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Book a flight to Busan with Qatar and you’ll be heading for a holiday in one of the world’s most fascinating cities. Located on the spectacular South Korean coast, Busan’s skyline is a glittering parade of sky-scraping towers and futuristic complexes. However, explore its streets and you’ll find exquisitely-maintained parks, delicate, historical ruins and bustling street markets.
Beyond the city, there are sub-tropical beaches, idyllic waterfalls, hot springs and a variety of exciting water sports to enjoy. Busan is a city of contrasts, where the remnants of an ancient past sit side by side with the plans for the future. Flights to Busan can be caught from most international airports, taking you to a holiday destination that is a feast for your senses.
Busan’s most popular attraction can be found in Yongdusa Park. The Busan Tower is 118 metres high and offers spectacular views of the city, as long as you’ve got a head for heights. From the top, you can see other attractions in the area, such the statue of the Great Admiral Yi Sun-shin, the Museum of Musical Instruments of the World and the historic Bell of the Citizens – all of which are well worth a visit.
Near to Yongdusa Park, you’ll find the 40 Steps Culture and Tourism Theme Street. If you’re travelling to Busan to immerse yourself in the city’s heritage, then this is a great place to start. The street is a commemorative attraction, paying homage to those who were displaced during Korea’s turbulent history during the 1950s and 1960s. You’ll find statues and information plaques lining the street, depicting and detailing how life was for the inhabitants during those particularly hard times.
Your trip to Busan ought to include a visit to the Gamcheon Culture Village. Locally known as ‘Lego City’, it’s a startling array of small, brightly-coloured houses which once housed Busan’s poor. In 2009 the village was renovated and turned into an artistic community, and today you’ll find it full of art installations, galleries and studios. To find your way around, simply follow the vividly-painted fish that adorn the walls!
Busan Aquarium is a great family day out, with a stunning collection of exotic and unusual marine life. If the sight of all those fish whets your appetite, then take a stroll to the world-famous Jagalchi Fish Market, where you’ll see a huge array of seafood and you can sample some of Korea’s more unusual delicacies.
However, if you’ve decided to travel to Busan to relax, make sure you seek out the Hur Shim Chung Spa and soak up a truly unique experience. The largest spring-fed sauna in Korea, it gives you the chance to unwind in baths filled with strawberry milk, sweat it out in a sauna, and cool off from the heat of the sun in an igloo or take advantage of the health benefits of an oxygen room.
Given its proximity to the sea, there’s an abundance of seafood dishes to be enjoyed on your trip to Busan. For those who are unfamiliar with Korean cuisine, the food on offer in the vast number of street markets can be quite confusing. However, among the strange-looking fish, you’ll find vegetable patties served with a fried egg, sweet dough balls spiced with cinnamon and grilled chicken served with chilli sauce. You’ll also find noodles almost everywhere you go, fried with meat, vegetables and prawns.
If you don’t fancy the challenge of street food, Busan has plenty of fast-food restaurants and fine-dining establishments, where you can enjoy sumptuous meals in comfortable surroundings.
While there are plenty of shopping malls and high-end, designer stores, the place to find unusual, quirky and kitsch goods is in a street market. Gukje Market is one of Busan’s liveliest, packed with stalls selling everything from traditional clothing to designer wristwatches.
Nearby, Bupyeong Market sells canned goods, handbags, domestic and imported goods. You can almost smell the markets before you find them, as the savoury perfume of sizzling spices and grilling meats fills the air.
Flights to Busan land at Gimhae International Airport.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Busan please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)
Voltage: 220 / 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type M
Language: English / Zulu / Xhosa / Afrikaans
International dialing code: +27