Is Busan a good place to live?!

Hello all!

I have been living in Vietnam for the last 8 months and am now looking to buzz somewhere else. Busan looks pretty nice and it is the place that Im most interested in movin onto next! However, since reading a few blogs on this site I have seen some failry damning stuff put up about Busan! So whats the story? Is it a good place to teach and live? Are the schools good? What are the apartments like? Social life, easy to make friends? Any live music? General banter on a scale of 1 to 10? Id genuinely appreciate some info off you guys as your obvioulsy living there yourselves!



Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Busan is a great place to live! Especially if you like being near the sea. There is a great deal of live music to be had, several hot spots for night life and foreign food, some international markets, and lovely weather.

As far as the schools go, it's the same story in every city. Just do your research on what ever school before you sign their contract, be smart about knowing what's out there, try to contact people who've left that school as well as those currently working there... I will say one thing- because basically everyone wants to live in Busan, the pay scale is a bit lower than say, the provinces or even other cities. You can research that through various job posting sites or EPIK (if you choose public school).

But that said, I really love it here~ I've been in Busan just over a year. In the past I've lived in Daegu (2 years), Daejeon (6 mos.), and have visited Seoul ~10 times and many of the smaller cities. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else!

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Busan pretty much sucks.

It is only good if you like the beach and the mountains.

The transportation sucks and takes forever to get everywhere.

The foreigners here have all been here for a while and don't like to make new friends and are not helpful at all. They seem more clickish, so if you're not in the circle of friends you gotta make your own.

The koreans are more in your face about not liking foreigners too. I have had several occasions where a woman or man told me that I was just here to get as much poon as possible and that is the sentiment towards foreign guys.

THere is live music, but it's pretty cheese.

Don't know about other cities other than seoul, guess it depends on what you are looking for. Don't expect easy women either, I'm sure being in vietnam you will have been spoiled on that part.

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

''It is only good if you like the beach and the mountains.''

I don't know there were people who didn't like the sea and mountains. I can think of worse things to be around; concrete jungle, 38lanes of traffic, no mountains, no sea...anyway.

Perhaps we are clickish but I can only speak for my very limited group of friends as we don't want new membership in our click. We like it because it is made up of long term residents with ties here; family,business,properties, wealth. I'm generally kind I will help out a person, especailly a new person in need but what I won't do is befriend someone who probably won't last longer than a hockey season.I don't have the time and energy to waste on such people. Like you said transient vagabonds on their way to vietnam to get more poon. I have no interest in even knowing such people, I'm in a different league.


Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

 I will say one thing- because basically everyone wants to live in Busan, the pay scale is a bit lower than say, the provinces or even other cities. You can research that through various job posting sites or EPIK (if you choose public school).- not true

Like you said transient vagabonds on their way to vietnam to get more poon. I have no interest in even knowing such people, I'm in a different league.- classic from Lbs

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Thanks big A.

Forget pay scale koreans there don't make that much more money than we country folk in kyungnam region. It certainly isn't enough to offset having a 32pyung house in Seoul which is probably 4-5-10times what it is here. I can't live in poverty to appease an area. I never understood why people do.

I'm rich here, why would anyone move to be poor? It would take all of our resources,real-estate,term deposit,my house in upstate new york sold just to buy a shitty overpriced place in kangnam? actually kangbok because i don't have enough for kangnam!

I'm certainly not going to go into debt keep up with the kim's.

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

kwaz666, I'm a little confused at this point in time.

Can we assume that you do not live here?

If you DO live here, why are you still here, your life must be so depressing with everyone and everything so against you.  

With your negative attitude, it is hardly surprising that you have no friends in the long term brigade, cause as LBS says, no one wants to know, or needs to know, individuals with such  poor expectations of a country and its peoples.

Koreans do not take long to suss out your character, or the reasons for you being here. 

Easy women?? No, not met many easy women here, but funnily as it may seem, nearly all the long term merchants here have Korean wives, children and girlfriends.

Koreans in your face?? Hardly surprising with your expectations of living and working in Korea. That sentiment is directed towards individuals like you, I've very rarely found this the case, and I doubt if there are many long term foreigners that have found this to be the case.  

kwaz666, all the long term guys here have spent many years trying to change the attitudes of the Korean people, so that we are accepted here as a part of one of the most proud, warm and friendly nations that you have free access to. 

You don't want to fit in and become part of the way of life here, piss off home, where ever that is, no one wants you here.   


Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

By proud you mean incredibly insecure and narcissistic? I have been here for over 7 years and I dont feel the warmth at all. It is cold here man.  No soul-no pun intended.

My wife is Korean and I have made a good life for myself here but to say people here are proud and warm..hmmm, interesting. Let's take a look at Korea.  Everything is under the table (which is good for working I guess if you go this route). Everyone is corrupt. Every top biz leader here has been brought up on charges over the last 8 years (Korean Air, Samsung, Hyundai, LG, SK...and of course they all get off or with very little punishment at all) and even every president has been brought up on charges for the last 2 decades (I think the last 4 to be specific including Lee-although he was cleared but whatever).

This is warm? How about some more. Cops have no power here. Laws are archaic. Korea is a 3rd world country painted well when it comes to how things work here. I will get a lot of flack for this post but I dont care. There is no Korean person I dislike or hate, but as a whole, the whole culture is messed up. Highest rates of suicide in all OECD countries. In the top for smoking and drinking. Number one in car accidents as well as black market GDP. Underground prostitution including high school girls is rampant. Number one in child deaths related to traffic accidents (there used to be a law for baby seats but was taken off the books within 2 months because the parents complained and I quote "we dont have to live like Americans". This was in the Korean paper. They have the lowest rate of social spending of all OECD countries-like 4% of GDP. This is something to be proud of?

People here hate the rituals. A study was done with university students here and more than half said they would give up their Korean citizenship for an American one-must be proud??? I could go on and on with stats like this.

Oh, dont even get me started on mannerisms. How many of you have been hit by a door by someone in front of you or pushed out of the way by an ajjuma lunging for a subway seat? How many of you have been hit by someone walking down the street? No one cares for you here. People here are so into themselves. They only show national pride when it is convenient for them or they have to but most are out for themselves with no care in the world for others. Let's just park my car here and block everyone else is a good sign of this. Lets just drive through the red light or stop sign and make everyone else stop for me because I am so important and because I am drving a bar girl. Yippeeeeeeeeee! Sigh.

Korea is so vain-even every guy can't resist looking into every mirror they pass. But guess what, I DIG IT! People can think I hate Korea but dont come after me with your opinions as all I have done is state facts about this place. Look them up. But so what, I love Korea because of much of the above. No one bothers me. I dont feel trapped by laws (Anyone who has ever driven with me knows I dont stop for anything). I can do what I want without even a comment that it is bad. Things here are less judgemental as really, no one cares about you. People respect their freedom here and let you have yours and I love it. If you know the history of Korea and the upper class leaving everytime they were attacked, leaving the poorer to fend for themselves, you would understand why Korea is the way it is now. There is such scepticism regarding authority here so people just do what they want.

Anyway, I could go on and on but I dont see things half full or empty-just as in. That is such a stupid test anyway as if I paid 20 bucks for a class a juice and it was half empty I would be pissed but if I was in the desert and someone gave me a glass that had the same amount I would be happy so everything is relative to the situation-just like here.

So let those who "love" Korea come to its defence and tell me how bad I am for saying this but if you do you are missing the point. I love it here because of how it is. You can love something and still find fault with it-if you have the integrity to do so. Dont come and say Korea's economy is number 8 in the world or whatever as I know this. This doesnt mean laws and so on are like that of a 3rd world country. Dont say the people are sooooo kind based on personal experience as on a whole, Koreans dont really care about other Koreans either. It is all about them as this is the culture. Dont say I should leave because of my view of Korea. Why? Because if you do, again, you are missing the point as I love it here. People can drink, smoke, commit suicie and kill their babies for all I care as it is their right. Who am I to say they should not have that right. You say otherwise then you are the one who actually hates Korea. Who am I to say people can not do what they want because in my country we dont do that? What, Canada has all the answers? Crime ir crazy there, but not here, so everyone needs to take care of their own backyard and mind their own business-which is what Koreans do.

I would love for you to find stats saying I am wrong about things but dont come to me with your bandwagon cheering to try and be one of the crowd as that goes against what Korea is truly all about-the individual! Everyone here looks out for number one-themselves! It may not be right, the best way to do things or even wrong for that matter-it just is. Long live Korea!!!


Oh, Busan is a nice place to live. I have lived in Incheon, Ulsan and Busan. I have driven this whole country and have seen every city and town possible. I have even been to every peninsula and I can say that the best all around place to stay is Busan. You have many beaches, some beautiful points near by and the mountians (really more like hills but...). Although, that said, the best place I have ever been in Korea is Seroaksan National Park, east of Seoul. That place is beautiful. very majestic. Cheers and good luck. Let the comments rain down!

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Wow Paul, quite a rant, guess the holiday hasn't done much for your mood!!

Sorry friend, you have not stated facts, only your own interpretation of them. 

Same as you I've been here longer than I wish to remember, some 14 years or so, and yes, I will agree that the system is somewhat flawed and ragged around the edges, but you are not at home, but another universe, another time, another life.

Perhaps I'm lucky, I do not live in Busan, so maybe I am shielded from the terrifying city syndrome you paint.

No, I have not found the anti foreigner brigade here, and no I have not to my knowledge EVER been refused service in either shops or bars.

Maybe that is because I have few foreign friends here, mostly if not all Koreans, married to one, live with them and work with them, and yes, contrary to your rants, I have always found them, with a few exceptions to be VERY proud people, both of their heritage and their Country.

Maybe you guys who are now posting the report racism here are still struggling to adapt to a new way of life, I have no idea.

I can only be very honest and candid, and make a very contentious statement, and query exactly what you expect from a foreign country, which is, as some one once stated, is full of inscrutable Asians, and one that is so far apart from the expectations of westerners. 

Me, I have had an amazing time here, VERY rarely had run ins with the locals, and then usually during a drinking spree. Pretty much the same level of alcohol induced intolerance I have received from a number of Western countries also, so I discount these as an inevitable way of life. 

No doubt there will be an outburst of indignation and scorn, but I don't give a flying s**t. I know how well I have been received, treated with respect and accepted as "one of the locals" and have always responded in kind.

What amazes me is that, if life is so full of dissension, heartache and unhappiness why are you all still here? 


Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

wow kil, did you even read my post. I love it here. The real Korea. Not the one people make in their minds. And yes, my facts are as such-facts. Look them up my friend. But that said, again, if you cant accept them then it is you that does not like Korea. I can live with all that is "wrong' as it is none of my business. I wont be leaving for another 15 years or so. I am actually going to be opening up my third bar (was partner at Obriens in Jangsan and at Club NEO last summer) next summer. My wife and I will also be opening up a school. if I did not like it here I would not be doing this. I like Korea for what it is. If you drive you know what I am talking about. Day to day mannerisms I mentioned are spot on and the stats about suicided and so on are factual. It is amazing people cant accept truths anymore that are not pretty. goes to show you free speech is dying. To make my point, Canada has high crime rates, crazy tax rates and too many rules. Is this wrong? NO! But I still love it as well. Nothing is perfect my friend but looking the other way does not really make things better. And before you question my points with opinions that the are not true, look them up. Google OECD countries and suicide rates, car accidents, divorce rates, social spending and so on. You will see I am right. But again, so what. That is Korea and if you dont like it you dont like Korea. I just do my thing here and I love it because I can. Long live Korea!


As for the racist thing, I am not sure what you are talking about. Perhaps another post? My wife is Korean and I live here so I have no problem with Koreans-or any other person for that matter. We are all just people! As I tell my uni students, you are no below me and I am not above you-we are the same-just people! Cheers all.

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

"As for the racist thing, I am not sure what you are talking about". 

Come on Paul, here is your latest comment on the other post reference "lets all tell teacher we are having a bad time, and it will all go away"

''Racism is widespread here"

Not your comment?

Wow Paul, did you not read my post either?

I did say that things were not all roses in the garden in Korea, but I have to disagree with your comment that if I do not accept that your facts are true, I do not like Korea. What sort of warped statement is that?? 

I live with what I am subjected to, whether it is good or bad. This is, and always will be, the deciding factor. I make my judgements of Korea from MY facts, I make my comments from MY facts, MY life and how I am treated. 

Try reading the FACTS as reported in U.S. and European newspapers about corruption, not only through Companies but Politicians. They don't come out any whiter either.

Police. Give me a break Paul, go to the UK and tell me they have any more effect than Korean police. 

Of course the driving is bad, manners are not the best in the world, but hell, if this is your only gripe with this country, you got it good here.

I do agree that things are going to blossom in the future. Korea has been dragged kicking and struggling into the 21st Century and the ways of the Western World far too fast for the integration to take place. The Western World has taken hundreds of years to evolve, but since the Korean war, and the "civilisation" of Korea by the "allies" it is hardly surprising that certain aspects of this society are still struggling to come to terms with the new ways. 

60 years to achieve the same standards? It is going to take time, that is for sure. 

There are still immense differences between the old ways and the new. 

Perhaps as I have been integrated into the old ways (I am 58) I am still finding that national pride in Culture and Country are still strong. Conversely, you are more in touch with the younger generation, and perhaps, as in other western countries, there is a huge division between the old ways and the new.

I can only restate MY FACTS.

I have had an amazing time in Korea, and have been treated with both respect and good manners, on a person to person basis, and have very rarely found this "we hate foreigners" mentality so often mentioned on this site. 

Having spent the whole of my younger and working life (45 years) living and working in some of the most impoverished and shite holes in the world, perhaps I have learnt a little more patience and acceptance, and come to realise that it is not the nation that needs to adapt to me, but for me to adapt to the nation.

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Kil, what are you talking about? Rasicm was mentioned on your other post and was not sure what it was about so I mentioned a little something. As it turns out it is from another thread.


"lets all tell teacher we are having a bad time, and it will all go away" Not sure what this is but it is not from me???

As for racism, again from another post-yes, it is widespread here but I explain it in a rational way. No need to go into that more or again but it lives and breathes here believe that.


I am glad you now realize if I do have any gripe it is only about manners and like you said that is no big deal. There are wose places and better but you mentioned this place as warm and proud-I just disagreed and pointed out a few things. Still, it does not mean I dont like it.


Anyway, I could go into more detail about cops and stats but the proof is there is you want to see it or look it up but again, my wife is Korean and I live here so for me it is good. What goes on around me is not my biz as it is not my country so whatever I say as I live well here. Cheers Kil and good luck to you!

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Hi Paul,

No, dragged a few items in from the latest thread concerning racism and how to combat it with different techniques, including intimidation. Can't really see how that works as it antagonises an individual who is already off track, even more.

But as you commented, nuff said.

I can only consider myself extremely fortunate in my location, it is rare to see any form of racism against westerners, although it is more noticeable with other Asian nations, ie Chinese and Filipinos.

Glad you are happy with your present conditions and enjoying life, me too, with few regrets to mention.

Have a great week.

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Why did you delete my post?


With all this that you said, how many of you "bros" are going to welcome this guy when he comes?


Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Wow Paul, the textbook rantings of a bitter lifer.  You only like living in Korea because you can make an easy buck.  Just come out and say it.  You actually despise the culture.

I've heard this same song and dance from a long line of angry old expats, and guess what?  It's tired.  It's boring and old hat.


"An ajumma elbowed me in the market! They spit in the elevators!  What am I gonna do?  I think I'll move to Japan where they're all nice, or at least have the common decency to hate you behind your back."


Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!


          you are correct, it's old hat and boring, yet it's still here.World poverty, inequalities of wealth are still here, doesn't mean we cant examine or talk about them?The same old , same old lame justifications of not complaining were used by the Apartheid type, namely to justify their behaviours.In my recollection, I think you were one of those hater, complainers looking to make a buck when you came over here, after your experiences in LA.I do not think Paul has ever denied he is here to make a living, or said he despises the culture. He has put his plums on the line, invested a fair whack of cash here, and married into it. Incidentally,  THARPSTER,  apart from the Jack, how much have you invested here bro?(lol)

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

There is stuff here that bothers me as well but I can tell you one thing; I am much better off here than I would be in North America. I, like many of you made more money back home than I do/did here and still I was incredibly broke, seriously broke, unfixable broke. 2/3 of Canadians and American live paycheck to paycheck gents and ladies. That is a staggering number, unmanageable in fact and unsustainable. Everyone and I mean everyone back home gets ropped into the 2life sentences mortgage, car loans and other payment plans like I mentioned in my rant on another thread. I know, this was me to a 'T'.  Even with 2 incomes many family can't make it.

I think Korea is more of a lifestlye choice for many and not so economic. Or if economic then it has to do more with the fact that one can live much more cheaply in Korea than backhome. I live a good life and I wouldn't spend a million a month. I don't make alot of money, probably less than anyone who posts regularily on this site but i do save and have chronically for years.  

You can do really well here if you do infact WANT to work. The thing is you can't go 100miles an hour forever, you burn out. In my tenure here I've seen this happen to even the nicest mellowist guys. Too often whitey becomes very grizzled and in fact downright angry and all the time. If a guy loses it on the photocpier at work we usually chalk it as; TeMPS = Too Many Privates Syndrome.

 I'm guilty of this as well in years past when I would drink from Friday night until Sunday afternoon.  It became a vicious cycle of bad drunks. I also noted that much of the extra income i was making was going right to the taxi, restaurant,taxi,bar,bar,taxi bar,taxi,pharmacy. So I opted to lessen the privates and the booze.

I'm too old for that shit now, I'm not 25 anymore.

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

busan is a good place to live.  it can be cliquey, but life really is that way, in general.  the only really negative part is having to listen to people who like to hear themselves type about how great they are and how they could not make it wherever their home was, but yet how they know so much about life back there.  if you are wanting to move to busan, you can get a pretty good idea about what the social life here offers by reading this website and, but it will never give you the full picture.  how does that billy joel song go?  you can hear a whole bunch of people puff their chests, though.   it is amusing, but in a car crash kind of way, although at times slightly funnier and slightly sadder and most likely not unique to busan- based on my esl experience

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

You are wrong....I would have made it at home it just would have taken longer to crawl out of the ditch. I know about back home still and the lifestyle that goes with it. There are things called paid vacations and airplanes where you can get to one part of the world to another in record time.

Since I've all ready 'made' it here I wonder if have you anywhere? 

You want to call me a fake, that's great but I'd rather be a fake somebody than a real no body. Take care.

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

 Back to the panel holder's questions: yes, I think Busan has never become such a good place to stay in to eat, meditate, and to share one's affection with others ever before.  I sometimes call it a city of solidarity by the sea?  I don't need to go to Italy, India, or to Bali. In terms of comparison with my hometown in NY or in PA, it is as much as modernized and sometimes corrupted, so far as one of the city major, Sangyoung Ahn, committed suicide; russian mafias massacre each other at an apartment in Youngdo; youngsters are hard to get on their track to study because of so many distracting festivals nearby their schools; all now are represented by sky scraping condominium apartments and department stores.  

Like any other cities, it's got bad and good sides.  I love Busan for those who work for their bright future with one god, whom you can interpret in so many ways.  You can easily make friends with those who smile at you, for you give a good impression to them.  I appreciate and for updating outgoing activities in current to those folks actually living in Busan.  Once you live in here, you can hardly evaluate the value of being a citizen in Busan--off the scale!! 

Re: Is Busan a good place to live?!

Yes Busan is an excellent place to live. It was the only city I considered before moving to Korea. Plenty of things to do, hiking, beach, sailing, plenty of foreigner friendly places to eat, great transport, lots of comedy, music, and other artsy stuff. It's a big city with a smaller city feel. And everyone here is very easygoing, you find a couple that aren't, but that's anywhere you go.

It all depends on what you're after. But to me Busan is a great balance of big city life without too much of the headache. Hope this helps