Where to stay in Busan for first time: 4 Safe areas

Busan is one of my favorite destinations in South Korea, along with Seoul and Jeju island. I understand that finding where to stay in Busan as a first-time visitor can be overwhelming. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Busan for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Busan for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Busan and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Busan is a popular tourist destination and large port city located in the southeastern part of South Korea. It is the second-most populous city in the country after Seoul and is known for its beautiful beaches, bustling markets, and picturesque mountains.

Haeundae Beach and Gwangalli Beach are the most popular beaches in Busan. The beaches are great places to swim, sunbathe, relax, enjoy water activities and vibrant nightlife.

As a coastal city, Busan is renowned for its seafood, and the Jagalchi Fish Market is one of the largest fish markets in South Korea. You can experience the lively atmosphere, sample fresh seafood, and explore the various stalls.

The city is home to the famous Beomeosa Temple, Gamcheon Culture Village, and the historical Dongnae District. These sites showcase the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Busan hosts one of the most prestigious film festivals in Asia, the Busan International Film Festival. It attracts filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts from around the world.

The city is surrounded by scenic mountains, and hiking enthusiasts can explore trails to the summit of Geumjeongsan Mountain. These hikes offer stunning views of the city.

Is Busan safe to visit?

Yes, Busan, like most of South Korea, is generally safe to visit with a relatively low crime rate. But as in any popular tourist destinations, there are the risks of pickpockets, so it is alway important to be aware of your surroundings and take care of your belongings to avoid these petty crimes. 

Also take extra care in any crowded space (150 people were killed in Halloween festivities in Seoul because the space was extremely crowded). Also monitor the media to have updated news about the tension between North Korea and South Korea. 

Where to stay in Busan for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Busan for first-timers and tourists are Haeundae, Seomyeon, Nampo-dong/ Busan Station, and Gwangalli. These areas offer central locations to explore the city and have plenty of accommodation options for all budgets and preferences.

Haeundae is the best location for a vibrant beach holiday. This area is famous for its beautiful beach, lively nightlife, and proximity to the sky capsule and beach train lines. Gwangalli Beach is a great base if you want a more relaxed atmosphere compared to Haeundae.

Seomyeon is a great area for first-timers who want a central location with excellent shopping, dining, and entertainment options. It has excellent transportation connections for accessing other parts of the city.

Nampo-dong is a good location for shoppers and food lovers. This area is home to Jagalchi Market, BIFF Square, Yongdusan Park and its Busan Tower. It is also known for its proximity to the Busan Station, Busan Port, and Yeongdo island. 

During my trip to Busan, I stayed at the Lotte Hotel Busan in Seomyeon. It was a great stay in a prime location, easy access to the metro to explore major sights and the beaches. It was very well connected to the Lotte Store and train station. My room was spacious with beautiful city views.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Busan for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Busan first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Busan first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Busan, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Busan have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

4 Safe areas to stay in Busan for first-timers and tourists:

1. Haeundae Beach

Haeundae is one of the most popular areas to stay in Busan for first-time visitors and those who want a vibrant beach holiday. Haeundae Beach is one of the most famous and popular beaches in South Korea, renowned for its long stretch of golden sand. 

During the summer months, it becomes a bustling hub of activity with people enjoying sunbathing, swimming, and various water sports.

The area around Haeundae Beach comes alive at night with numerous bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. The nightlife is vibrant, making it a popular choice for those seeking entertainment after the sun sets.

You’ll find a wide range of restaurants serving Korean and international cuisine, seafood, and street food. Dalmaji-gil is a scenic road lined with trees and cafes. It’s particularly beautiful during cherry blossom season, and it offers a tranquil escape from the busy beach atmosphere.

Adjacent to Haeundae Beach is Marine City, a district known for its modern and high-rise buildings. It offers a contrast to the more traditional parts of Busan and adds a contemporary touch to the area.

At the southern end of Haeundae Beach, you’ll find Dongbaek Island. It features a scenic walking trail, the APEC Naru Park, and the iconic Nurimaru APEC House, which was built for the APEC summit held in Busan in 2005.

The beach hosts the Haeundae Sand Festival, which features intricate sand sculptures created by artists from around the world. It is also a popular spot for the New Year’s sunrise celebration.

Best places to stay in Busan in Haeundae for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Grand Josun Busan, 5-star beachfront hotel in a prime location, next to Haeundae Beach, Main Street, and the bus station. Easy distance to Haeundae Traditional Market, Busan Aquarium, and to the sky capsule station. The hotel has a Starbucks, 24 hour mart, and there are many restaurants and a food market neabry. Rooms are spacious with beautiful ocean views.

Luxury ($$$): Signiel Busan, 5-star hotel situated in Jung-dong, between 3rd and 19th floors of LCT Tower, offering stunning views of Haeundae and Gwangandaegyo Bridge. Easy access to Jungdong Station/Haeundae Subway Stations, and Mipo station for the blue line capsule and beach train. It has an infinity pool, 3 restaurants, free parking, and comfortable family rooms.

Mid-range ($$): Felix by STX Hotel & Suite, popular 4-star hotel situated in Haeundae Special Tourist Zone near Haeundae Beach. Easy access to Haeundae Metro Station, Dongbaek Park, Shinsegae Department Store, and BEXCO convention center. Accommodations come with a fully-equipped kitchen, free parking, 24-hour front desk, a fitness center, laundry services, and good breakfast.

Budget ($): Lavi De Atlan Hotel 2, 3-star accommodation, located  right on the main boulevard of Haeundae, close to the big traditional market street, Haeundae Beach, Mipo cruise port and beach train. Rooms are clean and modern with comfortable beds.


2. Seomyeon

Seomyeon is a central and lively base for your first stay in Busan. It is a bustling district located in the heart of Busan, known for its shopping streets, lively nightlife scene, and convenient transportation links.

Seomyeon is a major shopping district in Busan, offering a wide range of shopping options from department stores to boutique shops. Lotte Department Store and the Seomyeon Underground Shopping Center, are popular destinations for those looking to shop for fashion, cosmetics, and more.

The area is known for its entertainment options, including theaters, karaoke rooms, bars and clubs. It has a lively nightlife scene, making it a popular choice for experiencing Busan’s after-dark activities.

Seomyeon boasts a diverse culinary scene with numerous restaurants, cafes, and street food stalls. You can find both  local specialties and international cuisines.

Seomyeon is a central transportation hub in Busan, making it convenient for travelers to access different parts of the city. The Seomyeon subway station is a major interchange station where the Busan Metro Lines 1 and 2 intersect.

Jeonpo Cafe Street is a trendy area with a concentration of stylish cafes. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee in a unique and artistic environment.

Bujeon Market is one of Busan’s traditional markets where you can explore stalls selling fresh produce, seafood, textiles, and more. It’s a great place to experience local daily life.

Seomyeon is known for its youthful and energetic atmosphere. The streets are often filled with a mix of locals, students, and tourists, creating a lively and dynamic environment.

Best places to stay in Busan in Seomyeon for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Lotte Hotel Busan, 5-star hotel in a strategic location in Busan, easy walk to the Seomyeon Subway Station Line 1 and 2, and the  underground shopping arcade. It has an on-site duty-free store, swimming pools, fitness center, and 6 restaurants. Good base to explore the city.

Budget ($): Arban Hotel, 3-star good value for money accommodation in Busanjin-Gu district  in central Seomyeon, close to subway station, bus stops, shopping area, many restaurants and street food. Short walk from Seomyeon Medical Street and Bujeon Market. 

Budget ($): Toyoko Inn Busan Seomyeon, popular 3-star hotel conveniently situated within a short walk from Exit 8 of Seomyeon Station Line 1 and 2. It has complimentary daily buffet breakfasts, laundry services, and 24-hour front desk.


3. Nampo-dong/ Busan Station

Nampo-dong is a great base for exploring traditional markets, enjoying street food. This area also offers easy access to Busan Station, Yeongdodaegyo Bridge, and Yeongdo island where you can find Taejongdae Park, famous for its cliffs and sea views.

You can explore the Jagalchi Fish Market, Korea’s largest seafood market. It has numerous stalls selling a variety of fresh seafood, and some restaurants in the area serve dishes made with the market’s produce.

You can experience local daily life at the Gukje Market, one of Korea’s largest traditional markets. It offers a wide range of products, including textiles, clothing, accessories, and street food.

This area is home to Biff Square, or Busan International Film Festival Square, a popular pedestrian area with shops, street food vendors, and the Busan Cinema Center. It’s a lively spot known for its film-related events and festivals.

Nampo-dong Street is a vibrant shopping street filled with shops, boutiques, and street vendors selling a variety of goods, including clothing, accessories, and souvenirs. It’s a great place for shopping.

You can also find Yongdusan Park, a hillside park with walking trails, gardens, and cultural attractions. The Busan Tower, situated within the park, offers panoramic views of the city and the nearby coastline.

While not directly in Nampo-dong, Gamcheon Culture Village is a colorful and artistic neighborhood located nearby. It’s known for its narrow winding streets, vibrant murals, and unique artistic installations.

Best places to stay in Busan in Nampo/Busan Station for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): ASTI Hotel Busan Station, popular 4-star hotel located close to Busan train Station which has a connecting bridge to the ferry port. 5 mins walk from Chinatown. You can find many eateries around, convenient to travel around either by train or bus.

Budget ($): Notte La Mia Hotel, 3-star good value for money hotel located near Chinatown, Texas Street, Nampo Underground Shopping Centre, Gwangbok-Dong, and Busan Port. 5 mins walk to Busan station to take the train to Seoul. Many GS25, Starbuck, and 7-Elevens nearby and many restaurants serving Korean, Mexican, Italian, Russian, and Chinese cuisine.

Budget ($): Hotel Foret Premier Nampo, 3-star hotel located  right at the night street food, Changseon-dong Eatery Street and Busan BIFF Street, within walking distance to Jagalchi Market and Gukje Market, 10 mins subway ride to Busan KTX Station. Buses and taxis are easy to catch.

Budget ($): K-Guesthouse Premium Nampo 1, 3-star guesthouse, situated in a great location, very close to the Nampo Subway Station Line 1 and in immediate proximity to Nampodong’s downtown area. Only a few mins walk from shopping street, Jagalchi Market, and Busan Port. It has free laundry facilities, luggage storage, shared kitchen, and fabulous breakfast.


4. Gwangalli Beach

Gwangalli Beach is a great location to book your accommodations in Busan, especially if you want a peaceful beach experience with stunning views of the Gwangan Bridge.

One of the most iconic features of Gwangalli Beach is the Gwangan Bridge, also known as Diamond Bridge. The bridge is illuminated with colorful lights in the evening, creating a stunning backdrop for the beach. The nightly light show adds to the romantic and picturesque atmosphere.

The beachfront is lined with numerous cafes, bars, and seafood restaurants. You can enjoy delicious seafood dishes while taking in views of the beach and the Gwangan Bridge. 

Nearby, Igidae Coastal Walk offers a scenic hiking trail along the coastline with panoramic views of the sea, cliffs. It’s a great way to enjoy nature and escape the urban hustle for a while.

Gwangalli Beach hosts an annual fireworks festival, usually in October. The vibrant fireworks display against the backdrop of the Gwangan Bridge is a highlight of the event.

In spring, Gwangalli Beach becomes a popular spot to enjoy cherry blossoms. The surrounding streets and parks are adorned with blooming cherry trees, creating a picturesque scene.

Best places to stay in Busan in Gwangalli for tourists:

Mid-range ($$): AG405 Hotel, 3-star  lovely hotel located right next to the coastal walkway,  just a short walk from Gwangalli Beach and Minrak Seaside Park, 10 mins drive from the famous Haeundae Beach. Lots of eateries nearby. It has Free parking, family rooms, and 24-hour front desk. 

Mid-range ($$): Kent Hotel Gwangalli by Kensington, nice beachfront hotel that has beautiful views  of Gwangalli Beach and of the Gwangan bridge at night. Good base to explore the city. Short reasonable taxi ride to all major attractions in Busan like Blueline Park Capsule, Igidae Coastal Walk, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, and Gamcheon Culture Village.

Budget ($): H Avenue Gwanganri Beach, 2-star accommodation located close to Gwangalli Beach, featuring free parking, 2 restaurants, comfortable rooms.

Luxury ($$$): Park Hyatt Busan, 5-star hotel located in Haeundae-gu but only a short taxi ride to Gwangalli Beach. You’ll be within walking distance to many restaurants, and you can enjoy a marina walk every night. Rooms have amazing views of the Busan bridge.


In conclusion, Haeundae, Seomyeon, Nampo-dong/ Busan Station, and Gwangalli are the best places to stay in Busan for first-timers and tourists. These are safe neighborhoods in Busan that provide many accommodations for all budgets and needs.

You can continue reading about other destinations in South Korea in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safe neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Busan. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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