Are you planning a trip to South Korea’s beautiful coastal city, Busan? If so, you’ve landed on just the right page! With its stunning beaches, lively markets, historic temples, and colorful Instagram spots, Busan offers an array of attractions for every kind of traveler. Whether you have just 3 days in Busan or a longer stay, Busan is a captivating city with loads to do and see! Here’s my jam-packed Busan itinerary for 3 days to help you discover the city’s best bits!
Ready to embark on an exciting adventure through the streets of Busan? Grab some banana uyu (or your favorite soju), and let’s dive into this Busan itinerary!
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Table of Contents
Busan Itinerary Essentials
Before you jet off on your Busan trip, it’s important to have a few basic things in place. Here are my top pre-travel planning tips to help you make the most of 3 days in Busan.
- Busan is HUGE! Therefore it’s important to choose the right area to stay. If you want to be right in the city’s hustle, base yourself in Seomyeon or Nampo-dong. For beach vibes, opt to stay near Gwangalli Beach or Haeundae Beach. Search the best hotels in Busan here and see my top recs below.
- If you want to avoid public transport, pre-book a private transfer from Gimhae International Airport or KTX Busan Station for a stress-free trip to your hotel.
- While there are many free things to do in Busan, most of Busan’s main attractions are paid activities. If you’re planning on visiting lots of the main sights, it’s worth grabbing a Busan Pass. The pass includes discounted or free access to 30 attractions in Busan, including Busan Tower, Blueline Park Seaside Train, Songdo Cable Car, and much more!
- Order an eSim for South Korea or prebook a 4G SIM card for pickup at the airport. That way you can easily access transport schedules, maps, etc. on the move.
- Buy a T Money card (Korea’s transport card) as soon as you arrive in Busan, so you can simply tap and go on buses and the metro. You can recharge the card at any top-up machine in metro stations or convenience stores like CU, GS25, and 7-11.
- Busan is a super safe city, but you never know what can happen on a trip. SafetyWing offers comprehensive travel insurance, and it’s easy to apply online in just a few clicks.
- If you’d rather skip all the hassles of exploring Busan independently, this one day Busan tour or this East & West Busan Exploration tour covers the city’s best spots.
- Google Maps does not work in South Korea. And the last thing you need is to get lost or feel frustrated during your 3 days in Busan itinerary. Download Naver Map (iOS) or KakaoMap (iOS) to plan your stops, check schedules, and get directions.
- Bring cash, but note many places only accept cards.
Busan Itinerary Quick Overview: What to do in Busan
Busan is such an amazing city, but since it’s huge, getting from one place to another can really cut into your itinerary. Feel free to switch days around or pick and choose activities on this Busan itinerary. Just remember to group activities in the same areas together to maximize your time. Here’s a quick look at what to expect in this Busan itinerary.
Day 1: Gamcheon Culture Village >> Jagalchi Market >> BIFF Square >> Gukje Market >> Bosu Book Street >> Yongdusan Park & Busan Tower
Day 2: Oryukdo Skywalk >> Seomyeon Shopping District >> Gwangalli Beach
Day 3: Haedong Yonggungsa Temple >> Haeundae Blueline Park >> Busan X the Sky >> Haeundae Beach
Busan Itinerary Day 1: Western Busan
Gamcheon Culture Village
Kickstart your first day in Busan by visiting the city’s most Instagrammable spot – Gamcheon Culture Village.
Gamcheon is a colorful hillside village between Cheonmasan Mountain and Ongnyeobong Peak. Once a refugee base during the Korean War, Gamcheon Village is today better known as a thriving hub for art lovers and often dubbed Korea’s Machu Picchu. The village is filled with artsy cafes and a whole bunch of quirky art installations and colorful murals.
Plan to spend at least 3-4 hours wandering through the maze-like alleys, marveling at the views, or kicking back at the cozy cafes. There are tons of photo ops along the way, and if you’re up for it, you can hunt down all the artworks in the village. There are tons!
Visiting the village is free, but remember to grab a tourist map at the Information Center. The map costs 2,000 KRW, but it’s worth every penny because you’re almost guaranteed to get lost!
After getting lost in the alleyways of Gamcheon, you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite.
Hop in a taxi (or catch the bus) back to Nampo – one of the oldest districts in Busan. Nampo is a busy hive packed with bustling markets and loads to keep you busy for a few hours.
Your first stop should be Jagalchi Market – the biggest fish market in South Korea. The market spans several floors, but it’s the first floor that you’ll want to explore. Here you can see an array of weird and wonderful seafood on display. If you’re hungry, head up to the second floor for a fantastic seafood lunch. For a more in-depth experience and the luxury of having a local chef guide you through the market, join this Jagalchi Fish Market & Korean Food Market Tour.
Most people visiting Jagalchi Market don’t know this, but you can get an incredible view over the entire harbor from atop the market building. To get to the observation deck, take the escalator adjacent to Gate 1 up to the 7th floor. From there, you’ll need to climb a flight of stairs to the rooftop. Besides the epic views, the best part about visiting here is that it’s free.
Next up on your Busan itinerary is BIFF Square. Famous for hosting the Busan International Film Festival, BIFF Square is a vibrant shopping area filled with everything from movie theaters and hip clothing stores to K-Beauty shops and food!
If you’re a foodie, come hungry because BIFF Square is famous for its tasty street food, hipster cafes, and eateries. Don’t miss the yummy ssiat hotteok (sweet pancake stuffed with seeds).
For a more traditional vibe, make your way over to Gukje Market.
Gukje Market is a massive traditional market home to hundreds of stalls selling everything from electronics, clothes, K-Pop knick-knacks, household goods, and food. It makes for an interesting browse, and if you’re looking for a good bargain, this is the place to find it!
Boso Book Street
After you’ve had your fill of shopping, take a quick walk over to Boso Book Street. Boso Book Street is somewhat of a hidden gem in Busan, and if you’re a bookworm, you should definitely pop by here.
The alley was started by a refugee couple who sold used magazines here during the Korean War. And by the 1970s, Bosu Book Street was home to around 70 bookstores. Today, only a few second-hand bookstores remain.
Even though you only need a few minutes to stroll through the entire alley, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the past and makes for a great photo stop.
Yongdusan Park & Busan Diamond Tower
If you still have energy left after an afternoon of shopping and browsing, stroll over to Yongdusan Park – a peaceful oasis right in the heart of Nampo.
While the park is a great place to enjoy a slice of nature, the star attraction here is the Busan Diamond Tower – one of the most iconic buildings in Busan. Built in 1973, this 120m tall tower offers epic 360-degree views over the port, city, and mountains. It’s also open until 10 pm making it a great spot to end your first day in Busan as you watch the skyline light up in a kaleidoscope of neon colors. The entrance is 12,000 KRW.
Insider’s tip: If you’re traveling on a shoestring, nearby Lotte World Department Store also has an observation deck that is free to visit.
Busan Itinerary Day 2: Central & Southern Busan
Start day 3 in Busan early with a trip out to Oryukdo.
Oryukdo (which means 5 or 6 islands) is a cluster of rocky islets jutting out of the sea. Depending on the tide, 5 or 6 islets are visible. For the best views over the islands, head to the Oryukdo Skywalk. It’s a 22m-long glass bridge perched right at the edge of the cliff! Afterward, follow the wooden stairway, where several lookout points offer a closer look at the islets. Also, keep an eye out for the marker stone that marks the East Sea separating from the South Sea.
If you’re up for it, you can also tackle the first course of the Haeparang Trail. It runs along the coast from Oryukdo Sunrise Park to Haeundae. The famous sunrise trail – Igidae Coastal Trail – is also here and is a great alternative if you’re looking for a low-key hike. This trail is 4.7 km long and takes about 2 hours to complete depending on your photo stops and fitness level.
Seomyeon is the hippest district in Busan. It has a similar vibe to Myeong-dong in Seoul, making it a great spot to explore.
While Seomyeon usually only comes alive at night, it’s also a great place to explore during the day sans the crowds. It’s packed to the brim with fashion outlets, homegrown cosmetics shops, malls, photo prop shops, and some of the best eateries and bars in the city.
Nearby you’ll also find Jeonpo Cafe Street – a popular hangout spot among Korean couples. The area actually spans several streets with plenty of hipster cafes to take a breather while sipping your favorite drink. Another cool area to check out here (even just for the scenes) is Seomyeon Medical Street. Medical tourism is huge in Busan, and if you want to see where all the transformations happen, this is it!
The last stop on your Busan itinerary for today is Gwangalli Beach. Gwangalli Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Busan and the best sunset viewing spot in the city.
If there’s still some light left, opt to take a swim. Alternatively, plop yourself down on the soft sand or find a spot at one of the many cozy cafes and eateries lining the beach to watch Gwangan Bridge light up in a dazzling display of neon colors.
Busan Itinerary Day 3: Eastern Busan
Haedong Yonggung Temple
On your last day in Busan, hop on the bus to Haedong Yonggung Temple – the most beautiful temple in Korea!
The Buddhist temple was built in 1376 by the great Buddhist teacher Naong during the Goryeo Dynasty. It was destroyed in a fire during the Japanese invasion. In the 1930s, the temple was rebuilt, but it was only in the 1970s that the main hall was reconstructed into what we see today.
While Haedong Yonggungsa Temple certainly has a long and interesting past, what really makes it so special is its setting. The temple is perched right on the rocks next to the ocean creating the most beautiful sight imaginable. To get to the temple, follow the 108-stone step trail lined with lanterns. The course takes you over a bridge to the main complex. En route, make sure to follow the dirt path to the left. It leads to the sunrise platform, but it’s also here where you’ll get the best photo ops.
Since visiting Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is one of the best things to do in Busan, it can get crowded. Come early if you want to skip the mobs.
Haeundae Blueline Park
After exploring Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, hop on the bus to Songjeon. Here you’ll find Haeundae Blueline Park – Busan’s newest attraction and a highlight on any Busan 3 day itinerary!
Haeundae Blueline Park is an eco-friendly railway facility redeveloped from an old railway line built during the Japanese occupation. The track is only 4.8km long but arguably offers the best views of Busan’s eastern coastline. There are two main attractions here – the Beach Train and the Sky Capsule (a super cute aerial tram).
While you could simply take the Beach Train back to Haeundae Mipo Station from Songjeon Station, I highly recommend slowing down because there are many interesting stops along the way!
Start your journey by exploring Songjeong – a laidback beach village and surfing hot spot. The beach is shallow, making it the perfect place to take a quick dip.
From Songjeong, hop on the beach train to Cheongsapo – another sleepy seaside village. You’ll find several cozy cafes near the beach where you can grab a bite and admire the views. A popular photo spot here is the Twin Lighthouses, and if you’re up to it, you can walk over to Daritdol Skywalk for more epic views.
After you’ve seen enough of Cheongsapo, head back to the station and jump in the Sky Capsule for the last leg of the journey back to Haeundae Mipo Station.
Insider’s tip: Tickets for the beach train and sky capsule sell out fast. If you want a ticket, make sure you go before noon. You can also buy tickets online (up to 2 weeks in advance) on the Blueline Park website. A one way trip on the Sky Capsule costs 35,000 KRW (2 pax), while the Beach Train costs 7,000 KRW p/p.
Busan X the Sky
For a breathtaking view over the city, ocean, and mountains, visit Busan X the Sky. It’s located in the Landmark Tower of the shimmering Haeundae LCT The Sharp Complex.
While the complex has three buildings, the Landmark Tower is the shining star. Besides housing Busan X the Sky (the largest observation deck in South Korea), the building is also the second tallest building in the country, rising 411.6m high.
The observatory spans several floors and is accessed via the entrance facing Haeundae Beach. Grab an entry ticket to skip the lines or get free entry with this Busan Pass from Klook. The entrance fee is 27,000 KRW.
End your last day in Busan at Haeundae Beach! Arguably the most popular beach in the city, Haeundae Beach is a beautiful 1.5km stretch of soft white sand with plenty of space to tuck your toes into. It’s also a great swimming spot with lifeguard stations all along the beach.
Besides lounging on the beach, there are loads of fun things to do in Haeundae. Some of the highlights include visiting the impressive Busan SEA Life Aquarium, gobbling up delicious food at the Haeundae Traditional Market, and hiking along the rocky coastline of Dongbaekseom Island. A stroll along the promenade is also obligatory. It’s a cool place to take it all in and catch buskers performing. Dozens of cafes also line it, making it a great spot to grab a quick bite or a boozy cocktail.
Other Things to do in Busan
If you have more time in Busan, here are a few more alternative things to do in Busan.
- Spa Land Centum City – After a whirlwind tour rushing around Busan, you might need some downtime. And what better way to relax than with a pamper session and a steamy sauna sesh at one of the most lavish bathhouses in Korea? Spa Land is also located in the world’s largest department store, Shinsegae Centum City – perfect for packing in some last-minute retail therapy.
- Huinnyeoul Culture Village – Similar to Gamcheon Cultural Village but much smaller, Huinnyeoul is a great spot for street art chasing, breezy coastal walks, and hanging out in hipster cafes.
- Busan Air Cruise (aka Songdo cable car): If you want to admire Busan from a different angle, taking the Songdo cable car is a huge must! The cable car runs from Songdo Beach to Amnan Park and offers incredible views over the city and the ocean beneath.
Where to Stay in Busan
If you’re planning your first trip to the city, deciding where to stay in Busan can be overwhelming. The good news is that South Korea’s second largest city has the most amazing accommodation options imaginable, no matter your budget or preferences. However, since Busan is quite spread out, choosing the right area to base yourself is important. The best places to stay in Busan are Seomyeon, Nampo-dong, Gwangalli Beach, and Haeundae Beach. All these districts are well connected via trains and public buses, so getting between them is easy.
Here are my top picks for each area.
Haeundae Beach is my absolute favorite place to stay in Busan. It’s super laid back, packed with fantastic restaurants, and you’ll have the luxury of lounging on one of South Korea’s best beaches whenever you please.
If you want to be right in the thick of Busan’s vibrant shopping district with access to transport, shops, hipster cafes, and eateries, then Seomyeon is where to stay in Busan. It’s a trendy and lively area with lots to keep night owls busy.
- Luxury: Lotte Hotel Busan
- Mid-range: Hotel Kyungsung
- Budget: K Guesthouse
If you want to experience a more traditional side of Busan while still based in a busy part of town, Nampo is your best bet. Nampo is home to some of the most iconic attractions in Busan – from Busan Tower and Jagalchi Market to BIFF Square and the sprawling Gukje Market. Additionally, Gamcheon Culture Village (Busan’s most famous IG spot) is just around the corner!
- Luxury: Lavalse Hotel
Gwangalli Beach is a bit more central than Haeundae Beach, and dozens of awesome cafes and restaurants line its stunning shores. If you want to lounge on a dreamy beach, catch awesome sunsets, and watch Busan’s famous Gwangan Bridge light up every night, this is the spot for you.
How to Get to Busan
Gimhae International Airport (PUS) is the main gateway to Busan. The airport is much smaller than Incheon Airport in Seoul, but there are many daily direct flights from other Asian countries like Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and more. Search flights and compare prices here on Skyscanner.
If you are arriving at Gimhae Airport, you should know the airport is not actually in the city. Therefore, traveling into town can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 1h30, depending on where you are staying. Thankfully, getting to Busan from Gimhae Airport is a breeze, with taxis, buses, and an airport light rail ready to whizz you off to all corners of the city.
The easiest way to access the city is to take the Busan Airport Light Rail to Sasang Station or Daejeo Station. From there, you can connect to subway lines 2 and 3 to travel further. See the Busan metro map here.
However, if you’re not in the mood to bother with public transport, arrange a private transfer to pick you up at the airport.
Tips for Tourists Entering Korea
Even if you don’t need a visa for Korea, note that you might need to apply for K-ETA (Korean Electronic Travel Authorisation) to enter the country. Twenty-two countries are currently exempt from this, but if you are South African like me, don’t skip this step because you won’t be able to board the plane without it! The K-ETA application takes time to process, so remember to complete it at least 72hrs before your flight. You’ll also need to pay a small processing fee.
All tourists entering Korea must also complete a health declaration form for the Korean quarantine system. You can do this online in advance on the Q-Code website or upon arrival. My airline gave me the paper when I checked in, but there were forms available upon arrival too. Just make sure you complete it before going through immigration.
Getting to Busan from Seoul
While there are direct flights from Seoul, the most convenient way to get to Busan is by KTX – South Korea’s bullet train.
There are about 69 departures daily from Seoul train station to Busan train station, and the shortest journey takes 2h15. That said, if you’re traveling during weekends or in summer, book your tickets at least a few weeks in advance to guarantee you have a seat. You can book tickets directly on Rail Ninja or grab a discounted Korea Rail Pass for 2,3,4, or 5 days here.
How to Get Around During a Busan Itinerary
As mentioned, Busan is a big city, and since it’s quite spread, getting from one place to another in Busan can take quite long.
Thankfully Busan has amazing public transport connecting you to all corners of the city. The cheapest way to get around the city is by bus or metro. Make sure you grab a T Money Card (South Korea’s rechargeable transport card) to tap and go on buses and trains. You can buy the card (and top it up) at any of Busan’s subway stations and convenience stores. Artbox also sells super cute themed cards if you don’t mind paying a bit more.
Another thing to know is that Google Maps does not work in South Korea. Instead, you’ll need to download Naver Map or KakaoMap to check schedules, plan stops, and get accurate directions. I used both apps on my recent trip to Busan but found Naver Map a bit easier to navigate. Unlike KakaoMap, most of the stations’ names were in English, and the live preview map helped me make sense of where I was and in which direction I needed to go.
If the thought of trying to figure out the bus or metro system in Busan makes you cringe, consider hiring a car or a private charter for your trip. Another option is to flag down a taxi. Just know that it can get expensive quickly. Also, ensure you always have your destination’s address ready in Korean, as some taxi drivers can’t speak English.
3 Days in Busan Itinerary in Conclusion
A 3-day itinerary in Busan offers the perfect opportunity to experience a mix of culture, nature, and history. From relaxing on picturesque beaches and indulging in delicious food to exploring the markets, temples, and landmarks, Busan is a captivating city that simply must be on any Korean bucket list!
Well, there you have it – exactly how to spend 3 epic days in Busan! If you have any other suggestions for things to do in Busan, let me know in the comments below so I can add them to my Busan bucket list!