Mountains? Check. Ocean? Check. Natural hot springs, forest trails, eco-parks. Double check.
Busan and the surrounding areas are packed with some of the most beautiful and vibrant natural travel destinations found on the Korean Peninsula, and we’d be as bold as to say in the entire world.
However, it’s not just the beauty of Busan that attracts tourists from all across the globe. Busan is becoming a top destination in the wellness tourism world, and things are hotting up even as the weather cools down.
Worldwide, wellness tourism is on the rise, with luxury wellness destinations popping up everywhere from Argentina to Zimbabwe, and now Korea is getting a slice of the $500billion market.
According to the Global Wellness Institute, Wellness Tourism is the fastest growing travel sector, growing almost 50% faster than the industry overall, and we can expect to see big changes over the next few years.
Wellness tourism is travel designed to improve health and quality of life through wellness related activities like meditation, spa treatments, hiking, nature walks and exercise. Although a relatively new concept in Korea, wellness tourism has become a hot topic in the past couple of years.
The Korean government announced that it will invest 800 million KRW (US$742,000) into the wellness tourism industry in order to attract overseas visitors, as well as create wellness initiatives in local communities to foster happy, healthy citizens.
By combining new and exciting wellbeing programs with existing markets, including K-beauty, medical tourism, spas, health cuisine etc. Korean wellness tourism looks to attract new and repeat travelers who want to spend their money on self-improvement and wellbeing.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, South Gyeongsang Province has been tapped as the country’s base for wellness tourism. Busan, Koreas second largest city and largest port city, has all the makings of the perfect wellness destination, with abundant natural environments perfect for healing the mind, body and soul.
While Busan has long been known as the best summer hotspot in Korea, as the autumn winds blow a little colder, the city is transformed into a different kind of travel destination. Why not get outside and enjoy everything that Busan has to offer.
Beautiful Jangsan has an elevation of 634 meters and is popular with locals and tourists of all ages and fitness levels. Jangsan offers a full range of trails for everyone, and nature abound. Jangsan park is a great place for families to enjoy the fall foliage, and for the more adventurous hiker, go a little further into the mountain to discover the signs warning of an active land mine field – just make sure you don’t venture too far!
How to get there: Subway Line 2 – Jangsan, exit 10 and walk uphill towards the mountain
Best during October and November, the fallen leaves of red and gold create a red carpet fit for a Joseon King. Head into the crisp forest air, wander through the towering trees, standing to attention for each new visitor. The park is easily accessible by foot and leads to some of the most breathing taking views of the city. Hike up the many trails for an invigorating workout, or take the cable car for 8,000 won return, and sip a cup of makkoli (Korean rice wine) as you check out the sprawling views from the top!
How to get there: Subway Line 1 – Oncheonjang Station, exit No.1.
While some wouldn’t consider this a traditional forest trail or hiking trail, there’s no denying it is the perfect place to dive headfirst into nature and enjoy the invigorating power of the ocean. Take a walk to the top of Taejongdae through the tree-lined roads, or hop on the Danubi Train for a ride to the top. You’ll soon relax in the calming and comforting atmosphere of Taejongdae Park. Perfect for a Sunday stroll with the family, a romantic ‘Couple Course’ with the one you love, or choose the ‘Cruise Ship Course’ to get the wind in your hair.
How to get there: Bus
From Busan Station, take bus No. 88 or 101 and get off at Taejongdae Cliff Bus Stop.
Other buses for Taejongdae: No. 8, 13, 30, 88, or 101.
Children’s Grand Park
Situated in the heart of the city, in the Busanjin-gu area, Children’s Grand Park offers visitors of all ages something to enjoy. Take a healing stroll around the walking trails, which are conveniently wheelchair and stroller accessible. Enjoy some freshly made pajeon (spring onion fritter) at one of the outdoor restaurants and gaze at the shimmering reservoir surrounded by trees. With additional facilities such as a small zoo, children playgrounds and experience zones, Children’s Grand Park is the perfect place for kids, and big kids, to relax and unwind.
How to get there: Bus
Take Bus No. 33, 44, 54, 63, 81, 83-1, 133
Or Village Bus No. 17
Get off at Children’s Grand Park (어린이대공원)
Subway Line 1 – Seomyeon, exit 13 and transfer to bus or taxi, Yengjeong, exit 5 and transfer to bus or taxi – Line 2 – Seomyeon, exit 2 and transfer to bus or taxi – Line 3 – Geoje, exit 8 and transfer to bus or taxi.
Opened in 1999, Democracy Park symbolizes peace and honors the spirit of democracy, remembering the sacrifices of those who fought for Korea’s freedom. With facilities including an outdoor theatre, an observatory and exhibition halls, you can spend the day relaxing in the grounds, enjoying a game of baduk under the trees or find a quiet space in the democracy library.
How to get there: Bus
Take bus No. 38, 43, 70, 135, 190 and get off at Democracy Park bus stop
Subway Line 1 – get off at Busanjin, Choryang-dong or Busan station, transfer to bus or taxi.