All You Need to Know Before Visiting Busan

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.

Maru Kim
Maru Kim

Busan is the Republic of Korea’s second largest city, with a population of 3.5 million people living in a 770.07km2 area that accounts for only 0.8% of the entire Korean Peninsula landmass. Because of its deep harbor and gentle tides, the city has grown to become the country’s largest container handling port and the fifth busiest international port. Furthermore, Busan’s natural endowments and rich history have resulted in the city’s growing reputation as a world-class tourist and cultural destination.


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The port city was designated and served as the provincial capital during the Korean War in 1950, and it continued to grow as a center of national industrial development after the war.

Busan has emerged as an undisputed Northeast Asian hub for the film industry and international conventions. Since the inception of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in 1996, the city has successfully hosted a number of major international events, including the 14th Asian Games Busan (2002), the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (2005), and the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit (2014 and 2019)

Busan is a one-of-a-kind city surrounded by stunning mountains, rivers, and seas.

Geographically, the city is bounded to the south by the Korean Strait, to the north by Yangsan City and Gimhae City, to the east by Ulsan Metropolitan City, and to the west by Changwon City and Gimhae City.

Busan is one of Korea’s most strategic locations, located 430 kilometers from the capital city of Seoul and accessible by express train (KTX) in two and a half hours.

In comparison to its 3.6 million inhabitants, Busan lacks flat land, resulting in a relatively poor urban condition in terms of roads and transportation. More recently, land depletion for industrial use and the decline of the light manufacturing sector have harmed the region’s economy, reducing its share of national exports from 25% in the 1960s to 3% today.

Busan has thirteen universities, four of which are national universities (Pusan National University, Pukyong National University, Korea Maritime University, and Busan National University of Education) and nine of which are private (Kyungsung University, Kosin University, Tongmyong University, Dongseo University, Dong-A University, Dong-eui University, Catholic University of Pusan, Pusan University of Foreign Studies, and Silla University).

Korea changed Pusan to Busan in the year 2000 because the Korean government changed the rules for writing Korean words using the English alphabet, a process known as Romanization. But some proper nouns continue to be spelled with Pusan as acronyms such as Pusan National University (PNU), Busan International Airport (PUS).

Busan is a one-of-a-kind city surrounded by breathtaking mountains, rivers, and seas. The city, which is blessed with a beautiful landscape created by the narrow Nakdong River valley and several popular beaches, plays an important role in the development of the region’s and nation’s culture.

The economy of Busan

Busan occupational and industry status

As of 2020, the manufacturing industry employs the most people in Busan, with 147,831 people, followed by health and social welfare services (104,223) and transportation (76,869 people).

In Busan, 37,741 people were employed in 2020, and 32,696 people were employed, with 11,501 people (1.5%) unemployed, including 5,045 people. Then, Busan intends to hire 12,142 people, or 1.6% of the total workforce.

Number of employees by industry: Source(datakorea.datastore.or.kr/)

Busan Income Statistics

Busan’s typical household income in 2020 is 54 million won. These included earned income of 33.8 million won, company revenue of 10.3 million won, property income of 3.97 million won, and transfer income of 6.04 million won.

Busan’s average family income is expected to grow by 5.5% annually and by 4.3% annually in 2020. Its growth rate is 257% higher than the country as a whole and is 91.2% of the average.

Source: cities Statistics, datakorea.datastore.or.kr

Busan Metropolitan City continues to implement a number of policies and services aimed at securing relevant infrastructure and markets in order to promote balanced growth and the development of new businesses.

The city government strives for long-term growth in its local economy by creating new jobs and providing tailored employment assistance. Busan provides an ideal setting for the establishment of an e-Government system based on the digitization of administrative tasks.

Despite its efforts to implement numerous impactful initiatives, Busan continues to face traditional urban challenges. One prominent issue is the aging of the youth population and the increase in the elderly population. To overcome these challenges and maintain its position as a leading smart city, the city is implementing numerous economic policies and projects at the local level.

How ethnically and racially diverse is Busan?

South Korea is a largely homogeneous country, which has historically presented many difficulties for mixed-race Koreans. Koreans with at least one parent who is not fully ethnically Korean continue to face discrimination in Korea as members of “multicultural families.”

Busan has 47,132 multiracial homes as of 2020, 7,338 of which have Korean spouses as household members, and 13,419 of which have married immigrants who have become citizens of South Korea.

Busan has 72,729 foreign residents. Korean nationals and citizens made up 54,914 of the foreign residents. As children of foreign residents, 11,393 people were surveyed. Foreigners who did not acquire Korean nationality included 12,711 foreign workers, 10,547 married immigrants, 20,094 foreign students, and 7,365 foreign nationals. In addition, 4,197 other foreigners were polled.

On a daily basis, most Koreans only interact with other Koreans, and visitors frequently report feeling out of place. This varies depending on the city and whether you live in a rural or urban area. Busan is also much less touristy and racially diverse than Seoul. South Korea is a patriarchal society that values ethnic purity and homogeneity. Diversity should be acknowledged as a necessary virtue that underpins innovation and success. Societies and organizations that recognize the true value of diversity will have a bright future.

Geographically, Busan has served as a gateway to the oceanic world, laying the groundwork for the Korean Peninsula’s modernization through maritime exchange. More than any other place in Korea, it has developed an open and dynamic culture by actively embracing diverse cultures both within and outside the region. This kind of cultural identity enabled the city to willingly share its home turf with evacuees nearing the end of their journey during the Korean War, as well as to contribute to Korea’s democratization by supporting the Bu-Ma Democratic Protests.

The majority of people in Busan are friendly and welcoming to visitors from other countries. Many foreigners live and travel through the city because tourism and shipping are its main industries. Busan is quite liberal in terms of exotic food and the number of scantily dressed people on and near the beach.

LGBTQIA+ people are legally protected from discrimination in Korea, though same-sex marriage is not permitted and public awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues is low. LGBT communities in South Korea have only recently been represented in pop culture and media. While there is still work to be done in Korean society to fully integrate the LGBTQIA+ population, there is strong support for laws that specifically protect these communities, and visibility has grown in recent years.

Life in Busan

Busan, surrounded by mountains, rivers, and seas, offers a peaceful and relaxed lifestyle free of hustle and bustle. Busan locals are also friendly and willing to go out of their way to make visitors feel at ease and have a good time.

The bus and subway systems in Busan are incredibly efficient and easy to use, transporting people anywhere they want to go in a short amount of time, which is ideal for those without a car. Furthermore, in comparison to Seoul, Busan has a high quality of life as well as a diverse cultural landscape with plenty to see and do. Living in Busan is an inexpensive way to live on a moderate budget.

Winters in Busan are slightly warmer than the rest of the country because it is located far enough south and close to the sea. The temperature rarely falls below freezing.

Busan, a port city with a long tradition and history, is also home to a variety of one-of-a-kind festivals held throughout the year, attracting an increasing number of foreign visitors.

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