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Busan, travel hub to Korea and center for international events

Busan Fireworks Festival, held annually along Gwangalli Beach in the autumn, brightens the night with a variety of colorful sparks. (Busan City)
Busan Fireworks Festival, held annually along Gwangalli Beach in the autumn, brightens the night with a variety of colorful sparks. (Busan City)
Located in the southeastern region of the Korean Peninsula, Busan is the starting and ending point of the Eurasian railroad system and serves as the southern gateway to Korea. It is geographically close to China, Japan, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, connecting the sea with the continent, and its tourist attractions and infrastructure surpass global standards.

Its best-known hot spot is Haeundae, where a beautiful beach lies just a few steps from skyscrapers. In the daytime you can can go swimming at the beach, and at night you can enjoy romantic cafes and busy shopping malls. Busan has seven beaches, approximately 150 hotels, more than 1,000 Airbnb accommodations and the world’s largest shopping mall. Apart from that, global tourist facilities such as the Osiria Tourism Complex are under construction. 

Lofty skyscrapers in Busan stand out vividly in the magnificent scenery. (Busan City)
Lofty skyscrapers in Busan stand out vividly in the magnificent scenery. (Busan City)
As a city famous for its hospitality and for organizing international gatherings, Busan has hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and two summits between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. When visiting Busan for a conference, guests may explore cultural heritage sites such as the Gamcheon Culture Village, the Buddhist temple Beomeosa or the ecological park along the Nakdong River that is as big as 63 football fields. The 278-kilometer road Galmaet-gil extends along the riverside, past forests, through coastal and downtown areas -- making Busan a wonderful place to take a walk. It offers easy access to natural and cultural tourist attractions either on foot or via public transportation.

Some renowned events and festivals are held only in Busan. One of the world’s top five film festivals, the Busan International Film Festival, comes to mind. Busan also hosts the Busan One Asia Festival, the nation’s largest Korean Wave festival, as well as the global game exhibition G-Star. Other events held in Busan include the world’s largest fireworks festival, the Busan International Rock Festival and the Haeundae Polar Bear Festival -- featuring “polar bear swimming” in the cold ocean, which the BBC once called one of the 10 most unique winter sports. 

A photo of the Polar Bear Festival held in Busan (Busan City)
A photo of the Polar Bear Festival held in Busan (Busan City)
Every year, 3 million people visit Busan’s Gamcheon Culture Village, which commemorates the city’s heritage as the temporary capital and a haven for displaced people fleeing the 1950-53 Korean War. Here you can imagine what those people must have experienced and renew your commitment to peace together with other Busan visitors and residents. Nearby is the site of the 2030 Busan World Expo, which highlights the modern history of Korea and gives you a chance to experience it firsthand.

By Lee Jae-eun and Yoon Jung-hee (leeje16@heraldcorp.com)
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