Are you planning your trip to Busan and wondering where to stay? Then you have come to the right place. Busan is a huge city and traveling from one end to the other can easily take up more than 45 minutes.
That is why choosing the right neighborhood to stay in, based on your interests and preferences, can absolutely make or break your trip.
In this guide on where to stay in Busan, we will go over the most popular neighborhoods in Busan and tell you why and who should stay in each of them. By the end you will know where you should stay in order to make the best of your trip!
Note: We use affiliate links in this post. They are marked by an *, so you can recognize them in advance. By interacting with these links, you can support us and our website at no extra cost to you! For more information, read our Disclaimer.
Where to stay in Busan?
Busan does not have one and only one city center like a lot of European cities do. No, the city has a number of interesting neighborhoods that can all be considered as city centers in their own way.
While they are definitely all worthwhile, they do differ quite a bit in terms of sights and vibes and finding the right one for you to stay in becomes quite an important task when planning your trip.
In this post we will go over four of the most popular areas to stay in for tourists and tell you exactly why you should choose which one.
We spent over two weeks in Busan, which is why we researched a lot on this topic before going. Additionally we spend quite some time in all of these areas, which is why we can give you first hand experience on what it is like to stay in each of these neighborhoods!
Busan Travel Quick View: 🚅 Get your KTX tickets or book a flight to Busan via Trip.com* 🎟️ Planning a lot of activities? You might save money by using the Visit Busan Pass*! 🎡 Don't want to spend a lot of money on sightseeing? Check out the 10 Very Best Free Things Not to Miss in Busan!
Gwangalli Beach Area
Gwangalli is a bustling area that is especially popular among younger people. Famous for its beach and the iconic view of Gwangan Bridge, the area is also home to numerous stunning cafés, restaurants and bars.
Things to do in Gwangalli
- Gwangalli Beach. Spend some time on Gwangalli Beach.
- Millak Breakwater & Waterside Park. A great area to stroll around or sit down and relax, while at the same time observing the daily life and great views of Gwangan Bridge.
- Drone Show. On Saturday evenings, you can watch a drone show on Gwangalli Beach. The theme of the show varies every week!
- Café Hopping. Check out one of the many cafés located alongside Gwangalli Beach offering stunning panoramic views of Gwangan Bridge. E.g.: Cup&Cup, Café Haute, Chaseonchaeg etc.
- Igidae Coastal Walk. Head to Yongho Starlight Park and enjoy the views while walking the Igidae coastal walk.
Why stay here?
Gwangalli is a great place to stay if you value aesthetics and having a nice view from your hotel room or while drinking your morning coffee! There are a number of hotels located alongside Gwangalli Beach offering an iconic view of Gwangan Bridge from your hotel room!
Another plus of Gwangalli is the number of restaurants located in the area. You definitely won’t have trouble finding lunch and dinner options while staying in Gwangalli.
Who should stay here?
While the nice view of Gwangan Bridge and vast restaurant choice are great, the determining factor of whether you should stay in Gwangalli or not is probably the following. Do you love the bustling nightlife?
If yes, then Gwangalli is the perfect area for you. Especially during weekends, the area can get quite crowded as people from all over the city flock here to enjoy a night out! The latter is also why the best hotels book out quite fast.
Where to stay near Gwangalli Beach
📌 Gwanganli Hotel 1* Built more like a capsule hotel, most people rave about the location and cleanliness of this hotel. Additionally a lot of their rooms offer splendid views of the beach and Gwangan Bridge! Prices start at 45€/night. 📌 H Avenue Hotel Gwangalli* Located on the east side of Gwangalli Beach, this hotel offers beautiful modern rooms. In their bar you can enjoy the views of Gwangalli beach over a drink! Price ~50-60€/night.
Nampo-dong & Jung-gu Neighborhood
From a tourist point of view, Nampo-dong and Jung-gu is where you will probably find the most authentic Busan. By that we mean, these neighborhoods are a slightly less modern and glamoured version of what you will find in other areas of the city, such as e.g. Haeundae.
Jung-gu is considered to be the former downtown Busan, an area that lived through many phases of Korean history. Similarly, Nampo-dong is an area filled with numerous older markets where locals and tourists alike go to sample the local cuisine and enjoy local delicacies.
Things to do in Nampo-dong & Jung-gu
- Busan Tower*. View Busan’s skyline from the cities iconic Diamond Tower.
- Yongdusan Park. Escape the bustling city and relax in this stunning park, hidden away on a hill! The escalators to get there are an attraction in itself.
- Jagalchi Market. Try seafood in Busan’s most famous seafood market.
- Gwangbok-ro Fashion Street. Explore Gwangbok-ro and Gwangbok-dong street for unique clothing shops.
- Gukje and Bupyeong Kkangtong Market. In case you haven’t visited enough markets yet;).
- BIFF Square. Korea’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There is a street food market every night.
- Gamcheon Cultural Village. Take the bus to head to Busan’s famous colorful mural village. More info here.
- Songdo Marine Cable Car*. Ride a cable car to Amnan Park and enjoy views of Songdo Beach, Namhang Bridge, and the coastline along the way.
Why stay here?
Apart from a more authentic view into Korean culture, Jung-gu and Nampo-dong are a great base for sightseeing. Not only will you find several tourist attractions in the area, but also you will have to pass by these neighborhoods anyway to get to some of Busan’s best attractions (e.g. Gamcheon Cultural Village).
Another plus is the close proximity to Busan Station, which is located only one subway station away from Jung-gu. And then of course, last but not least, access to all the food!
Who should stay here?
Nampo-dong and Jung-gu are where you should stay if you really wish to explore Busan. Not only from a sightseeing point of view, but also from a culture point of view. These areas might not be the fanciest ones, but you can still find great accommodations at quite affordable rates!
Where to stay in Nampo-dong & Jung-gu
📌 K-GUESTHOUSE Premium Nampo* Located right next to Nampo Station, this guesthouse is a great choice for anyone traveling Busan on a budget! Price ~30€/night. 📌 Hotel Foret Premier Nampo* While the hotel has quite some years under its belt, it still is a people favorite not least due to its super convenient location next to BIFF Square and Jagalchi Station. Price ~50-60€/night. 📌 Maron Hotel Nampo* Located next to Yongdusan Park and Gwangbok-ro Fashion Street, this hotel offers spacious and modern rooms at quite affordable rates. Price ~30-40€/night.
Haeundae Beach Area
Haeundae is one of the more modern areas of Busan, but at the same time it is also the cities’ main tourist area. Not surprisingly though, as it is home to Busan’s most stunning beach! Additionally it is a convenient starting point for visiting a lot of the awesome sights and activities in East Busan!
Things to do in Haeundae Beach & East Busan
- Haeundae Beach. Relax on the beach during the day or watch as the beach gets plunged in all sorts of colors as the sun sets in the evening.
- Haeundae Traditional Market. Visit the market and sample the local cuisine! Buy a few street food items and take them to the beach for an epic picnic!
- Busan X Sky*. Head up the second highest building in Korea and get an epic view over the whole Haeundae area and beyond!
- Haeundae Blueline Park. Catch the Beach Train or Sky Capsule at Mipo Station and head to Cheongsapo Port while soaking in the stunning coastal views! Alternatively walk the Busan Green Railway walkway to get there.
- Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Visit South Korea’s most stunning coastal temple.
Also, Haeundae hosts a number of interesting events over the course of the year. For instance, we happened to be there during the annual Haeundae Sand Festival.
Why stay here?
The biggest reason to stay in Haeundae is its proximity to East Busan and, well, Haeundae Beach. The latter is truly stunning and you will probably find yourself spending quite some time on this beach.
It is also a great neighborhood to stroll around in the evenings with street performers gathering on the walkway above the beach every night. We really liked spending time in Haeundae as it is probably the most relaxed area in Busan!
Who should stay here?
Haeundae is the perfect area to stay in if you wish to switch on vacationing mode. Between its proximity to the beach, the relaxed vibe and all the great tourist attractions, spending time here can feel more like a vacation rather than a city trip.
You should be aware though that downtown Busan is a 30-minutes subway ride away from Haeundae. Also the latter is one of the more expensive areas to stay in and, due to its popularity, can book out quite fast during the busy season of the year.
Where to stay in Haeundae
📌 Sunset Hotel* A slightly older hotel that nonetheless delivers splendidly due to its unbeatable location and service! Price ~60-80€/night (Standard room) 📌 Shilla Stay Haeundae* For those seeking a slightly more luxurious experience, this hotel offers modern rooms with great views on either city or ocean. The hotel offers free access to its fitness center and has a pool and rooftop bar as well. Price ~90-130€/night (Standard double room) 📌 Mipo Oceanside Hotel* This property is located in Mipo, right next to Haeundae Beach and offers modern rooms! Not to miss is the view from their stunning terrace. Price ~45-65€/night (Note: the cheaper rooms book out quite fast!)
Seomyeon Neighborhood – Downtown Busan
Seomyeon Neighborhood is basically the downtown area of Busan. You can find a lot of financial and educational institutions here, but also a great number of commercial ones. There are numerous good shopping opportunities and a lot of awesome restaurants in Seomyeon area as well.
Why stay here?
The greatest selling point is however the fact that it is probably the best area to stay in transportation wise. In Seomyeon, Busan’s two major subway lines (Line 1 & 2) cross each other, which is why it is really easy to travel to either end of the city from here.
Who should stay here?
Seomyeon area is really great for people who wish to stay in Busan for a longer period of time (i.e. 1-2 weeks). You can stay in an AirBnB or vacation rental apartment (e.g. Urbanstay) and really get a feel for what it would be like to live in Busan. In general, hotels in this area are quite affordable!
Where to stay in Seomyeon
📌 Urbanstay Seomyeon* Located only 150 meters from Seomyeon Station, you can rent a number of different Studio apartments. A great way to get a feel for what living in a city like Busan feels like! Price: ~40-50€/night 📌 Brown Dot Hotel Seomyeon* Located equally as close to Seomyeon Station, this modern 2-star hotel offers everything you need from your standard city hotel room! Price: ~ 50€/night
So, finally, where should you stay in Busan?
Since Busan is such a huge city, you should definitely put some thought into where you wish to stay in order to have the best trip possible. And we hope that this post was helpful for you to figure out your best fit!
Of course Busan has way more neighborhoods than listed in this post. However, the average traveler will probably end up in one of the areas mentioned here.
Now, before we let you go, here is a quick recap on where you should stay in Busan depending on varying interests, budgets and travel style:
- Do you like nightlife and staying out late most nights? Then Gwangalli Beach is perfect for you.
- Are you in Busan for the tourist experience? Do you prefer the fancier, beach and vacationing-mode location? Then Haeundae is where you’ll find your best fit. Or, do you prefer the more authentic, affordable and local experience? Opt to stay in Nampo-dong or Jung-gu!
- Are you looking for a convenient place to stay for a longer period of time? Book a place in Seomyeon!