South Korea’s second most populous city, Busan is known for its rich history, neon lights, vibrant nightlife and mouthwatering street food.

But it is a massive and sprawling city, and choosing the best neighbourhood to stay in Busan can be overwhelming. That’s why I wrote this epic guide for where to stay in Busan.

Put together by travellers for travellers, this guide highlights the five best areas to stay in Busan. I’ve broken each neighbourhood down into easy to digest bites so you’ll be able to quickly find the best neighbourhood to fit your travel style and needs.

To take it one step further, I’ve outlined the best “can’t miss” activities and attractions in each, so you’ll know exactly what to do when you hit the ground in Busan.

Let’s jump right to it. Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Busan, South Korea.

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Busan

  • Where to stay in Busan for your first time – Nampo
  • Where to stay in Busan on a budget – Gwangalli
  • The best area to stay in Busan for nightlife – Haeundae
  • The coolest place to stay in Busan – Seomyeon
  • Best neighbourhood in Busan for families – Sasang

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN BUSAN

Nampo

Nampo is our number one pick for the best neighbourhood in Busan to stay in if you’re visiting for the first time. This busy and bustling neighbourhood is located in central Busan.

Places to visit:
  • Browse the shops at Gukje Market.
  • Climb to the top of Busan Tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
  • Explore the lively and vibrant BIFF Square.

Where to Stay in Busan

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Busan.

Best Hostel in Busan: Jstay Gwangalli Beach

Jstay Gwangalli Beach is our favourite hostel in Busan. It features comfortable rooms with air conditioning, free wifi and shared bathrooms. This bright and airy hostel is conveniently located near the beach as well as popular shopping, sightseeing and dining. Towels are also included with your reservation.

Sometimes the best way to experience a destination is from a good dorm room with good people. Book one of these sweet hostels in Busan and get ready for the time of your life!

Best Airbnb in Busan: Apartment with ocean view

This apartment is located just a bit further than Nampo, but it’s very well connected to the metro lines. The Airbnb is so close to the ocean that you can even see the water from your window. The view is even cooler at night when the city starts to light up. You’re close to many shopping opportunities as well as restaurants, street food markets and cool attractions.

Best Hotel in Busan: Ark Blue Hotel Busan

The Ark Blue Hotel gets our vote for the best hotel in Busan. It is centrally located in Haeundae and is an excellent base for travellers looking to drink, dance and party. This hotel has 96 modern rooms with stylish décor. They also offer free wifi, valet parking and a laundry service.

Busan Neighbourhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN BUSAN
Nampo, Busan
FIRST TIME IN BUSAN

Nampo

Nampo is our number one pick for the best neighbourhood in Busan to stay in if you’re visiting for the first time. This busy and bustling neighbourhood is located in central Busan.

ON A BUDGET
Gwangalli, Busan
ON A BUDGET

Gwangalli

Gwangalli is a beautiful neighbourhood situated outside of the city centre. It’s just a short subway ride from the heart of the action and is where visitors can experience the tropical paradise that South Korea is famous for.

NIGHTLIFE
Haeundae Beach
NIGHTLIFE

Haeundae

If you’re someone who likes to stay at the centre of the action, Haeundae is the neighbourhood for you! Situated on the northeastern edge of the city, Haeundae is our best recommendation for where to stay in Busan for nightlife.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Seomyeon, Busan
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Seomyeon

The Seomyeon neighbourhood is located in the centre of the city. This vivacious and vibrant area is known for its good selection of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and attractions.

FOR FAMILIES
Sasang, Busan
FOR FAMILIES

Sasang

Sasang is one of the most overlooked neighbourhoods in Busan with most visitors opting for Busan accommodation closer to the city centre. But, for families, that can be a huge mistake!

Busan is a massive city.

It is located in southeastern South Korea and is the second most populous city after Seoul. Many South Korea visitors include Busan on their itineraries. An economic, cultural and educational centre, Busan is a dynamic and engaging city that enchants visitors with its rich history, beautiful beaches, energetic nightlife, and exquisite food.

This guide will explore the best places in Busan to stay based on what you want to do.

Nampo is located in the centre of the city. This lively and vibrant neighbourhood is home to shopping, restaurants, nightlife and more. It’s where you’ll find the most popular and famous tourist attractions in the city, which is why it’s our number one choice for the best area in Busan to stay for your first visit.

Travel north from here and you’ll arrive in Seomyeon. One of the coolest places to stay in Busan, Seomyeon is where you’ll find the best street food and hottest hangouts.

Gwangalli is a busy and bustling neighbourhood in eastern Busan. This hip and happening seaside district offers a relaxed vibe and atmosphere and is where you’ll find a good selection of affordable accommodations. It’s also our top pick for where to stay in Busan for one night because there’s so much to see and enjoy.

On the eastern edge of the city is Haeundae, the best neighbourhood to stay in Busan for nightlife. This vivacious district is home to the best bars, clubs and pubs in Busan and offers a range of after-dark fun.

And finally, on the western side of the city is the lively yet relaxed neighbourhood of Sasang. Our best recommendation for where to stay in Busan for families, Sasang is a district packed with natural attractions, outdoor activities, and plenty of delicious things to eat.

The Best Travel Backpack?!
Nomatic 30L Travel Bag

Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite carry on backpack is the Nomatic Travel Bag.

Read our full review!

Busan’s 5 Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in

Now, let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best places to stay in Busan.

#1 Nampo – Where to Stay in Busan for Your First Time

Nampo is our number one pick for the best neighbourhood in Busan to stay in if you’re visiting for the first time.

This busy and bustling neighbourhood is located in central Busan. It is known for its neon light, mouthwatering restaurants and as the home of the city’s succulent and unmissable street food scene. If you’re someone who likes to eat well, Nampo is the perfect neighbourhood for you!

But there’s more to Nampo than lights and fire. This vibrant neighbourhood is also packed with history and culture. Here you can step back in time and experience South Korea’s rich and tragic history, as well as explore its culture and chaos – basically, a lot of the Busan places to visit are located nearby.

Nampo, Busan

Things to See and Do in Nampo

– Browse the shops at Gukje Market.

– Climb to the top of Busan Tower and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

– Delve deep into the history of the city at the Busan Modern History Museum.

– Explore the lively and vibrant BIFF Square.

– Feast on amazing dishes at Kong Bat Eh.

– Indulge in delicious local delicacies, like spicy tteokbokkiggom jangeo, and ssiat hotteok.

– Shop, snack and sample your way through the bustling Jagalchi Market.

– Treat yourself to a few new items from Gwanbokro Culture and Fashion Street.

Best Hostel in Nampo: Hostel The Local

This modern hostel is one of the best places in Busan to stay. It has an incredible location at the heart of the city and offers easy access to Busan’s top tourist attractions. Rooms are clean and well-equipped with comfortable beds. Fresh coffee is also available each morning.

Best Airbnb in Nampo: Apartment with ocean view

This apartment is located just a bit further than Nampo, but it’s very well connected to the metro lines. The Airbnb is so close to the ocean that you can even see the water from your window. The view is even cooler at night when the city starts to light up. You’re close to many shopping opportunities as well as restaurants, street food markets and cool attractions.

Best Hotel in Nampo: Stanford Inn Busan

The Stanford Inn is a comfortable hotel in Busan city centre. It is just a few minutes walk from notable landmarks and attractions, and there are plenty of restaurants and shops nearby. This three-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms and provides bottled water and a shuttle service.

Best Hotel in Nampo: Hotel Foret Premier Nampo

This four-star hotel is ideally located in Nampo, the best neighbourhood in Busan to stay in for sightseeing. It is close to popular attractions like Busan Tower and is a quick walk to Gukje Market. They provide air-conditioned rooms with a pillow menu and plenty of modern amenities.

#2 Gwangalli – Where to Stay in Busan on a Budget

Gwangalli is a beautiful neighbourhood situated outside of the city centre. It’s just a short subway ride from the heart of the action and is where visitors can experience the tropical paradise that South Korea is famous for. In Gwangalli you can enjoy a pristine white sand beach and sun-filled days while meeting relaxed and social expats and locals.

This hip and happening ‘hood is also our top pick for the best area in Busan to stay in if you’re on a budget. Tucked throughout this seaside district are a great selection of backpacker hostels and good-value hotels. From cheap and cheerful to stylish and modern, there’s something for travellers of all tastes in Gwangalli.

Gwangalli, Busan

Things to See and Do in Gwangalli

– Drink incredible coffee at Angel-in-us.

– Enjoy a delicious brunch at Caffe Primo.

– Excite your sense with Mexican fare at Sharky’s Bar and Grill.

– Grab a few drinks at Beached Café.

– Indulge in local dishes like bibimbapbulgogikimchi and japchae.

– Rest, relax and soak up some rays on Gwangalli Beach.

– Satisfy your sweet tooth at Bing Bing Bing.

– See an interesting collection of art at Doshi Gallery.

– Sip tasty cocktails at Bong G.

– Watch the exciting and lively light show that illuminates Gwangandaegyo (Diamond Bridge).

Best Hostel in Gwangalli: Jstay Gwangalli Beach

Jstay Gwangalli Beach is our favourite hostel in Busan. It features comfortable rooms with air conditioning, free wifi and shared bathrooms. This bright and airy hostel is conveniently located near the beach as well as popular shopping, sightseeing and dining. Towels are also included with your reservation. Once you’ve booked your stay, plan your trip using our Busan itinerary!

Best Airbnb in Gwangalli: Cheap condo with great style

This beautiful little studio is way more than you’d expect for the nightly price. Modern design, clean and with a comfortable bed, you’ll be more than happy during your stay. You’re only moments away from the beach. There are also lots of great nightlife, drinking and eating options around you since the area is very popular amongst travellers. Experience it yourself – it’s worth it!

Best Hotel in Gwangalli: Hotel 1 Busan

Hotel 1 Busan is set in Gwangalli, one of Busan’s best neighbourhoods. This charming two-star property is close to the beach and allows for easy access to restaurants, shops and bars. It is comprised of 167 rooms with a range of contemporary features. You’ll also enjoy free wifi and breakfast each morning.

Best Hotel in Gwangalli: Dawn Beach Hotel

The Dawn Beach Hotel is an excellent option for Busan accommodation if you’re on a budget because it provides a comfortable setting at a great price. Rooms have modern décor, private bathrooms, air conditioning and bottled water. Guests can also enjoy dining at the on-site restaurants.

#3 Haeundae – Where to Stay in Busan for Nightlife

If you’re someone who likes to stay at the centre of the action, Haeundae is the neighbourhood for you!

Situated on the northeastern edge of the city, Haeundae is our best recommendation for where to stay in Busan for nightlife. The city’s dedicated entertainment district, Haeundae is packed is lively bars, exciting clubs, incredible restaurants and laid-back pubs. So, whether you want to dance the night away or sip a glass of wine by the seaside, Haeundae has everything you could possibly want – and so much more!

Haeundae is also one of the best places to stay in Busan if you’re looking to shop until you drop because it has vibrant city markets, high street boutiques and high-quality shops to experience and explore.

Haeundae, Busan

Things to See and Do in Haeundae

– Dance the night away at Club Kudeta.

– Drink draught beer at Peter’s Pub.

– Enjoy a night of drinks and games at Thursday Party.

– Excite your senses with a flurry of flavours by trying local dishes like dwaeji gukbapmilmyeon, and samgyeopsal.

– Grab a pint at Wolfhound Irish Pub & Restaurant.

– Listen to excellent loud music at Club Babau.

– Party until dawn at Billie Jean.

– Sample local craft brews from Galmegi Brewing.

– Sip excellent cocktails at Papa’s Bar.

– Try local street food and seafood at Haeundae Market.

– Work on your tan at Haeundae Beach, the most famous beach in South Korea.

Best Hostel in Haeundae: With Guesthouse

This excellent property is located at the heart of Haeundae, the best area in Busan to stay in for nightlife. You’ll find plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants nearby, as well as options for sightseeing and shopping. This property provides comfortable dorms with privacy curtains and a variety of modern features.

Best Airbnb in Haeundae: White studio close to nightlife

Come back home from a great night out and enjoy the clean, timeless and modern of this incredible Airbnb. Want your own space and a comfy bed to cure your hangover? No problem! You’ll have the apartment to yourself, no need to share with other roommates. The area around you is ideal if you want to experience the nightlife, with lively and busy streets, great food options and amazing bars.

Best Hotel in Haeundae: Ark Blue Hotel Busan

The Ark Blue Hotel gets our vote for the best hotel in Busan. It is centrally located in Haeundae and is an excellent base for travellers looking to drink, dance and party. This hotel has 96 modern rooms with stylish décor. They also offer free wifi, valet parking and a laundry service.

Best Hotel in Haeundae: Citadines Haeundae Busan

This four-star hotel can be found in one of the best areas to stay in Busan. It is just steps from Haeundae Beach and Market and is surrounded by great bistros, bars and cocktail lounges. Rooms are well-equipped with air conditioning, kitchenettes and private balconies.

Need some extra energy?
Power Adapter

One of the best investments you can make is a worldwide travel adapter that will work anywhere! The one featured here is tough, reliable and a solid buy – Don’t leave home without one.

Buy your travel adapter on Amazon now.

#4 Seomyeon – Coolest Place to Stay in Busan

The Seomyeon neighbourhood is located in the centre of the city. This vivacious and vibrant area is known for its good selection of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and attractions. It offers a great mix of nightlife and history, as well as shopping and culture. And, although it can be a bit touristy, Seomyeon wins our vote as one of the coolest places to stay in Busan.

Seomyeon is home to some of the hippest hangouts in the city. Visitors may be attracted by its bright lights and lively atmosphere but it’s the neighbourhoods’ delicious food and intriguing landmarks that keep them coming back for more!

Seomyeon, Busan

Things to See and Do in Seomyeon

– Browse the shops and stalls at Shinsegae Centum City, the largest shopping complex in the world.

– Dance the night away to the latest songs at Club Fix.

– Excite your taste buds by eating your way through Seomyeon Food Alley.

– Explore the Bujeong Market where you’ll find a great selection of traditional foods, spices, treats and more.

– Go for a stroll through Busan Citizens Park.

– Pick up a souvenir or two from the Seomyeon Underground Shopping Center.

– Shop until you drop at Lotte Mall Dong Busan, the biggest and best mall in Busan.

– Sip, sample and shop your way along lively, vibrant and thrilling Jeonpo Café Street.

Best Hostel in Seomyeon: BnB Busan Guesthouse Hostel

This charming property provides comfortable Busan accommodation in the coolest neighbourhood in town. It has three types of rooms each with comfortable beds and modern features. A delicious and filling breakfast is also included with each reservation at this safe and cosy hostel.

Best Airbnb in Seomyeon: Convenient studio with style

If you’re looking forward to exploring one of the coolest areas in Busan, you might as well just find a place to stay right in the middle of it. This little apartment is 3min away from the Seomyeon station. There you can find shops, sick street food options, attractions and very lively streets (especially at night). The apartment is on the 21st floor so you’ll even have a spectacular view.

Best Hotel in Seomyeon: Ibis Ambassador Busan City Centre

The Ibis Ambassador is conveniently located in Seomyeon. It is a short walk from world-class shopping and there are plenty of dining, nightlife and sightseeing options nearby. This modern hotel provides comfortable beds, cosy rooms, and a myriad of excellent features.

Best Hotel in Seomyeon: Busan Business Hotel

This fantastic three-star hotel has a great location in Busan. It is close to world-class shopping and is ideally situated for sightseeing, dining and hitting the town at night. This hotel boasts a range of features, like an on-site coffee bar, and guests can enjoy free wifi throughout their stay.

#5 Sasang – Where to Stay in Busan for Families

Sasang is one of the most overlooked neighbourhoods in Busan with most visitors opting for Busan accommodation closer to the city centre. But, for families, that can be a huge mistake!

Located on Busan’s western edge, Sasang is a lively residential neighbourhood, and our top pick for where to stay in Busan with kids. This area is brimming with parks and nature reserves making it the perfect place to stay if you’re looking to rest, relax or explore the green heart of the city.

Serene river walks, peaceful hikes and seasonal cherry blossom spotting are just a few of the great activities that Sasang has to offer.

Sasang, Busan

Things to See and Do in Sasang

– Aim for a strike at PBA Bowling.

– Eat delicious dishes at Gobong Min Gimbap in.

– Enjoy a day of sun, sand and surf at Dadaepo Beach.

– Go cherry blossom spotting and snap those every so popular pics for the ‘gram.

– See an excellent collection of art, sculpture, design and more at the Museum of Contemporary Art Busan.

– Spend a day exploring Sasang Neighbourhood Park, a relaxing urban green space with a children’s park, slides, bouncing bubbles and plenty of things to climb.

– Take a day trip to nearby Gamcheon Culture Village and enjoy the stunning scenery and charm.

– Visit Samrak Ecological Park.

Best Motel in Sasang: Hotel O Happy

This motel is ideally located in Sasang. It is close to public transit, the airport and the train station and is well-connected throughout Busan. This motel offers comfortable and spacious rooms with excellent features at an affordable price. There’s also free wifi and on-site parking.

Best Airbnb in Sasang: Big and modern family home

Family holiday in South Korea? Heck yeah! If you want to bring your relatives with you, this Airbnb is the perfect home for you and your folks. Fitting up to 10 people, you can be sure that you’ll never have a boring minute at this place. There are lots of bus/metro stops around you, so it’ll be super easy to get around and explore the rest of the city.

Best Hotel in Sasang: Premium AVA Hotel

The Premium AVA Hotel is one of our top picks for where to stay in Busan with kids. This modern hotel has comfortable rooms with free wifi and flat-screen TVs. There’s also a great selection of on-site amenities, like a Jacuzzi and a sauna.

Best Hotel in Sasang: Sense Motel

The Sense Motel is a convenient base for exploring Busan. It is located in Sasang and is a short drive from popular attractions like BIFF Square and the Jagalchi Market. This two-star property offers air-conditioned and comfortable rooms with coffee makers, flat-screen TVs and bottled water. Guests can also enjoy a variety of amenities nearby.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Busan

Busan is an incredible city with so much to offer visitors. With its rich history, diverse culture, vivid nightlife, flavourful food, and pristine beaches, Busan is most certainly worth your travel time and your hard-earned travel dollars.

In this Busan neighbourhood guide, we’ve looked at the five best neighbourhoods to stay in. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, here is a recap:

Jstay Gwangalli Beach is our favourite hostel because it has comfortable and air-conditioned rooms with towels included. It also has an unbeatable location near Gwangalli beach, and there’s plenty of shopping, dining and sightseeing nearby.

Another option is the Ark Blue Hotel Busan. This fantastic hotel is in Busan’s entertainment district and offers easy access to bars, clubs and restaurants. It has modern rooms with stylish décor and a selection of great services.

While South Korea can be very safe, it’s super important to make sure you get travel insurance!

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

world nomads insurance banner

Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.