Busan Sand Festival

Every year there is a sand festival held in Busan, South Korea. The theme for the year I went was “Once Upon A Time,” and so most of the sand castles were based on fairy tales.


I had no idea that sand art could be this detailed or beautiful. I mean, I built sandcastles at the beach when I was little just like everyone else.


However, the sad little things I built were nothing compared to what I saw at the Sand Festival.


I should warn you that Busan is short on accommodations, and the sand festival is a huge draw. Because of this, I would recommend making a hotel reservation well in advance if you want to go.


Once there, you can rent a spot under a huge beach umbrella and even rent a cooler if you want. That way, you have somewhere to stretch out and enjoy the waves when you aren’t admiring the art.


Like most things in Korea, be prepared for crowds. Of course, with crowds comes ice cream vendors and stands selling everything you could ever want, so in some ways that is a good thing.


Around Busan City

Busan is a port city in the Southern part of South Korea. It’s a wonderful place to go on a weekend trip. I have taken the KTX (high speed train) down several times when I had a few days free.


Some of the attractions are very unique. For example, Busan has the only UN cemetery in the world, because many of the allied soldiers who died defending South Korea in the Korean War are buried there.


It also has a bustling fish market, as you would expect in a port city. I am told that there is also fabulous shopping, but shopping has never really been my thing.


However, my very favorite part is the area part of Busan called Haeundae. This is where you come to see the beach, and it is a beautiful beach.

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There is also a wonderful wooden path along the cliffs where you can see statues of mermaids, lighthouses, and other great stuff.


I wanted to go to the Busan Aquarium, and you would think that would be pretty easy. The map said it was right on the beach, but I admit, I missed it on my first pass. The entrance is a little shark statue, and the entire rest of the aquarium is under ground.

The Busan Aquarium is reasonably priced and has a good range of things to see, from turtles to fish, and even a shark tank with a tunnel through it.


I could spend an entire day there myself, but I really love watching fish swim around. There is something so peaceful about it.

One tank (which is huge) is all full of different kinds of coral and fish, and it has amphitheater seating around it so that you can just get comfortable in the air conditioning and enjoy the view.

I definitely recommend dropping in to give it a look.


Another wonderful thing to do is hop a bus to the temple near Haeundae beach. They have a sunrise ceremony, which I managed to catch only once. But the rest of the day it is just a beautiful place to enjoy ocean views and see awesome things.


Some people will tell you that if you have seen one temple, you have seen them all. I do understand this attitude, but to me, they all have their own personality and unique features.

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I find the buildings peaceful and relaxing, the monks welcoming, and the crafts for sale to always be beautiful.

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At this particular temple, they have a special place by the sea to practice rock stacking. This is a Buddhist practice that is supposed to be calming, and I admit, I did find it to be a nice activity on a windy afternoon.

If you go to Busan and you are looking for things to do, there is certainly no shortage. These are just a few things that I did, and that I thought were fun.

Oh, and I have to add this billboard because I think it is hilarious. In Korea, it is okay to put cuss words in advertisements as long as they are not in Korean. (We do the same thing in the US. I could own a business named a Korean cuss word and no one would care.)

So, here is the Mini Cooper billboard I saw in downtown Busan.


A Busan Vacation

Here are some wonderful things to see and do in Busan. It’s a fantastic beach town in the South part of the Korean peninsula. I definitely recommend it as a vacation destination.

Haeundae Beach

Visiting Busan was a lot of fun. A huge part of why it was fun was a magazine called Busan Haps. I picked it up at the Tourist Information Center inside Busan Station. Between it and the tourist map they had, it was easy to get around and enjoy lots of the sights and sounds of Korea’s second biggest city.

The shoreline where the wooden path is

The main thing I recommend is the attractions at Haeundae Beach. There is a beautiful path along the shoreline, just to the south of the main beach area, behind the Westin Hotel.

The lighthouse at the end of the path

The path is well-maintained, and offers amazing views of the ocean. It also has several observation decks and benches to stop at. At the end of the long wooden path is a lighthouse. There are several attractions there as well, such as great views of Gwangan Bridge and the Nurimaru APEC House.

Buddhist Temple

On the other side of Haeundae beach, you can take the bus north a few miles to some very nice Buddhist temples on the shoreline, which are beautiful.

Temple Alter

Sitting near the ocean is peaceful. Sitting at a Buddhist temple near the ocean is fantastic, and I highly recommend it.

The fantastic Busan Aquarium

But best of all is the Busan Aquarium. It’s underground, so it’s easy to miss. But the entrance is in the center of Haeundae beach, near the road. As long as you’re walking along the right sidewalk, you’ll be able to find it.

One of the huge fish tanks in the aquarium

The Busan Aquarium is excellent, and features a huge tank full of sharks that you can walk under. There are many wonderful types of fish to see, as well as penguins and otters.

The shark tank

The jellyfish room is not nearly as cool as the one at the aquarium in Muai. But they do have some types of jelly fish I have never seen before. They were amazingly cool looking.

Really cool jelly fish

Everyone says to go to Jalgachi fish market. It is kind of neat, but the live fish at the aquarium are better.

I liked the live fish better

I skipped the UN cemetery, since I don’t like to depress myself. But it is the only UN cemetery in the world, and I hear it’s beautiful, though somber.

Me drinking a kiwi martini

The night life is great in Busan too. I had a fantastic soft taco and kiwi martini at The Fuzzy Navel bar.

Yummy food and drinks at The Fuzzy Navel

Busan is beautiful. I love beach towns, and this is a great one. There are many tourist information centers. Most everything is in English. Also, there are lockers everywhere, so if you stay at a hostile or something, you can stash your backpack anywhere while you wander.

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