Pack your bags and get ready to fly. We’re heading to Busan!
Busan is the second-largest city in Korea known for its wide stretches of beaches, mountains and temples and it’s definitely fast becoming one of the hot spots for tourists. So are we set to go? Well, not just yet. Let’s get to know Busan a bit more, and what better way than to learn about some of the things you most definitely cannot miss while in Busan. Here is a list of 11 things that you should definitely do in Busan!
P.S. Planning to visit Seoul as well? Find top attractions, the best eateries and nearby prayer spaces all in one space- the HHWT website! Travel planning will be fuss-free now 😉
1. Visit Masjid Al-Fattah
Credit: Buah Hatiku, Surgaku
The first place you should visit when you arrive in Busan is Masjid Al-Fatah. It is the second mosque that was built in South Korea and it was built in 1980 with financial support from Ali Fellaq, the former minister of finance in Libya. It’s a nice, cozy small mosque that also has a Muslim kindergarten for the convenience of Muslim families living in Busan.
Getting there: Take the subway to Dusil station (Line 2) exit 8.
2. Have lunch at Cappadocia Turkish Kebab House
After visiting the mosque, why not head for lunch at the Cappadocia Turkish Kebab House. It is one of the few halal outlets in Busan and quite famous among Muslim travellers. As with most Turkish restaurants, it serves a range of delicious lamb and chicken kebabs. As for those who want to add a little touch of Korean to their Middle Eastern cuisine, it also offers Kimchi Kebab. The restaurant is conveniently located a few meters away from the mosque.
3. Have a day out at Haeundae Beach
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A trip to Busan is never complete without seeing its famous beach, Haeundae Beach. On a nice day, the beach is filled with families having picnics, and people playing beach volleyball, swimming or just plain strolling down the length of the beach. Shelter umbrellas that are available for rent, are conveniently placed along the beach to enhance your beach experience. And if you’re lucky, you might just be able to catch the famous Haeundae Sand Festival, which is held during the summer.
Getting There: Take the subway to Haeundae Beach station (Line 2, Green Line). The walk to the beach will take you about 10 minutes.
Psst…visiting Busan for the first time? Check out our Muslim-friendly travel guide for the best time ever in this coastal city!
4. Watch the sunset at Dongbaekseom Island
Dongbeakseom Island (Island of Camellias) is one of the islands named after thriving dongbaek trees. It is also known for its natural landscape surrounded by dense camellias and pine trees. Dongbaekseom Island used to be an actual island but has now become part of the mainland and is located off one end of Haeundae Beach. After having a day out at the beach, why not head over to Dongbaekseom Island to enjoy the sunset.
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The Nurimaru APEC House is also located on the island and its architecture design is something to marvel at. According to the Korea Tourism Organization, the name Nurimaru APEC House is created by combining the Korean words nuri (world) and maru (summit), and “APEC House,” which refers to an APEC conference hall. Collectively, it means “a house where the world summits gather together for an APEC meeting.”
5. Visit the Beomeosa Temple
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Beomeosa Temple is one of the most famous temples in Busan located at the edge of Mt. Geumjeongsan, which is a popular mountain in Busan for hiking. Despite the fact that it’s located very near to the city, the magnificent architecture paired with the mountain setting transports you worlds away from the urban jungle. Beomeosa was a leading temple built along the Geumjeongsanseong Fortress, the nation’s largest fortress, built during the Three Kingdoms period. A visit to the temple would definitely draw you in with its rich culture and numerous relics.
Adult – 1,000 Won
Youth – 700 Won
Child – 500 Won
Getting there: Take the subway to Beomeosa station (Line 1). From there, take exit 7 and get on the bus at bus stop 90. Or you can take a taxi or walk to the temple.
6. Hike Mount Geumjeongsan
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After visiting the Beomeosa Temple, why not try one of the hiking trails available at the Mount Geumjeongsan, which contains Godangbong Peak, the main peak rising 801.5 metres above sea level, Janggunbong Peak (727 meters) to the north, Sanggyebong Peak (638 meters) in the south, and Baegyangsan Mountain (642 meters) behind Seongjigok Valley. In between these peaks are numerous other smaller peaks The trails range from 6km hikes to 8km ones – definitely make sure that you are fit before you decide to try it!
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The views at the peaks are amazing , so it’s definitely worth the hike up to the top.
7. Sightseeing at Gamcheon Culture Village
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20 minutes away from the Toseong station is the colourful clutter of houses at the Gamcheon Culture Village. The village was built along the terrace on a hillside where one house after another was added to each row, creating what now is an organised town.
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The neighbourhood is filled with arts and craft shops and cute little cafes. You can let yourself get lost in the winding alleys and discover all the quirks and unique designs of the houses – the most important bit is that this place is a treasure of photo opportunities!
Hey, looking for accommodation options in Busan? Why not check out our list of comfy hotels for your getaway here!
8. Feast on seafood at Jalgachi Fish Market
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Jagalchi Fish Market is Korea’s largest seafood stall market. Rows upon rows of fresh seafood are lined up along the walkway for you to feast your eyes (and stomach, obviously!) on.
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Common seafood produce that is available include mackerel, sea squirts (ascidians), giant squids, whale meat, dried seafood, and pickled seafood amongst other sea produces. The market itself has two sections; outdoor market and indoors. The indoor areas are mainly for dining, where customers choose their seafood downstairs and wait to be served upstairs. It is definitely a place you need to visit, especially if you’re a seafood enthusiast!
9. Walk along Gwangandaegyo Bridge
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Gwangandaegyo Bridge is another tourist spot in Busan you shouldn’t miss. It stretches over 7.4km from Namcheon-dong (Suyeong-gu, Busan) to Centum City (U-dong, Haeundae-gu). The view of the nearby attractions from the bridge is absolutely breathtaking.
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The bridge displays artistic lighting that changes every day and every season. It is definitely a must-go location for photo opportunities be it during the day or night time.
10. Visit Taejongdae
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Taejongdae is a nature park in Busan surrounded by rocky seaside cliffs facing the sea. It is a popular tourist spot with a lighthouse situated on top of a fairly long set of stairs.
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From the top you can experience the unrestricted magnificent view of the sea and the surrounding cliff formations. There are several tour courses available catered to the needs and convenience of the visitors, so make sure you choose one that suit you best – it takes quite awhile to walk the whole length of the park. For the best experience, take the Danubi train, which is a hop on hop off train along its 5 stops: Taejongsa Temple →Observatory →Yeongdo Lighthouse → Gumyeongsa Temple → Taewon Jagal Madang.
Danubi Train Fees
Individuals: Adults 2,000 won / Youths 1,500 won / Children 1,000 won
Groups: Adults 1,600 won / Youths 1,200 won / Children 800 won
* Groups: 30 people or more
Adults 1,600 won / Youths 1,200 won / Children 800 won
* Family fare applies to families of 3 or more members, including adults and children (up to teenagers)
Children (under 4 years old) – Free
Getting There: From Busan Station, take Bus 88 or 101 and get off at Taejongdae Cliff Bus Stop.
Other buses bound for Taejongdae: No. 8, 13, 30, 88, or 101.
11. Shop till you drop at BIFF Square
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And finally, did I forget to mention that there is a shopping haven for the shopaholics as well as awesome food for the foodies? There is! BIFF Square is a newly transformed shopping district named after the Busan International Film Festival. BIFF Square boasts a few hundred shopping alternatives as well as great restaurants with teems of local street food stalls for the foodie out there. And that’s not all, according to the Korea Tourism Organization, the 428 meter-long street stretching from the Buyeong Theater in Nampo-dong to the overpass in Chungmu-dong was divided into “Star Street” and “Festival Street,” and on the eve of the festival each year the “BIFF Square Ground Opening” is held on the street. During the ceremony, events such as the hand printing of famous movie celebrities and Nunggot Jeomdeung (snow-flower lighting) will take place. Isn’t that amazing? The BIFF Square is surely a place that you wouldn’t want to skip in your itinerary.
#HHWT Tip: There’s a Halal café called New Little India located at the BIFF Square and if you’re a little adventurous you can find a stall operated by two Indonesian ladies serving fried noodles in between the food stalls.
Getting there: Take the subway to Nampo station.
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Busan is truly an amazing place to visit. There are definitely lot more places for you to sightsee and activities you can do in Busan on top of the 11 things listed above. Hopefully this list is helpful for you in planning your own itinerary for your getaway there. Oh, and if you’re thinking of heading to Seoul as well (and you should 😉), find the best halal eateries, top attractions and nearby prayer spaces all in one space- on the HHWT website! If you’ve visited Seoul, share the love and leave a review on our website! Your travel stories will help other Muslim travellers too 😊