It’s finally official! I am going to Busan!
I found out 2 days ago…on my birthday! I am extremely excited! Even though I requested Seoul, I was very open to going anywhere in the country; although I was hoping that I would be in a city, even a small one. When I received my email tonight it took me a minute to open it. I couldn’t believe that it was actually sitting in my inbox!
I immediately started calling and texting all of my friends and family. The reaction I got from most of them was the same: “Yay! I’m so happy for you! Congratulations! You must be so excited and relieved to finally know! Wait…..Where is Busan? Is that good? Is it safe?” So, I decided to put together a little blog post about my future home.
Busan (부산) is the 2nd largest city in South Korea with a population of 3.6 million people. It is located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. Busan means “cauldron mountain” and it was given this name because the mountain behind the port looks like a cauldron.
Of course Korean is the language spoken in Busan. However, Busan natives speak with a dialect (사투리 satoori). You can search on youtube to hear the Busan dialect. I found some TalkToMeInKorean videos where Seokjin teaches some common phrases in the Gyeongsang Province dialect. This dialect is not only spoken in Busan. You can hear this dialect in other areas like Daegu (대구), Masan (마산), Pohang (포항), and Gyeongju (경주). Click here to see all the videos on Gyeonsang Province Dialect.
Coming from New England, it seems like Busan’s summer is about the same as here and the winter’s aren’t as cold. Snow is pretty rare in Busan. July and August are very humid and extremely wet because of monsoons. Typhoons (hurricanes) are possible in August and September, but large and damaging ones are rare.
Bus: There are 134 bus routes in the city of Busan. Busan also has two bus terminals with buses to cities and provinces all over South Korea.
Rail: Busan has 4 subway lines. Busan is serviced by all classes of trains with access to all major cities. The high-speed train (KTX) connects Busan to Seoul in just 2hrs 18mins. The Saemueul train (regular train) to Seoul takes 4hrs 10mins, but is cheaper.
Busan Subway Map
KTX Gyeongbu Line
Purchase Rail Tickets
Sea: The International Ferry Terminal in Busan has ferries to Japan and Jeju Island.
Ferries From Korea
Air: The nearby Gimhae Airport has flights to Jeju, Seoul, Japan, and other destinations every day.
Busan is home to the largest department store in the world, Shinsegae 신세계. There are two other department stores: Hyundai and Lotte. There are three premium outlets: two Lotte outlets and one Shinsegae. There are many warehouse and discount stores such as Costco, Home Plus (Haeundae 해운대점, Seomyeon 서면점, Centum City 센텀시티점) E Mart (Haeundae 해운대점, Seomyeon 서면, Munhyeon 문현점) and Lotte Mart.
In the summer, Koreans flock to the six beaches of Busan. Haeundae is the most popular beach in Busan and has a boardwalk. Click here to read about the different Busan beaches and how to get there.
Busan has three big sports teams: Lotte Giants (baseball), Busan I’Park (soccer), Busan KT Sonicboon (basketball). I would really love to see a baseball game. I heard that baseball games in Korea have a very different atmosphere than baseball games in America.
Arts and Culture
There are soo many arts and culture related activities and places in Busan, but I cannot include them all in this post. Here are just a few:
Busan hosts the Busan Foundation for International Activities (BFIA) every fall and it is one of the largest film festivals in Asia. Films from all over Asia are showcased in this festival.
The 40 Step Culture & Tourism Theme Street was renovated to reflect the lives of Korean in Busan during the 50s and 60s after the Korean War.
Gamcheon Cultural Village has been decorated in beautiful colors and artwork. It seems like a really cool place to walk around on a nice day to take photos of all the art. And get some good exercise! I read that it is very hilly!
The Haedong Yonggungsa Temple 해동 용궁사 is on the northern part of Busan’s shore which makes this temple pretty unique because most of Korea’s temples are in the mountains. This temple was first built in 1376!
43% Not Religious
One question I am asked a lot about Korea is: Is it safe? When I studied in Seoul, I never felt like I was in danger. I’m sure there are a few areas in Seoul and Busan that are sketchy, but Korea is very safe in terms of crime. Car related accidents (especially drunk driving) is another story.
Other Useful Links for Living in Busan:
How to read street signs (useful for the entire country I believe)
Busan Awesome I like this blog because it has nice descriptions of the major and small neighborhoods.
I’m sure I have missed a million important things but I am going to stop here. I cannot express how excited I am to move to Busan. Through writing this post I have discovered so much about the city that I hadn’t known before. I cannot wait to visit all of these places (and more!) and share them with all of you on my blog.
(Unless noted otherwise, I gathered a lot of this information from the Busan Wikipedia page.)