South Korea’s second-most populous city, Busan, is known for its rich history, neon lights, vibrant nightlife, and mouthwatering street food.
But it is a massive and sprawling city, and choosing the best neighborhood to stay in Busan can be overwhelming. So I put together this guide, choosing my favorite and the five best areas to stay in Busan. I’ve broken each neighborhood down into easy-to-digest bites. So you’ll be able to quickly find the best neighborhood to fit your travel style and needs. I’ve also outlined the best “can’t miss” activities and attractions in each. So you’ll know exactly what to do and where to do it in Busan.
Busan is a massive city.
It is located in southeastern South Korea and is the second most populous city after Seoul. Many South Korean visitors include Busan on their itineraries. An economic, cultural, and educational center. Busan is a dynamic and engaging city that enchants visitors. With its rich history, beautiful beaches, energetic nightlife, and exquisite food.
This guide will explore the best places in Busan to stay based on what you want to do.
Nampo – located in the center of the city. This lively and vibrant neighborhood is home to shopping, restaurants, nightlife, and more. It’s where you’ll find the most popular and famous tourist attractions in the city. This is why it’s our number one choice for the best area in Busan to stay for your first visit.
Travel north from here, and you’ll arrive in Seomyeon. Where you’ll find the best street food and hottest hangouts.
Gwangalli – busy and bustling neighborhood in eastern Busan. This hip and happening seaside district offers a relaxed vibe and atmosphere. Where you’ll find a good selection of affordable accommodations.
On the city’s eastern edge is Haeundae, the best neighborhood to stay in Busan for nightlife. This vibrant district is home to the best bars, clubs, and pubs in Busan and offers a range of after-dark fun.
And finally, on the western side of the city is the lively yet relaxed neighborhood. Sasang – district packed with natural attractions, outdoor activities, and many delicious things to eat.
#1 Haeundae – Nightlife spot in Busan
If you’re someone who likes to stay at the center of the action, Haeundae is the neighborhood for you!
Situated on the northeastern edge of the city, Haeundae is our best recommendation for staying in Busan for nightlife. Haeundae’s dedicated entertainment district is packed with lively bars, exciting clubs, incredible restaurants, and laid-back pubs. So, whether you want to dance the night away or sip a glass of wine by the seaside, Haeundae has everything you could possibly want – and so much more!
Haeundae is also one of the best places to stay in Busan if you’re looking to shop until you drop because it has vibrant city markets, high street boutiques, and high-quality shops to experience and explore.
Things to See and Do in Haeundae
- Sample local craft brews from Galmegi Brewing.
- Sip excellent cocktails at Papa’s Bar.
- Try local street food and seafood at Haeundae Market.
- Work on your tan at Haeundae Beach, the most famous beach in South Korea.
- Excite your senses with a flurry of flavors by trying local dishes like dwaeji gukbap, milmyeon, and samgyeopsal.
- Enjoy a night of drinks and games at the Thursday Party.
#2 Gwangalli – On a budget stay in Busan
Gwangalli is a beautiful neighborhood situated outside the city center. It’s just a short subway ride from the heart of the action and is where visitors can experience the tropical paradise that South Korea is famous for. In Gwangalli, you can enjoy a pristine white sand beach and sun-filled days while meeting relaxed and social expats and locals.
This is hip and happening ‘hood is also a top pick for the best area in Busan to stay in if you’re on a budget. Tucked throughout this seaside district is an excellent selection of hostels and good-value hotels. From cheap and cheerful to stylish and modern, there’s something for travelers of all tastes in Gwangalli.
Things to See and Do in Gwangalli
- Drink incredible coffee at Angel-in-us.
- Indulge in local dishes like bibimbap, bulgogi, kimchi and japchae.
- Watch the exciting and lively light show that illuminates Gwangandaegyo (Diamond Bridge).
- Rest, relax and soak up some rays on Gwangalli Beach.
- Excite your sense with Mexican fare at Sharky’s Bar and Grill.
- See an interesting collection of art at Doshi Gallery.
#3 Seomyeon – Shopping paradise in Busan
The Seomyeon neighborhood is located in the center of the city. This vivacious and vibrant area is known for its good selection of restaurants, bars, cafés, shops, and attractions. It offers a great mix of nightlife and history, as well as shopping and culture. And, although it can be a bit touristy, Seomyeon wins our vote as one of the coolest places to stay in Busan.
Seomyeon is home to some of the hippest hangouts in the city. Visitors may be attracted by its bright lights and lively atmosphere, but it’s the neighborhoods’ delicious food and intriguing landmarks that keep them coming back for more!
Things to See and Do in Seomyeon
- Excite your taste buds by eating your way through Seomyeon Food Alley.
- Explore the Bujeong Market where you’ll find a great selection of traditional foods, spices, treats and more
- Go for a stroll through Busan Citizens Park.
- Pick up a souvenir or two from the Seomyeon Underground Shopping Center.
- Shop until you drop at Lotte Mall Dong Busan, the biggest and best mall in Busan.
- Sip, sample and shop your way along lively, vibrant and thrilling Jeonpo Café Street.
#4 Sasang – Perfect stay for Families in Busan
Sasang is one of the most overlooked neighborhoods in Busan, with most visitors opting for Busan accommodation closer to the city center. But, for families, that can be a huge mistake!
Located on Busan’s western edge, Sasang is a lively residential neighborhood and our top pick for staying in Busan with kids. This area is brimming with parks and nature reserves, making it the perfect place to stay if you’re looking to rest, relax or explore the green heart of the city.
Serene river walks, peaceful hikes, and seasonal cherry blossom spotting are just a few of the great activities that Sasang has to offer.
Things to See and Do in Sasang
- Aim for a strike at PBA Bowling.
- Eat delicious dishes at Gobong Min Gimbap in.
- Enjoy a day of sun, sand, and surf at Dadaepo Beach.
- Go cherry blossom spotting and snap those every so popular pic for IG.
- See an excellent collection of art, sculpture, design, and more at the Museum of Contemporary Art Busan.
- Spend a day exploring Sasang Neighbourhood Park, a relaxing urban green space with a children’s park, slides, bouncing bubbles, and plenty of things to climb.
- Take a day trip to nearby Gamcheon Culture Village and enjoy the stunning scenery and charm.
- Visit Samrak Ecological Park.
#5 Nampo – Your First Time Stay in Busan
This busy and bustling neighborhood is located in central Busan. It is known for its neon light, mouthwatering restaurants, and the home of its succulent and unmissable street food scene. If you’re someone who likes to eat well, Nampo is the perfect neighborhood for you!
But there’s more to Nampo than lights and fire. This vibrant neighborhood is also packed with history and culture. Here you can step back in time and experience South Korea’s rich and tragic past and explore its culture and chaos – basically, a lot of the Busan places to visit are located nearby.
Things to See and Do in Nampo
- Browse the shops at Gukje Market.
- Climb to the top of Busan Tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
- Delve deep into the history of the city at the Busan Modern History Museum.
- Explore the lively and vibrant BIFF Square.
- Feast on unique dishes at Kong Bat Eh.
- Indulge in delicious local delicacies, like spicy tteokbokki, ggom jangeo, and ssiat hotteok.
- Shop, snack and sample your way through the bustling Jagalchi Market.
- Treat yourself to a few new items from Gwanbokro Culture and Fashion Street.
References: Where to Stay in Busan (2021 • COOLEST Areas!)