I’m absolutely thrilled to take you to one of my favourite spots in South Korea, Busan. If you’re short on time a day trip from Seoul to Busan can be a great way to get a taste of this coastal city.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through a one-day itinerary that’s not just a list of places to visit, but a handcrafted roadmap filled with my own experiences, lessons learned, and the best ways to get around.
So, sit back, and get ready to fall in love with Busan. Just a warning though, this is a jam-packed day as there is so much to see in Busan!
Are you ready to join me on this adventure of a lifetime? Let’s dive in!
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✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner
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✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours
My Experience Travelling Through Seoul and Busan
Let’s dive into my week-and-a-half solo journey through South Korea. Yes, I recommend you solo travel to South Korea!
My first destination?
The vibrant coastal city of Busan, and boy, did it set the bar high for destinations to follow.
Over three jam-packed days, I roamed the lively streets of Seomyeon, soaked up the sun at Haeundae Beach, meandered through the lanes of Gamcheon Village, immersed myself in the culture at Jagalachi Markets, found serenity at Haedong Yonggungsa, and so much more.
Busan had me wrapped around its finger, offering a little bit of everything – the sea, culture, history, incredible views, mouthwatering food, and a dose of city vibes.
But as my time in Busan came to an end, I hopped aboard the KTX bullet train bound for Seoul to continue exploring South Korea.
Now, after having explored Busan for a few days and travelling between the two cities, I’ve crafted the perfect one-day itinerary for those who are short on time.
I highly recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Busan, but sometimes a day trip is all you can budget for and that’s absolutely fine. You can get a great taste of Busan in 1 day, especially if you follow my itinerary ;).
So, let’s dive and I’ll share with you the gems I’ve uncovered along the way.
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How To Get From Seoul To Busan
If you’re planning a day trip from Seoul to Busan, let me tell you right off the bat that the KTX bullet train is the absolute best way to go. The train trip from Seoul to Busan, and vice versa is 2hrs 15 mins.
I also recommend you arrive at the station at least 20 minutes early to find your terminal and be ready to board.
But before I dive into the nitty-gritty, let me share my experience. I’ve been on this train journey in-revers from Busan back to Seoul, and the experience was nothing short of fantastic.
The seats were comfortable with loads of legroom, there was ample luggage storage, and the train stations were a breeze to navigate.
And no need to worry about paying extra for your 30kg bags – just stow them away and relax!
The signage is clear as day (and in English), and you won’t have to go all Indiana Jones to find your platform.
It’s as straightforward as it gets. Plus I booked my ticket online in advance which saved the hassle of having to pay at a paystation that can be a little temperamental.
Don’t forget to take in the scenery you pass along the way. From green landscapes to charming little towns, you’ll have your nose pressed to the window the entire time.
So, whether you’re heading from Seoul to Busan or making your way back like I did, you’re in for a treat.
Day Trip From Seoul to Busan Itinerary
Rise and shine bright and early! Catch a 6 a.m. (or 6:30 if that’s too early for you) train from Seoul to Busan.
You will depart from Seoul Central Station and will arrive at Busan Station.
Morning at Jagalchi Markets (9:00 AM)
Start your day early by visiting the Jagalchi Fish Market.
To get to Jagalachi Markets from Busan Station, transfer from the train station to the subway station and hop on Line 1. After a 10-minute trip, hop off at Jagalachi Station.
The markets are located in Nampo Dong, known as the old town of Busan.
Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, explore the vibrant seafood market, and perhaps even enjoy a try some local food at one of the eateries.
Make sure to explore the stalls outside of the main complex. There are loads of incredible local vendors selling fresh vegetables, seafood, spices, sweets and more.
Whilst you’re in the area, cross the road to explore Biff Square and perhaps grab a coffee at one of the cafes. Iced Americano is a favourite in Korea.
Gamcheon Cultural Village (11:00 AM)
Head to the charming Gamcheon Culture Village, where colourful houses, street art, and a unique culture stand.
To get to Gamcheon Culture Village from Jagalachi Markets, walk to Nampo Dong Station and get on subway Line 1.
After a quick 5-minute trip, hop off at Toseong Station.
Take exit 6 which is signposted towards Gamcheon Culture Village and then turn right up the main road at the exit.
The road will take you up towards the Busan University Hospital and then you’ll see a bus stop, it’s the first one you come across on this road and you will likely see other tourists there.
There are many buses that leave from here but you need to get either Bus 2, Bus 2-2, or Bus 1-1 to Gamcheon Culture Village. The buses are little green minibuses.
Make sure to have your T Money Card ready!
Tip: Google Maps will tell you to walk 1km from the station to Gamechon Culture Village. I would not recommend it at all. The walk has very steep hills and is not worth wasting your energy conquering.
When you arrive you’re treated to a gorgeous lookout of the village, perfect for taking photos.
Then stroll through the narrow alleyways and immerse yourself in the art and history of this quirky neighborhood.
Lunch in Gamcheon (1:00 PM)
By now, you’re probably pretty peckish.
I highly suggest you eat at the street food vendors and enjoy snacks rather than trying to find a restaurant. There aren’t many restaurants in the area and can be typically expensive compared to the rest of Busan.
The street food is located on the main tourist street, right near The Little Prince statue.
Enjoy the local flavours on the go while taking in the picturesque surroundings.
Haeundae Beach (3:00 PM)
After lunch, make your way to the famous Haeundae Beach.
As we’re tight on time, book a taxi via the Kakao Taxi App. It will cost around $18-$22 USD.
Spend your afternoon sunbathing, swimming or strolling along the esplanade.
If you’re still hungry or thirsty for a cold one, there are loads of restaurants and cafes along Gunam-ro Main Road, the main road that leads to the beach.
(Optional) Haedong Yonggungsa (5:00 PM)
The last stop before you head back to Seoul is the gorgeous Haedong Yonggungsa.
Order another taxi as public transport to Haedong Yonggungsa isn’t very convenient. After a 10-minute ride (for around $11-$14 USD) you’ll arrive at the spectacular seaside Buddhist temple.
It’s a serene and picturesque place to explore, especially during the late afternoon when the sun starts to set.
Alternatively, if you’re not up for spending more money or trekking to the temple, you can spend the afternoon soaking in all that Haeunde beach has to offer.
Train back to Seoul (or your next destination!) (6:00 pm) :
What a day!
It’s now time to head back to Busan Station to catch the train back to Seoul.
To get to Busan Station from Haedong Yonggungsa walk 700m down the hill, cross the road and you’ll reach the bus stop. Hop on bus 1001 which will be on for about an hour until you reach Busan station. Then walk 200m to the train station entrance.
You can also grab a taxi which will take 22 minutes and cost $22-$25 USD.
If you choose to stay at the beach, walk to the Haeundae Beach Entrance Bus stop (use Google Maps) and jump on bus 1003. After 40mins you will reach Busan station and will need to walk 200m to the train station entrance.
I hope you loved your day trip from Seoul to Busan!
6 Tips For Visiting Busan In 1 Day
If you’ve got just one day to soak up the beauty and culture of Busan, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with these 5 tips to make your trip.
- Rise and Shine
Start your day bright and early! Hop on one of the first trains from Seoul. To save time, pack your breakfast for on the go.
Don’t forget to grab a T Money card from a convenience store if you don’t already have one from Seoul. It’s your key to smooth and convenient transport throughout the city.
From buses to subways, taxis to convenience stores, this handy card has got you covered.
Your navigation allies!
Download both Google Maps and Kakao Maps to help you find your way around Busan.
These apps are incredibly useful for locating attractions, finding the nearest subway stations, bus stops and ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the city’s hidden gems.
When your feet need a break, the Kakao Taxi app comes to the rescue.
It’s a lifesaver for booking taxis (and paying). No more hailing on the street or worrying about what rate you have to pay – just a few taps and your ride is on its way.
Note: Uber is not common in Busan, Kakao Taxi app is your go-to.
- Comfortable shoes
Trust me, Busan has lots to explore on foot, from its vibrant markets to its scenic temples and beautiful beaches.
So, lace up those comfortable shoes – you’re in for a day packed with walking
- Catching the Train Back to Seoul
If you plan to catch the train back to Seoul at night, make sure to check the train schedule and purchase your tickets in advance. Busan Station can get pretty busy, especially during work rush hour so arriving a bit early will ensure a smooth departure.
FAQs: Day Trip From Seoul To Busan
Moving onto some commonly asked questions about taking a day trip from Seoul to Busan.
Can we do a day trip from Seoul to Busan?
You betcha! A day trip from Seoul to Busan is possible, and it’s a jam-packed adventure.
While you won’t be able to explore every nook and cranny, you can certainly get a taste of this incredible city, enjoying its beaches, culture, and cuisine.
Just plan your itinerary well (see above or contact me for a personalised itinerary), and you’ll have a fantastic day in Busan!
If you can, however, I highly suggest you spend at least 3 days in this brilliant city. I had a blast in Busan and can’t wait to head back to explore even more.
How much is a bullet train from Seoul to Busan?
Ah, the KTX, South Korea’s speedy bullet train!
The fare for a KTX ticket from Seoul to Busan can vary depending on the class you choose and the time of your travel.
Generally, prices range from around 50,000 to 150,000 KRW (Korean Won) or $38 – $144 USD. My ticket from Busan to Seoul was $59,800 KRW ($46 USD) and I travelled on a Thursday at 9 a.m.
It’s worth every penny for the speed and comfort it offers on your journey.
How long does bullet train take from Seoul to Busan?
Hold onto your seats! The KTX is incredibly swift, and the journey from Seoul to Busan takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. That’s right, you can cover a good chunk of the country in just a few hours!
It’s a fantastic way to maximize your time and explore the stunning coastal city of Busan.
Should I spend more time in Seoul or Busan?
Ah, the classic dilemma – should you spend more time in Seoul or Busan?
I actually have written a detailed post on whether you should travel to Seoul or Busan which I recommend you check out!
But to give you a quick summary, the following is what I recommend.
Spend more time in Seoul if:
- Culture and History: If you’re a history buff and crave a deep dive into South Korea’s rich heritage, Seoul is your playground. Palaces, temples, the DMZ and traditional neighbourhoods just to name a few.
- City Exploration: Seoul is a bustling city with a vibrant food scene, bustling markets, and a mix of modern and traditional architecture. It’s perfect for those who enjoy city life.
- Shopping and Entertainment: If shopping and entertainment are your jam, Seoul offers a world of options from high-end boutiques to funky street markets and a vibrant K-pop scene.
Spend more time in Busan if:
- Beach Vibes: Busan is all about that coastal charm. If you crave seaside relaxation and water activities, Busan’s beautiful beaches are a must.
- Scenic Beauty: The city is surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes, making it perfect for hikers, nature lovers, and those who appreciate stunning coastal views.
- Relaxed Atmosphere: Busan offers a slower pace compared to the fast-paced Seoul. It’s great for those looking to unwind and enjoy a more laid-back experience.
But here’s the twist. Ideally, why not split your time between both cities? They’re well-connected by that speedy KTX train, which makes it super convenient to experience the best of both worlds. A few days in Seoul to immerse in the urban energy, and a few days in Busan for some coastal relaxation – it’s a win-win!
So, it’s less about “either-or” and more about “both-and”.
How much time should I spend in Busan?
I recommend spending at least 3 days in this beautiful coastal city. This duration allows you to explore its beautiful beaches, wander through vibrant neighbourhoods, delve into its rich history and sample its seafood cuisine without feeling too rushed.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation by the sea, trekking along scenic trails, or immersing in the local culture, three days in Busan provide a well-rounded taste of its charm.
But of course, the more the merrier! If you have more than 3 days to spend in Busan, there is loads to explore, so don’t hold back!
The Wrap-Up: Day Trip From Seoul To Busan
And there you have it, the wrap-up of our incredible day trip from Seoul to Busan. From the bustling streets of Seoul to the coastal charm of Busan, it’s been an adventure packed with unforgettable sights.
Whether you’re sunbaking at Haeundae Beach, taking photos at Gamcheon Village, or savouring the flavours of Jagalachi Markets, South Korea’s dynamic diversity shines through.
As I leave you with this one-day Busan itinerary, I hope you’re as inspired as I was to discover this beautiful city.
Writing this post has me itching to get back to Busan!
You’re going to have a blast, I’m so excited for you!