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Port Review: Busan, South Korea

Joanna Hall

Home to nearly four million people, Busan is South Korea’s second largest city and the country’s largest seaport.

The Facts

Language: Korean.

Currency: South Korean Won.

Docking/anchoring: Cruise ships dock at the Mipo Ferry Terminal which is about 30 minutes from the downtown area in the commercial port. 

Transport: The city provides free shuttle buses, or your ship will, dropping off at the Busan Tower in the downtown area or near Biff Square. There is also a city bus route with a stop nearby, and subway stations. Taxis are also available, but the drivers won’t speak much English so have some printouts of where you want to go. You can explore on your own using a combination of walking and the subway, which is easy to navigate. 


Busan is located at the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula and the mouth of the Nakton River, straddling a deep bay facing Japan’s Tsushima Islands. It is a port city with plenty of international flair, enjoying a skyline with a backdrop of mountains, and famous for beaches, hot springs and seafood. Besides a growing number of cruise visitors, Busan is also a city which is frequented by plenty of visitors from China, Japan and Russia. Ultimately it has something for everyone, whether you want to sightsee, explore designer cafes, or hang at the beach, and it’s also home to one of Korea’s Great Five temples. 

Don’t Miss

Beomeosa Temple is a magnificent sacred site, and arguably Busan’s top spot for sightseeing, a world away from the urban sprawl with beautiful architecture set against a mountain backdrop. 

Seokbulsa Temple is carved into a rock, and a fascinating if unique place of worship in an out-of-the-way spot.

Jagalchi Fish Market is Busan’s famous fish market and a sight to behold, with impressive displays of freshly caught fish and live sea creatures.

Haeundae is Busan’s, if not South Korea’s, most famous beach, a two kilometre stretch of sand which is packed during peak travel season in August. 

The Public Spas as one of many public baths in Busan, and one of the largest in Asia is here. Spa Land has hot and cold sauna rooms, relaxation rooms and more. 

The UN Cemetery is the final resting place of 2300 men from 11 nations including the UK, Turkey and Australia who supported the South in the Korean War. It’s also the only United Nations cemetery in the world.

Best Photo Op

Besides the views from Beomeosa Temple, if you are in port overnight or late at night, head to Cheongsapo harbour where locals flock to enjoy a drink and sunset.


The International Market near Biff Square is worth a look for some souvenirs, or you can head to the Shinsegae Centum department store, which claims to be the world’s largest.  

Food and Drink

Besides an abundance of seafood, if you have the opportunity to try a local delicacy called pajeon, a green onion pancake, do so. They make great snacks when you are on the go.  

Pick of the Excursions

The best option for first timers is a full-day local tour which take in the key temples, including Beomeosa and Seokbulsa, also the fish market and UN Memorial Cemetery.

If you have been to Busan before, another option is a full-day tour to one of the most attractive and historical cities in South Korea, Gyeongju. The city has almost 1000 years of history, as well as a lineup of impressive relics and monuments.


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  1. Posted by on 1st Jul 2019 Verified Customer

    Worried 1 Star Review

    With all the goings on in North Korea I'd be worried about going here even for a day on a cruise ship!

  2. Posted by on 1st Jul 2019 Verified Customer

    Princess Cruise 4 Star Review

    Went here on a Princess cruise last year and it was a really fascinating city, better than some of those in Japan. My reason for marking it down a star was the ship....Diamond Princess is showing her age.

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