Busan is probably best known as the host city of one of Asia’s most important film festivals and a key transfer port, but this South Korean coastal metropolis is also an ideal destination for those seeking an adventurous getaway or a cultural escape.
From the famed Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Square – where the world-famous festival is held each October – to historical temples, quaint villages, seafood markets, and stylish retail districts, travellers have more than one reason to make a stop here.
The city’s sprawling beaches make Busan a popular destination for sun lovers. Laid back, yet still bustling, Haeundae Beach is one of Korea’s most beautiful beaches featuring natural untouched wonders. For foodies, Haeundae also offers a variety of local delicacies, from restaurants specialising in king crab and cold noodles, to street vendors peddling fish sticks and steamed dumplings.
Given its location, Busan also offers an abundance of fresh seafood. For the best finds, locals direct visitors to the Jagalchi Market, often likened to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market, where varieties of live and dried seafood are prepared in different ways.
The second most populous city after Seoul, Busan has its share of cultural attractions that capture the oldworld charm of Korea’s rich heritage. Gamcheon Cultural Village consists of hundreds of tiny, colourful houses, shops and buildings dotted throughout a maze of small, winding streets. Built on surrounding hills with views overlooking the sea, the village rises above the city and is known as the “Santorini of Korea”. The village’s hand-drawn murals and sculptures create a living art installation and a picture-perfect hotspot for visitors.
Another scenic landmark, the Haedong Yonggung Temple, is a breathtaking temple perched atop a rocky hill overlooking the East Sea. Dating back to the 13th century and built by a legendary Buddhist teacher, the temple is nestled between the sea and mountains and boasts a beautiful three-storey pagoda that represents tranquil harmony. For panoramic views of the city, Busan’s newest attraction, the Busan Air Cruise, offers a magnificent 1.6-kilometre journey above the sea in glass-enclosed cable cars.
Korea is renowned for its shopping – endless malls selling clothes, makeup, and accessories – and Busan is no exception. The lavish Shinsegae Centum City is listed in the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest department store, housing countless brands as well as entertainment options, including an indoor golf range and spa.
With sweeping views of the ocean, Shilla Stay Haeundae is a choice of your accommodation. Located just a two-minute walk away from the picturesque Haeundae Beach, the property features a relaxed, residential-style design with clean lines and soft hues that showcase the surrounding coastal region. Six room types are available including the Ondol Suite, which recreates an authentic Korean under-floor heating system for guests looking to experience a traditional Korean home.
For a dining experience, its Haeundae’s Cafe serves a wide selection of fresh seafood as part of its daily buffet available throughout the day. Guests can also lounge and soak up the sun in the hotel’s rooftop pool, which overlooks the panoramic beachfront, while enjoying refreshing drinks and snacks from the poolside bar.
The property also offers a “Welcome to Korea” package which includes a Busan City Tour Bus Ticket (oneday pass), complimentary breakfast, and exclusive Shilla Stay teddy bear gift. Room rates start at KRW 114,000 (Bt3,400) per night, based on two persons sharing a room.
For more information visit www.ShillaStay.com/haeundae/index.do.