Known as the second biggest city and the leading trading port in Korea, the bustling city of Busan (Pusan) is home to approximately 4.4 million people (as of 2010) in an area of about 763 square kilometers. Its deep harbors and tranquil tides have had substantial benefits for the country’s economy, making it the fifth biggest container-handling port in the world. Boasting a splendid blend of scenic coastlines, cliffs, hot springs and mountains, Busan’s natural endowments and colorful history have created an increasing reputation as a first class city of tourism and culture. Today, more and more tourists are getting to Busan to experience authentic Korean culture and witness various natural attractions.
Where is Busan? This beautiful city is situated on the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula, with coordinates at 128° E longitude and 35° N latitude. It shares the same latitude as Kabul, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Algiers and Memphis.
There are several ways of getting to Busan, either by air, by land or by sea. If you wish to travel to Busan via plane, Gimhae International Airport serves both domestic and international flights from various Asian cities, mostly to China and Japan. It also caters to direct flights to/from Manila, Taipei, Bangkok, Vladivostok and Ho Chi Minh City. Gimhae Airport is the principal hub of Air Busan and serves as an air force base.
For domestic flights, the Seoul-Busan route is served by Asiana or Korean Air, which normally takes about 1 ½ hour and often requires reservations, particularly during weekends and holidays. In addition, the Busan-Jejudo route takes nearly one hour from 7am to 8pm. Airport limousine buses links to different city points for a flat rate.
Another way, if you want to know how to get to Busan, is to take the train. Most trains leave back and forth Busan’s downtown station. Between Seoul and Busan, KTX is the fastest service, with trips taking more or less three hours. Executive class is pricier, although the seats have ample space. For travelers wanting to save a few bucks, you can catch a Saemaul service, which normally takes 4 ½-hour ride from Seoul to Busan. The cheapest yet slowest train service is Mugunghwa service, which takes 5 ½ hours from Seoul.
For those residing in Daegu, Daejeon, Masan, Gyeongju and other nearby regions, taking express bus is the most ideal and cost-effective option. Nearly all counties and cities in South Korea offer express bus service to Busan. Today, two major bus stations are available in getting to Busan namely Dongbu Intercity Bus Terminal for north and east points and Seobu Intercity Bus Terminal for west points.
Busan’s status as a main port allows many tourists to travel to the city by sea. Getting to Busan via ferry is also convenient, particularly for tourists from Japan, China and Russia, due to their close geographical distance. A 24-hour ferry trip is possible between Korea and Japan with ferry routes in Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and Shimonoseki.