Haeundae is a district in the east of Busan that is known as the main tourist destination of the city and home to the nationally renowned Haeundae Beach.
Haeundae is one of the country's main tourist destinations. It offers Korea's most famous beach, upmarket hotels, the newest shops and luxury apartments. Due to the relatively recent development of the area, it lacks the tradition and history that can be found in the rest of the city.
Many Koreans have happy memories of traveling to Busan to spend a hot summer's day on the packed beach in Haeundae.
Although a little distance away to the east, the Songjeong area with its impressive beach is also part of the Haeundae-gu district.
The easiest way into Haeundae from central Busan is via metro line 2. The Haeundae area starts at the 1 Centum City station, stops by the beach at 2 Haeundae Station and ends at 3 Jangsan station. Haeundae Station will bring you closest to the action on the beach (The train will even play seagull sounds on arrival).
There is a direct limousine bus from Gimhae International Airport that will stop at most of the major hotels in the Haeundae area. There are also a number of municipal buses that go to Haeundae.
A taxi into Haeundae from most parts of Busan will cost between ₩7,000 to ₩15,000.
By car, you can drive east over the famous (at least for Koreans) Gwangalli bridge in order to get to the Haeundae area. Parking in Haeundae is not easy to find, and parking near the beach on a hot summer's day will be a huge challenge.
The mainline train connections through the Haeundae area are now closed. Busan Station is about 40 minutes away from the area and is directly connected by metro line 2.
- 1 Haeundae Beach (해운대) (Haeundae Metro Station, exit 5.). One of the most popular summer destinations in South Korea. Haeundae beach attracts tourists from all around the country and gets really overcrowded in late July and early August. Deck chairs and parasols are available to rent for ₩10,000. Hotels including international chains are nearby, and the Busan Aquarium is on the beach front. On a clear day, Tsushima Island (Japan) can be seen. In winter the beach is much more quiet, although various events such as the Pusan Film Festival and the new year Polar Bear Swim are held here. Away from the beach in Haeundae town there are some excellent restaurants and a wide variety of shops, although many are hidden away. Explore the streets behind the beach front boulevard. The Haeundae Tourist Information Center is directly on the beach. Surfing and jetskiing is available, although most people seem happy to float in yellow inflatable rings (they can be rented).
- 2 Busan Aquarium (부산 아쿠아리움), Heaundae Beach (Line 2 - Haeundae station; walk directly to the beach from the station), ☏ . This is the largest aquarium in Korea with great facilities and excellent displays. There is also a 3D ride that is worth checking out. There are larger aquariums in Asia, and outside the facility looks rather underwhelming, but inside the displays are high quality and the tanks well maintained. Easy to spend a couple of hours with kids. The price is ₩23,000 but you can get various discount like birthday dc. ₩23,000.
- 3 Dongbaek Island (Dongbaekseom), Haeundae Beach, next to Westin Hotel (at Haeundae Beach turn right and walk to the Westin Hotel; the walk around the island starts from there). Dongbaekseom is not a real island, but a forested area with Camellia and pine trees past the Westin hotel. It offers a pleasant and short coastal walk, and the APEC Conference Center (with great views of the Gwangali area in Busan) can be visited here as well.
- 4 Dalmaji Hill, Haeundae (from Haeundae station (Line 2) it is probably easiest to take a short taxi ride; otherwise you can walk to the eastern end of Haeundae Beach (Mipo) and climb the small hill to arrive at the start of Dalmaji). This is regarded as Busan's 'romantic road', and climbs a hill overlooking the sea. It is often called the Montmartre of Busan by locals, although the two locations only share the attributes of being romantic and on a hill. The majority of visitors are couples of all ages looking for a romantic experience. Along the way there are many galleries and at the top there are viewing areas, cafes, as well as an amphitheater with a dramatic ocean background.
- 5 MoonTan Road ( 문탠로드 ), Haeundae (half way up Dalmaji Hill (above)). This is a nice forested walk along the sea coast on Dalmaji Hill with an impressive lookout in the middle. At night time the path is lit up.
- 6 Busan Museum of Art, 40 APEC Road, Haeundae-Gu, Busan (Line 2, Busan Museum of Art station), ☏ . 10:00 to 20:00. Contains three art galleries of modern art (one being for children). You can probably feel pretty good about spending 2-3 hours here and feel like you've seen it all. Closed every Monday and January 1st. In case Monday is a national holiday then the museum is closed on the next day instead. Free.
- 7 Busan Cinema Center, 1467 Woo-Dong, Haeundae-Gu, Busan 612-020 (Line 2 - Centum City Station). The Busan International Film Festival has had this impressive open cinema built for the October 2011 festival. Go at night time to appreciate the light show displayed on the ceiling. To get there take the subway/bus to Centum City. The building is behind Shinsigae Centum City.
- 8 Songjeong Beach (송정해수욕장) (from Haeundae Station, take bus 100, 100-1, 139, 142, or 181 to Songjeong Station, with 181 taking one directly to the main street section and just meters away from the beach or Jangsan Station and a taxi ride). Far out to the very east of Busan, Songjeong is a sandy cove-beach that is about 1.2 km long. There are many hotels and restaurants directly on the beach or within an easy walk. Since it is less crowded, this beach van be a better option than Haeundae beach in summer. Song Jeong offers a lot of Korean restaurants (especially Sundae), specialty coffee houses and a great deal of surf boarding in the Autumn and Winter.
- 9 Yonggungsa Temple (take bus 181 from outside Centum City or Haeundae subway stations, or just take a taxi from Haeundae/Jansan for around ₩6,000). This Buddhist temple complex is situated on top of a large rock along the ocean. Since most Korean temples are in the mountains this is an unusual location with sweeping ocean views. You need to walk through a long market from the car park to the complex itself.
- 10 Sengbulsa Temple (성불사) (walk up a steep hill from Busan Museum of Art, or take a taxi). Buddhist temple and monastery located up Jangsan mountain. Good scenic views over Haeundae.
- 11 Cheongsapo Fishing Village (Number 2 minibus directly outside Jangsan station (direction Cheongsapo) - 15 minutes). Although not particularly remarkable compared to Heaundae and Songjeong beaches on eigher side, this village is remote and away from the crowds with some cafes and restaurants by the sea. You can walk here either along the Moontan Road (hilly), along the disused rail tracks (flat) or the Number 2 Orange/Blue minibus outside Jangsan station.
- 12 Jucheonjogakbo Museum (주천조각보박물관) (near Jungdong Metro Station). 10:00 - 16:00. Museum of Korean traditional art.
- 1 Spaland Centum City, Busan-si Haeundae-gu U2-dong Shinsegae Centum City 1F-3F (take subway to Centum City). 06:00-24:00. Part of the Shinsigae mall, this spa is probably the most friendly/accessible spa for foreigners in Busan. It is directly on the Centum City subway station, making it very easy to get to. Signs and an Instruction leaflet are also provided in English. Unlike many other spas, there is a time limit of 4 hours here after which you would need to pay again. The quality of the spa facilities as well as the hot rooms are very high (which helps explain the relative high price to other spas), and the Korean restaurant inside serves good food. Entry price is cheaper before 08:00. Children age 12 and under are not permitted, and under the age of 18 must be under parental supervision after 22:00. ₩12,000 (weekdays), ₩14,000 (weekends) (discount for students).
- 2 Haeundae Cruise Boat, Haeundae (Line 2-Haeundae station; walk to Haeundae beach, turn left and walk to the end). 09:00 ~ 22:00. This boat trip starts off at Haeundae’s Mipo Ferry Terminal and heads towards Oryuk-do Islets and the Igidae area. The shores of Igidae are composed of breathtaking views of fantastically shaped cliffs. This 1-hour boat trip offers great views of Busan Harbor. The boat ride can be very bumpy and there is no way off, so check the weather conditions if you feel sea sick easily! ₩18,000.
- 3 BEXCO, Subway Line 2 - Centum City. BEXCO is a large exhibition center with many halls, and although most of the events are rather dry (i.e. Industrial Marine technology) there may be something of interest whilst you're in town such as computer gaming or coffee making expositions. Check out the schedule on the website. Many cafes in Busan have promotional leaflets for upcoming events held in BEXCO and sometimes offer a discount. The Busan International Motor Show is held here every year.
- 4 Hiking up Jangsan Mountain (a good starting point is Daecheon Park in Jangsan). If you are near Haeundae, then Jangsan mountain can provide a good day's hiking. There are military bases at the summit complete with minefields (Clearly marked and fenced off), and great views over Busan and on a clear day to Japan. A hike to the summit and back should take 3-4 hours. Hiking trails are not really well marked, even if you can read Korean script.
- 5 Haeundae Disused Rail Track. Not a tourist attraction, but could be of interest. The railway line between Mipo at the east end of Haeundae beach and Cheongsapo fishing village has been decommissioned, allowing people to walk the entire length along the tracks. There are plans to turn this into a full path, however you can walk along the tracks (The warning sign in Korean does not recommend this) and see the ocean view and a Korean army base. There are a few art installations cropping up, as well as a large memorial to the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster. Free.
- 6 Club 101 (Across the road from the Westin hotel), ☏ . A yachting club with a variety of boats for the public to try out, including tours with a yacht (₩60,000+), a dash around the harbor on a jet boat (₩40,000), Glass bottom boat (₩60,000) and jet skis (₩250,000+)
- 7 Vesta Spa, 1509-6 Joong-dong, Haeundae-gu (near the beginning of Dalmaji Road), ☏ . Korean sauna with separate levels for men and women. Very nice water and views over Haeundae beach. Somewhat out of the way, but if you are visiting Dalmaji road anyway then worth visiting. ₩6,000 (sauna only).
- Biking on Haeundae Beach (Tourist office and SeaCloud hotel) has a free bike rental scheme between 09:00 and 18:00 for foreigners (with a passport, id card and accommodation voucher!). If you do not have insurance then a ₩2,000 fee is required.
- Biking in Haeundae New Town (The Jangsan area) has a bike rental scheme [dead link] which is cheap although you will need to read Korean to use it. ₩500 for 30 minutes or ₩3,000 for a monthly membership. It is fully electronic, therefore there are no time limits and you can pick up and drop your bike at different designated locations around the area. This is a nice residential area, although it doesn't really have any notable tourist attractions to bike between.
- 1 Haeundae Market (walk from Haeundae metro station to the beach, and the market street will be on your left). A pedestrian street full of fresh food to buy and small restaurants to try out.
- 2 Shinsegae Department Store (신세계), Subway Line 2 - Centum City (in Centum City), ☏ . 10:30-20:00. A department store with an interesting (albeit expensive) food hall in the basement. The Kyobo book store is very large and has a large variety of Korean and English books. It has two cinemas, an ice rink and a large public spa. It is also the biggest department store in the world according to the Guinness World Book of Records.
- 3 Lotte Department Store, Subway Line 2 - Centum City (in Centum City). 10:30-20:00. A smaller department store right next to the Shinsegae Department Store. Has a decent cinema as well as a small animal zoo (free) on the top floor.
- 4 Paradise Duty Free, Haeundae-gu, Jung-dong 1411-1 (just behind the Paradise Hotel on Heaundae beach), ☏ . 09:30-19:00. Department store full of luxury brands and some local Korean souvenirs. All items are without tax, so you will need to bring your passport as well as your flight/ship number. You can pick up your items from Busan airport, Incheon airport (Seoul) or the Busan Ferry Port after passport control.
- 1 Kim Hee-dae Halmae Wonjo Gamasot Gukbap (Granny Kim Hee-dae's Original Cauldron Gukbap), 612-2 U-1-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan (부산 해운대구 우1동 612-12) (cross the main road in front of the Novotel on Haeundae beach and walk towards the station: Haeundae Market is just one side street down), ☏ . Gukbap is a hot bowl of rice and broth, and available in many of the old style restaurants in Heaundae market. ₩3,500.
- 2 손칼국수 (San Kal Kuk Su) (in the street above Jangsan Station, opposite Baskin Robbins ice cream and directly next to 'Waffle Bant'). A popular noodle restaurant in Jangsan. Fresh hot noodles with chicken, beef or shellfish with a side order of fresh kimchi. There is no English, however if you are adventurous then a cheap and healthy experience. Try asking for 'Dak' (Chicken) ₩5,000.
- 3 Korea Red Ginseng Samgyetang Galbitang, 1459-5 Baekchi, Jwa-dong (Outside Jangsan Station), ☏ . Hot broths with either chicken or beef cooked with rice and the special Korean ingredient of Ginseng.
- 4 Namaste, Haeundae (Subway Station no 203, Exit 3: walk down the main street towards the beach; Ttake the fifth Right (first diagonal street); the restaurant is on the right, basement level, just before the BMW dealer). Solid Indian fare in a stylish environment. ₩12,000-20,000.
- 5 Fingers & Chat (In the Bay 101 building, near the Westin hotel). Really good fish and chips with fresh batter that you can eat outside by the sea. Very long queues on weekends. Also good coffee and ice cream. ₩15,000+.
- 6 Artista (Leave Jungdong station, exit 2). After 18:00. Mexican restaurant with a good reputation. Slightly out of the way, but has vegetarian options as well. ₩12,000 for a meal.
- 7 Ventanas Grill Steak and Seafood, ☏ . Novotel Ambassador, Haeundae. Steak, fresh seafood, premier wine. Sephia style interior design, cozy atmosphere, and ocean view.
- 8 Cola Mercato, Heundue, Chung Dong, 1490-3 5F, ☏ . Decent Italian restaurant at the top of Dalmaji Hill with views over the ocean. ₩20,000+ for mains.
- 9 Outback Steakhouse (next to the beach). Good if you want some familiar western food.
- 10 Cafe Aslan (leave Jangsan station (Line 1) exit 13, walk for about a minute or so, then turn left: it's tucked away to the left side). Fantastic tasting coffee and backed pastries, along with a really great ambiance. Free WiFi and laptop power points. ₩5,500 a cup.
- 11 Obs Bakery. Nice bakery with good snacks for the beach.
- 12 Terrarosa Coffee. 09:00-22:00.
Most of the bars that appeal to westerners are on the main street (Gunam-ro) between Heundae subway station (exit 5) and the beach. Below is a small selection.
- 1 Boracay (in between Haeundae and the Apec Center). In the basement of a hotel, this is an expensive Korean style booking club.
- 2 Starface Bar (Dalmaji Hill). Pool table and cool Americans aplenty on the weekends. Pretty sleepy during most weeknights.
- 3 Thursday Party (on Gunam-ro near the station.). A chain of bars in Busan and a popular place for Koreans and Westerners to intermingle.
- 4 U2 Bar (across from the Novotel Ambassador Busan). Has live DJs and occasional live bands on weekends. Plays requests during the weekdays. Darts, pool and Hookahs available. Though not busy on most weeknights, there are usually a good mix of foreigners and Koreans inside.
- 5 Wolfhound Irish Pub & Restaurant, Haeundae (walk out exit 5 from Haeundae Stn for about 300 m and its on your right on the second floor just inside the fifth alley), ☏ . From 17:00 weekdays, 11:00 weekends. A proper pub serving a large variety of premium draft beers and western food. Great place for a mid week dinner and pint or to party on the weekends. Good mix of Koreans and westerners. from ₩4900.
The streets behind the western side of Haeundae beach are completely full of 1 cheap love motels.
The following listings are for traveler friendly hostel style accommodation:
- 2 Haeundae With Guesthouse, 321, Haeundaehaebyunro (13987, Jung dong, Haeundaegu), Haeundaegu, Busan, South Korea, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. Haeundae With Guesthouse is a 5-min walk from Haeundae beach, the common area has a bright open space where you can meet other travellers and locals willing to practice their English. The breakfast is good, you can cook your eggs the style of your choice, there is also fruit juice, toast and jam. Bed rooms are a little bit narrow but comfortable. Prices are fair for the location. Male/female dorm ₩14,900.
- 3 Hill Spa (On Moontan Road. From Haeundae Beach, walk east up the cliffside road towards the Jangsan area. Vesta has a bright neon sign and is 3 doors up from an iconic hotel shaped like a Japanese castle. Alternately, a taxi from Haeundae station will run about ₩3,000.), ☏ . 15-min walk from Haeundae beach, sauna entry alone costs ₩5,000, but travelers can stay for ₩8,000 a night. This is a jjimjilbang and sleeping is on a large communal floor with only a limited supply of mats and pillows. It is locally famed and can get crowded on weekends. The entrance fee includes access to good saunas and baths, a variety of hot rooms and a small PC room. Facilities are mostly mediocre, but the view over Haeundae beach from the sleeping floor and baths is stunning. ₩8000.
- 4 The Planet Guesthouse, Crystal Beach Officetel room 311, Haeundae, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00~20:00, check-out: 12:00. One min to the Haeundae beach, 5 min walk to the Haeundae station. Beautiful natural scenery. Women only. ₩30,000 dorm).
- 5 Indy House, 45, Jungdong 1-ro, Haeundae-gu (Go out of Exit 1 and walk 80 meters straight (1 minute). Turn right onto first street at 'CU' convenient store. If you walked past the Megabox, you went too far. Walk along the street (400 meters) near the end of the street, Indy House will be on your left), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Owned by Indy, who is a nice guy and very helpful. Well equipped with small pool table, free internet, free movies and free laundry. Dormbeds start at ₩20,000 per night.
- 6 Sunset Business Hotel (선셋호텔), 1391-66 Joong-Dong Haeundae-gu, Busan (a few minutes walking distance from Haeundae Beach, closest to Haunedae aquarium). Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Business class hotel as the name suggests. Rooms could be bigger but in room mod cons pretty nice. Some English spoken.
- 7 Toyoko Inn. Set back behind the Paradise Hotel, but only a couple of minutes walk to the sea front.
- 8 Ramada Encore Haeundae, Gunam-ro9, Woodong, Haeundae-gu, ☏ . Check-in: 15:00~05:30, check-out: 11:00. Located in a busy area just a minute's walk from the nearest bus stop, and right in front of Haeundae station, this hotel offers a cozy and relaxing atmosphere, a 20-minute walking from Haeundae Beach and SEA LIFE Busan Aquarium.
Most of Busan's luxury hotels are along Haeundae Beach. The hotels listed below all offer ocean view and city view rooms, but be prepared to pay extra for the ocean view. Weekend rates are always more expensive than weekday rates, and rates go sky high during the summer peak season (varies by hotel, but roughly July to August). Rates can also go up during special events (e.g. Busan International Film Festival).
- 9 Novotel Busan Ambassador. An upscale hotel on the boardwalk of Haeundae beach. Has excellent hot spring facilities with a view directly over the beach.
- 10 Paradise Hotel. This hotel has an extensive range of facilities including duty-free shops in the basement, one (rather small) outdoor pool, a full service spa, gym, outdoor hot spring (with a view of the ocean), sauna, as well as a casino inside the hotel (identification proving that you have foreign citizenship is required). All sea-facing rooms have a balcony.
- 11 Westin Chosun Beach. A luxury hotel at the west end of Haeundae beach and next to Dongbaek Island. It's set back a bit further away (about 1 km) from the downtown Haeundae area.
- 12 Haeundae Grand Hotel. Unlike the three hotels above which are on the boardwalk or on the beach, this one is off the boardwalk, however still very close to the beach (about five minutes walk). Good amenities but each (swimming pool, gym, etc.) charges separately.
- 13 Park Hyatt Busan. A luxury hotel in the Haeundae marine city, overlooking the ocean and Gwangan Bridge. This hotel offers a variety of dining and entertainment options, a fitness center, seven spa treatment rooms, an indoor pool, and 269 guestrooms including 69 suites.
There is a Tsunami warning system and signs on the beaches, although the risk of a Tsunami is far less than in nearby Japan. In the unlikely event a tsunami warning is issued for Busan or the South Korean coastline, head for the top of a tall building or higher ground. (Higher ground is not easily accessible from Haeundae Beach.)
Every summer the local press gets very concerned about foreigners behaving badly on Busan beaches, usually by photographing Korean girls wearing bikinis. (The same press has no problem publishing corresponding photos of foreign women on Busan beaches.) Since it can be a police matter, be careful what pictures you take on the beach.
Along the beachfront there is government provided free Wi-Fi, although it isn't particularly fast or reliable. Sit on the benches in front of the hotels to use free guest wifi or use any of the many coffee shops around the area.