March 20, 2023

Travel to this port city for some of Korea’s biggest and best attractions

At the new 33-story Park Hyatt, in Busan, South Korea, all rooms have floor-to-ceiling views of city, marina, or ocean.
Second in size only to Seoul, Busan is a coastal city of superlatives. It’s home to the world’s largest department store, Korea’s largest seafood market, and Korea’s most famous beach. With its laid-back vibe, it’s a nice respite from the megacity of Seoul.

Gamcheon Culture Village is a collection of colorful concrete houses climbing a hillside in the city center. The village was transformed from a shantytown by the Korean government in 2009, without displacing residents. Empty houses became cafes and galleries, and murals and sculptures were added around every corner.

Jagalchi Fish Market is Korea’s largest seafood market. This is the place to try fresh raw fish, a specialty in Busan. Most of what’s sold here is live—you can choose what you like, then eat it at a restaurant upstairs.

The biggest department store in the world, Shinsegae Centum City also has one of Asia’s largest spas (85,000 square feet), Spa Land, with baths and pools fed by underwater hot springs. Among the twenty-two themed rooms is a Finnish-style sauna and a recreated ancient Roman bath.

Mile-long, sandy Haeundae Beach is one of the most popular places in Korea in summer, when it’s chockablock with umbrellas. It’s a top spot for windsurfing, too.

Most Korean Buddhist temples are hidden in the mountains, so Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is unusual for its perch overlooking the ocean. Don’t miss the statues of the Buddha, the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, and a huge dragon (the temple’s name means “Palace of the Dragon of the East Sea”).

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