The first thing to check out in Busan is the beaches. The main beach downtown is Haeundae (subway stop of same name)
. It is a great, and close to malls, food, or a lot of other fun things downtown. Its a little touristy in parts, but there is always something to do around here. We used to party at a place called U2, close to the beach, and another place called Starface up the mountain. Good times with great friends. Another great beach was Gwangali, near our house. There are a lot of good places here to eat and have a drink with a good view of the beach. A lot of restaurants here serve King Crab, which is a delicacy in these parts. Very good (see pics)!! This beach also hosts the annual Pusan Fireworks show (see pics and video!). Bars open all night right on the beach. Many good times there for sure.
One of my favorite places in Busan was Beomosa Temple, a 15-20 ride from the subway stop. This place is still a practicing monastery, with monks wandering about. You can hike up the mountain for awhile and see some good views, but don't get caught up there when the sun goes down as we were, for the path is not paved, but large boulders which were very hard and dangerous to walk down in darkness.
Another obvious highlight that shouldn't be missed in Busan are the mountains scattered around the city. Koreans have a strong historical connection with them which continues today with many packing the trails particularly on weekends and holidays. The one in the middle of town, not far away from Haeundae, is Jangsan
. This is the most accessible mountain to climb in Busan, and offers spectacular views of the city (particularly Haeundae, and across the bay to Gwangali, including the bridge). Trails are dirt paths, and are well scattered around the mountain. A direct ascent from the bottom would probably take 30 mins tops, and there aren't many difficult obstacles or inclines to worry about. Anyone in decent shape could do it with little difficulty. A little outside the city was another mountain which offered exceptional views of other parts of the city (see video).........
Seomyeon is another fun part of town. Lots of shopping here, high end! However, if you want great low end, check out Nampo Dong (not Nopo dong). Both have great places to eat, see, and do.
Oh Busan (or Pusan, doesn't matter in our English translation)!!!! This was our home for about 2 years, and without a doubt the best city in Korea. We lived in two parts of town: Our first year or so, we lived in an apartment above our school in Banyeo-1-dong. This area didn't really have anything touristy worth seeing, but we did meet many nice people including some colleagues from work who lived in the area. However our second place, Gwangan, was packed with excitement. We lived in Yulim Apartment (see video), a few blocks from Gwangali Beach. We worked for a fine gentleman named Mr. Kim who owns the hogwon's we worked at (Seongmun, Yonsei, WIT & SAM), as well as the director Catherine. These schools, and the city in general, ended up being a lot better than Hankyoreh in Gwangju. Busan is a lot bigger and more built up than Gwangju, it is on the coast so the sea is highly connected with the people..