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Busan, the city of cruise tourism

Sep 24, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Busan is the place for cruise tourism in Korea. Busan Port International Cruise Terminal is always bustling with people going on overseas tours from Busan and people arriving at Busan from all over the world.

If you’re staying in Busan for just a short period of time, take the city tour bus to explore the city. If you’re staying a bit longer, try getting to know Busan through shopping, cultural activities and experiencing the flavors of the city.

Cruise passing under Busan Harbor Bridge

Best things about Busan

The Busan train station is so close to the cruise terminal you can walk between the two. The most time-efficient way to see the city is to hop on the Busan City Tour Bus. The bus stop is just in front of Busan Station and you can freely get on and off at the bus stops on the red, green, blue and yellow lines with a one-day pass. You have to make a reservation to take the night tour bus but during the day you can simply purchase a pass from the bus driver, which is 15,000 won (about $13) for adults and 8,000 won (about $7) for children.

I got on the red line tour bus that passes by Haeundae Beach, one of the most popular spots in Busan. The red line bus tour takes about two hours and you'll see most of Busan's popular attractions on this line. On the bus, the audio guide kindly describes the sites as you pass. Riding on the open-air upper deck of the double-decker tour bus, I felt so close to the sky ... and it was like being on a roller coaster when the bus barreled over the Busan Harbor Bridge.

City Tour Bus on Busan Harbor Bridge

Gwangalli Beach seen from the City Tour Bus

The driver did all the work but I was suddenly very hungry after the tour. Busan is famous for its traditional markets and I set out for Gukje Market to try the famous pork and rice soup. This must-have Busan speciality dates back to just after the Korean War when refugees made soup from pork bones and other ingredients that were available at the time. After a satisfying meal, I headed to Yongdusan Park. The park is where the Busan Tower stands and it is very popular among tourists. Within the park you try on history at the newly opened Hanbok Experience Hall.  Hanbok, the traditional costume of Korea, is known for its simple yet elegant design. When you rent a hanbok (90 min, starting at 20,000 won, or $17), the staff will help you get dressed from head to toe. I found the experience of wearing the hanbok, under the Busan Tower and backdropped by the ocean and the setting sun, to be a magical combination. 

A sculpture at Yongdusan Park, a favorite photo backdrop

Busan has so much more to offer. The Namcheong-dong neighborhood is filled with the best bakeries in the city and there is also an enchanting nook called Bosu-dong Book Alley. The multi-cultural space F1963 highlights the beauty of urban rehabilitation. Visit Busan and you’ll have a trip you’ll never forget!

Hanbok Experience Hall at Yongdusan Park

Multi-cultural space F1963

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