Things To Do In Busan In Winter

Busan is an amazing city located in the South of the country at the East Sea. It is a very popular destination among foreigners, especially during the hotter months like late spring, summer and early autumn. That doesn’t mean that winter is not a period to visit. The city has a certain charm to it and has quite a lot of winter activities. Read on to find out more about things to do in Busan in winter in this Busan travel guide.

things to do in busan in winter

Busan Winter Temperatures

The temperatures in Busan tend to be a bit warmer than the rest of the country. It is mild with average temperatures around +3°C during December, January and February. The temperature is usually just about 0°C, but can drop to -10°C during the coldest days.

As it is located so far South it has the least snowfall in the whole country, and the winter months tend to be the driest months of the year. Make sure to pack appropriately for the Busan winter. If you want to see snowfall in Korea then head to the north of the country or to the closest ski resort to Busan.

What To Know About Visiting In Winter In Busan

  • How To Get To Busan: The city is very easily accessible from all major and smaller cities in South Korea, especially from Seoul there are frequent trains, flight or buses. Gimhae is the international airport of Busan and it is well connected with major airports in East Asia.
  • Transport In Busan: Busan is one of the country’s biggest cities, therefore the public transport system is well developed. All major attractions are easily accessible by subway or even bus. The
    Kakao maps and Busan Subway apps are a must download to navigate. Buying a T-Money card is recommended when traveling around using public transport. Busan also has a hop-on hop-off tourist bus, which is worth taking. Check prices and info here.
  • Travel Adapter: Korea uses the same plugs as mainland European countries. When coming from South East Asia, America or Japan, make sure to bring the right travel adapter. Find more info here.
  • WiFi Egg: Most coffee shops and restaurants have WiFi, but it is still easier to carry around your own WiFi egg.  Check more info here. 
  • How Many Days In Busan: If it is your first time in Busan it is recommended to stay at least 2 or 3 days. This is the perfect amount of time to discover the main touristic sights. Find the perfect 2 day Busan itinerary here.

Things To Do In Busan In Winter

Apart from the main things to do in Busan all year around there are some winter specific activities that will make your winter holiday complete. Below is a list of the best things to do in Busan in winter.

1. Ice Skating At Shinsegae Department Store

The Shinsegae Centum City in Busan has a nice ice skating rink that is open all year around, but ice skating is especially fun in the winter months. It can host up to 500 people and is great for all ages. Apart from ice skating there are other facilities available like food court, a culture hall and customer lounges.

busan attractions in winter
Picture by Angela from The K Food Project

Entrance fee: 12 000 krw for adults and 9000 krw for children. Ice skates have to be rented separately for 3000 krw.
Address: 35, Centum nam-daero, Haeundae-gu, Busan

2. Busan Christmas Tree Festival

Every year starting in December, Busan runs a massive Christmas Tree festival all around the city. It is held for around 40 days and runs during the Christmas period in Korea. There are 3 different zones and each of these have a specific theme. The main sight is a 18 meter tall Christmas tree in the center of Busan, surrounded by daily performances. This is the perfect event to attend during Busan in December.

Location: around Gwangbok-ro, Jung-gu
More info: here (Korean only)
Seoul shuttle bus: check more info here.

3. New Years Eve In Busan

Many bars, clubs and restaurants have special New Years events but there are also a couple outdoor events going on around Haeundae and Nampodong, like the Haeundae Beach Sunrise festival, the Dadaepo Sunrise festival and the ringing of the traditional Bell of Hope, the Bell of Love and the Bell of Peace at Yongdusan Park.

Another popular thing to do among locals is walk across Gwangan Bridge when counting down to the New Year. Busan in January is quite special due to all the festive New Years events going on.

busan in december

4. Busan Sea Life Aquarium

The Busan Sea Life Aquarium is a wonderful place to visit for people of all ages, especially during the cold winter months or rainy days. The Busan aquarium houses over 250 different animals including fish, reptiles, amphibians and algae. A huge glass underwater tunnel is the highlight of the aquarium as it makes you feel like going deep into the ocean where you can admire the wonderful animals swimming above. If you are unsure what to do in Busan during winter, then the aquarium is a good place to start.

what to do in busan in winter

Entrance fee: 29 000 krw for adults onsite or 18 000 krw for adults bought online in advance. Find more info here.
Address: 266, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Openings Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 AM – 5 PM, Friday – Sunday, National Holidays 9 AM – 9 PM.

5. Eden Ski Resort

The Eden Valley ski resort is the perfect day trip from Busan and Eden is closest ski resort to metropolitan. It is one of the smaller ski resorts in Korea but it is a great place to go for beginner skiers. Eden Valley resort has 5 ski slopes and 3 chair lifts. The best period to visit Eden is early February. The weather in Busan in February or late January is still cold but quite mild.

If you are an intermediate or advanced skier then picking an other resort is the better option as the resorts closer to Seoul are much bigger and can accommodate advanced skiers like High 1, Phoenix Park, Yongpyong or closer to Seoul, Vivaldi ski resort.

places to visit in busan during winter

Entrance fee: Packages can be bought online starting at 30 000 krw per person. Find more info here.
Address: 1206 Eosil-ro, Wondong-myeon, Yangsan
Season: December to February

6. Haeundae Polar Swim Festival

Each year early January the Haeundae Polar festival takes place in Busan. This festival has been running for over 30 years and is a popular thing to do during a Busan winter trip.

The festival kicks off with an early morning swimming competition, then followed by the main polar swim event. Even if you don’t want to go for a swim it is still one of the top Busan attractions in winter.

Other activities at the festival are a massive water slide, a K Pop concert and many other events.

things to do in busan korea in winter

Entrance fee: Online registration is required. Check more info on the official website or buy tickets here.

7. Spa Land 

Winter is the perfect time to spend time at a Jjimjil bang. This is a traditional Korean bath house where locals come to bathe and relax. This might be an intimidating experience for foreigners when visiting for the first time as you have to get naked and bath with the locals. But not to worry, this is all gender segregated.

There are lots of Jjimjilbangs located across the city but Spa Land is the most famous one, and is very accessible towards foreigners. The spa is located in Shinsegae Centum City and consists of 22 different spas. Only natural spring water is used which is pumped from 1000 meters deep. The traditional ‘Finnish sauna’ is said to be great during the cold winter in Busan.

Entrance fee: Weekdays 15 000 krw and weekends or National Holidays 18 000 krw
Address: 35, Centumnam-daero, Haeundae-gu, Busan
Opening Hours: 6 AM – 12 PM

Other great jjimjilbangs or spas in Busan are SPA 1899, Haeundae Spa Center, Dongnae Outdoor Footbath, Cimer Spa, Hotel Aqua Palace and many more. These are all excellent places when looking for
things to do in Busan in December, January or February.

8. Jagalchi Fish Market

The Jagalchi fish market is Busan’s main fish market. It is located in the Jung-gu area on the shore side road. It is not only the biggest fish market in Busan, but also in the rest of South Korea. At the market you can buy any kind of fish related items like live or dried fish.

Visiting the market is nice all year along, in winter there is a different atmosphere. One of the best places to visit in Busan during winter. Start off with buying seafood on ground level head to the second floor of the building afterwards. Here you can have your fish prepared for you. Another fun thing to do at the market is taking a tour + cooking class experience. During the tour you’ll learn more about the fish market and all the different kinds of fish, afterwards you’ll return to the cooking school and prepare a yummy dish. Find more info here.

travel to busan in winter

Entrance fee: free
Address: 52, Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan
Opening Hours: 5 AM – 10 PM

9. Other Busan Attractions In Winter

The following attractions are a must visit all year around and are not typical for the winter months only. Other must visit places in Busan are Haedong Yonggungsa, Gwangalli Beach, Beomosa Temple, Busan citizens park and tower, Orykdo Skywalk and Gamcheon Village. Find more info in this 2 day Busan itinerary. This can be used to create the perfect
Busan winter itinerary.

Where To Stay In Busan During Winter

As Busan is a major city, it has lots of different areas that a great to stay at. But the two main touristic areas are Haeundae, which is in the east of the city famous for the stunning beaches, and Seomyeon in the west, an area around the KTX station.

Where To Stay In Haeundae In Winter

  • Hotel Park Hyatt – This hotel is the best place to stay for people looking for comfort and luxury accommodations. The rooms of the Hotel Park Hyatt overlook the Marina city, the Haeundae beaches and the mountains surrounding Busan. Located in the hotel are a fitness and spa center and superb restaurants. Check prices here.
  • Beach Hotel Haeundae – For travelers on a budget the Beach Hotel Haeundae is the perfect option. It is located just next to the subway station and just a 5 minute walk away from the aquarium and beach. Check prices here.
  • ★K-Guesthouse Haeundae 2 – A mid-range guesthouse which has the highest rating in Busan by foreign travelers. The place have a great balance between comfort and prices! Check prices here.
  • Melon Guesthouse – The Melon Guesthouse is perfect for solo visitors. It is very cute as the interior of the guesthouse is very colourful and modern. This budget guesthouse has inhouse laundry facilities, a shared kitchen and a small library. Check prices here

Where To Stay In Seomyeon During Winter

  • ★Green House – This is a very high rated accommodation in Busan with wonderful owners that truly care about their guests. This is a type of home stay/apartment. Check prices here.
  • TraveLight – The TraveLight hostel is within walking distance of the KTX station. If gives travelers a homey feel and provides all kinds of cosmetic products for male and female visitors, free of charge. For long term staying guests, the hostel gives rewards in terms of souvenirs and gifts. Check prices here.

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Will you go to Busan in winter? Any questions about what to do in Busan in December, January or February? Did you visit Busan in December and have things to add? Let me know in the comment section below.

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