If you are looking to have a more relaxed time while in South Korea, Busan is the place to go. We went there before getting to Seoul even though everybody suggested to start from the North moving down the South leaving Busan as last destination simply to chill out after the craziness of Seoul.

It is true what people say, Busan’s atmosphere is definitely more laid back but this doesn’t mean you’ll get bored in Busan. In fact there are so many things to see and activities to do from hiking to water sports and more.

We enjoyed it so much that we decided to stay longer than we planned, we visited some of the ‘must see’ spots and some unusual ones too.

Here are 5 places we liked a lot and we’d suggest to anyone visiting Busan.

Tip #1 – Busan Museum of Art

When we visited the BMA, the Busan Biennale 2012 was on and the main exhibition was held in this museum. Usually it’s free to enter unless there is a special event.

Not only we enjoyed the art exposed, but we also liked the location of the museum.
In fact the Busan Museum of Art is found in a very busy part of the city close to the Shinsegae Department Store (the biggest in the world to date) and the BEXCO convention hall, both interesting pieces of architecture that we enjoyed looking at.

Busan Museum of Art - Five Pics and Tips for Busan

View Busan Museum of Art in a larger map

Tip #2 – Busan Cinema Center

Even if you aren’t an architecture lover you cannot miss the 150 million dollars Cinema Center, the official venue for the Busan International Film Festival.

Its structure is amazing and it’s difficult to understand how its roof stays up. We recommend visiting the Cinema Center both during the day and night time to enjoy the spectacular show created by the 42,600 artistic LED lights on the gigantic roof.

We were both speechless!

Busan Cinema Center - Five Pics and Tips for Busan

View Busan Cinema Center in a larger map

Tip #3 – Lotte Department Store

If you are willing to catch a great view of Busan, the Observatory of the Lotte Department Store is not a bad place to go.

This Department Store is also famous for having a very special fountain of which you cannot miss the show, don’t worry there is one every hour, eleven in total in a day. In fact apart from being a musical fountain, the water falls from the ceiling (4 floors up) and it can also display writing and pictures in water.A very unique show I’ve never witnessed before!

Busan LOTTE Department Store Observatory - Five Pics and Tips for Busan
Busan Lotte Department Store fountain - Five Pics and Tips for Busan

View Lotte Department Store in a larger map

Tip #4 – The United Nations Memorial Cemetery

Choose a nice sunny day to have a walk in what was probably the most peaceful place we saw in Busan. Its vast open space commemorates sixteen nations of which soldiers died during the Korean War.

Despite been a very melancholy place, I especially loved its trees that almost looked like they were made of green cotton.

Busan UN Memorial Cemetery - Five Pics and Tips for Busan

View U.N. Memorial Cemetery and Peace Park in a larger map

Tip #5 – Live Jazz at Monk

If there is something we both miss a lot from back home is live music. So when our Couchsurfing host told us about a Live Jazz Club in Busan we could go to we were over excited and willing to go.

The Monk Jazz Club is a small place in a basement where there are different jazz performances every day of the week (solo, quartet, swing and more). It’s got the typical smokey jazz atmosphere with no much lighting, at least not that bright.

Be prepared though to pay an additional cover charge to your first drink purchase, ours was of 5,000 won per person ($4.40, £2.90 and €3.40) but it might change depending on the night.

Monk Jazz Club in Busan - Five Pics and Tips for Busan

View Monks Jazz Club in a larger map

Would you stop in Busan for art, film or music?