A Busan Daytrip Itinerary
This Busan daytrip itinerary is very meandering and spur of the moment. It also involves a lot of taxis, due to how spread out Busan is. If you are interested in seeing all of the things we did in the same day, you should go with someone else to make the cost more reasonable. If you are staying longer in Busan I would just take your time. However, this was a really fun day and I felt like I saw many sides of Busan all in one day.
The Igidae Coastal Hike
We set out bright and early and got into Busan at around 9AM. Immediately we headed to our main attraction, the Igidae Coastal Hike. Let me tell you, it is beyond gorgeous. The weather was pretty great as it was still morning. We also learned a little history as we went, like it was named after two gisaengs. Gisaengs are kind of like geishas in Japan, although people from Korea probably wouldn’t like me to say that. It’s just a similar concept. Anyways, they had thrown themselves over a cliff taking a Japanese general with them, thereby hampering the Japanese invasion efforts.
The walk is pretty easy, and we intended on walking the whole thing which takes about an hour an a half at a normal pace. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize part of it was under construction, and we found ourselves on an alternate route. This alternate route started climbing higher….and higher…and higher. We were getting headaches and lightheaded but surely we would stop soon? We were exhausted, as the temperature started to climb since we were taking far longer than we intended. It was much too late to turn back by the time we realized we’d started on this much more difficult path. Finally, we emerged, and decided we were definitely taking a taxi to our next stop.
BIFF Square Streetfood and Korean Fried Chicken
Hotteok (a type of stuffed doughnut) is one of my favorite streetfoods in Korea. So when I learned that Busan was known for its special type of hotteok made with seeds and nuts I knew I had to try it. Super delicious! It’s also worth a look around the area as there are many other streetfood options and general shopping.
We wandered for quite awhile to find good Chimek (fried chicken is normally accompanied by beer here, but we didn’t want any beer). Busan does not seem to be a location that is known for it’s chicken. Alas, that was all we were craving. I’m sure Busan is more known for its seafood but Korea loves it’s shellfish and shellfish almost always makes me ill. Anyways, we found a place called Geoin Tongdak which had excellent chicken. We had wayyyyy too much for the two of us and we were saddened to not be able to finish it. Honestly, whenever you get fried chicken here I feel like it could feed a family of 8 or something…It’s also worth it for the wander through a Korean covered market the restaurant is connected to.
Gamcheon Cultural Village
This seems to be a pretty well known area of Busan but I literally found out about it the night before. There were quite a few tourists but I think it is well worth the trip. It was super cute! I was even roped into buying some adorable ceramic magnets of the brightly colored houses Gamcheon is known for.
I also loved the story of the village. It was originally the result of all of the poor laborers being pushed out of Busan to where they could be close, but not too close. Ugh. Although, really, they got some of the best views in the city so I guess that worked out. Anyways. The people decided to paint their houses bright, fun colors in order to make it a tourist attraction. And boy did it work! It’s absolutely beautiful. Tourist organizations insist on calling everything in Korea some kind of American derivative (Jeju is the “Hawaii” of Korea despite looking absolutely nothing like Hawaii) and the same holds true here. “The San Francisco of Korea.” Just about the only thing it has in common with San Francisco is being built on steep roads. I loved the artwork everywhere, the cute additions that made everything a little more “special” like the birds on the roofs, the wooden fish signboards everywhere…This is a top place to see in Busan.
Shinsaegae Department Store
Supposedly this is the largest department store in the world. It’s definitely huge, but it didn’t feel…endless? I think this is due to the general difference between American malls and Asian ones. Shinsaegae Centum City is seven stories tall, whereas American Malls are rarely more than two or three. Anyways, if you want to experience the real wealth of Asia, this is the place to see it. The lines alone for Louis Vuitton and Gucci… And it wasn’t people just window shopping. Almost all of them had bags of purchases. Cartier would not let more than one couple in at a time, giving them the whole store to themselves.
All of the super expensive stores were on the first floor, and I came to the quick conclusion that this was to separate everyone out. I didn’t see anyone with a purchase from the first floor step on the escalator. I’m sure anyone who did would be immediately marked out of this ultra rich social pool. Weird. There’s also an ice rink, and I was sad I hadn’t brought my skates to show off 😛 Honestly it’s just a bunch of stuff to buy, other than the ice rink there’s not much to do (in US malls we generally have more activities like mini golf, trampolines, etc.). This is definitely the place you can skip, although it was cool.
Bibibidang Traditional Cafe
Despite Gamcheon and Igidae warring for a spot among the highlights of this trip, this cafe took the top. It had gorgeous views of the ocean out of humongous bay windows. Bibibidang served pumpkin bingsu which was incredible. If you haven’t gotten into the pumpkin and sweet potato flavored things in Korea, you are missing out. The other bit that I loved about this cafe is that they served actual tea, a rarity. And a rarer yellow tea, as well! It was delicious and properly brewed. It also came with some traditional snacks. I will definitely be heading back on my next trip to Busan.
And then we headed home! I hope this Busan daytrip itinerary has been helpful to you 🙂
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