We definitely took advantage of the 4-day this weekend to commemorate Memorial Day and decided to go farther away from home and check out Busan. We also considered it as an advance birthday trip for me since ya girl is turning 19 the following week.
As someone who prefers to DIY their own trips, I did a lot of research and mapped out our trip itinerary making sure we don’t miss out the main highlights of Busan. Keep in mind that the list goes in order based on their locations. One thing I learned though is if you have limited time like us, don’t spend all of it at the beach!
To start off, we decided to drive our way from Pyeongtaek instead of taking the train though we did utilize public transit on Day 2 of our trip. Getting around Busan is really easy even without a car and having the right apps will help you out a lot.
Before you go, I’ve gathered some preparation tips to help make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible:
- Prepping Tip #1: If you’re looking to see where to book your hotel or airbnb at, Haeundae and Gwangalli beaches are the most famous beaches in Busan so I would look around those areas. I decided to book a hotel by Gwangalli Beach since I liked the view better.
- Prepping Tip #2: If driving: check your vehicle to make sure everything’s good! Preferably 1-2 weeks prior the trip in case of any last minute fixes. If taking the train: you have the option to buy your tickets online or in person. Though I wouldn’t wait til the last minute since seats can get all booked up depending on the season.
- Prepping Tip #3: Also book the tickets for the activities you have planned in advance. I highly suggest doing this since a majority of travel websites like Trazy and KLOOK offer discounted tickets for foreign nationals. This will save you a lot of time and money instead of buying the tickets at the counter.
- Prepping Tip #4: Take out cash (KRW) before you leave! While you’re able to use cards pretty much everywhere in Korea, there are still local vendors who only take cash. Even some retail stores and ATMs don’t accept foreign cards either. For this reason I prefer carrying cash with me in case of any emergencies.
- Prepping Tip #5: Load up your T-Money card! Since tour buses don’t run all day & all night, I highly recommend keeping your T-Money card with you in case you miss the last bus and have to take the city bus or subway. If you also plan on driving like us, you can use your T-Money card on tolls. This card will literally serve as your golden ticket to everywhere in Korea.
Watch our very first travel vlog below!
3-Day Busan Trip Itinerary
Since I wanted to be able to do a lot of things on our first day, I decided to time our arrival to Busan and start the drive a little early. The drive from Pyeongtaek to Busan is approximately 4 hours so we left at around 7AM. You wouldn’t want to be too early either since Korea likes to open everything at 10/11am. I still highly suggest checking out the hours of your destination just to be sure.
Destination 1: Haedong Yeongeunsa Temple
Also known as the most beautiful temple in Korea, this is one of the main highlights of Busan. You wouldn’t want to miss it!
Destination 2: Jukdo Park
Since we had a little bit of time to kill before the hotel check-in window starts, we stumbled upon this park by accident. I’m kind of glad we did because this place is amazing.
Destination 3: Nurimaru APEC House, Dongbaek Island & Haeundae Beach
These 3 places are within walking distance to each other so I highly recommend checking them out. There’s parking space available as well.
Check-in at Lodging
Since our hotel’s check-in window was around noon and I didn’t want to waste any time, we decided to spend the first half of our day out and about upon our arrival. Take note of the check in and check out times of your hotel/airbnb! If you decide not to have any stop-overs, Be sure to time your arrival time within the check-in window. For sure you’ll be wanting to relax a little after a long drive!
I booked our hotels 2 weeks in advance from Booking.com and we decided to stay at a hotel located right by Gwangalli Beach.
Destination 4: Sea Life or City Tour Bus Night View
Depending on your arrival time, you can either visit Sea Life or get on a night view tour bus. We decided to get on the night tour bus instead since we wanted to see the infamous night view of Busan and get a feel of where everything is at.
Free time at the Beach // Dinner! (Preferably the beach closest to your hotel/airbnb)
This is what Busan is all about! Though coming from Hawaii, I think I’ve had enough of my share at the beach. Don’t get me wrong, the view is amazing! We decided to snap quick pictures and head to grab some dinner not too far from our hotel. This is also great opportunity to try out some local food!
I will be writing up a separate post for the Day 2 of our trip since it’ll make this post way too long. Our 2nd day mainly consisted of us hopping on and off the tour bus and sightseeing.
Here are the places we got to see:
- Huinnyeoul Culture Village
- Taejeongdae Park
- Korea National Maritime Museum
- Oryukdo Island
- Songdo Beach + Cable car
City Tour Bus (Day tour)
Hop on and off buses are probably one of my most favorite way of exploring a new place. You can book your tickets in advance with Trazy. This will probably take a good majority of your day so be prepared! Also take note of the last bus time! Although in case you miss it, don’t fret as there will still be public transit running. I highly suggest starting the tour from Busan Station. Note that the tour buses stops running at around 6/7PM so plan accordingly!
You’ve never actually been to Busan without snapping a few pictures from here. Visiting this colorful village is a must! There’s also paid parking spaces available.
All in all, I think 3 days in Busan is a little short but we managed to make it work. I highly recommend planning your trip in advance but making it flexible at the same time since a lot of unexpected things can happen. I almost didn’t want to go back home but I will definitely be coming back a hundred more times!
Other Must-See Places:
- Igidae Coastal Walk (Hiking)
- Yongdusan Tower
- Jagalchi Fish Market