Gwangalli Beach by Day
Boasting a 1.4km long sandy beach, with the iconic Gwangandaegyo (Diamond) Bridge in the background, Gwangalli beach is indeed very picturesque. Supposedly less trendy than its neighbouring Haeundae Beach, there is definitely nothing lacking at Gwangalli Beach. There are a host of water sport activities available in the summer, we even saw a few people surfing some very shallow waves! The promenade and marine walkway are great for walking, running or cycling.
There are even free bicycle rental stations where you can rent a bicycle for 2 hours so long as you have a form of identification with you We enjoyed cycling along the promenade and further south along the marina walkway.
The area has supposedly undergone a water cleaning program, however, we have to be honest and say that the water was not that enticing as there was plenty of seaweed along the shore. This was in May, so perhaps it is better in the peak of summer.
The beachfront road is lined with fashionable and trendy restaurants and cafes giving the area a very modern vibe.
Gwangalli Beach by Night
Gwangalli Beach is best known for its spectacular night views of the Gwangandaegyo (Diamond) Bridge which is beautifully lit up at night stretches across the sea for the entire length of the beach.
The bridge is in fact equipped with the world’s largest LED lighting and sound facilities for bridges! Be sure to enjoy the hourly light show from Gwangalli Beach every evening from sunset to midnight throughout the summer. (You can check the website for more detailed info of events).
This is one beach that really comes to life after dark! With fireworks freely available for purchase, you can enjoy small displays almost all night long. Or if you have timed your visit well, the annual Busan Fireworks Festival is held here. Over the peak summer months, the beachfront road is closed to vehicular traffic in the evenings and turns into a street market and performance zone. Even in the months leading up to summer, there are live music performances on the beach and beachfront promenade.
In addition to the beach itself, the promenade is lined with many fashionable and fancy restaurants, bars and nightclubs, giving it a very modern and ‘happening’ night-time vibe.
Gwangandaegyo (Diamond) Bridge
The Gwangandaegyo Bridge (also known as Diamond Bridge) is a 7.4km long suspension bridge located in Busan, South Korea. Construction began in 1994 and concluded in December 2002, making it the second-longest bridge in the country after the Incheon Bridge. The bridge is an iconic view of the Gwangalli Beach area and is equipped with the world’s largest LED lighting and sound facilities for bridges! Be sure to enjoy the hourly light show from Gwangalli Beach every evening from sunset to midnight throughout the summer. (You can check the website for more detailed info of events)
Busan Citizens Park
Busan Citizens Park was a former Imperial Japanese Army base and United States Army camp, which was redeveloped and opened on 1 May 2014 as the Busan Citizens Park. The park occupies 540 000 m2 of prime real estate and is a wonderful example of a pristine maintained public space. We really enjoyed walking around the park and watching the locals enjoying this space and the many facilities provided, such as the water play park for children and the sandy ‘beach’ area. There are many picnic areas, play park areas and even a musical fountain. Well worth a visit if you enjoy experiencing something off the tourist trail.
Samgwangsa Temple is open 24 hours a day for praying and is well known for its lantern festival which is held every year for about a month around Buddha’s birthday. We were lucky to be in Busan for the week leading up to Buddha’s birthday and visited the Temple the night before Buddha’s birthday. I don’t think anything could have prepared us for the extent and scale of the lantern displays.
Both the unbelievable number of lanterns as well as the elaborate lantern decorations impressed us. Although getting there was a bit of a nightmare due to the popularity of the festival, actually being there amongst the locals as they took part in the celebrations and witnessing the atmosphere, was a truly special experience. There are also many food stalls lining the road on the way to the temple should you wish to grab a snack on your way there or back.
HIKING TRAILS: Geumnyeonsan Mountain
There are so many amazing and well-established hiking trails in and around Busan that we can’t even begin to list them. If you are staying in the Gwangalli Beach area, the hike up Geumnyeonsan Mountain gives great panoramic views out over Busan and Gwangalli. The hike is mostly through the forest and the viewpoints can be hard to find amongst the numerous trails. We almost gave up of actually finding a lookout, but were suitably impressed when we did find the view! The lookouts are actually located along the road which also leads up to the top of the mountain.
Gamcheon Culture Village
Gamcheon was formed during the 1950s as a refugee village after the Korean War and the Cultural Village later became famous for the series of murals that adorn the buildings with the maze-like walkways.
Guidebooks will tell you that the sight of the terraced buildings clinging to the mountainside is dubbed as the “Machu Picchu of Korea” – our opinion is that the village is a little touristy, although the area definitely has a quaintness to it and if you walk all the way to the top of the village, you will get a great view of the entire area.