White-sand city beaches and hot-spring resorts may not be everyone's first image of Korea, but these are what Koreans flock to Busan for all year. And there are plenty of opportunities for rest, relaxation, retail therapy, and even a touch of glamour every October with the Busan International Film Festival.
Life in Busan moves at a more leisurely pace to that of frenetic Seoul. This is the sort of city where if you ask a local for directions they'll likely walk you to your destination. Christened "Dynamic Busan" by the tourism board, Busan has seen a lot of development and plenty of glass and steel high-rise buildings. Here you'll also find Korea's largest fish market and the world's largest department store. Young people dressed in European labels share the streets with traditionally dressed seniors who no doubt remember a very different Busan. With little effort, it's easy to see remnants of Busan's history, from the serene Beomeosa temple to the UN Memorial Cemetery—a poignant reminder of South Korea's recent past.