Day 6: Day trip from Seoul to Busan
Welcome to Day 6 of our trip! On this day, we checked out the port city of Busan.
On Day 6, we took a day trip out to the buzzing port city of Busan. This city boasts a population of over 3.5 million people, and is the second most populated city in South Korea. It is the tenth busiest port city in the world. Busan is filled to the brim with attractions, so there’s a lot to see despite its relatively unknown status in the Western world.
Originally planned as a two-night trip, we had to shorten our Busan stay to one day because of our short time in South Korea. Not many people would recommend taking a day trip out to visit such a big city, but hey - we were short on time so we didn’t have much of a choice!
How to get to Busan
To get to Busan, we purchased a one-day pass at Seoul Station and took the Korail (KTX) train, which is basically a bullet train. Make sure you make a reservation online instead of purchasing one at Seoul Station. The whole process of converting the reservation to train tickets takes quite a while, so make sure to allow plenty of time.
Once you're at Seoul Station, the train staff will put you on the next Train to Busan (gasp! fear not, the train is great, and unlikely to be the venue of a zombie apocalypse in real life). Note that despite trains departing around every half an hour, many trains will be sold out. So again, we stress that you should arrive early.
Ralph and I arrived at Seoul Station at around 11:30am, and thought we were going to leave to Busan around 11:35am…wrong! Instead, we were put on a train that departed at 1:20pm. This meant we only arrived in Busan at 3:30pm (!!).
With very little time to see the sights, we decided to travel by taxi to most of the places we wanted to visit.
Taking the KTX and alighting at Busan Station was an experience in itself. Day 6 was a beautiful sunny day, so the KTX ride was a pleasant and scenic one.
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
First built all the way back in 1376, Haedong Yonggungsa was one of our favourite destinations that we visited during the entire trip.
Haedong Yonggungsa has since gone through extensive reconstruction and renovation, and today stands beautifully proud.
What separates this temple from other temples is that it is situated on a mountain of rocks along the coastline. This temple has it all: peaceful atmosphere, beautiful views and great architecture. The feeling of visiting a temple on the water was very serene, and we recommend staying here for at least an hour as there are many things to see.
The temple is open all year, but closes to the public at around sunset (times often vary, so please check - usually closing time is 7pm).
A bit of hiking is required to get to the temple, and more hiking is required to see various monuments throughout the temple. It’s alright though - all the hiking is very light, and any person with a reasonable level of fitness will be more than capable.
Haeundae Station (Busan Subway Line 2), Exit 7.
Take Bus 181 and get off at Yonggungsa Temple Bus Stop
Gamcheon Cultural Village
Gamcheon Cultural Village was hands down our number 1 favourite attraction in South Korea. The artsy village was previously known as a very poor residential area of Busan. It used to be run down, with very little to no visitors. In 2009, university students repainted and restructured the village into what it is today as part of a community project.
Walking around now, you’ll see many colourful houses, murals, café’s and street art. The village is South Korea's answer to Santorini or San Francisco of sorts, and looks entirely different to anything else in the country.
Gamcheon is as perfectly suited for a photo opportunity as it is for a coffee and cake break. Lined with artsy cafes and restaurants, we would highly recommend grabbing an Iced Matcha and having a stroll around the village. There are also small museums, art stores and souvenir stalls around the village.
The village gets dark quickly after sunset and many stores close (apart from a few coffee shops), so it's essential to visit during daytime.
How do you get the perfect shot of the colourful village? Popular with tourists, the Gamcheon Cultural Village Information Center has a platform you can use as the perfect vantage point. Alternatively, some cafés have their own viewing platforms, if you're willing to pay for a small drink to be able to use them.
Goejeong Station (Busan Subway Line 1), Exit 6.
Take local bus Sakha 1 or Sakha 1-1 to Gamcheon Elementary School Bus Stop.
Toseong Station (Busan Subway Line 1), Exit 6.
Take local bus Saha 1-1, Seogu 2 or Seogu 2-2 to Gamcheon Elementary School Bus Stop.
Jagalchi Market is Korea's largest seafood market. Here you can witness all different types of seafood and pick out which ones you want in your meal. Make sure to walk through the seafood halls and smell the weird mix of aromas and sights. The market almost felt like an aquarium with its variety of marine life- only they're all dead or waiting to be eaten…
When we visited, we tried the famous live squid as well as abalone, scallops and fish. It was a deliciously authentic meal, but a little bit on the pricey side. Make sure you bring cash, as well as your negotiation/bargaining skills if you plan to visit!
The market closes at 10pm.
Jagalchi Station (Busan subway line 1), Exit 10.
- Turn right onto Jagalchi 3(sam)-gil Street.
- Walk for 5min, then turn left to arrive at Jagalchi Market.
Where we stayed in Seoul
To find out more about where we stayed in Seoul, read and scroll to the bottom of our Day 1 Blog post!
Where to stay in Busan
We did a day trip to Busan from Seoul, but we would have loved to stay in Busan for a few days. Check out these cool accommodation options:
You can also check out this page for more information.