Busan cruises

Busan - South Korea’s second largest city and seaport is a laidback, metropolitan destination. Busan is considered a more languid and diverse alternative to the capital city, Seoul. Throughout your cruise to Busan you will discover a rewarding medley of ingredients, including culture and history, as well as beautiful natural settings and exciting action and adventure. The city’s location also allows for exploration further afield, with South Korea’s cultural capital, Gyeongju, just over an hour away and the fortress of Jinju also in easy reach.

Busan at a glimpse

The area has a long history dating back almost 2,000 years. Though the city of Busan itself was first designated as a port at the beginning of the 15th century, primarily trading with Japan. When Japan invaded Korea later that century, the role of the port diminished somewhat, until 1876 when Korea assigned Busan as its first international port.

During the Korean War, Busan was one of just two cities which remained in South Korean control, and thus served as a refugee camp throughout the conflict as well as temporarily functioning as the country’s capital city. Busan transformed into a self-governing metropolis and in 1995 became a metropolitan city. Today the city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, possessing an alluring international character.

Things to do and see on a cruise to Busan

Busan cruises will transport visitors into the south-eastern province of South Korea. Here you will find a subtropical climate where hot humid summers are best enjoyed on the beach and cooler springs make for wonderful conditions to explore the city and its natural surroundings. Such is the city’s diverse array of offerings, you can easily enjoy a beach break, a cultural escape or an active getaway in Busan all in one trip.

Foodies will also find a special place in the city, with a great range of restaurants and dishes promising a memorable culinary experience. As a coastal city, fresh seafood is a common sight on any menu and there are some fantastic dishes specific to Busan which utilise these ingredients. Dong-nae pajeon is an affordable and popular dish consisting of a seafood and green onion pancake, while daegu tang is a tasty cod and vegetable soup, best enjoyed beside the beach.

The city is home to some stunning temples, most notably Beomeosa Temple with its breathtaking mountain location. Yonggungsa Temple is spread along the shoreline and is home to some remarkable Buddha statue sculptures. Gamcheon Cultural Village is another great location for those interested in local culture and history, with its colourful alleyways and eye-catching layout proving extremely photogenic.

Enjoying the great outdoors in Busan

For an unbeatable panorama of the city, head up Busan Tower in Yongdusan Park, set on a pretty hillside and proving a relaxing place to spend a hot afternoon. You can also hike up Dalmaji Hill, nicknamed Busan’s ‘romantic road,’ where you can enjoy fantastic views of the ocean, even reaching across to the Japanese island of Daema.

After viewing the coast from up high, getting to ground level and onto the beach is one of the big drawing points of the city. Good quality water and great facilities guarantee a rejuvenating beach experience, particularly on the sandy cove of Songjeong Beach and on popular Haeundae Beach. For more outdoor experiences, hiking is a popular pastime, something best enjoyed in the mountainous trails surrounding Busan, including a rewarding hike up to Seokbulsa Temple.

Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Temple & Tea Ceremony

    Enjoy a visit to one of Busan’s temples, Beomeosa, Kumgangsa or a 3rd Temple,followed by a traditional tea ceremony.

    Temple & Tea Ceremony

    Tea was originally one of the 6 offerings to Buddha. Brewing and drinking tea are considered as befitting the practice of the 8 virtues taught by Buddha. The Korean tea ceremony is a form of meditation with its aim of purifying the soul and becoming one with nature. Enjoy the unique experience a traditional tea ceremony with the guidance of a temple monk or tea master.

    Beomeosa Temple boasts a wealth of cultural and historical assets, set among the scenic beauty of a wisteria-covered valley and attracting local and foreign visitors alike. Cross an arched stone bridge over a mountain brook, to approach the 3 handsome entry gates. Dominating the grounds is a graceful 7th century stone pagoda.

    Kumgangsa Temple is located in the mountains, surrounded by woods, and is a practising monastery, leading the busy and tired minds of modern people to the open arms of Buddha.

    This excursion operates by coach and on foot. Due to limited capacity only one of the Temples is included and we cannot guarantee which. At Beomeosa Temple there are over 100 steps to negotiate. It is necessary to sit on the floor between 30 - 40 minutes during the tea ceremony.

    Tour code

    PUS_002

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Haedong Yonggungsa Temple & City

    Cross the four and a half mile-long Gwangan Grand Bridge along Busan’s scenic coast to visit the temple devoted to the Buddha Goddess of Mercy.

    Haedong Yonggungsa Temple & City

    Unlike other temples, which are normally located in the mountains, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is situated near the sea. Originally built in 1376, it was re-constructed in 1970 using all the colours that were traditionally used in the structure. It is said that the Great Goddess Budda lives in the sea and appears on the back of a dragon making Haedong Yonggungsa one of three sacred places related to the Goddess Buddha. There are 108 steps down to the Temple which represent the 108 anguishes in Buddhist life. So, pray for removal of each as you take to each stair!

    Your next stop will be at Nurimaru, the APEC HOUSE. Nurimaru, means "top of the world", and the iconic dome is said to be a haven of tranquility for visiting dignitaries and rests on 12 pillars, nestled on the tip of a rocky islet, surrounded by beautiful woods of camellia and pine trees, just off the coast of Busan.

    A buffet luncheon of Korean and international dishes will be served before continuing on to your next stop.

    Gukje Marketplace, unlike other traditional markets, has a wide variety of international goods on sale. Explore the maze-like alleyways of the city’s largest market at your leisure before transferring to Korea’s largest seafood and fish market.

    Most of the people who sell fish at Jagalchi Market are women. Famous throughout the country this market is where you can glimpse the lifestyle of the local Pusan people.


    There are over 110 steps to negotiate at the Temple. Care should be taken at the park and the markets, as the floors can be wet and slippery. Comfortable, non-slip walking shoes are recommended.

    Tour code

    PUS_003

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    6¼ hours

  • Snapshot of Busan

    See the highlights of Busan on this half-day city tour.

    Snapshot of Busan

    Drive across the 7km long Gwangan Bridge and enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline, Gwangalli Beach and the skyscrapers of the city. Visit Nurimaru APEC House, meaning ‘top of the world’ with its iconic dome, a haven of tranquillity for visiting dignitaries. The complex rests on top of 12 pillars and is nestled on the tip of a rocky islet, surrounded by beautiful woods of camellia and pine trees.

    Next, continue to the Busan Cinema Center for a photo stop at the official venue of the Busan Film Festival, one of the most popular film festivals in Asia. This impressive venue is renowned for its notable architectural design and ‘Big Roof’, which is the largest single roof in the world.

    Head to the very heart of Busan and the Yongdusan Park. Situated on Mount Yongdusan and boasting 70 different species of trees, the Park is considered one of the favourite places for locals to relax, offering a beautiful view of Busan port and the surrounding scenery. It is home to a variety of monuments including a statue of Admiral Lee sun-shin, the flower clock and the 118 metre-high Busan Tower.

    The Jagalchi Fish Market is situated adjacent to Busan’s Fisherman’s Wharf and was established by women peddlers during the 1950’s Korean War. Today, the market rivals any in the world with its rich variety of fresh catches. Expect to see mackerel, sea squirts (ascidians) and whale meat on wooden board boxes along the road.



    This excursion operates by coach and on foot. There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour over paved ground with some inclines. The order of visits may vary. Comfortable non-slip shoes are recommended.

    Tour code

    PUS_007

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    4¼ hours

  • Explore Ancient Silla

    Visit Gyeong-ju, capital of the ancient Silla Dynasty and one of South Korea’s most popular destinations.

    Explore Ancient Silla

    Gyeong-ju’s historic areas, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and contains a wonderful concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art. Your first stop is at Tumuli Park, home to some 20 royal tombs from the Silla Dynasty (668 - 936 A.D.). Visit the Flying Horse Tomb, a wood-lined chamber running east to west and covered in a mound of earth. The chamber once contained a lacquered wooden coffin and over 11,500 artefacts were recovered from within.

    The National Museum, treasure house of Korean cultural artefacts, includes gold crowns, Buddhist relics, prehistoric stone instruments and the ‘Divine Bell of King Songdok’. This bronze bell stands 11 feet high and weighs 23 tons.

    Enjoy a Korean and International buffet luncheon, while Korean music and dance are performed for your entertainment.

    Perched on the slopes of Mt Tohamsan, Bulguksa Temple is a superb example of both Silla architecture and the culture’s devotion to Buddhism. Though the wooden buildings have been rebuilt many times over the past millennium, the stone bridges, stairways and pagodas are original.

    The drive between Busan and Gyeong-ju is approximately 1½ hours. There is over 2 hours of walking involved on this tour and comfortable, walking shoes are recommended. Renovation work may be taking place at the Flying Horse Tomb, in which case this will be replaced by a visit to the Gyeochon Village. The order of the tour may vary.

    Tour code

    PUS_005

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    8 hours

  • Highlights & Cultural Performance

    See the major sights of Busan during a city drive, followed by a presentation of regional dances.

    Highlights & Cultural Performance

    A scenic drive through the city’s suburbs and commercial district will bring you to the very heart of Busan and Yongdusan Park. Situated on Mt. Yongdusan and with 70 different species of trees it is considered to be a favourite resting place of the locals and has a spectacular view over Busan.

    Features of the park include a statue of Admiral Lee sun-shin and Busan tower. During your visit to the park, you’ll see the Victory Bugle, a flower clock and the 395 foot-high Busan Tower in the heart of downtown Busan City. (exterior view only).

    Adjacent to Busan’s Fisherman’s Wharf, Jagalchi Fish Market, established by women peddlers during the 1950’s Korean War. Today the market rivals any in the world with its rich variety of fresh catches from shellfish to exotic seaweeds and carved fillets, ready to cook.

    At the Busan Cultural Centre or National Theatre, enjoy a performance of traditional Korean music and dance.


    This excursion operates by coach and on foot.There is little walking on this tour, but care should be taken at the Park as there is uneven ground and inclines. The floors at the Jagalchi Fish Market can be wet and slippery; we recommend you wear non-slip walking shoes.

    Tour code

    PUS_001

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Beomeosa Temple & Markets

    Enjoy a visit to the most famous Temple in Busan – Beomeosa and explore the local markets.

    Beomeosa Temple & Markets

    Beomeosa Temple, founded in AD 678, is one of Korea’s 5 greatest Buddhist temples and boasts a wealth of cultural and historical assets. Set amongst the scenic beauty of a wisteria-covered valley it attracts local and foreign visitors alike.

    You’ll cross an arched stone bridge over a mountain brook, to approach the 3 handsome entry gates, known as the “Gate of Heavenly Kings”. Dominating the grounds of the temple is a graceful 7th Century stone pagoda.

    Jagalchi Market, the largest fish market in Busan, was established by women peddlers during the Korean War. Most of the people who sell fish at the market are women. Famous throughout the country, this market is where you can glimpse the lifestyle of the local people.

    Gukje Marketplace, unlike other traditional markets, has a wide variety of international goods on sale and offers many goods from electronic items, clothing, fish, fruit and vegetables. Explore the maze-like alleyways of the city’s largest market at your leisure before returning to the port.


    This excursion operates by coach and on foot. There is a 10 minute walk from the car park to the temple and over 110 steps to negotiate. Care should be taken at the park and the markets, as the floors could be wet and slippery. Comfortable, non-slip walking shoes are recommended.

    Tour code

    PUS_006

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Shopping

      Shopping

    Duration

    4¼ hours