Summertime and the city is steamy
Busan Sea Special
July begins with some of the best news; all seven beaches are fully open and operational. Typically, crowds who enjoy maritime leisure sports such as kayaking flock to the beaches year-round. However, late July and early August is the hottest season for Busan's seven beautiful beaches.
Every year, Haeundae Beach, the longest and possibly the most popular beach in Korea, is bursting with Busanites and travelers.
■ The 26th Busan Sea Festival
Needless to say, the nation's largest summer festival takes place in Busan, spanning Haeundae, Gwangalli, Dadaepo, Songdo and Songjeong Beaches, from July 30 to Aug. 7. Since most social distancing policies are lifted, the event is planned to be held as usual. The festival is arranged to provide guests and local businesses with a fun-filled season and actively promote the World Expo 2030 Busan. The one-of-a-kind event is extended from five to nine days, from July 30 to Aug. 7, with various programs, performances, experiences and more.
Busan beaches host various attractions, sites and experiences. For those who enjoy bustling areas with night views, Haeundae and Gwangalli are ideal. On the other hand, Songjeong and Songdo are perfect for marine sports and tours. Ilgwang, Imnang and Dadaepo Beaches offer shallow shores and relaxation for families with children.
The main events of the festival are on Haeundae Beach. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 30 at a special stage on the shore. The first event is entitled "Hoping to host the World Expo 2030 concert," consisting of a performance by the band "KARDI," the group featured in the World Expo promotional video. It is followed by one of the most popular events, the "Night Pool Party." The audience can watch performances from within two large pools, totaling 15 meters wide and 25 meters long. A standing area will also surround the stage and the entire event runs till 10 p.m.
Don't miss out on Haeundae Beach's Night Pool Party July 30.
■ Haeundae Beach
When people hear Busan beaches, they may automatically think of Haeundae Beach. Day and night, the shore and surrounding area are a flutter with lively activities and events. While the sun is up, beachgoers cool down by swimming, tubing, relaxing under an umbrella or playing beach volleyball.
As the sun goes down, pubs and restaurants fill with customers ready for delicious food and a good time. Performers, also known as "buskers," line the beach to share their talents. Stop to enjoy a magic show or dance battle. Musicians frequently perform to offer entertainment for those slowly promenading or resting in the beachside moonlight.
During the day, a variety of events can be found along the city's longest beach. "Welcome spring" is one such event where water cannons at the event plaza will regularly shoot water into the air from July 30 to 31. In the public parking lot, an event called "Heat hunter" is planned to fight fire with fire. Fierce competitions will be held, such as a spicy food eating contest and fitness match. A short walk away sits Songnim Park. Within the park, an area called "Sea-nic," a combination of the words "sea" and "picnic," will host a variety of cultural content such as busking.
· How to get there: Haeundae Station (metro line 2), exit 3 or 5. Walk for about 10 minutes.
△ Highlight attractions
· Haeundae Market: A local market where visitors can buy street food and fresh seafood. Here, raw and grilled fish are available, as well as diverse snacks like kalguksu (noodle soup) and tteokbokki (rice cake and fish cake in a spicy sauce). The entrance is about a three-block walk from Haeundae Station exit 3.
· The Bay 101: A famous spot for the splendid night views of the sea, yachting center and Marine City's skyscrapers. During the day, guests can enjoy marine leisure activities, such as sailing aboard one of the many yachts. In the evening, the locale transforms into a dinner destination due to the beer and battered fish served at the on-site restaurant and pub. It's located behind the Westin Josun Hotel, on the right side of the beach.
Large umbrellas along Gwangalli Beach add shade and scenery.
■ Gwangalli Beach
Gwangalli is considered one of the best places for couples to enjoy. The 7.4-kilometer-long Gwangan Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Korea, is a city landmark. The bridge stretches across the sea and reflects its image on the mostly calm daytime waves and bright LED lights at night.
Another charm while facing the sea is the fish center, on the left side, where various fresh seafood is available. On the other side of the beach lies the Marine Leisure Sports Center, where visitors can kayak, stand-up paddleboard, waterski and more.
· How to get there: Gwangan Station (metro line 2), exit 3 or 5. Go straight for 15 minutes.
△ Highlight attraction
· Millak Waterside Park: While facing the oceans and bridge from the shore, the park and Millak Fresh Fish Center are situated on the left edge of the beach. There, people can have fresh seafood right away while enjoying a unique perspective of the Gwangan Bridge and the cool sea breeze.
Stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, swimming and sunbathing are available at Songjeong Beach.
■ Songjeong Beach
Songjeong is considered a surfing mecca in Korea. The shallow depth and smooth sandy floor make it ideal for beginners and professionals. Also, the contrasting East and South Sea waves set the perfect environment for surfing. Since the surfing and swimming zones are divided, surfing is available all year. Various marine sports schools and rental shops are nearby, which gives everyone a chance to enjoy themselves.
· How to get there: Songjeong Station (Donghae line), exit 2. Walk for about 15 minutes.
△ Highlight attraction
· Jukdo Park: The park's entrance gate is located toward the left end of the beach. At the edge of the park lies the must-see "Songiljeong" pavil-ion, offering a panoramic view.
Songdo Beach's landmarks are visible from land, sea and sky.
■ Songdo Beach
Songdo Beach offers fun activities, including Sea Diving Board, Busan Air Cruise and Songdo Cloud Trail. Over 100 years ago, the beach opened to visitors, making it Korea's oldest beach. Since then, attractions and ease of accessibility have increased. Depictions of the history are situated around the beach, including a whale-shaped lighthouse in the middle of the beach, a seaside diving board and artificial waterfalls. Nearby, the curvy two-part Songdo Cloud Trails landmark juts out over the sea connecting at a small rocky islet.
From the 1.62-kilometer-long "Busan Air Cruise," passengers can observe Songdo Beach, Namhang Bridge and the surrounding cliffs. The cable cars depart from Songdo's Songnim Park and arrive at Sky Park in Amnam Park. The park's three-story observatory gives guests a diverse and closer ocean view. For reservations and more information, visit the cruise's website (busanaircruise.co.kr).
Songdo Cloud Trail, 127.1 meters long and two-meter wide, links Amnam Park to the upper part of Dongseom Island, a small uninhabited island. In particular, landscape lighting along the way creates a unique atmosphere. Notably, the island's circular trail observatory allows visitors to experience Busan National Geopark, complete with its ancient layers of distinctly shaped oceanside cliffs.
· How to get there: Jagalchi Station (metro line 1), exit 2. Take bus 26, 30, 71 or 96 at the Chungmu-dong Intersection bus stop and get off at the Songdo Beach stop.
△ Highlight attraction
· Songdo Coastal Trail: The promenade from Songdo Beach to Amnam Park is considered a uniquely beautiful path with coastal cliffs, forests and the beach. Geologic faults, observatory and cloud trail sky walk lie along the way. The course continues between the dense forest and the open sea and is popular among trekkers.
Catch the sunset's purple and pinkish hues on Dadaepo Beach.
■ Dadaepo Beach
Located at the mouth of the Nakdong River, are Dadaepo's shores, composed of accumulated sediment. The shallow waters and warm average water temperature make it a good place for families with children to enjoy. Around the tidal flats, where the water is low, crabs and other creatures can be seen scurrying, but for those who prefer leisure sports activities, kiteboarding, windsurfing and sailing are available. Keep in mind that Dadaepo is best known as Busan's sunset hotspot. The trail from the beach to the Morundae area has been aptly named "Saha Sunset Road," providing trekkers a chance to admire the scenic view of the sun setting on the horizon.
· How to get there: Dadaepo Beach Station (metro line 1), exit 2. Walk for about a minute.
△ Highlight attraction
· Sunset Fountain of Dreams: This Guinness-record holding world's largest ground fountain is 60 meters in diameter with a 180-meter circumference and pumps water 55 meters high. The 30-minute light and water show, which doesn't run on Mondays, is amplified by the accompanying pop and classical music. Until August, the show starts at 8 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends. From September to October, they begin at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on weekends.
Calm Ilgwang waves lie far away from the heart of the city.
■ Ilgwang and Imnang Beach
Situated in Gijang-gun (county) lie the calm and shallow waters of Ilgwang and Imnang Beaches. The county plays host to fishing villages and hidden inlets, providing a contrasting feel to the hustle and bustle of the city.
The semicircle-shaped Ilgwang Beach sits in the southern region of the East Sea. The serene pocket beach sits in such a way that visitors can gaze upon the horizon in its entirety at once. A pine forest and fish centers are lined up along the shore. Imnang Beach, located on the edge of Busan and Ulsan, is much smaller. Another pine forest lies nearby the finely sanded shores and clear valley water of Imnang.
· How to get to Ilgwang Beach: Ilgwang Station (Donghae line), exit 1. Walk for about 15 minutes.
· How to get to Imnang Beach: Jwacheon Station (Donghae line), exit 1. Take bus 188 and get off at Imnang Beach Entrance bus stop.
△ Highlight attraction
· Sinpyeong Small Park: Between these beaches, along a Galmaet-gil Trail, lies a hidden gem. Hop aboard the ship-like installation to feel the wind beneath your wings.