In pictures: Bustling port city Busan

Gamcheon Culture Village, also known as the Santorini of South Korea. Source: Shutterstock.

KNOWN AS SOUTH KOREA’S second city, Busan has clinched top spot in Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia 2018 list.

Curated by its in-house Asia experts, the list puts Busan in first place ahead of Uzbekistan, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Western Ghats in India, and Nagasaki in Japan, just to name a few.

Known for being the country’s best beach getaway, Busan is easily accessible by plane or by a three-hour high-speed KTX train ride from Seoul.

The vibrant city may not be as metropolitan or as populous as the South Korean capital, but it does have many other tricks up its sleeve.

From its sprawling Haeundae beach (the country’s largest) to its glittery Gwangandaegyo Bridge (Diamond Bridge), peak after peak of its majestic mountain range and its many ancient Buddhist temples, Busan is truly a convergence of rich culture and stunning scenery.

Not forgetting, its prime location right by the Yellow Sea and the East Sea means the freshest seafood and best catches are abundant.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple in Busan, South Korea. Source: Shutterstock.

Commercial hubs are aplenty as Busan has two central business districts: Seomyeon and Gwangbok-dong/Nampo-dong.

Those who love to shop will enjoy taking a stroll down the streets of Busan’s shopping areas in Seomyeon, Gwangbok-dong, Busan Dae Hakap in Jangjeon-dong, and Centum City in Haeundae-gu.

A kaleidoscope of annual events also breathes life into Busan, such as a “polar bear swimming contest” in winter, the Nakdonggang Youchae Flower Festival in spring, the Haeundae Sand Festival in summer, the Busan Fireworks Festival in autumn, and the prestigious Busan International Film Festival (BIFF).

BIFF is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia.

The city skyline view at Haeundae district, Busan. Source: Shutterstock.

In 2011, Busan was ranked the fourth best city after Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo among Asia’s top convention cities in a 2011 global ranking by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

“South Korea’s second largest city packs an eclectic offering of activities to suit all travelers,” Lonely Planet wrote.

This is the third annual Best in Asia list published by Lonely Planet. In 2017, Gansu in China came out on top while Hokkaido in Japan was number one in 2016.

Take a peek at what Busan has to offer: