Nestled at the foothill of a hilly coastal stretch, Busan has it all: an awesome skyline, beaches, a stunning coastline, great street food markets, colorful murals, temples and so much more! But what if we said, that a lot of those can actually be enjoyed for free?
While South Korea might not be the cheapest country to travel to, it certainly does not have to break the bank either! Between following a few budget tips and scouting South Korea’s cities for free sights and activities, you will be able to save a decent amount!
And when it comes to looking for free things to do in Busan, you are in luck, as we already did the research for you! In this post we will share with you 10 marvelous things you can see and do in Busan for free! Enjoy!
Top 10 Most Amazing Free Things to do in Busan
Before we get into this list of 10 free activities in Busan, you should note that nothing is ever completely for free. The following ten activities in Busan are essentially free, however there might be attached expenses related to transportation within the city to get there.
Additionally if you decide to eat or drink something at the listed locations you naturally will have to pay for those too. However, since you will have to eat something anyway, we give you a few suggestions on where or what to eat near the following free activities as well!
Now, let’s get into it!
1. Stroll through Gamcheon Cultural Village
In case you have seen pictures of its colorful buildings somewhere before, yes, Gamcheon Cultural Village is the famous mural village in Busan. And, yes, it is 100% free to enter and explore!
Perched at the foothill of a mountain near the coast in Busan, Gamcheon Cultural Village is filled with terraced colorful houses as well as artsy staircases, mural art and sculptures sprinkled throughout the whole district. Some murals are actually quite well known e.g. a lovely mural of the Little Prince or the popular mural of two BTS members!
You can easily spend 2-3 hours in Gamcheon Cultural Village. Especially, if you like exploring the numerous side alleys and lovely shops or spend some time in one of several cafés offering panoramic views of the village!
How to get there? Take the Busan Subway Line 1 to Jagalchi and then Exit 1, from here walk down the street towards Chungmu Market bus stop. Catch one of the Seogu 2 buses and ride until Gamcheon Village.
Tips on navigating the local transportation system: 📲 Download Naver Map, the best navigation app for South Korea! Click here for more info! 💳 Buy a T-Money Card at a convenience store to pay for local transportation!
2. Visit Haedong Yonggungsa Temple: South Korea’s most beautiful temple
Next on the list is South Korea’s most beautiful temple! We think it is a self-proclaimed title, we could be wrong though. No matter what’s the case, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is truly one of the most stunning temple complexes we have visited so far!
The latter is located on a rocky coastal stretch overlooking the beautiful blue sea. The stunning backdrop alone gives Haedong Yonggungsa Temple quite a big head start on other temples for sure! The temple itself has a lot of interesting spots for you to explore as well: hidden staircases, viewpoints and an (unmissable) opportunity to hone your coin tossing skills to name a few.
The only downside is probably the temple’s big popularity. When we visited it was rather busy, so maybe try to avoid peak day times when planning your visit.
How to get there? Take the Busan Subway Line 2 to Haeundae and then Exit 7, from here walk towards Haeundae Urban Railroad Station bus stop. Get on bus 1001, 181 or 100 and ride until 용궁사입구 (one bus stop after Dongbusan Toruist Complex). From here you will have to walk down Yonggung-gil for about 10 minutes. Haedong Yonggungsa Temple Complex starts at the end of the street!
3. Walk Busan Green Railway from Mipo to Cheongsapo
Busan Green Railway is a walking trail in East Busan that runs from Haeundae Olympic Junction all the way to East Busan Tourism Complex, passing several interesting sites along the way. We actually never walked the whole thing and you don’t need to either. However the section between Mipo Port and Cheongsapo Port is very much worth it!
For those of you that are concerned, Busan Green Railway is by all means a walking trail and not a hiking trail. Meaning, the trail runs alongside the coastline and is mostly flat. It really is more of a leisurely stroll than anything else. Nonetheless the section between Mipo and Cheongsapo is 2.4 kilometers long, so do bring good walking shoes as well as a sun hat and sunscreen if the weather is nice!
We suggest walking the Busan Green Railway from Mipo to Cheongsapo one-way and then either take the local bus back to Haeundae area or consider taking the Sky Capsule or Coastal Train on your way back!
How to get there? Take the Busan Subway Line 2 to Jungdong and then Exit 7. From here you will have to walk towards Haeundae Blueline Park- Mipo Station for about 18 minutes.
4. Head to Cheongsapo Daritdol Observatory
Once you reach Cheongsapo, you can either take a break from walking and relax in a lovely café near Cheongsapo Port, check out the Twin Light House View Point or you can continue on a little further on the Busan Green Railway until you reach Cheongsapo Daritdol Observatory!
The latter is a glass walkway that extends over the sea. Entrance is free, however you will need to put on exceptionally aesthetic slippers over your shoes in order to be able to walk over the glass. Currently they are working on extending the walkway even further over the sea.
5. Picnic at Haeundae Beach
Haeundae Beach is easily the most stunning beach you can find in Busan. No wonder it is a favorite among locals as well as tourists when it comes to spending an afternoon or evening at the beach!
And, while you are in the area, why not combine your dinner with spending time at the beach and make it a picnic? The latter is actually a very Korean thing to do and in our opinion Haeundae Beach is the perfect spot for it. The area surrounding the beach is home to a number of great take-away street food options.
Head to Haeundae Traditional Market for a great selection of street food, from seafood to fried chicken – they have almost everything! And while you are there, do not miss the most amazing handmade dumplings! Another favorite of ours was to grab a gimbap at ‘Cheongdam-dong Manyeo Gimbap Heaundae‘.
When the sun starts to set, many people come to the beach to take pictures or simply enjoy the scenery and beautiful lighting! Also, in the evenings, street performers will gather on the walkway above the beach. All in all a really great atmosphere!
How to get there? Take the Busan Subway Line 2 to Haeundae and then Exit 5 or 3, from here walk down the street towards Haeundae Beach.
6. Visit the night market at BIFF Square
BIFF stands for Busan International Film Festival and it is actually a Korean version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While for some of you this might be reason enough to visit, most of you might be more inclined to do so by knowing that there is a street food market at night selling all sorts of delicious food!
The area surrounding BIFF Square is very good for shopping as well. You will find many small local shops often selling quite unique and inexpensive clothing! Check out Gwangbokjungang and Gwangbok Street as well as Gukje Market. And, for the seafood lovers out there, Busan’s popular Jagalchi Market is located only a few hundred meters down the road!
How to get there? Take the Busan Subway Line 1 to Jagalchi and then Exit 7.
7. Visit Yongdusan Park (Busan Tower)
Speaking of close by, if you need a break from browsing all those shops and markets, head to Yongdusan Park. The latter is located at the foot of Diamond/Busan Tower. The park itself is located on a small hill and can be reached by a set of rather cool escalators.
Since the park is somewhat hidden away, it is the perfect place to sit down on a bench and relax for a while. When walking around the park, you can find a few interesting photo spots and sculptures.
If you wish to get a panoramic view over Busan, you can of course go up Busan Tower as well. The latter will cost about 12.000KRW per person (~8,26€) though.
How to get there? Take the Busan Subway Line 1 to Nampo and then Exit 1 (32XM+MC Busan, South Korea on Google Maps).
8. Do the Igidae Coastal Walk
The Igidae Coastal Walk is a stunning walk that winds its way alongside the most breathtaking coastal stretch! You get awesome views of the Busan city skyline as well as beautiful nature shots the further down the coast you get. Contrary to the Busan Green Railway, the Igidae Coastal Walk is definitely a hike, especially the last stretch.
It is nonetheless very much worth it and was one of our highlights in Busan! The Igidae Coastal Walk ends at the Oryukdo Skywalk, another glass observatory that is free of charge!
If you are not that much into hiking, we do suggest at least walking the first few hundred meters of the Igidae Coastal Walk. The views are simply too good to miss out on. If you wish to visit Oryukdo Skywalk without hiking there, you can easily get there by local bus as well!
How to get there? Getting to the starting point (on Google Maps: 44JC+R7 Busan, South Korea) of the Igidae Coastal Walk is unfortunately not that straight forward on public transport.
Take the bus 27 from Busan Station towards Igidae Entrance. From here you can either walk towards the starting point or take another bus (Namgu 2) to get you a little closer to the trail.
A more detailed description can be found in our Igidae Coastal Walk Guide (coming soon).
9. Stroll through Shinsaegae Centrum City, the biggest department store in the world!
Did you know that Busan is home to the biggest department store in the world? Well, now you do. In 2009, Busan’s Shinsaegae Centrum City was entered into the Guinness World Record Book as the largest department store in the world and has held its place ever since.
Its sheer size alone makes it worth checking out even if you don’t necessarily wish to spend a lot of money! Shinsaegae Centrum City has a rooftop park as well and you can somehow even find a replica of the Trevi fountain in Rome near the subway entrance.
How to get there? Take the Busan Subway Line 2 to Centrum City and then Exit 10.
10. Watch a drone show at Gwangalli Beach
Last, but not least, head to Gwangalli Beach. From here you can get a clear view of Busan’s iconic Gwangan bridge! During the day, you can spend time on the beach or opt to walk east towards the Milak Breakwater and Waterside Park.
At night the area around Gwangalli Beach turns into a perfect area for a night out! There are tons of restaurants and bars in the area! Ever wanted to go to a karaoke bar or try the Korean favorite fried chicken and beer combo? Well here is the perfect place to do so!
On Saturday evenings, you can go to Gwangalli Beach to watch a drone show. Each week there is another theme to the show and people gather on the beach to marvel at the moving art in the sky! From October to February, the show is held once at 7 p.m. and once at 9 p.m.! From March until September, the show is held once at 8 p.m. and once at 10 p.m.!
How to get there? Take the Busan Subway Line 2 to Gwangan and then Exit 5, from here walk down the street towards Gwangalli Beach.
And this concludes our list of 10 free things to see and do in Busan! As you can see, Busan is home to a lot of inexpensive activities – which is why we are convinces that you will have a blast even if you travel to Busan on a budget! Have a great trip!