What is Busan Tower?
Busan Tower in Busan City, South Korea is a long way from being the world’s tallest tower. It pales in height compared to the Burj Khalifa or the CN Tower in Toronto, yet it is an easily recognisable fixture on the Busan skyline and one that offers brilliant views of the enormous urban sprawl of the city.
At 120 metres tall, Busan Tower might stand out, but is a long way from being the tallest building in Busan. Most of these are skyscrapers located at the city’s famed Haeundae Beach. Nevertheless, the Busan Observation Deck is perfectly positioned to provide a bird’s-eye view of the mountainous region behind the city where the colourful Gamcheon Culture Village can be seen as well as back over towards the ocean where Jagalchi Fish Market is easily spotted.
Built in 1973, the Tower wasn’t built for any other purpose than entertainment, and tourists have definitely been getting their money’s worth visiting this central feature in Yongdusan Park for many years.
If you’re in the Busan Station area, then the good news is that Yongdusan Park, where Busan Tower is located is definitely within walking distance. A 35 minute walk will take you from the station area through the fun and tourist-friendly area of Nampodong into the area where the tower is.
If you’re staying further out (i.e. in Haeundae) then walking isn’t an option – it is a long way from the tower.
From Busan Station, there are ample buses headed in the direction of the Busan Observation Tower including the bus lines numbered 87, 61, 41, 508, 81, 190 (amongst others). The bus ride will cost you 1,200 KRW, but you will still need to do a bit of walking when you hop off the vehicle.
I’d recommend downloading the Korean application Naver Map which is the best way to get all your public transit navigation instructions when in South Korea.
Rent A Bike
Cycling from Busan station is a quick 10-minute ride if you’re able to get your hands on a bike. The only downside is you will need to locate a bike hire stand in order to get your hands on one.
A taxi from Busan station will take less than 10 minutes and cost around 3,300 KRW. If you’re in the Haeundae area, though, the trip will take significantly longer at around 30 minutes and cost just under 20,000 KRW. There’s obviously a pretty sizeable difference in cost if you’re located a fair way out and you may want to think about using public transport.
Getting Tickets for the Busan Tower
Tickets at the Door
There are a few options for tickets if you want to go visiting the Tower. Firstly (and most simply), you can just turn up on the day and buy tickets at the entrance. Entry is obviously subject to availability, but if you’re not an advance planner, are happy to take the risk and prefer to hand over cash on the day, then this is the option for you. 8000KRW Adult/6000 KRW Child.
To avoid the lines and walk straight into the Busan Observation Tower, then booking in advance is recommended. Klook is usually a great website to advance purchase from for any Busan activities as there are usually great discounts (and if you’re like me and also use Shopback then you will also get a cashback on whatever you pay). Buy Busan Tower tickets here.
What to expect at the Busan Tower?
The Busan Observation Tower is first and foremost an up-high viewing experience, so if possible, try to visit on a clear day. Fortunately, despite the chilly Busan winter temperatures, the sky remained clear for most of my stay, so the views from the tower were exceptional.
From the Busan Tower, expect to see a panoramic view of the marvellous landscape of the southern Korean peninsula. The city of Busan stretches as far as the eye can see – mountains to ocean. The coloured shanty houses of Gamcheon Culture Village can be seen nestled in the hilly areas, whilst the bustling port is easy to spot in the other direction.
At the base of the tower, there are a few key photo opportunities – namely the big Busan Tower sign to pose in front of and also the love locks clasped onto any bit of railing that can be found, inscribed with a message to a loved one.
The park surrounding Busan Tower is also lovely to spend some time walking in. Around the Busan Tower complex in Yongdusan park are Hanbok rental stores waiting for tourists to come and try on Korean traditional dress. Often, the hanbok are displayed outside so you can get a really good up close view of the traditional Korean garb without having to hire one, too.
In Yongdusan Park there is also a large bell called Bell of the Citizens. Large ceremonial bells can be found in many significant places around Korea – on my travels I spotted one in Seoul, this one in Busan and one at Imjingak Park near the DMZ.
A visit to Busan Tower should definitely be on your list of things to do in Busan as it is the perfect way to really understand just how sprawling and enormous this city is. It is relatively inexpensive, and on a clear day, the views are spectacular.
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