South Korea's second largest city has a delightful location, curving around the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. Relaxed and inviting, it's visited for cultural city sights and an array of excellent beaches.
Rugged mountains stand above the city, tumbling down into fish markets, hot springs, and the dazzling skyscrapers that stand over the port. The mountains and beaches help give Busan a relaxed feel, with visitors never more than 20 minutes from a serene place to spend the day. Seomyeon, the downtown area, is Busan's transport hub and main business district. To the south is Nampodong, a busy district of shopping malls and markets. Excellent beaches lie to the east, notably Gwangalli, Songjeong and Haeundae. Many visitors focus their stay on Haeundae, as it has a myriad of attractions and the excellent beach.
Busan is 450 kilometres from Seoul and high-speed trains make the journey in 2 to 2 1/2 hours. These mostly terminate at Busan Station, although some also stop at Haeundae Station. Gimhae Airport is South Korea's third airport and there are international flights arriving from across Asia. The five-line Busan Subway is complemented by a light rail network and local buses, with a prepaid Busan Hanaro Card allowing easy travel on all local transport.
Busan's age is illustrated by Geumjeong Fortress. It's over a millennium old and little remains but the stone walls and gates. There are also excellent hiking routes to be found in the mountains around these fortress remains.