One Day in Busan day trip – The Perfect 1 day itinerary
Busan is a city much unlike the rest of South Korea. Situated on the south-east coast of the country, this bustling metropolis is a city centre right alongside a coastline of beautiful beaches. It’s a place that many Koreans visit for their summer holidays. In our opinion, it feels much like a bigger version of Barcelona in Spain, Miami in the USA, or Da Nang in Vietnam.
As South Korea’s second most popular tourist destination, a trip to the country simply isn’t complete without a stop in Busan. Seoul is full of rich history and endless attractions. Busan has a more relaxed holiday appeal. It’s great for shopping, food, beaches and fun activities. It’s also an impressive place to see. Its towering skyscrapers, islands and long bridges are an attraction in itself.
Many people visit Busan on a day trip from Seoul or another city. It’s very quick and easy to get to due to the high speed rail network, so you can easily pop to the south coast for a fun day out. In this Busan day trip guide, we share the top things to see and do in one day to ensure you make the most of your visit. It’s action-packed but full of places you can’t miss!
How to get to Busan from other South Korean cities:
When visiting Busan for a day trip, you’re likely travelling from Seoul, Daejeon, Gwangju, Jeju or another South Korean city. Busan has its own airport so you can fly there from Seoul and a few other cities. However, we’ve found that the very best method of transport is the high speed train, also known as the KTX. Bullet trains are amazingly fast and efficient in Korea. You avoid the transit times of getting to and from the airport and it’s almost always a quicker option.
For a Busan day trip, the train is the most convenient option. You’ll get a lot more time to explore Busan and have flexibility on the time you’ll return to your departure city.
Here are the journey times to Busan by train from popular destinations:
From Seoul: 2 hours 20 minutes
From Daejeon: 1 hour 25 minutes
From Gwangju: 1 hour 50 minutes
Is one day enough time to explore Busan?
Busan is a city home to 3.6 million people. It’s a way bigger place than you can imagine and you’ll soon see its huge scale when you arrive. As such, it has a seemingly endless number of things to do. Koreans are great at imagining unique and entertaining attractions and Busan is full of them. Beaches, theme parks, markets, ski slopes, hiking trails, art exhibits and music festivals are just some of the things to do in Busan. There’s also the historic and cultural attractions, including the must-visit Haedong Yonggungsa temple.
You can easily stay in Busan for a week and not see everything. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t see a lot in one day. In a Busan day trip, you can still experience some of the city’s best attractions and get a taste of city life by the beach. Arrive into Busan early and leave late to make the most of your visit. Continue reading for a sample one day in Busan itinerary.
How to get around in Busan
Public transport is very good in Busan. There’s a well-connected metro route, as well as frequent public buses that cover all attractions in the city. You also have local taxis that can be flagged down and rideshare apps such as Kakao T, or the car rental option. Uber is also available in Busan, but it’s often more expensive that taxis.
As time in Busan is limited for your 1 day Busan itinerary and you want to see as much as possible in a short amount of time, getting around by taxi is the best option. Taxis are quite affordable in South Korea and you can find them all over Busan. Catching the metro and walking is the budget-friendly option if you don’t want to use taxis all day.
Our 1 day Busan itinerary
Busan Songdo Marine Cable Car
As soon as you arrive in Busan, we recommend heading to the seaside, to an attraction known as Songdo Marine Cable Car. This short but scenic cable car ride takes you across the bay to Songdo Sky Park. The views of Busan’s beaches, bridges and skyscrapers from the cable car are a great welcome to the city! You’ll instantly see how picturesque and vast it is.
Once you arrive at Songdo Sky Park, there are a handful of things to see. Check out the art exhibits, grab a snack from a street food stand or go for a walk through the park. It has a number of giant dinosaur sculptures! The highlight of the park is an elevated viewing deck that hangs off the side of a cliff. Brave the metal walkways for a nice view of the coastline.
Once you’ve explored Songdo Sky Park, you can return to Songdo Station on the cable car.
Songdo Cloud Trails
Once you step off the cable car, it’s worth heading downstairs to a series of walkways known as the Songdo Cloud Trails. They’re right next to the cable car station. The Cloud Trails is a unique set of raised platforms that stretch out over the sea, providing a beautiful seaside backdrop as you walk.
Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon Culture Village is unlike the rest of Busan and is a must-visit attraction for any 1 day in Busan itinerary. Nestled to the west of the modern city centre, this traditional village is built on the hillside. Constructed in the 1920’s to provide homes to the working class, it’s known for its many coloured buildings, stacked up against each other to form a vibrant neighbourhood. Today, it’s still a residential neighbourhood, but it’s also a popular tourist attractions.
Head to Gamcheon Culture Village and walk the narrow streets on foot. It has a number of nice photo opportunities, viewpoints and cafes.
Busan Old Town street food stalls
By this time on your 1 day in Busan day trip, it’s probably approaching lunchtime. We’re sure you’ll be desperate to try Busan’s foodie delights! For a tasty lunch-on-the-go, we recommend visiting BIFF Square. The original home of Busan International Film Festival, this central hub and the surrounding streets have numerous street food stands, each with a bright red and yellow colour. You’ll find plenty of delicious Korean dishes, plus a few dishes local to the area. Dwaeji Gukbap (Pork Soup with Rice) is a local favourite.
Take time wandering around the street food market, grabbing a drink in a café or doing a spot of shopping. This area is host to a plethora of fashion stores, gift shops and market stalls.
Haeundae Blueline Park train and coastal walk
Busan is a city with attractions that centre around its gorgeous coastline. One of the best ways to see the coast is using the highly popular Haeundae Blueline Park line. The train and colourful ‘Sky Capsules’ take you along a scenic coastal route that looks out at the sea. It’s a relaxing experience with beautiful scenery and is a welcome break from all the walking.
If you’d prefer to get some exercise, you can choose to walk the coastal path instead of boarding the train. The path and train line stretch all the way to Songjeong Station to the east, with plenty of viewpoints and photo spots along the way. Be sure to book tickets for the Blueline Park train in advance. They can sell out on busy days!
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
The absolute must-see attraction on your Busan 1 day itinerary is Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. It’s one of the most impressive Buddhist temples in the country, famous for its cliffside location. Hadong Yonggungsa sits a little further along the coast from the Blueline Park Songjeong Station, so you can easily get to the temple by taxi from the station.
Wander around the temple grounds to discover ornate buildings, Buddhist shrines, a colourful array of lanterns and numerous statues and viewpoints. The temple was built in 1376 and is one of South Korea’s most historic and cultural attractions.
Busan has many beaches, but none of them are quite as famous as Haeundae Beach. As the main destination for festivals, music concerts, award ceremonies and more, Haeundae Beach is a bustling place to visit no matter the time of the day. By this time on your Busan day trip, it’s likely approaching late afternoon/early evening. This is the perfect time for a sunset stroll along the Haeundae Beach promenade.
Explore the beach area at your leisure and soak in the atmosphere. There’s always an event happening at Haeundae and the sunset views make it a nice place to start your evening.
Gwangalli Drone Show and Gwangalli Beach
You’re likely getting tired after a long but fun day in Busan. For evening dinner and entertainment, we recommend heading along to Gwangalli Beach. This popular tourist resort area has a long sandy beach with a stunning view of Busan’s bridges and city skyline. It also has an endless array of restaurants, serving up everything from Italian and Mexican cuisine, to some excellent local food.
Gwangalli Beach is the best place in the city to catch the Busan evening drone show, which takes place every Saturday. It’s a 10-minute light show where hundreds of drones light up the evening sky, forming a series of shapes and objects to the sound of music. It’s a cool site to see if you’re visiting on a weekend. If you’re not visiting Busan on a Saturday, there are plenty of nice bars, cafes and a walking promenade to check out.
Our top tips for visiting Busan on a day trip
- Arrive into Busan as early as possible to make the most of your day. There’s a lot to see and do in a short period of time!
- Try not to rush around too much or include too many items in your Busan day trip itinerary. It’s best to see attractions properly and enjoy your day rather than tiring yourself out. Adjust your itinerary to suit the duration of your visit.
- Grab a lunch or dinner on-the-go to save money and spend more time exploring the local attractions.
- Use taxis to maximise the number of attractions you can see during your day trip. Public transport is excellent but it might take you longer to get around.
- Bring snacks with you or stock up at the train station before setting off on your Busan adventure.
- Use Google Maps to pin offline attractions, restaurants and other points of interest. That way, you’ll never get lost. You should also download the Korean alternative to Google Maps, Kakao Maps. This app gives you accurate directions for driving, walking and public transport.
- Book attraction tickets in advance, especially for attractions such as the cable car, Sky Capsule and beach train. You’ll spend less time queuing and are guaranteed entry. Some attractions sell out on busy days.
- Visit on a weekday over the weekend for less crowds.
- Avoid visiting in the summer months to experience less crowds, traffic and waiting times. Busan is a very popular summer holiday destination for Koreans.
- Research restaurant options before arrival and have a few options planned out in each area you visit. This will increase your chance of having a good meal and you won’t waste time searching on the spot.
Thanks for reading our Busan day trip itinerary and guide! We hope we inspired you with the best places to visit in a short amount of time and you can now plan your own day trip. Busan is an amazing South Korean city to visit no matter your interests and we’re confident you’ll leave with great memories. If you have any questions about travelling Busan or any of the items we’ve included in our guide, be sure to post a comment below. 😊
Check out our other South Korea travel guides for more inspiration.
BY RICKYAuthor bio:
An adventurer at heart that loves anything outdoors. Beaches, mountains and amazing scenery is everything I love about travel! I also enjoy home comforts and need a nice place to relax and re-charge after every trip.