Busan is the second largest city in South Korea, next to SoKor’s capital Seoul. Busan is probably one of the best examples of harmony between mountains, rivers and sea which enjoys a temperate climate that never gets too hot or cold.
Busan has been a favorite destination for Koreans and tourists alike especially during summer because of the long stretch of fine, white, beach in Haeundae. If you want to experience culture, shopping, nature and adventure, then Busan is for you. Korea’s currency is South Korean Won which is roughly equivalent to Php 0.04 depending on the forex.
If you are planning to go to Busan anytime soon, then this travel guide might help.
P.S. We actually stayed in South Korea for 6 days but since we went to Jeju in between, I will write a separate travel guide for Jeju Island.
fly to Busan, South Korea. Travel time is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes. There’s a time difference between Korea and Philippines, Manila being one hour behind.
855-8888 (open 247/7)
855-8888 (open 247/7)
SOME FRIENDLY AND IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
This is an international travel so it is only necessary for you to have a valid passport. You can secure one from the Department of Foreign Affairs. If you already have a passport, make sure it is still valid for 6 months from the time of travel. Meaning, if your passport will expire on April 21, 2015, then it is still safe to travel and return back before October 21, 2014. Any date beyond October 21, you'll no longer be allowed to leave the country. If in doubt, you can always call Korean embassy in Manila, or Pilipinas Teleserve (24-hour Passport Assistance) 737-1000.
Note: This 6 months validity period only applies in certain countries, including Korea. If you plan to go to other countries, specifically in European countries, check with their respective embassies here in Manila.
- Philippine passport holders are required to secure a visa. Visa processing is free and would only take 5 working days. However be sure to apply for visa 1 or 2 months prior to your departure in case the consul asks for additional documents. Korean visa is now good for multiple entry.
- Always bring with you 2 valid IDs in case the immigration asks for it.
- Always bring your passport wherever you go. That's always an SOP when traveling to other countries.
- Koreans are not really good at conversing in english so you might find it hard to ask for directions. Even their public signages are all in Korean so better maximize Google for directions if you want to visit a specific tourist spot.
- Since majority of Koreans don’t speak and understand english, these might come handy. (Hello- Annyeonghaseyo; Thank you- Kamsamhamnida; ) This is not required to learn but sounds cute, especially when taking photos. Instead of saying “one, two, three…” say “hana, dul, cet…” instead of “Say cheese…” say “Kimchi!”
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Accommodation: There are lots of grand hotels and cute guest houses in Busan that you won’t be having a hard time in finding one. The only problem you’ll encounter is which, for you, is the cutest and your planned activity. If you want to be near Busan’s famous Haeundae Beach, then better book an accommodation near Haeundae train station. If you want near the shopping area, book near Nampodong station.
|Miss Egg Hostel|
|Miss Egg Hostel|
1408-5 Jung-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea
1405-16 Joong-dong Haeundae-Gu, Busan 612-010, South Korea
Sunset Business Hotel
1391-66 Joong-dong Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-010, South Korea
Haeundae Grand Hotel
651-2 Woo-Dong Haeundae-ku, Busan 612-020, South Korea
Westin Chosun Busan
737 Woo 1-dong Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-600, South Korea
Haeundae Centum Hotel
1505 U2-dong Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-202, South Korea
Miss Egg Hostel (http://mregghostel.mireene.com/xe/missegghostel)
601-15 U-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-020, South Korea
2F 1394-328 Jung-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea
11F Marine Tower, 321 Haeundae-haebyunro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-847, South Korea
LG Hourbor town B.D., 627-1, U-1dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-744, South Korea
F7, Jagalchi Market, 37-1, Nampodong 4-ga, Jung-gu / KTX Busan Station, Busan, South Korea
Touring: No need to hire a tour guide to visit the famous sites in Busan. If you already did your research beforehand and know the nearest subway stations, bus numbers and nearest landmarks, then you won’t get lost. It might also help if you print a copy of your itinerary and the photo of the tourists spots you want to visit. This is just in case you really need to ask for their directions and all that’s left is for you to show the photo of the place you wish to visit.
|Haeundae Subway Station|
THINGS YOU NEED:
Camera- You will regret if you don’t bring one.
Money- No brainer.
Jacket or windbreaker- You’ll never know when it will get too cold or windy
Shades- Protect your eyes
Map- You will need this, trust me
Swimsuit- Just in case you want to take a dip into the water of Haeundae Beach
BUDGET: Bring dollars with you and exchange them to Korean Won when you are already in Busan. However, you will need won when you ride the limousine bus at the airport so be sure to exchange even $100 at the airport in Manila. We exchanged our money at Paradise Hotel’s casino near Haeundae because their exchange rate is reasonable enough.
* Good for 2 persons for 5 days and 5 nights (this budget is inclusive of the trip to Jeju
Island). Please also note there’s three of us who traveled so cost of accommodation and touring may vary if you will travel in big group.
|Limousine Bus from the airport|
- Airfare: Php3,188 (promo fare and this is really a BIG savings already considering it’s a plane fare to Korea.)
- Accommodation: Php3,563/night (Miss Egg Hostel, Busan) Php5,288/night (Kasan Tobang, Seogwipo, Jeju), Php3,353/night (Yeha Guesthouse, Jeju City)
- Food: Php 10,000
-Tour: Php5,500/8 hours (Jeju Island) Touring Jeju Island will take 2 days or 16 hours
- Shopping: Php 10,000 (depends if you plan to really splurge in Nampodong Flea Market)
- Miscellaneous: Php10,000-Php15,000 (airport terminal fee in Manila, bus and subways in Busan, etc.)
You need to have: A budget of approximately Php50,000-Php70,000 (good for two and exclusive of plane ticket) is more than enough money for your Busan and Jeju trip (will write a separate itinerary for Jeju Island). You can save more if you opt to stay in a sort of dorm room, shared bathroom or a contemporary guesthouse in Jeju.
1st stop: Gwangbok-Ro. Check out the long strip of Korean restaurants along Gwangbok-Ro street in Busan. When in Korea, do what the Koreans do. Choose a cozy restaurant that looks like a carinderia and order some spicy chicken, match it with Soju then dine outside al fresco style. If you are fond of watching Koreanovelas, I’m pretty sure you have seen Koreans doing this, dining along the street while enjoying a Soju. Just a warning though, Soju is really a hard drink that it tastes like our local Gin Bulag. One Soju is too much for one person so just like tequila, you consume it by shots.
2nd stop: Stroll or head back to your hotel. You might want to grab a quick dessert at a nearby convenience store or head back to your hotel to catch some rest to prep yourself for a rather long walk the next day.
|Dream Pig restaurant along Gwangbok-Ro|
|Haedong Yonggungsa Temple|
Operating hours: 4:00AM-7:00PM
How to get there: From Busan station, take Bus 181 and get off at ‘Yonggungsa Temple’. You need to walk for 10 minutes before reaching the temple.
|Shinsegae Centum City|
How to get there: From Busan station, take the subway to Centum City station (Busan Subway line #2), the station is connected to the mall.
|Nampodong Flea Market|
How to get there: Take Subway Line 1 and get off at Nampo-Dong station
4th stop: Yong-Dusan Park and Busan Tower. If you still have enough time and energy, visit the Yong-Dusan Park and Busan Tower. If you are currently in a relationship, don’t forget to bring with you a padlock. Write you and your partner’s name in the padlock, lock it and put or throw away the key in a key bin provided. This symbolizes commitment between sweethearts never to separate.
|The yummy buchi/mochi in Nampodong Flea Market|
Operating hours: 9:00am-10:00pm
How to get there: At Nampodong Station, take Exit 7, Go 350m on Gwangbok-Ro Street towards the Yongdusan Park escalator on the right.
|Nampodong Fashion Street|
|Nampodong Flea Market|
How to get there: Take Busan Subway Line 2, get off at Gwangan Station, take Exit 3 or 5 then take a 10 minutes walk towards Gwanggali Beach
6th stop: Dinner time. Take your dinner at any restaurant near Gwanggali Beach to give you more time to marvel at the beautiful Gwanggali Bridge.
However, the main attraction of course are the cute and cuddly dogs and cats that will excitedly welcome you once you step into the cafe. Don’t fret, these furry and adorable creatures are very friendly though they tend to mob you when they get really excited by your presence, which is actually really adorable.
How to get there: From Busan subway station, get of at Jangsan station, take Exit 3. Jangsan Puppy Cafe is across Tous Le Jours
|The Face Shop store along U-dong Street|
Various Korean facial brands like Etude House, Missha and Tony Moly among others are also everywhere, especially in U-dong, Haeundae-gu.
MUST TRY AND BUY IN BUSAN
Never leave Korea without trying their famous Soju. It's alcohol content varies from about 16.7% to about 45%.
|Geonbae! (Cheers in Korea!)|
If you are a fan of Korean Barbecue, then you know that eating authentic Korean Barbecue should top your list when in Korea, you can even partner it with Soju.
|Korean Barbecue at Pig Dream|
|Having my haircut in Jangsan, Busan|
|Biking and walking in Gwanggali|
The Face Shop skin care products. As I have mentioned, their products are very affordable. Great 'pasalubong' or gifts to your family and friends back home. Shopping at The Face Shop can be pretty addictive. You have been warned.
|The Face Shop products|