This wonderful post was written by The Wander Files. They are two friends, Sophie and Jenny, who share a passion for exploring this incredible planet and want to share it with people. Currently, they are living in Busan, South Korea and working as English teachers. If you want to find out more about their journey in South Korea, please visit https://www.thewanderfiles.com.
South Korea’s second largest city has been nicknamed ‘Dynamic Busan’ for a good reason. Busan has mountains, beaches, temples, and the bright, bustling streets of a metropolitan city. If you’re living in Busan or traveling through, there are plenty of great day trips and festivals that would be a great addition to your stay in Korea. Here are three day trips you can take from Busan, as well as seasonal trips and festivals to check out!
Located just an hour from Busan (two and a half hours from Seoul by KTX), this city feels like you’re taking a step back in time. Gyeongju is often referred to as the “museum without walls”. It was the capital of the Silla Kingdom for almost 10 centuries! You can prepare for an ample supply of Korean history when visiting Gyeongju. There are so many things to do here that I recommend making it a longer trip or coming back a second time. However, it’s totally doable to see a lot of it in one day!
Most of the top attractions are located outdoors and you’ll be doing a good amount of walking, so it’s best to come when it’s not too hot outside. The best time to visit is either spring when flowers are blooming or autumn when the leaves are changing – end of October / beginning of November. The burial tombs in Daereungwon Tomb Complex (대릉원) will turn brown in the winter so avoid winter if you want to see them in their glorious green.
The top three things to do
- Visit Daereungwon Tomb Complex (대릉원)
- Bulguksa Temple – make sure to visit the nearby Seokguram Grotto (불국사)
- Cheomseongdae and surrounding area (첨성대)
How to get there:
- KTX (High-speed train): Busan Station to Gyeongju Station, 30 minutes
- Bus: Nopo Bus Terminal to Gyeongju Bus Terminal, 50 minutes
A bit longer of a day trip but doable if you’re prepared for a long day. Namhae is a beautiful island west of Busan. It’s known for its many islands, German village (독일마을) and Daraengi village (다랭이마을), a village with rice terraces looking over the sea. This area is really beautiful and would make for a great weekend trip because there’s a lot to see and do. You can also visit a sheep farm or go hiking.
If you love beer and you’re free in October, head to Oktoberfest in Korea. A German village was built in the 1960’s after Korean nurses and miners returned from working in West Germany. It’s said to preserve some of the history and bring a piece of the workers old lives back to Korea with them. Namhae Island’s German village holds an annual Oktoberfest featuring German beer, music, games and more.
The top three things to do
- Darangee (or Daraengi) village (다랭이마을)
- Boriam Temple (보리암)
- Sangju beach (상주해변)
How to get there:
From Busan Station, take the metro to Sasang (transferring onto the green line at Seomyeon). From Sasang, it takes two and a half hours to reach Namhae by bus. This is the quickest and cheapest way. Trains take about an hour longer.
A Southern port city known for its many islands, romantic destinations and stunning views, Tongyeong makes for a great weekend getaway. There are so many awesome things to do here including hiking, appreciating art, eating delicious seafood and more.
Being only an hour and a half away from Busan, this is a must visit on a warm, sunny day. However, avoid going in the summer for two reasons: it’s very hot and it’s peak season. In the summer, traffic can be extremely congested in Tongyeong. If you do decide to travel during peak season, make sure to give yourself ample time to get around. The best time to go would be spring or autumn. I’m sure it would be stunning when all the leaves change in the autumn!
Top three things to do
- Mireuksan Mountain (미륵산) – you can hike or ride the cable car up the mountain
- Skyline Luge (스카이라인 루지)
- Travel to one of Tongyeong 567 Islands – Solmaemudo Island (소매물도) is the most famous.
How to get there
From Busan Station, take the metro to Sasang (transferring onto the green line at Seomyeon). From Sasang, take the intercity bus to Tongyeong Bus Terminal. It takes an hour and a half.