Along the picturesque coastline of South Korea, Busan is a vibrant city known for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and bustling urban life. However, just beyond the city limits lie captivating destinations waiting to be explored on day trips. Whether you’re interested in historical UNESCO sites, scenic natural wonders, or cultural excursions, Busan serves as the perfect gateway to an array of unforgettable experiences. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the ultimate best day trips from Busan, all within reach by train or car.
1. Gyeongju UNESCO Site (Approx. 1.5 hours by train):
- Daereungwon Royal Tomb: Explore the ancient tombs of Silla Dynasty royalty, which offer a fascinating glimpse into Korea’s history.
- Bulguksa Temple: Discover the serenity of this UNESCO-listed temple, renowned for its intricate architecture and tranquil surroundings.
- Wolji Pond at Donggung Palace: Stroll through the beautiful garden and historic palace grounds, especially enchanting during cherry blossom season.
- Yangdong traditional village, if you like to see and experience South Korea’s culture.
- Gyeongju National Museum is also a must visit if you like to learn and enlighten yourselves about the culture and history of the place.
- Cheomseongdae Observatory is also a must visit as its the oldest observatory in East Asia, crazy right?
2. Taejongdae Resort Park (Approx. 40 minutes by car):
- Taejongdae Observation Deck: Enjoy panoramic views of the rugged coastline, rocky cliffs, and the sea from this iconic observation point.
- Yeongdo Lighthouse: Visit the historic lighthouse and take in the stunning vistas along the Yeongdo coastline.
- Taejongsa Temple: Explore this serene temple nestled amidst lush greenery, offering a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
3. Daegu (Approx. 1.5 hours by train):
- Apsan Park: Embark on a nature adventure with hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and the thrill of reaching the summit of Apsan Mountain by cable car.
- Gatbawi Buddha Statue at Palgongsan: Witness the towering Buddha statue, a symbol of peace and spirituality, surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.
- Check out the Seomun Korean market and grab something delicious to eat while you are here.
- Take a stroll around the beautiful Sussing Lake too.
- Apart from this there are many museums and art galleries where you can enlighten yourselves about the history and culture of the city.
- They even have a famous lantern festivals in April/May, and it is fascinated to be a part of one, its head at the baseball stadium and the Durya Park, the tickets are free and its worth checking it out if you are around.
4. Oedo Island (Approx. 3 hours by car and ferry):
- Experience a taste of Mediterranean beauty in South Korea. Oedo Island boasts lush gardens, exotic plants, and stunning ocean views along the 1.3km hiking trail, it definitely reminds you a tad bit of French Riviera. To get to this beautiful island you have to take a ferry from Guojora and you have about 90min to explore the place before you have to get back as no overnights stays are allowed.
5. Namhae (Approx. 2.5 hours by car):
- Enjoy the serene landscapes of Namhae, known for its rolling hills, picturesque villages, and beautiful beaches.
- Explore places like Boriam Temple and Admiral Yi Sun-sin Square.
- Relax at the Sang Beach
- Check out the famous Rice terraces at Darangee along with the seaside skywalk called Seolli.
- Walk and explore the German village, the canola flower fields.
6. Ulsan (Approx. 1 hour by train):
- Ulsan Grand Park: This vast park offers a glimpse into Korean history, once serving as part of a royal palace complex during the Joseon Dynasty. Explore its lush grounds, ancient structures, and tranquil ponds.
- Daewangam Park: Known for its unique rock formations and coastal beauty, Daewangam Park is perfect for a leisurely stroll, picnicking, or simply enjoying the sea breeze.
- Taehwagang River Grand Park: This riverside park offers scenic views, walking trails, and a serene atmosphere. It’s an ideal spot for relaxation and enjoying nature.
- Ulsan Bridge Observatory: Climb the observatory for panoramic views of the city and its industrial landscapes, providing a unique perspective on Ulsan’s identity as an industrial hub.
- Ulsan Hyundai Motors Plant: Gain insights into Korea’s automotive industry with a guided tour of the Ulsan Hyundai Motors Plant, one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturing facilities.
- Seoknamsa Temple: Discover spiritual tranquility at Seoknamsa Temple, nestled in the hills of Ulsan. Explore its historic architecture and serene surroundings.
7. Tongyeong (Approx. 3 hours by car):
- Nammangsan Park: Hike through Nammangsan Park and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and coastline. Don’t miss the chance to take a cable car to the top of Mount Mireuksan.
- The seafood here is supposed to be really fresh and delicious so don’t miss out on trying that.
- Visit the Jeseungdang shrine
- Tongyeong Jungang Market
- Take a stroll around Seopirang and Dongpirang, there are plenty of coffee shops, and murals around.
8. Yeosu (Approx. 3 hours by car):
- Aqua Planet Yeosu: Dive into the world of marine life at Aqua Planet, where you can marvel at diverse aquatic creatures through impressive exhibits and interactive displays.
- Odongdo Island: Explore the picturesque Odongdo Island, famous for its camellia flowers in spring and charming walking paths along the rocky coastline.
- Dolsan Park: Dolsan Park offers scenic viewpoints, walking trails, and a cable car ride, providing panoramic vistas of Yeosu’s coastline.
9. Suncheon (Approx. 1.5 hours by train):
- Suncheon Bay Observatory: Experience the beauty of Suncheon Bay from the observatory, which offers stunning views of the tidal flats and wetlands, especially during sunset.
- Suncheon Bay National Garden: Stroll through the lush gardens, featuring a vast array of plants and themed sections, making it a horticultural paradise.
- Songgwangsa Temple: Delve into Korean Buddhist culture by visiting Songgwangsa Temple, known for its historic architecture and serene surroundings.
Best Time to Visit South Korea: The best time to visit South Korea is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild, and the landscapes come alive with cherry blossoms or colorful foliage. Avoid the hot and humid summer (July and August) for outdoor activities and the chilly winter (December to February) for milder temperatures.
While Busan offers an abundance of attractions and experiences, its strategic location also makes it a gateway to an array of remarkable day trips. Whether you’re exploring ancient UNESCO sites, reveling in natural beauty, or delving into cultural adventures, these destinations are within easy reach. Enhance your South Korean journey by venturing beyond Busan and uncovering the hidden gems of this captivating region.