Travel Guide Asia South Korea Busan



.. view of Haeundae beach at noon

.. view of Haeundae beach at noon

© indarto

Busan (부산) with a population of 3.8 million is South Korea's second largest city and principal port. It's also the primary port for ferries to Japan and a gateway to the Hallyeo Maritime National Park and surrounding islands. The famous Jagalchi fish markets is one of Busan's top attractions and an excellent place to sample some of the multitude of marine products for sale.



Sights and Activities

  • Jagalchi Fish Markets
  • Haeundae Beach
  • Gamcheon culture village (colored houses)
  • Bupjeon night market
  • Gukje market
  • Temple Headong Yonggung (situated on rocky coastline)
  • Oryukdo Skywalk



Events and Festivals

National Events and Festivals

  • Shinjeong - means New Year's Day, on the 1st day, January. Shin(신) is a Korean word that means 'new'. January 1st is named 'Shinjeong' because after Korea adopted the Gregorian calendar it became the new way to mark the New Year.
  • Seollal - Lunar New Year, also known as "Korean New Year", or "Gujeong." Families gather together, eat traditional foods-especially Ddugguk (떡국) and perform an ancestral service. The public holiday lasts for 3 days, which includes the eve and second day. Many shops and restaurants close for the 3 days, so this might not be an ideal time to visit.
  • Sameeljjeol - 1st March, in commemoration of the March 1st resistance movement against the invading Japanese Imperial Army in 1919.
  • Orininal - children's day on the 5th May
  • Buchonnim osinnal or sawolchopa-il - means Buddha's birthday, 8th day of the 4th month in the lunar calendar.
  • Hyeonchung-il - means memorial day, 6th June. In commemoration of the people who gave their lives to the nation.
  • Gwangbokjjeol - Korea's independence day on the 15th of August. This day is actually the end of the second world war with the official Japanese surrender to the allied forces, which also meant Korea gaining her independence after many decades of Japanese colonialism.
  • Chuseok - often translated as "Korean Thanksgiving", this holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the year (usually September-October). Koreans celebrate by eating traditional foods, notably a rice cake called songpyeon (송편) and playing folk games. The public holiday lasts for 3 days and much like Lunar New Year, everything shuts down which makes visiting rather boring.
  • Hangeulnal - 'Hangeul Proclamation Day' anniversary for the Korean alphabet system on October 9th.
  • Gaecheonjeol - 3rd October. In commemoration of the first formation of the nation of ancient Korea.
  • Christmas - a significant holiday in South Korea, although it is mostly celebrated by young couples spending a romantic day together. Since a significant proportion (approximately 30%) of the country is Christian, there are no shortages of celebration in the thousands of churches whilst everyone else takes a well deserved rest at home.

Busan Events and Festivals

  • Busan Jagalchi Festival - This popular festival is held at the famous Jagalchi fish market in Busan every October. This festival celebrates the Sea god and host many fish-related activities. Visitors can play fish-themed carnival-style games, or catch fish in a big pool for prizes. There are fish-eating contests, fish-cooking contests, and even a fish and octopus relay race! A "memorial service" is held for all of the fish that die throughout the year for our enjoyment. Both the opening and closing ceremonies of this festival include a magnificent fireworks display.
  • Busan International Film Festival - One of the largest film festivals in Korea, the Busan International Film Festival shows over 300 films from over 70 countries. Even though the festival's inception is as recent as 1996, it has gained significant popularity over the years, and it draws a large international audience annually. Tickets for this event can be purchased online. This event is held every year in October.
  • Busan Sea Festival - The Busan Beach Festival is held at Busan’s most popular beach, Haeundae, where approximately 12 million vacationers visit every summer. This festival includes musical performances, fashion shows, and a variety of contents and entertainment. During this festival, visitors can also view quality water sports programs, including: windsurfing, beach volleyball tournaments, a pin-swimming tournament, and many more. Those attending the festival can also take advantage of free lessons offered in ocean rafting, canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, and banana boat rides. This festival takes place in August every year.
  • Sand and Fun Haeundae Festival - Haeundae Beach hosts this popular festival every June in Busan. Visitors can expect to see a beach volleyball tournament, a sand sculpture challenge (often recognized by the Guiness World Records), sand-boarding competition, beach soccer, a Korean wrestling match, and beach treasure hunt. Guests can also receive a "hot sand bath", where they can get buried in sand up to their necks. During the evening, the festival puts on a beautiful fireworks display and offers other great entertainment, like music concerts and magic shows.
  • Busan International Magic Festival - Busan hosts the largest magic festival in Asia. During this event, visitors can view performances from over 100 magicians from over 14 different countries. Magic supplies can be purchased, and for those guests aspiring to become magicians themselves, some magic trick lessons will be offered.




Busan has mild winters compared to much of the country, averaging between 6 and 9 degrees Celsius during the day and slightly below zero at night, but dropping as low as -14 degrees sometimes. Winters are relatively dry. Summers are tropical with hot and humid conditions. Temperatures average between 24 and 29 degrees from June to September with nights around or above 20 degrees. This is also the wet season with July topping at almost 300 mm of rain. The best times obviously are spring and autumn with much less rain and agreeable temperatures.

Avg Max7.6 °C9.1 °C13 °C17.8 °C21.5 °C24 °C27.3 °C29.2 °C26.1 °C22.1 °C16.1 °C10.3 °C
Avg Min-0.7 °C0.5 °C4.6 °C9.7 °C14 °C17.7 °C21.9 °C23.2 °C19.2 °C13.7 °C7.6 °C1.8 °C
Rainfall37.8 mm44.9 mm85.7 mm136.3 mm154.1 mm222.5 mm258.8 mm238.1 mm167 mm62 mm60.1 mm24.3 mm
Rain Days5.



Getting There

By Train

KTX to Seoul takes 2 hours 40 minutes.
Saemaul to Seoul takes 4 hours 20 minutes.

By Bus

Buses to Seoul take 5 hours 20 minutes.

By Boat

There are dozens of sailings on an almost daily or twice daily basis between Japan and Busan:

  • Korea Ferry to and from Busan.
  • Mirajet has high speed ferries between Busan and Fukuoka, taking only 3 hours.
  • JR Beetle, a Japanese based company, offers the same service.
  • The Camellia-line ferry service is much slower (15 hours) but almost twice as cheap.

The most popular and cheapest route is between Busan and Shimonoseki.

  • The Kampur Ferry Service's vessels Kampu or Pukwan leave Busan at 6pm and arrive in Shimonoseki at 8.30am the next morning on a daily basis.

The PanStar Line operates a ferry between Osaka and Busan. The ferry leaves Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, at 3:10pm from both Osaka and Busan and arrives the following day at 10:00am. In Busan, the luggage check-in time is prior to the passenger check-in time: for the Busan-Osaka run, luggage check in is 12:40pm-2:00pm and the passenger check in time is 2:15pm-2:45pm; for the Osaka-Busan run, luggage check in is 1:00pm-2:00pm and the passenger check in time is 1:00pm-2:30pm. Many different room options are available, including family rooms. Fares start at ¥17,000 and range through seven different room/suite classes culminating in a Presidential Suite, which is ¥250,000 per night. Tickets can be purchased online, but much of the website content is only available in Japanese and Korean, and may be difficult to navigate for English speakers. Tickets are easily obtainable through agents specializing in Korean or Japanese travel.

The ferry holds live musical performances, magic shows, and other entertainment on the run. Schedule varies.

You can take your car on the ferry, but there are documentation requirements, and you should check the website for information. The cost for a single basic room and a car is ₩690,000. Room upgrades are available. Temporary insurance must be purchased at the port upon arrival in Osaka.

Musung has boats between Busan and Yantai in China. Dalian, Shanghai, Tianjin (City), Yingkou and Weihai have connections to and from Busan.





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Keep Connected


South Korea is the world's most wired country and Internet cafes, known as PC bang, are ubiquitous through the country. Most customers are there for gaming but you're free to sit and type e-mails as well, typical charges are about ₩1,000 to ₩2,000/hour. Like anything, it may be more expensive in more "luxurious" places. Also, snacks and drinks are available for purchase in most PC bangs.

There is also a lot of free wifi available throughout South Korea. Just check for an unencrypted signal, although using open wifi hotspots is a potential security risk anywhere in the world so be careful what you use it for. Many coffee shops offer free wifi with no registration required.


See also International Telephone Calls

International dialing prefixes in South Korea vary by operator, and there is no standard prefix. Check with your operator for the respective prefixes. For calls to South Korea, the country code is 82. Emergency numbers include 112 (Polie) and 119 (Ambulance and Fire).

The country has three service providers: KT, SK Telecom and LG Telecom. They offer prepaid mobile phone services (pre-paid service, PPS) in South Korea. Incoming calls are free. South Korea uses the CDMA standard exclusively and does not have a GSM network, so most 2G (GSM) mobile phones from elsewhere will not work. Even quad-band GSM phones are useless. However, if you have a 3G phone with a 3G SIM card, you can probably roam onto the UMTS/W-CDMA 2100 networks of KT or SK Telecom; check with your home operator before you leave to be sure. 4G LTE has recently been made available in Korea; again, check with your provider. Mobile phone coverage is generally excellent, with the exception of some remote mountainous areas.

If you want to buy a prepaid SIM card, you should be able to get a prepaid SIM card at one of the olleh expat locations. However, you must have been in Korea for at least 3 days, and you must bring your passport. The fee for a prepaid SIM card is ₩5,500, and you have to charge at least ₩10,000 at the spot. You must also have a compatible phone. All modern iPhones (3GS and later) should work.


Korea Post is the national postal service and has fast, reliable and well-priced services. Postage for a postcard anywhere in the world is ₩370, while letters and packages start from ₩480. On their website you can find more about pricing details, as there are many different rates, depending on the zone (which country) you want to send it to, how much it weighs, wether it is air or ground service etc. Generally, post office hours are from Monday to Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm, though the larger central post offices tend to be open until 8:00pm and sometimes also on Saturday or even Sunday, usually only mornings. If you want to send package internationally, you might also check international companies like TNT, FedEx, UPS or DHL, as they have fast, reliable and competitively priced services as well.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 35.1403
  • Longitude: 129.0628

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