Located right on the ocean, on the east coast of South Korea is Busan. A bustling hidden gem full of coffee shops, delicious traditional Korean dishes, beautiful beaches and a K-entertainment fan’s paradise. 

Busan is the second largest city in Korea, second to Seoul. Let’s get into Busan’s top five irresistible attractions that will have you packing your bags in no time.

White sandy beaches

Gwangalli and Haeundae Beach are some of the most popular beaches in Busan, and for good reason. The white sandy planes, coupled with the city’s scenic skyline, make these beaches the perfect summer destination for locals and tourists alike. They’re surrounded by a variety of trendy cafes, bars and nearby hotels, giving you easy access to everything you need for a day in the sun. Plus, we hear they’re the best spots in the city to catch the sunset!

Photo via Korea Tourism Organization

Traditional Korean cuisine 

Being right on the ocean, Busan is known for its seafood but also its noodle dishes and traditional Korean cuisine. Try a traditional dish at Mokjangwon, one of the largest restaurants in Busan with an observatory on the top floor. Or, if casual bites are more your style, grab some gimbap with a side of Kimchi to-go, or try eomuk (fish cakes) from a local street food vendor.

Scenic streets and neighbourhoods

If you’re planning a trip to Busan, make sure Jeonpogonggu-gil Street is near the top of your list. This little street is home to bright and colourful buildings, decadent Korean desserts, trendy coffee shops, restaurants, vintage shops and local art galleries. If you take a step off the beaten path, you may find some gems in Jeonpogonggu’s neighbouring alleyways too.

Photo via Korea Tourism Organization

Giant bamboo forests

If you’re a fan of K-movies & K-dramas, you may recognize this iconic spot. Ahopsan Forest is located a quick transit trip away from Busan, and is home to full-size bamboo trees that will tower over you. This magical place has been the filming location for a number of popular movies and is a popular destination for K-culture enthusiasts.

Ocean views for days

Head to Jangnim Port, aka the Venice of Busan, to see the colourful buildings lining the water’s edge. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more like a bird than a fish, soar up to the Haneul Observatory, where you can take in the surrounding islands, including the well-known Geoje-do. In addition to the viewing platform, just a short walk away is the Huinnyeoul Culture Village, a colourful and quaint village built on a slope neighbouring the ocean.

Photo via Korea Tourism Organization
Photo via Korea Tourism Organization

Convinced yet? Well, the Korea Tourism Organization has launched their 2023-2024 “Visit Korea Year” campaign. That means that ongoing promotions will be running for Korea’s most sought-after attractions, all year long. 

Plus, travelling to South Korea is easy for Canadians these days. As long as you hold a Canadian passport, no visas are required for stays up to 180 days and there’s currently a K-ETA exemption until the end of 2024. All you need to do is book your flight and go!

So get ready to pack your bags, and tune up on your K-dramas — Busan is waiting for you. Visit the Korea Tourism Organization’s website below for everything you need to start planning the ultimate 2024 vacation itinerary.