reflected on everything you see in Seomyeon. You will find Korean eateries and cafes that resemble the 70s or 80s interior (and the menu). The accessories and clothing shops lined in the streets also showcase retro-chic fashion.
In my opinion, whether retro is your taste or not, it would be fun to explore Seomyeon to see what’s hot in Korea. One final tip: Visit in the late afternoon to evening to see the true Seomyeon.
How to Get to Seomyeon: Metro Line 1 or 2, Seomyeon Station
Option 2: Gwangalli for Low-key Family Night
Seomyeon caters to the young crowd, like the 20s to early 30s. I’m not gonna lie; it is not the best place for families. So if you are traveling with children or want to enjoy a low-key evening, head over to Gwangalli.
The illuminated Gwangandaegyo Bridge (also called “Diamond Bridge”) is one of the best night view sites in Busan. And if you get there early, you can also catch the sunset. You can enjoy these gorgeous views from Gwangan Beach.
Insider Tip: If it is too cold outside, go to the Hotel Aqua Palace Jjimjilbang, where you can see Gwangandaegyo Bridge on the heated ondol floor.
As for dinner, why not try some seafood at Millak Seafood Street? Raw fish (“Hoe”) is my recommendation because Korean Hoe experience would be completely different from your usual Japanese sashimi meals. No worries if you don’t dare to eat raw. The restaurants offer cooked seafood dishes, too.
Address: 219 Gwangan Haebyeon-ro Suyeoung-gu, Busan
How to Get there: Metro Line 2 Gwangan Station (Exit 3,5)
Heading to Seoul?
Start planning your trip with this Seoul Itinerary. It shows how to spend the perfect 4 days in Seoul to see the highlights of the city, eat delicious food, and shop what Korea is famous for.
Busan Itinerary Day 3: Haeundae
Morning: Cheongsapo – Moontan Road
Cheongsapo is a small, quaint fishing village near Songjeong Beach. For Busanites, it is best known for its fresh seafood and a gorgeous sunrise. But for the most part, the area did not attract many tourists until recently when Cheongsapo Daritdol Observatory was unveiled.
If you can get up early enough, witness the magical sunrise from Cheongsapo. Walk over to Daritdol Observatory (free) and take your time to enjoy the ocean breeze.
Now, let’s hike Moontan Road from Cheongsapo. This 2.2-kilometer-long forest path loops around Dalmaji Hill. But don’t worry, we will walk the deviated path for 30-40 minutes only to the entrance of Dalmaji-gil.
For late risers, Cheongsapo will still be an excellent place to start your day. But feel free to skip it altogether and go directly to Dalmaji-gil. No need to feel bad. The Big O and I actually failed to get up and completely miss this part, too. Haha. We still managed to look down on Cheongsapo Lighthouse from a cafe on Dalmaji Hill (more below).
Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. | June – Aug. 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Address: Jungdong 1-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
How to get there: Haeundae Town Bus #2 or Busan City Tour Bus
Brunch: Soksiwonhan Daegutang
Hungry? Let me present to you my favorite restaurant in Busan! Soksiwonhan Daegutang is a famous local restaurant on Dalmaji-gil that only serves one menu – Daegutang (codfish soup). You know the restaurant is good when there is only one menu!
You can trust me and blindly try. Or, read more about it on my Favorite Busan Food article to decide.
Hours: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Address: 229 Dalmaji-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Afternoon: Dalmaji-gil Road (or Dalmaji Hill)
Welcome to the Montmartre of Busan! If you are lucky to visit Busan in spring, you will be mesmerized with blooming cherry blossoms on Dalmaji-gil Road. All other seasons, you will enjoy the stunning ocean and emerald-blue sky.
Find a cafe you like. Sit down and sip a coffee while enjoying the view.
We found this cute cafe with an impressive terrace overlooking the beautiful scenery. The drinks and cakes were creative and delicious.
Insider Tip: While Moontan Road is more pedestrian-friendly, Dalmaji-gil Road is known to be an excellent driving course as it is hilly. It is walkable, though, if you are physically capable.
Afternoon: Haeundae Beach
Your Busan trip would not complete without visiting Haeundae Beach. Let’s get some sun on the sandy beach, shall we?
Whether you are traveling during the swimming season or not, you have to stop by Haeundae Beach. There is no other iconic place in Busan, like Haeundae. In fact, it is even better during the offseason as it would be much lesser crowded.
Just stroll over the sand, breathe in the salty air, and take some pictures. If you are lucky, you might be pleasantly surprised by an on-going festival or event. (It was the case for me every single time I went there.)
Besides the Haeundae Beach, the area is full of things to do. SEA LIFE Aquarium (reserve your ticket here) is on the beach and popular by couples and families with children. Foodies might want to check out Haeundae Pojangmacha-chon, where you can eat fresh seafood over soju inside a tent bar in the evening. If you dare, you can get a bite of Gomjangeo (hagfish) at Haeundae Hagfish Street.
Address: 264, Haeundaehaebyon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
How to get there: Metro Line 2 Haeundae Station (Exit 3, 5)
Evening: The Bay 101
Walk along Haeundae Beach towards The Westin Chosun Hotel. Behind the hotel, you will see The Bay 101 Yacht Club, an emerging spot in Haeundae.
The best time to visit The Bay 101 is during night time when the city lights come alive. The clubhouse, which is open to the public, has restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. You can also hop on a public yacht tour without membership at specific time slots.
A night yacht tour (sign up here) is highly recommended by my close friend. We did not get to do it. But her family with two children and a teen enjoyed fashionably gazing at the sparkly Marine City, the illuminated Gwangandaegyo Bridge, and other landmarks on the water.
Alternatively, if you would rather stay warm in winter, you can go to Spa Land Centum City. (This is what we ended up doing because we did not want to shiver on a yacht with the chilly ocean wind.) Located inside Shinsegye Centum City – the largest department store in the world, Spa Land is one of the most luxurious Korean jjimjilbangs in the country. And it’s only 10-minute away from Haeundae by taxi. (Read my full review of Spa Land Busan here.)
Address: 52 Dongbaek-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
How to get there: Walk along Haeundae Beach towards the West Chosun Hotel.
Busan Itinerary Day 4: Gijang
If you have managed to do everything I suggest above for 3 days in Busan, you have achieved a lot for the first visit. (Pat yourself on the back!)
Congrats, you have the luxury of spending more than 3 days in Busan! Busan Day 4 & 5 below are the bonus itinerary. These places, in my opinion, are the off-the-beaten-track, some of them literally far off from the main area. Regardless, they deserve some recognition and worth your visit with time allowed.
On Day 4, we are going a bit further away from the city center. And it is all about immersing yourself in the dazzling natural beauty of the marine city. Your morning starts at the northeast shore of Busan in Gijang-gun.
Morning: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is best known as the Temple by the Sea. This Buddhist temple is on the tip of the cliff along the coast of the East Sea. Thanks to its picturesque surroundings, it is (self-claimed) the most beautiful Buddhist temple in Korea.
If you want to catch the earliest sunrise in Busan, Haedong Yonggugnsa Temple, as well as the nearby Ananti Cove (see below), is an excellent place to do just that. And that is why it gets super busy in the morning of New Year’s Day with the crowds trying to make a wish.
Speaking of which, did you know that this temple guarantees to grant one of your wishes? Foreign visitors may not notice the “advertising” sign on the rock because it is carved in Korean. Anyways, it kind of irked me. (How do you feel about that?)
Interestingly, I happened to visit Haedong Yonggungsa on the annual college entrance exam day, which is a big deal in Korea. I expected tons of tourists, as this temple is very touristy. Instead, I saw many Korean moms wishing their children to perform well on the exam. I guess the advertisement did work.
Despite being touristy (and slightly gimmicky), I think the temple is still worth your visit. After all, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is an impressive, beautiful temple. And its seashore location is unique in the sense that most well-known Korean Buddhist temples are all deep inside the mountain. Just don’t expect to get your spiritual enlightenment here.
Hours: 5 a.m. – sunset
Address: 86 Yonggung-gil, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan
How to get there: Metro Line 2 Haeundae Station (Exit 7) → Transfer to Bus #181
Afternoon: Ananti Cove
Only a 5-minute taxi ride away from Headong Yongungsa Temple, Ananti Cove is an emerging hot place with Korea’s “Hocance” (Hotel+Vacance: spending vacation in a hotel) trend.
Ananti Cove is a luxury resort town nestled in 600 acres of forest off the Northeast coast of Busan. It is the ultimate seaside escape destination surrounded in pristine nature.
If your budget allows, I highly recommend staying at the five-star Hilton Busan (check the rates here). That way, you can treat yourself an uninterrupted holiday and maximize your time at the resort.
Whether you stay a night or not, I still recommend chilling at Ananti Cove. This remote seaside town allures daytrippers to get a taste of high-flying lifestyle at its incredibly beautiful resort.
The amenities include an opulent hot spring water park with an open-air infinity pool overlooking the East Sea, tasty restaurants and bars, a concept book cafe and lifestyle store, and the only overseas location of Rome’s best coffee house, among many more.
Besides all the fabulous things Ananti Cove offers, the surrounding nature is too beautiful to miss!
I understand Ananti Cove is not for everyone. But first, take a peek at my unsponsored, candid experience at Ananti Cove to see if it is worthwhile to include in your itinerary.
Busan Itinerary Day 5: Yeongdo
Yeongdo is a small island connected with Busan via three bridges. For K-pop fans, it is the hometown of Kang Daniel. His fans make a pilgrimage to Yeongdo. However, other than Taejongdae, the island mostly remains as an off-the-beaten-path to international visitors. On your last day in Busan, why not explore this gorgeous island?
Taejongdae is on the southern end of the island, which is the furthest point away from the mainland. It is also the closest point to the Japanese island of Tsushima. Supposedly, you can see Tsushima from Taejongdae Observatory on a cloudless sunny day. (And Taejongdae is best enjoyed in good weather, anyways.)
Once you get to Taejongdae Park, hop on a Danubi Train (₩2,000) unless you want to walk all the way to the Observatory.
Go down underneath the Observatory, you will see two famous rocks. The first one is Sinseon Rock, named after the myth that it was the playground for gods and goddesses. Another is Mangbuseok, with the story of a woman waiting for her husband, who had been taken to Japan.
Also, situated in Taejongdae Park is Yeongdo Lighthouse. This old lighthouse had guided ships around Busan Port for 100+ years. Now the retired tower has become a marine culture space with an art gallery and Natural History Museum.
If you’d like, you can also get on a cruise to see Yeongdo and Taejongdae from the water. Just follow the sign.
Hours: March – Oct. 4 a.m. – midnight | Nov.-Feb. 5 a.m. – midnight
Address: 24, Jeonmang-ro, Yeongdo-gu, Busan
How to Get there: Metro Line 1. Nampo Station → Transfer to bus #8 or #30
Day Trip from Busan to Gyeongju
Would you rather take a day trip from Busan on your day 5? Excellent idea! May I suggest Gyeongju, Korea’s first UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Gyeongju was the capital city of Korea’s ancient kingdom for a thousand years. The entire city is a historical site, and ancient treasures are still being excavated, like in Rome. Read my guide to Gyeongju day trip from Busan here >>
Lunch: Shellfish BBQ
Hungry? Taejongdae Jagalmadang is a famous shellfish BBQ street. (My lunch suggestion for you!) I had cheesy grilled shellfish somewhere else in Busan. It was so yummy that I decided I would always eat shellfish barbecue every time I visit Busan from now on. So go ahead and try one at this famous eatery alley.
Right off of Jagalmadang is Gamji Beach. It is a hidden, low-key beach only Busan locals know. Honestly, even I haven’t been. But I wanted to share this gem as you will be in the area anyway. Maybe swing by to digest all the clams you ate?
Afternoon: Yeongdodaegyo Bridge (optional)
One of the three bridges connecting Yeongdo with Busan is Yeongdodaegyo Bridge. It is a bascule bridge that is lifted 75 degrees upward once every day at 2 p.m. When it’s elevated, you can see the iconic Busan Seagull paintings on the bridge (from the Lotte Department Store side). If you are interested in witnessing this brief show, you can stop by.
Hours: 2 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Address: Daegyo-dong 1-ga, Taejong-ro, Yeongdo-gu, Busan
How to get there: Metro Line 1 Nampo Station (Exit 8)
Afternoon: Huinnyeoul Culture Village
Similar to Gamcheon Culture Village, Huinnyeoul Culture Village is another charming cliff town by the ocean. Although it is less crowded than Gamcheon, it became an emerging spot since the Korean movie The Attorney was filmed here. Now the film site has turned into the Tour Information Center where you can take an Instagram shot with the ocean as your backdrop.
While Gamcheon is more about exploring the winding alleys and finding colorful arts all over the town, at Huinneyoul, you will follow the coastal walk along the cliff and rest at one of the cafes to enjoy the beautiful seaside view. What’s unique here is that you can see parked ships on the horizon.
If you are up for a moderate hike, newly developed Jeoryeong Coastal Walk goes under the cliff passage, which stretches all the way to Taejongdae.
Address: 250, Jeolyeong-ro, Yeongdo-gu, Busan
How to Get there: Metro Line 1 Nampo Station (Exit 60) → Transfer to Bus #7, #71, or #508
How to Get to Busan from Seoul
There are many ways to get to Busan from Seoul. Lots of choices are great, but also can be confusing. For the purpose of this article, I will introduce the most common (and the best) three means to get to Busan.
KTX Seoul to Busan (Recommended)
Unless you are directly flying into Busan from overseas, I recommend taking the high-speed train, KTX (Reserve your discounted KTX pass here).
Whenever I go to Busan, I always compare KTX vs. flight. The benefits of taking a KTX train usually outweighs that of flight:
- Travel time is not that bad. KTX will zip you from Seoul to Busan in 2 hours and 15 minutes, or 3.5 hours with the slowest service.
- The train connects you from the Seoul city center to the Busan city center. Easy peasy!
- While KTX fare is not much cheaper than airfare, you can save on extra luggage charges. Coming from overseas, we always have more luggage than domestic airlines allow.
Flight from Seoul (Gimpo) to Busan
Taking a flight from Seoul to Busan takes less than 40 minutes. With the Korean-efficient airport system, riding a domestic flight is effortless.
HOWEVER, take travel time to/from airports into consideration. Because both Gimpo (Seoul) and Gimhae (Busan) airports are further away from the city centers, you will inevitably spend more time traveling to and from the airports.
Seoul to Busan by Bus
Taking an express bus from Seoul to Busan takes about 4-4.5 hours. It is cheaper than the options above.
Make sure you select the terminal closer to your hotel:
- Seoul has four express bus terminals: Central City (Metro Line 3/7/9 Express Bus Terminal Station), Dong Seoul (Metro Line 2 Gangbyeon Station), Sangbong (Metro Line 7 Sangbong Station) and Seoul Nambu (Metro Line 3 Nambu Bus Terminal Station).
- Busan also has two terminals: Busan Central Bus Terminal (Metro Line 1 Nopo Station) and Busan Sasang Terminal (Metro Line 2 Sasang Station).
You can take an Express Bus (Gyeongbu/Yeongdong Line). Express buses run on highways with few stops at a rest area. Fares vary by the type of buses: Premium, Luxury (“udeung”), and Regular (“ilban”). The difference is the comfort level, not the travel time. Go to the Kobus website for schedules and reservations.
Insider Tip: Another option is an Intercity Bus. While it makes more frequent stops on the route, it may be worthwhile to take an intercity bus from Dong Seoul Terminal to Haeundae. It will take you to the central part of Busan. Visit this website for schedules and reservations.