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Travel Report: Haeundae Beach, Busan.

February 2015. Many Koreans consider Haeundae Beach the prettier of Busan’s two urban beaches. Moreover, do some online digging and you’ll find plenty of platitudes along the lines of “The most gorgeous beach in South Korea”.

My own Haeundae experience came on a grey, chilly February weekday morning. While it’s safe to say I didn’t see the place at its shimmering best, Haeundae still charmed me with quiet sands and a moody sky. At the end of the day, I’m happy I saw it like this, rather than in the crowded and chaotic summer months.

Haeundae Beach Busan.

Haeundae Beach, Busan.

I was well wrapped up that day as I negotiated Haeundae’s 1.5 km stretch. Strolling couples said hello as I passed, while a father and his toddler son threw stones into the sea. Elsewhere, a few joggers puffed by on a morning run. It was all very pleasant. 

In the distance, I spied numerous fancy hotels overlooking the beach. Actually, the district has become one of South Korea’s most expensive real estate hotspots. This includes several commercial skyscrapers and dozens of luxury residential complexes, such as the obscenely expensive Marine City.

Haeundae Beach, Busan.

Selfie queens Haeundae Beach South Korea.

Haeundae Beach, Busan.

I also remember that afternoon as a seemingly endless parade of selfie taking. The selfie stick is king in South Korea, with just about every other person waving one around.

Selfie sticks stall Busan South Korea.

Selfie stick mania.

In fact, there are a number of stores selling selfie sticks around the beach. 

Haeundae Beach Busan.

Haeundae Beach, Busan.

Haeundae hosts a number of festivals throughout the year. Unfortunately, I had just missed an amusing event called Polar Bear Club. Celebrated annually since 1988, the festival sees local participants race across the beach before jumping into the icy waters for a swim.

Polar Bear Club Busan.

The Polar Club, Busan.

Photo courtesy of The Korea Herald. 

Apparently, there’s a special prize for whoever stays in the sea the longest. I’d certainly have no chance of picking up the top prize.

What To See & Do, Busan.

Haeundae Beach South Korea.

Haeundae Beach, Busan.

Haeundae has popped up in a bunch of movies and TV shows. The most notable of these is Tidal Wave, a 2009 blockbuster that sees a vicious tsunami hit Busan’s Haeundae district head on! Is it any good? An IMDB rating of 5.6 suggests no.

Dredging vessel Busan South Korea.

The Sea of Japan.

I was staring out to sea at a lone dredging vessel when my thoughts began to turn to coffee and breakfast. I’d enjoyed my stroll along Haeundae Beach, but it was getting chilly and I could almost taste the pancakes I was about to treat myself to at a nearby cafe. 

Haeundae Beach can be paired up with a visit to the Sea Life Busan Aquarium, home to around thirty five thousand marine animals.

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For more on this cool city, have a leaf through my other reports on Busan.  

Like these? Then check out my various articles from around South Korea.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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  • natty4t

    Beautifully written!

    January 23, 2018 - 12:06 pm Reply
  • Inga

    Thank you for sharing 😊. I liked Gwangalli Beach better, especially the illuminated Bridge after sunset. If you are interested in the photos please look at my blog under „nightfotography“.

    October 6, 2020 - 3:49 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Hey Inga, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I really liked Gwangalli Beach too and have included it in my roundup of spots around the city coming out later this week. I’ll certainly take a look at your blog!

      October 6, 2020 - 4:00 pm Reply
  • Memo

    It looked too chilly for me. I think I would stick to indoor activities.

    October 6, 2020 - 5:47 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Oh, there’s nothing quite like a wintry beach walk!

      October 6, 2020 - 7:20 pm Reply
  • I’ve Bean Travelling

    I spent one day in Busan but didn’t get a chance to visit this beach. You captured some great photos. Thanks for sharing!

    October 6, 2020 - 10:05 pm Reply
    • Leighton

      Cheers! There will be four more Busan reports coming out over the next four days, I’m sure you’ll recognize a few spots along the way. Did you like the city?

      October 6, 2020 - 10:19 pm Reply
  • Rebecca

    I’ve not been to South Korea before, let alone Busan. I have heard the beaches are lovely, but I didn’t know just how atmospheric they were, especially Haeundae! Gives me more of a reason to prioritize South Korea on my travel bucket list for the next adventure! 🙂

    October 7, 2020 - 5:38 am Reply
  • Travel with a Pen

    The Polar Bear Club sounds like a recipe for hypothermia to me. I’m also not winning top prize for that one!

    October 12, 2020 - 11:28 am Reply
    • Leighton

      Ha ha, I hear ya!

      October 13, 2020 - 10:02 am Reply

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