Here are Trazy‘s Survival Tips for traveling Busan using local transportation.
1. Hanaro Transportation Card
Like T-money card in Seoul, there is a local pass called Hanaro. If you already have T-money card, you are able to use it in Busan. But if you didn’t purchase any transportation card, then getting this Hanaro Card will be very useful only if you are going to travel within the city of Busan.
You can buy it from the ticket vending machines located inside subway stations or any convenience stores like GS25 or 7-eleven.
Taking a subway in Busan is an economic way to explore the city because it runs through almost all of the tourist destinations and the fare is relatively cheap. If you going to stay a while in the city, buy Hanaro Card. But if you are just making a one-day stop in Busan, one-day subway tickets are highly recommended.
You can buy one-day subway tickets at Gimhae International Airport, Busan Station or Busan Central Bus Terminal or from the ticket vending machines inside subway stations. With this ticket, you can take 20 rides on the same day of purchase for all subway lines except the light rail service.As you can see, there are four major subway lines in Busan: red, green, brown and blue. There is an additional purple line (Gimhae Light Railway) which connects Gimhae Airport (closest to Busan) and the West of Busan. Take note that travel times on Busan’s subway can be comparatively longer than that of Seoul.
Most taxi drivers do not speak English (although some may speak Japanese), so it will help a lot if you show the name of the destination in Korean to the driver. The taxi drivers in Busan are generally very friendly towards foreigners.
However, there are some unscrupulous taxi who often assume that a foreign traveler wants to go a long distance and that they may attempt to charge much higher fixed fares (as much as 20,000 KRW) in some areas such as around Busan Port.
Insist on the meter and take a different taxi if your driver refuses to use it. Maybe asking the approximate fare will be helpful before taking a taxi.
The bus network in Busan is fairly comprehensive. It is worth using Hanaro card or T-money card if you are going to make transfers often.
Inside the bus, you will be able to find a sign with destination displayed in Korean, English and Japanese, although there will be no English route maps whatsoever on the bus. Make sure you check your route and see which bus to take in advance.
Here are some of the key bus routes that run through major tourist destinations in Busan.
1. Bus No. 1003 runs every 7 to 11 mins and passes through major tourist spots. (It also runs at night as a night bus!)
2. Bus No. 188 runs every 25 to 30 mins and you will be able to see the east coast and the areas nearby on this bus.
3. Bus No. 307 runs every 14~18 mins from Gimhae airport to Haeundae. Taking this bus can also help you cover most of the places across the city of Busan comprehensively.
Taking Busan City Tour Bus can be another great option. It is a budget-friendly and you can get around the city by hopping on and off wherever and whenever you like. Busan city tour bus runs different courses. For details, click here.
In big cities like Seoul and Busan, riding a bike can be dangerous, this is especially true if you have ever seen driving style of the people in Korea. In Haeundae district, there are dedicated bike lanes on many pavements which are relatively safe.
The city of Busan offers public bike-share program in several spots, including Haeundae Beach.
– Haeundae Beach has a free bike rental scheme between 9 am and 6 pm for foreigners (with a passport, ID card and accommodation voucher). If you don’t have insurance then a 2,000 KRW fee is required.
6. On foot
Walking around the entire city of Busan is impractical, but there are certain attractions clustered together in a way that makes walking around them possible.
If you want to take a trip to Busan from Seoul, Trazy is offering an exclusive tour package that will get you to Busan in the most convenient way- KTX (round-trip) and also will get you around Busan with Busan Hop On Hop Off City Tour Bus. For more information, click here.