Other neighbourhoods to stay in Busan
Located in the east of the city, Haeundae is Busan’s glitzy beach area and offers a delightful mix of city and sea, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, lively restaurants and fun-loving nightlife, making it an excellent place to stay. Accommodation is plentiful around here owing to the fact that it is one of Seoul’s most popular beach resorts. The beach itself is about 2km of soft golden sands that gets very busy in high season. However, thanks to Busan’s sub-tropical climate, year-round this beach can be enjoyed to the max. You can also seek out Dongbaekseom Island on foot where you will discover a wooded nature reserve overlooking mesmerising views of Haeundae Beach.
For a taste of local food, head to the Haeundae Market’s Gukbap Alley. A genuine food zoo just a few minutes from Haeundae Beach, it is also the place in Busan to try one of Korea’s most celebrated dishes, gukbap (pork or beef with rice in soup). Nearby you can also fix your coffee buzz by walking up the cherry-blossom tree-lined Dalmaji Road where at the top you will find a multitude of cafes. The Haeundae area is also packed with most of the city’s best nightlife, and with something for everyone, it kicks on well into the early hours.
Similar to Haeundae, the Gwangalli Beach area offers a heady mix of soft golden sand, water sports, restaurants and nightlife. The neighbourhood is conveniently closer to the city centre and main attractions than Haeundae, and because of this has a more urban feel. There are many great places to stay in this area and at night its local and international restaurants teem with life. Officially opened in 2003, Busan’s famed suspension bridge, the Diamond Bridge, forms a gracious arch that connects Haeundae-gu to Suyeong-gu and is the second longest bridge in the country after the Incheon Bridge. There is also an outdoor concert venue where the Busan Ocean Festival among other yearly events are staged.
Gwanglali Beach is also famous for its pristine waters, with which you can prepare raw fish. For a memorable lunch or dinner of tasty seafood, head to the fish market situated to the north end of the beach. Choose your fish from one of the vendors and then take it to be prepared and sliced for you upstairs in one of the many restaurants.
Gwanglali really comes into its own in the evening, when the promenade becomes alive with couples, groups of friends and families. It is a good place for an evening stroll or a cool beer while the breeze blows off the sea and the reflection in the water is ablaze with the lights from the diamond bridge.
Visually exotic and tirelessly energetic, the Nampo-Dong neighbourhood is a major draw for visitors and locals alike. The area is a foodie and shoppers’ paradise, with streets laced with food stalls and shops, from malls selling branded goods to independent boutiques and markets selling jewellery and accessories. Its more central location means it´s a great place to stay as you will be well connected by public transport to Busan’s main sights. You can also take a walk down to the frenetic Jagalchi Fish Market, one of Busan’s top landmarks. You will be surprised by the many different kinds of seafood on display and there are many stands from which you can purchase the seafood of your choice before taking it to be prepared and cooked for you to your liking.
You can also enjoy a walking tour of the Yongdusan Park. It is a steep climb but for those flagging, there are escalators that can whisk you up to the top. It is particularly inviting at sunset for its stunning panoramas of the city.