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Busan

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Busan (부산, 釜山, [1]), formerly romanized as Pusan, is a city located in the south-eastern province of South Gyeongsang, South Korea.

Understand

With over 3.6 million people, Busan is South Korea's second largest city and the country's largest seaport (a few years back, the government made the official English-language spelling "Busan" rather than the outdated "Pusan" as the former sounds more like the native pronunciation). Although the city does have some historical cultural sites to see--such as Geumjeong Fortress--these sites pale in comparison to other attractions Busan is known for, including beaches, hot springs, and nature reserves in addition to the city's international film festival held each fall. The locals have also made strides in hoping to secure a possible 2020 Summer Olympics bid. For those who might be intimidated by Seoul's size or perhaps wanting a more laid back, somewhat natural scene, Busan's culture is entrenched with coastal culture and might also be a good choice for families or those on a tighter budget as prices a bit cheaper than in the capital city. Resting at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula as South Korea's most vital port, this gives the city an international flair, with sailors from around the world trooping through and, these days, more than a few tourists (mostly from Japan, China and Russia).

Orientation

Busan sits roughly 450 km southeast of the South Korean capital, Seoul, and about 150 km northeast of some of Japan's main islands.

Nampodong to the south is Busan's shopping and entertainment downtown, while central Seomyeon at the intersection of subway lines 1 and 2 is where the office buildings are. Seomyeon also has an active night life with lots of street food. Between them are Busan's train station and its international ferry terminals. The beaches of Gwangalli, Haeundae and Songjeong lie to the east, the ruins of mountain fortress Geumjeong guard the north, and Gimhae Airport occupies the last compass point in the west.

Get in

By plane

Busan's Gimhae Airport [2] (IATA: PUS) fields flights around the country and some international flights as well, mostly to Japan and China but also to Manila, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City. The airport is quite old and very small for a city of Busan's size, though an international terminal has been constructed next to the domestic terminal. You are not allowed to take pictures of the airport (both from the plane and outside) because it also serves as an air force base.

Airport limousine buses connect to various points in the city for a flat ₩6000. The trip takes 30-40 min (in good traffic) and there are departures on all lines every 20-30 min. City buses leave for downtown quite regularly. They are even cheaper, around ₩1000. Be sure to visit the information desk at the international arrival terminal if your Korean is not very good. It is one of the few places that has English-speaking assistance.

A taxi to the city center will set you back about ₩15000 (daytime) including tolls.

By train

Space-age Busan Station looks like a UFO that has accidentally landed in the somewhat grubby stretch between the bright lights of Nampodong and Seomyeon. Still, it's easy enough to get in or away with Subway Line 1, and there are lots of cheap motels and eating places in the vicinity (although sadly if you're looking for Korean food, Busan Station may not be the best option).

Gupo Station is also in Busan. It's a 1-min walk from the Gupo stop on Subway Line 3. It's much smaller than Busan Station and usually uncrowded. A ticket from Gupo to Seoul is a thousand won cheaper than a ticket from Busan Station to Seoul. Gupo Station is ideal if you are coming or going from a place far away from Busan Station, such as Hwamyeongdong.

KTX [3] trains connect Seoul to Busan via Daegu and Daejeon in about 175 min (₩51700). Tickets can be purchased at the counter but automated English-language machines are available to make purchases with too. Passengers tend to be extremely quiet so it's best to avoid making excess noise if possible. Snacks can be purchased on the trains using the vending machines or from an attendant. Other trains, such as Saemaeul and Mugunghwa, connect Busan with other major cities as well. They're cheaper but slower than KTX. Head to the First Class car for a free-of-charge water vending machine.

By car

  1. Gyeongbu Highway: connecting Busan with Seoul via Daejeon and Daegu.
  2. Gumi Highway: alternative highway to Daegu.
  3. Namhae Highway: connecting to Gwangju via Jinju and Sacheon.

By bus

Almost all cities and counties in South Korea have an express bus to Busan. There are two major bus stations:

By boat

Befitting Busan's status as a major port, there are regular international ferry services to Osaka and Shimonoseki, and especially Kyushu island. Kanpu Ferry's [4] daily overnight runs to Shimonoseki are the cheapest, but JR Kyushu's Beetle [5] hydrofoils to Fukuoka run five times a day and take just under 3 hr. There are also domestic ferries to Jeju which take about 11 hr and run daily.

Get around

By Bus

Bus fares are ₩1000, and transfers are not free. (Unless you buy a Hanaro card, see below in the Subway section.) So-called limousine buses are a bit more, ₩1400 or so. Recently, Busan has been added to the public transit section of Google Maps, so you can easily click the "From here" and "To here" buttons and get accurate info on bus routes in (mostly) English.

By subway

The three lines of the Busan Subway [6] --Red (1), Green (2) and Brown (3)-- connect with the bus terminals and nearly all sights of interest together. Rides are ₩1100 or ₩1300 depending on distance (hang onto your ticket until you exit), and both signage and announcements are in English so finding your way is easy. Travelers who've visted Seoul will likely be happily surprised to find automatic ticket machines available to make purchases from--and these are much easier to use than those in the capital. Also, the cars tend to be a bit cleaner and less crowded than Seoul's. One-day ticket costs ₩3500.

If you are staying for a bit, consider buying a Hanaro card (하나로카드). The physical card itself costs ₩2000, and then you can put money on the card using kiosks in almost every subway station. You can also buy "cell phone jewelry" which has the exact same RFID as the Hanaro card, and can be used the same way. Prices for these vary, and the come in innumerable designs.

Using the Hanaro card will save you some money. A bus is ₩1000 with cash, but ₩950 when you use the Hanaro card. Further, if you "scan out" from a subway and "scan in" to a bus within 15 minutes or so, the bus fare is only ₩250, again, deducted from the Hanaro card.

By taxi

There are plenty of taxis prowling the streets of Busan. Regular taxi flag drop is ₩2200 for the first two kilometers, then the meter starts ticking at ₩100 for each 143 m or every 34 seconds if the taxi is going under 15 kph. Deluxe "mobeom" taxis (black and red) charge ₩4500 for the first 3 km and then ₩200 for each 160 m or 38 seconds. Fares increase 20% between midnight and 4AM.

Especially at Busan Port, some unscrupulous taxis may attempt to charge much higher fixed fares, as much as ₩20000. Insist on the meter, and take a different taxi if your driver refuses to use it.

On foot

Busan as a whole is far too large to walk around, but some districts like Haeundae Beach, Dongbaek Island, and Yongdusan Park can be comfortably covered on foot.

See

Do

Beaches and hot springs

Busan is above all famous for its seven beaches and three hot springs.

Tourist Attractions

Fitness

Chicago Fitness Club [9] is a great place to train. It has a wide range of cardio equipment, free weights (dumbells upto 100lbs) and machines as well as golf practice facilities. It is located on the 5th floor of the Milligore Shopping Center in Seomyeon. Some locals say it is the best gym in Busan.

Hiking

The mountains around Busan have some good hiking trails. Probably the most popular route is from the South Gate (Nammun) of Geumjeong Fortress, reachable by cable car from Oncheongjang, through the North Gate (Bukmun) and down to Beomeosa Temple, a distance of 8.8 km (3-4 hr).

Learn

Work

Positions teaching English are available in Busan. See the main South Korea article for details.

Buy

Eat

An affordable and popular Busan treat is dong-nae pajeon (동래파전), a seafood and green onion pancake.
Being located in the seaside, Busan is well-known for fresh fish and sashimi. If you love fish, you definitely should try one of the local seafood restaurants.
Food and eating out in general is quite affordable and the city offers you a variety of tastes.


Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Busan is famous for raw fish (회 'Hway'), which the Koreans eat in the same style as bulgogi, namely topped with kimchi and gochujang and wrapped in a lettuce leaf. One of the best places to sample this is the Millak Town Raw Fish Center, a large brown building at the northern end of Gwangalli Beach. The first floor is the actual fish market and the floors above are packed with nothing but restaurants serving it up. This can get expensive, so order a set or specify your budget to avoid surprises.

Drink

Busan has thousands if not tens of thousands of drinking places scattered throughout the city. Popular spots include Nampodong and the area around Dave's Fish and Chips M-F 7PM-10PM, Sa Su 9AM-10:30PM Sadly, Dave's is no longer open.Pusan National University. Drinking spots popular with the foreign community include:

Kyungsung University area: Currently this area has the most selections in terms of density and sheer numbers of drinking establishments of any area in Busan.


In Haeundae:

PNU:

In Gwangalli:

Seomyeon also has a lot to offer:

Shabana Indian Restaurant officially Registered and Approved by Busan Tourism Association as Tourist Restaurant (Indian) owned by Indian


Sleep

Budget

All sorts of love motels can be found throughout the city, for instance near Sasang and Western Cross-Country Bus Termninal. Some are noted as some of the best bargains in all of Busan. Most will cost you ₩30,000-50,000/night.

Mid-range

Splurge

There are plenty of luxury hotels along Haeundae Beach.

A few luxury hotels are more centrally located.

Contact

Emergency Numbers:
Police 112
Fire + Ambulance 119

Stay safe

Busan, like Seoul, is very safe to roam around freely at night. Be a little bit cautious when most bars close at around 3AM, as this is when drunks leave, and some (though very few) are aggressive. Do note that some bars stay open until the business dies down and in many cases this may not be until sunrise. Just stay away from them and nothing should happen. Also take care in the area around Busan station. If any place could be deemed seedy in Busan (which would be a stretch) this area could be considered so.

Cope

Get out

Related Information


WikiPedia:Busan



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A list of contributors is available at the original article on Wikitravel. Additional modifications may have been made by users at TRAVEL.COM [18].

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