Where to Stay in Busan: A Super Detailed Guide

So you’re planning a trip to South Korea, and you’re wondering where the best place to stay in Busan is? You’ve come to the right place!

In this article, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about where to stay in Busan, including the best areas to stay in Busan and what kind of travelers each one is best for.

This information is based on my several trips to Busan, most recently to write about the best temples in Busan, from where I live in nearby Taipei, Taiwan. By the way, it usually only costs me around $200 for my return flight to Busan. You can find great deals like this too by using Kiwi.com!

Also see my complete detailed Busan 5 day itinerary or 50 ideas for what to do in Busan.

 

View from my room at La Valse hotel, Busan
View from my hotel in Busan. Below I’ll explain why La Valse is my #1 hotel choice in Busan.

 

 

I’m the kind of traveler who spends a huge amount of time researching hotels when I travel because I love discovering gems when it comes to accommodation.

For Busan, after doing tons of research, I was convinced that La Valse Hotel was the gem I’d been looking for. I’ll explain below why I loved it and strongly recommend it for budget travelers looking for a splurge, mid-range travelers, or even luxury travelers. If you want ALL the details on this hotel, I’ve written this extremely detailed, non-sponsored review of La Valse Hotel Busan with tons of photos. You can find also read reviews from other travelers here on Tripadvisor.

For a totally unique Busan accommodation experience, you may also want to consider doing a temple stay at Beomeosa, the most famous temple in Busan. I found this to be a eye-opening cultural experience and a great way to experience and learn more about Korean Buddhism. See here to read all about my Beomeosa temple stay experience!

Below I’m also going to include other Busan hotel recommendations for people with different budgets or travel interests than me, or who want to stay in different parts of Busan than I did. My recommendations are based on reading lots of guest reviews across various platforms, and places that stood out to me or I was tempted to book when researching the best hotels in Busan.

 

  Money- and Time-Saving Tips

– Order a portable WiFi device for pick-up at the airport when you arrive in South Korea. I found this one from Klook super convenient to pick up and it worked really well!

– Order a discounted Korea Rail pass or KTX High Speed Rail tickets online.

Charter a private car and driver to explore the sights in or around Busan in comfort.

– There are a lot of great Airbnbs in Busan to choose from as well. If you haven’t signed up yet, use this signup link to get a discount on your first stay.

 

 

Which area to stay in Busan

View of Busan, including Yongdusan Park and Busan Tower
Do you want a view of Busan like this from your hotel? Read on…

 

Busan is South Korea’s second largest city. It is a massive and very spread out city made up of 15 gu, or districts, each containing various dong (neighborhoods), and with numerous mountains, rivers, ports, and bays dividing the various corners of the city.

Even by riding the city’s excellent subway, it can take a solid hour or more to get from one end of the city to the other. To make matters worse, many of the city’s most appealing sides are located at extreme, opposing ends of the city rather than in the city center.

A few examples are Beomeosa Temple and Geumjeongsanseong Fortress in the far north, Haeundae Beach and Haedong Yonggungsa temple far removed in the northeast, Oryukdo islands and skywalk in the extreme southeast, Jagalchi Fish Market and Gamcheon Culture Village in the south, and more islands and beaches to the southwest.

 

Gamcheon Village, Busan
Gamcheon Culture Village, a popular attraction in the southwest of Busan

 

For this reason, I really spent a lot of time debating the logistics of my trip and everything I wanted to see before I could narrow it down to which area to stay in Busan.

If you’re planning to see all the main attractions of Busan (like I attempted to do), then you either have to change hotels once or twice during your stay (again, like I did), or just settle on one neighborhood & hotel, and accept that you’ll have a few days with somewhat long commutes.

To make things easier for you, I’ll mention not only the different vibes but also the famous attractions in each area to help you decide on the best neighborhood to stay in Busan for you! These are numbered in the order that I would personally choose, but your preferences may be different than mine.

 

Ultra Luxury

The Hilton Busan (see prices / read reviews) is such a beautiful, luxurious property that some Busan day tours, such as this one, stop to have a look at it. It is located on the coast in the far northeast of the city near Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (near #7 below).

 

Where to Stay in Busan Summarized

    • #1: Yeongdo Island for the best views and quintessential Busan experience
    • #2: Namp0-dong and Gwangbok-dong for the best food and highest concentration of sights
    • #3: Temple Stay at Beomeosa for a unique cultural experience
    • #4: Seomyeon for convenience
    • #5: Gwangan-dong for a rural beach vibe
    • #6: Haeundae-gu for the most famous beach in South Korea
    • #7: Haedong Yonggungsa if you want to see the sunrise at this famous coastal temple in Busan

#1 Best Area to Stay in Busan: Yeongdo Island

Yeongdo Island, which I think is the best place to stay in Busan
Beautiful Yeongdo Island lies south of the city center, at the entrance to the Busan Port. The tall hotel is La Valse, where I stayed.

 

Who will love it:

– Photographers (the views from the tall hotels are EPIC)
– Maritime enthusiasts
– People who like to be close to the action, but not right in it
– People who like local/non-touristy neighborhoods

 

Famous sights on Yeongdo Island

Samjin Eomuk Main Store: Headquarters of the famous Busan eomuk (fish cakes) chain. There are several branches in Busan, but this one is the best!
Taejongdae Resort Park: Busan’s most famous coastal park
– Korea National Maritime Museum
– All the sights of Nampo-dong (see #2 below) are within walking distance

 

After doing a silly amount of research on where to stay in Busan, I decided not to stay in one of the popular tourist districts, but on one of the Busan’s islands instead. Let me explain.

Yeongdo (literally “Yeong Island”) is one of the largest islands in Busan, and lies just south of the city center and Busan Port. Ships sail around either side of the island to enter the port. The hotels I’ll recommend below are all at the northern tip of the island, which is right across from, and directly facing Nampo-dong (#2 area below).

 

Busan Port
View of the Busan Port from the roof of my hotel, La Valse

 

Because Busan is a port city, I felt like staying right on the port offered a quintessentially Busan experience. On the one hand, there were numerous boats docked in the harbor a mere few meters from the front door of my hotel. The neighborhood of my hotel was very local and there was even a nightly BBQ seafood market right beside my hotel on the harbor that no tourists ever go to.

On the other hand, all I had to do was walk across Yeongdo Bridge, which connects Yeongdo island to the mainland, to reach some of the city’s biggest attractions and street food markets in Nampo-dong and Gwangbok-dong, included Gukje Market, Jagalchi Fish Market, Nampo-dong Cultural and Fashion Street, BIFF Square, and more.

 

Jagalchi Fish Market, Busan
View of Jagalchi Fish Market while walking across Yeongdo bridge to my hotel

 

The reason I loved this was that I had super convenient access to major sights and transportation, but at night I could retreat across the bridge to my hotel in a very quiet and local neighborhood right on the port. I felt like I had the best of both worlds, and it only took me 7 minutes on foot to reach Nampo subway station!

And the best part of all? The views from Yeongdo looking back at Busan are phenomenal and one-of-a-kind. There is nowhere else in Busan where you can combine the famed sights of ginormous Jagalchi Fish Market, skyscraping Busan Tower, and the mountains of central and northern Busan, all in the same view.

 

Where to Stay on Yeongdo Island

La Valse Hotel (MY TOP CHOICE, mid-range)
(see prices / read reviews)
Since this was my #1 choice for best place to stay in Busan after doing a large amount of research, I’ve written this extremely detailed (and non-sponsored) La Valse Hotel review to convince you to stay there too.

Value Hotel Busan (lower mid-range)
(see prices / read reviews)
If La Valse is full or a little too pricey for you, then you can enjoy equally amazing views of Busan for a cheaper price at Value Hotel Busan, which is practically next door. In fact, it’s even closer to Nampo Dong than La Valse, as its entrance is right at the end of Yeongdo bridge.

Silk Road Hostel (budget)
(see prices / read reviews)
If you like the sounds of Yeongdo but you are a budget traveler, try this hostel in the same area. You won’t get the panoramic views of the latter two hotels, but you’ll still reap the benefits of the awesome location.

 

#2 Best Area to Stay in Busan: Nampo-dong and Gwangbok-dong

Eomuk shop in Nampo-dong, Busan at night
Plenty to eat, see, and do in Nampo-dong and Gwangbok-dong

 

Who will love it

– Foodies (especially seafood and street food lovers)
– Those who like to be RIGHT in the action
– Market enthusiasts
– Shopaholics

Famous sights in Nampo-dong and Gwangbok-dong

– Jagalchi Fish Market
– Gukje Market
– Tin Can Alley (a large food market beside Gukje Market)
– Gwangbokdong Cultural and Fashion Street
– Yongdusan Park & Busan Tower
– Lotte Mall Gwangbokdong (amazing views from roof and world’s largest musical water fountain)
– Gamcheon Culture Village is a short subway and bus ride away
– Songdo Beach and cable car is a short bus ride away

 

If you want to stay smack in the middle of the highest concentration of top sights in Busan, then adjacent Nampo-dong and Gwangbok-dong are for you.

These two neighborhoods are also a food lover’s paradise. From noodles served by Korean grandmas sitting on the street on Gwangbokdong Food Street and famous Busan treats like ssiat hotteok in BIFF square to the market treats of Gukje Market and more seafood than you could eat in a lifetime at Jagalchi Fish Market, you will be wishing you had four stomachs like a cow in this area.

 

BIFF Square Busan
BIFF Sqaure, one of Busan’s famous sights

 

If you are only staying in Busan for a day or two, then chances are this area is going to be where you will spend much of your time. What’s more, enormously popular Gamcheon Culture Village and Songdo Beach, with its cable car and Sky Cloud Trails ocean walkway, and within very close reach.

Nampo-dong and Gwangbok-dong would be pretty much perfect, if it weren’t for the fact that a few other key Busan sights, notably Beomeosa Temple (see #3), Gwangalli Beach in Gwangan (see #5), Haeundae Beach (see #6), and Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (see #7) are at the complete opposite end of the city.

It’s not a huge deal though; the subway from Nampo takes 35 minutes to Gwangan, 45 minutes to Haeundae, or 50 minutes to Beomeosa.

 

Where to stay in Nampo-dong and Gwangbokdong

Nampo Hound Hotel Premier (mid-range)
(see prices / read reviews)
Before I decided to stay at La Valse, I ALMOST booked a double room with a balcony at this hotel. I’m a big fan of balconies with amazing city views (who isn’t?), and this was something my room at La Valse didn’t have.

Boutique Hotel YTT Nampo (budget business hotel)
(see prices / read reviews)
Before I decided that I was going splurge on a nicer place than I usually stay at on my trip to Busan, I seriously considered this simple business hotel, mainly because of its exceptional reviews.

Guesthouse Dear Moon (budget hostel)
(see prices and reviews)
For a good and highly rated hostel choice in this area, I recommend this one!

 

#3 Best Place to Stay in Busan: Beomeosa Temple Stay

A temple stay at Beomeosa is a unique idea for where to stay in Busan
Participants on my temple stay at Beomeosa doing a temple tour

 

Who Will Love it

– Culture/Temple lovers
– Vegetarians/Vegans
– People looking for a deeper experience of South Korean Buddhist culture
– People who love quiet, natural surroundings

Famous Sights around Beomeosa

– Beomeosa Temple and 11 Buddhist hermitages in the surrounding mountains
– Mount Geumjeong (Geumjeongsan)
– Geumjeongsanseong Fortress
– Off-the-beaten-path Seokbulsa Temple (if you’re up for a serious hike)

 

When I planned my most recent trip to Busan, the thing I was most excited about was doing a temple stay at Beomeosa Temple, the most famous temple in the city, and in the end, it was the top highlight of my trip. You can see here for my detailed review of my temple stay at Beomeosa Temple.

South Korea is blessed with an amazing, nation-wide temple stay program. There are over 100 temples in the country offering temple stays, about 30 of which offer English programs.

 

Tea ceremony at Beomeosa Temple
Having tea with a monk at Beomeosa Temple

 

Doing a temple stay is not so much a “relaxing” experience like a medtation or yoga retreat. It’s more of an educational experience, in which you will learn a lot about Korean Buddhist culture, interact and speak for hours with monks, and gain a first-hand experience of what it would be like to be a monk in Korea.

Activities during my Beomeosa Temple stay included a temple tour, meditation, prostrations, vegan meals in silence, tea and lots of chatting with monks (one of whom was Korean-American and spoke fluent English). Oh, and we had to wake up at 5:00 a.m!

 

How to book a temple stay at Beomeosa

Beomeosa temple stays are only offered on Saturday nights, and only some weekends are available. During temple events (including the weekends around the Buddha’s Birthday, a major national holiday in South Korea), there may be no temple stay program available.

You can book your temple stay and see the different options & prices on the Korean temple stay Beomeosa page.

 

#4 Best Area to Stay in Busan: Seomyeon

Seomyeon, Busan at night
Night clubbing anyone? (and yes, I shot this in the pouring rain)

 

Who will love it

– Urbanophiles (i.e. you love big, modern city centers)
– Night clubbers/night owls
– Designer brand shopaholics
– Those looking for the overall most convenient location

Famous sights in Seomyeon

– Lotte Department Store (including food alley behind it) and huge underground shopping mall
– Busan Citizen’s Park
– Lots of fashionable stores and restaurants
– Seomyeon 1st Street/Art Street (tons of restaurants and night clubs)
-Impressive Samgwangsa Temple is a short bus ride away

 

Seomyeon is the central commercial district of Busan, the equivalent to Gangnam in Seoul. It is upscale, energetic, and happening.

In all honesty, I was not a big fan of Seomyeon. To be fair, I didn’t spend much time there, but I’m not a fan of shopping and wasn’t in town for clubbing. I did visit the area one night to take pictures of all the neon signs.

In the daytime, I found it like any other city center, with huge roads that were often difficult to cross without going down into the maze of underground malls.

So why put it in on the list? Well, Seomyeon is perhaps the most convenient place to stay in Busan. It is right in the center of Busan and at the intersection of the two most important subway lines, so in terms of getting around, you’d be about equally distant from all the major sights at the different edges of the city.

Moreover, Seomyeon would be the closest neighborhood to the airport and the shortest ride by public transportation. Personally, I thought it was worth the extra minutes on the subway to stay in a more interesting neighborhood, but others may disagree.

 

Where to Stay in Seomyeon

Lotte Hotel Busan (luxury)
(see prices / read reviews)
Lotte Hotel claims to be the largest hotel in Busan, with 650+ rooms. You can enjoy a luxury experience right in the center of Busan, including indoor and rooftop pools, casino, insane city views, and even some baseball-themed rooms. You may find that prices are actually on the lower end of the luxury category.

Uniqstay Bed & Breakfast (budget/mid-range)
(see prices / read reviews)
This top-rated B&B has friendly owners, large bright rooms, and super yummy breakfasts.

Travelight Hostel (budget)
(see prices / read reviews)
This is the best-rated hostel in Seomyeon. This super clean hostel’s got an elegant design and they offer great breakfasts. It’s right in the middle of all the action.

 

#5 Best Area to Stay in Busan: Gwangan-dong

Fishermen at Gwangalli Beach, Gwangan, Busan
Laid-back Gwangan is the perfect place to chill by the sea

 

 Who will love it

– Beach lovers
– Those who have more time in the city
– Those who want a laid-back seaside vibe

 

Famous sights in Gwangan-dong

– Gwangalli Beach
– Gwangan Beach Land (amusement park)
– Views of Gwangan Bridge (Diamond Bridge)
– Gwangan Fireworks Festival (Oct/Nov)

 

Of the seven main beaches in Busan, Gwangalli Beach in Gwangan-dong is probably the second most popular after Haeundae (see #6). It has more of a low-key city-by-the-sea vibe, while Haeundae feels decidedly resorty.

Gwangalli is very much an urban beach, with dozens of very inviting restaurants and pubs lining the seaside avenue, tall apartments and hotels facing the coast, and even a small, aging amusement park at one end.

Probably the best and most distinctive aspect of Gwangalli is the jaw-dropping view of Gwangan Bridge (also known as Diamond Bridge).

 

Gwangalli beach with Gwangan Bridge in the background
Incredible views of Gwangan Bridge from Gwangalli Beach

 

At 7.4 kilometers, Gwangan Bridge is the second longest bridge in Korea and longest bi-level bridge over the ocean. The bridge runs parallel to the beach, and is quite an incredible sight anytime of day, but especially when it is lit up with LED lights at night.

Gwangalli is also famous for a fireworks festival in autumn, but people like to set off fireworks from the beach year-round, and you can buy them from the convenience stores along the beach.

During my visit, I noticed more non-locals than elsewhere in Busan. I think I saw half a dozen different western people walking dogs in the span of an hour. I got the impression that if you want to move to Busan, Gwangalli beach would be a pretty sweet corner of the city to set up camp.

 

Gwangalli Beach, Busan
Chill beach vibes at Gwangalli Beach on an early summer evening

 

If you want to stay near the beach in Busan, but still have closer (compared to Haeundae) access to the main attractions and other parts of the city, then Gwangan may be the top choice for you.

Note that besides the slightly long subway ride from other parts of Busan, it’s a bit of a walk from the subway to the beach. Geumnyeongsan station is a shorter walk (5-10 minutes) and closer to the southern end of the beach, while from Gwangan station, a 10-15 minute walk will bring you to the northern end of the beach.

 

Where to Stay in Gwangan-dong

Best Louis Hamilton Hotel (mid-range/luxury)
(see prices / read reviews)
Want to stay in a hotel owned by a famous Korean rapper (Dok2)? Here’s your chance! Rooms are appropriately blinged out, and amazing views over Gwangalli beach and Gwangan Bridge are part of the experience. There’s also a Haeundae Beach location.

Jini Guesthouse (budget)
(see prices / read reviews)
This hotel offers dorms and shared doubles with incredible views of the beach and bridge. It is right on the beachside road.

Bexco Hostel B&B (budget)
(see prices / read reviews)
Super cheap dorms or equally low-priced double rooms are on offer, some with beach and bridge views, and it’s a super short walk to the beach. Owners are also super friendly.

 

#6 Haeundae-gu

Summer beach umbrellas on Haeundae Beach
Haeundae, South Korea’s most famous beach

 

Who will love it

– Fashionable beachgoers
– Lovers of luxury and hip cafes by the sea (but there are also many cheap hostels!)
– Those who don’t mind being a ways out of town for the sake of an awesome beach

Famous Sights at Haeundae-gu

– Haeundae Beach, South Korea’s most famous beach
– Sea Life Busan Aquarium (skip the line by booking your ticket online!)
– Haeundae Food Market
– Dongbaek Coastal Park
– The Bay 101 yacht club
– Dalmaji Road (nearby, for cherry blossoms)
– Oryukdo Skywalk and Islands (accessibly by ferry from Haeundae)

 

Haeundae is far removed from most of the other famous sights in Busan, but as South Korea’s most famous beach, this sight alone may be the reason you came to Busan.

Haeundae is popular year-round, but in especially in summer, when beach umbrellas seems to fill the entire beach. Unsurprisingly, Haeundae features the city’s highest concentration of upscale luxury hotels, many of which feature amazing hot spring spas with unbeatable ocean views. However, there are many excellent budget choices too.

More than just a beach, Haeundae features enough things to do that you may not even have to leave the area. Personally, I made the journey to Haeundae on my recent trip to photograph the impressive city skyline from the Bay 101, an upscale yacht club.

 

The Bay 101, Haeundae Beach at night
The Bay 101 near Haeundae Beach. Come here for jaw-dropping city views at night!

 

Another way to experience Busan city views at night is on this yacht tour at night!

 

Besides the countless bars, cafés, restaurants, museums, art galleries, and other attractions in the neighborhood, you can also access nature by walking around Dongbaek Park, which was once an island, or going to see cherry blossoms on nearby Damaji road, in season of course.

If all of this sounds like a dream to you, then Haeundae is your top choice, but for me, it would be too far away from other sights to base myself for my whole Busan visit.

 

Where to Stay in Haeundae-gu

Paradise Hotel Busan (luxury)
(see prices / read reviews)
Of the many hot spring spas at hotels in Haeundae, Cimer Spa at Paradise Hotel is the most famous. The spa features outdoor infinity hot pools with unparalleled sea views. There’s also a casino and golf driving range on site. You’ll need to book WAY, WAY in advance.

The Westin Chosun Busan (luxury)
(see prices / read reviews)
Dominating the western end of Haeundae Beach beside Dongbaek Park, this behemoth of a hotel’s unique feature is a full view of the length of Haeundae from the west, so you can enjoy both city and sea views.

MS Hotel Haeundae (mid-range)
(see prices / read reviews)
For great value rooms that even offer beach views, this is a well-rated choice.

Don’t worry, budget travelers! There are several great hostels at Haeundae Beach. The following are all cheap, highly reviewed and conveniently located: MAMA Guesthouse, Blueboat Hostel, O’Guest & Mini Hotel, and Good Day Mate.

 

#7: Near Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Haedong Yonggungsa temple, Busan at sunrise
You may want to stay nearby to catch the sunrise at impressive Haedong Yonggungsa Temple on the coast.

 

Who should stay here

Only those who want to catch the sunrise at Haedong Yonggungsa temple

 

The incredible coastal temple Haedong Yonggungsa is quickly becoming one of the most popular sights in Busan.  However, it’s quite out of the way, as you have to go even further than Haeundae on the subway to the terminal station, Jangsan, then take a bus or taxi from there. See here for my complete guide to Busan’s famous temple by the sea.

The temple is sometimes known as the “Sunrise Temple” because people flock here on New Year’s Day to welcome the first sunrise of the year. It’s also a great experience to see the magical sunrise here on any day of the year.

When I was planning my trip, I wondered how on earth I would get all the way out there from the city center early enough to catch the sunrise (5:10 a.m. when I visited in June), without spending a fortune on a cab. The only way that made sense was to stay overnight nearby. Therefore, I only recommend staying in this area if you want to catch the sunrise at Haedong Yonggungsa like I did. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make any sense to stay way out there while touring Busan.

There is actually a beach just south of Haedong Yonggunsa called Songjeong Beach, and there are some accommodation choices there, but even that wasn’t quite close enough to Haedong Yonggunsa for me (it would have taken about an hour to walk).

 

Hotel near haedong Yonggungsa Temple Busan
My AirBnb room near Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

 

In the end I found this great guesthouse on AirBnB. It’s in a little modern seaside community about 20 minute’s walk from Haedong Yonggunsa, and was pretty much the closest accommodation I could find to the temple.

If you stay there, I would recommend walking over to Haedong Yonggunsa the day before in the daylight so that you’ll be able to find it in the dark before sunrise. It’s easy to find, but there are a few different ways to get there.

 

Where to Stay near Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

The best choices for this area can be found on AirBnb. I stayed at this one, and it was excellent. The hosts were really helpful, and the room was super comfy, nicely designed, and had a full kitchen.

If you don’t have an AirBnb account yet, feel free to sign up with this link and you’ll get a nice discount on your first stay.

You can also consider this full house with two bedrooms on booking.com.

 

Wondering where to stay in Busan, South Korea? This Busan hotel guide covers the best hotels in Busan, best places to stay in Busan!

 

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. These are products and services that I personally use and recommend. If you click on one and buy something, I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Leave a Comment