9 Perfect Photo Spots In Busan

Gamcheon Cultural Village

I’d initially written off Busan when planning my 10 day trip to South Korea. I reconsidered after realizing that Seoul couldn’t fill ten days and I was glad that I did. It’s true that Busan is smaller than Seoul and doesn’t have as many novelty places to go to and things to do. That said, it still has a lot of great culture, great food, and great shopping to offer. Not to mention, all of these, and I do mean ALL, were Instagram worthy. 

1. Seomyeon 1st Street

We decided to stay in Seomyeon after reading many great reviews about the area. We weren’t disappointed by all the hotels, food, and shopping that it had to offer. I’m not a huge foodie but I was blown away by the sheer amount of street vendors in the street market. For the more adventurous, you can also visit the Jalgachi fish market for some fresh fish dishes. The best part about Seomyeon is that despite its popularity with tourists, it hasn’t become pretentious. Vendors still sell food and alcohol at very reasonable prices. When it comes to shopping though, things are marked up but bargaining is a way of life in East Asia.
Shopping at Seomyeon 1st Street

You can spend a whole night just eating your way through Seomyeon.

egg buns in Myeongdong Street Market
cheese corn in Seomyeon 1st Street Food Alley

2. Yongungsa Temple

Though I’ve become pretty accustomed to temples after living in Japan for two years, Yongungsa deserved a visit because of its amazing location and architecture. It’s situated right on the cliff side and during temperamental weather, the crashing waves add some great ambience. The temple itself is very traditional in appearance but surprisingly colourful.  If all of this is not enough, the area around the temple caters to tourists and there’s plenty of street food and vendors to keep you occupied.
Yongungsa Temple in Busan
Details of Yongungsa Temple in Busan
Lanterns at Yongungsa Temple in Busan

The temple has so many small deign details that you can enjoy, along with sculptures and pagodas.

Yongungsa Temple in Busan
Yongungsa Temple in Busan

And we even spotted this beautiful lighthouse near the temple, on the way back to Seoul.

Light house near Yongungsa Temple in Busan

3. Haeundae Beach

Haeundae Beach is the most famous beach in Busan and known for its beautiful white sand. The beach is great for swimming and pretty popular during the warmer months. The beach also holds cultural events and festivals during the year because of its accessible location. We just passed through the beach because April weather in Busan still isn’t warm enough for a swim. Instead, I used the beach to access nearby Dongbaek Island. The beach is also near other attractions such as Busan Aquarium, BEXCO, driving courses, and more.
Haeundae Beach

4. Dongbaek Island

Named after the dongbaek trees, Dongbaekseom Island isn’t actually an island. Instead, its a small piece of land that is connected to mainland Busan. While this is another place that doesn’t offer many activities, it is a good location to relax and take in some culture. The island has got a beautiful park for hiking and biking, as well as a wooden walkway along the edge of the island. 
Dongbaek Island stairway
Dongbaek Island temple
Dongbaek Island light house

From the wooden walkway you can enjoy a view of Busan and the famous mermaid sculpture near the beach.

Dongbaek Island stairway

5. Gwangandaegyo Bridge

I’m weirdly obsessed with bridges that light up at night and often try to visit them during my trips. Gwangandaegyo Bridge in Busan is over 7km long, making it the longest bi-level bridge over the ocean in Korea. From the bridge, you can enjoy a view of many Busan attractions. More importantly, every night the bridge’s lights turn on in a night display that changes by season.
Gwangandaegyo Bridge in Busan

6. Taejongdae Resort

Taejongdan is an amazing but intimidating area to visit. Due to the size of the “resort”, it takes at least half a day to enjoy the different attractions it has to offer. Thankfully, the resort has the Danubi Train which allows visitors to be dropped off at any stop along a looping route. We found that going to the furthest stop from the Visiting Center and walking back along the route worked best. This doesn’t make the best use of your money if you’ve paid to ride the train but it does make the best use of your time. If you have more time to spare though, you can visit the sites leisurely by hopping on and off the train. Half a day is enough to visit the resort, especially if you want to add a trip to Gamcheon Cultural Village for the second half of your day. 

Danubi Train at Taejongdae Resort

Pictured below are the Yeongdo Lighthouse and the iconic  “Light Beyond Limitation” piece by Korean artist Ji Sul Won Kyung-Lee.

Yeongdo Lighthouse at Taejongdae Resort
“Light Beyond Limitation” art piece Taejongdae Resort

Every location on the tourist loop offers an amazing view over the sea. In the picture on the right, spot the little person in the yellow raincoat for some scale.

Taejongdae Resort
Taejongdae Resort

7. Gamcheon Cultural Village

This was my favorite place in Korea because it checked off all the boxes. You can visit a beautiful and aesthetic location, buy unique souvenirs, enjoy novelty and traditional foods, and enjoy all the beautiful hanboks worn by visitors. I can say so much more about but the pictures speak for themselves. 

Gamcheon Cultural Village
Gamcheon Cultural Village

Koreans and tourists alike can be spotted in hanboks throughout the village. These traditional Korean outfits can be rented in almost all tourist locations.

Tourists wearing traditional hanboks at Gamcheon Cultural Village
Tourists wearing traditional hanboks at Gamcheon Cultural Village

The village also has great street food and what I can only describe as a fortune telling machine. It was fun to watch people insert tokens, get a ball, and smash it to read their fortunes. 

Gamcheon Cultural Village food
Fortune telling machine at Gamcheon Cultural Village

8. Busan Tower

Coming from Japan, I’m no stranger to towers and had pretty low expectations of Busan tower. I visited it primarily for the vantage point that it offered over Busan, making it a prime location for nightscape photography. Surprisingly, the area by the tower offers a nice stroll and the tower experience itself was pretty fun. After you purchase tickets, you can take complementary pictures before heading up to the Observatory. I timed it so that I could enjoy the sunset and I wasn’t disappointed. The large windows give you a pretty great view of the city and afterwards you can enjoy some art installations on the way out. Since we were hungry after the visit, we headed down to the 3rd floor which had a Twosome Café. 
Night view at Busan Tower
Night view at Busan Tower
Night view at Busan Tower
Twosome cafe in Busan Tower

9. Cat Café

On one of the rainy day in Busan, after a lot of research and reviews, I came across a cat café that was small and unknown. With nothing else to do because of the weather, I decided to visit them. Luckily, the people who worked there were understanding and allowed me to go into the café without paying first so that I could see the condition of the animals. Just like the reviews said, the café had a very relaxed vibe and all the cats were calm and friendly. Though this turned out to be a great experience, this isn’t usually the case. After living in East Asia, I’ve become accustomed to the existence of various animal cafes. Until this cat café, I hadn’t stepped foot in another animal café because animal welfare is such an afterthought here. I visited a meerkat café in Seoul later during this trip without researching it first, and regretted it. While the staff in animal cafes do their best to support and calm the animals, it still doesn’t stop them from being overwhelmed and stressed by visitors. As an animal lover, always do your research so that you’re not inadvertently supporting cruelty against the very things you love.

Cat Café in Busan
Cat Café in Busan

We ended up staying for over 5 hours because nothing beats petting a bunch of super chill and happy fur babies.

Cat Café in Busan
Cat Café in Busan

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