Busan by Night | A Travel Photo Essay

Photos by Ju-seok Oh. Words by Peter DeMarco.

See Korea’s most “dynamic” city at her best – when the sun goes down.

BUSAN - Kwangan Bridge

Busan is on the Southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula and only a short ride by ferry from Japan.

Busan, Seoul’s little sister to the south, is one of the best kept secrets in Asia. How can a city almost as big as Los Angeles be practically unknown outside of Korea? Not only was it a host city of the 2002 World Cup and Asian games, it’s the home of the largest department store in the world, one of Asia’s biggest film festivals, the fifth largest port in the world, and soon to be home of one of the tallest buildings in the world. As if that was not enough, this city by the sea is bidding for the 2020 Olympic games.

It takes much more than a bunch of superlatives for a city to capture the minds and hearts of travelers. By day, Busan looks like any other big Korean city: block after block of apartment and office towers covered in signs. Once the sun begins to set though, the city takes on a dreamy quality that is distinctly Busan.

From bold to brash, blissful to beautiful, Busan photographer Ju-seok Oh shows us his home town as you’ve never seen it before.


A visit to Sam Kwang Temple during Buddha's birthday when the monks hang hundreds of lanterns is a must. Buddhism has been in Korea since AD 370. The Jogye sect makes up about 90% of Korean Buddhists.

BUSAN - Firework festival

Diamond Bridge, as seen from Mt. Jang, is one of Busan's most iconic structures.

BUSAN - Haedong Yonggung temple

Let the rhythmic sound of the crashing waves put you into a trance-like state. Meditate under the stars at Haedong Yonggeung Temple, arguably Korea's most beautiful temple by the sea.

BUSAN - Uam2dong

The city's port is the 5th largest in the world.

BUSAN - Haeundae

Busan, formerly spelled Pusan, is the second largest city in Korea with over 3.6 million people.

BUSAN - Haeundae

If all goes according to plan, Busan will be home to the third tallest building in the world. The 110 floor (510 meters) Lotte Super Tower is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

BUSAN - Firework festival

Around 1.5 million people show up from around Korea and Asia for the Busan Fireworks Festival every year in October.


Getting there:

Busan is very accessible from any point in Korea.

  • By plane, you can fly into Gimhae International Airport. There are direct flights to many cities around Korea and Asia. Airport buses are available from Gimhae to Busan Station and the Haeundae hotels.
  • By train, Korea’s high-speed KTX makes the trip from Seoul Station to Busan Station in just under 3 hours for about 50,000 Won one way.
  • By boat, there is daily ferry service to/from Busan to Jeju Island and Fukuoka, Japan.

Where to stay:

  • Zen Backpackers (010-8722-1530, www.zenbackpackers.com): With it’s central location in Seomyeon, this hostel in the heart of the city has great access to the subway lines, shopping, and restaurants.
  • Westin Chosun Busan (051-749-7000): What could be better than looking down on Haeundae beach from your hotel room? And the Westin’s brunch is one of the best in the city. Rooms start around 250,000 Won. Keep an eye out for their monthly specials.

What to do:


Busan photographer Ju-seok Oh. Photo: Peter DeMarco.

Biography: Ju Seok-oh is a native of Busan and one of Korea’s best amateur photographers. Although he does not actively promote his work, he has been published in international travel magazines, newspapers, and more. He is about to graduate from Inje University with a major in System Management Engineering.

Photo Blog: Check out Ju-seok’s award-winning blog which includes photos of his travels to Australia, America, China, Japan and beyond.

Photos on Flickr: J’s Favorite Things