Busan, formerly romanized as Pusan and now officially known as Busan Metropolitan City, is South Korea’s second-most populous city after Seoul, with a population of approximately 3.4 million inhabitants. It is the economic, cultural, and educational center of southeastern South Korea, with its port—Korea’s busiest and the sixth-busiest in the world. The surrounding “Southeast Economic Zone” is South Korea’s largest industrial area.
On a deep well-sheltered bay at the mouth of the Naktong river, facing the Japanese islands of Tsushima across the Korea Strait, Busan was opened to the Japanese in 1876 and to general foreign trade in 1883. Under the Japanese occupation (1910–45) it developed into a modern port; ferry service connected the city with Shimonoseki, Japan, and this city was the terminus of rail lines connecting Korea to China and Russia. The city became overpopulated with repatriates from overseas when Korea gained independence in 1945 and again with refugees during the Korean War (1950–53), when it was the temporary capital of the Republic of Korea.
Busan’s key economic sectors include shipbuilding and marine industries, machinery, steel, and tourism. Creative culture, bio-health, and knowledge infrastructure services are also important sectors of the city’s economy. Busan is renowned in South Korea as a tourist and cultural hotspot, particularly famous among Koreans for its many hot spring resorts and spas.
Busan has a humid subtropical climate with pretty mild temperatures year-round and features 4 distinctive seasons. Winters are usually cold with lows around 0°C (32°F) and highs usually just above 5°C (42°F). Busan is the warmest major city in the mainland during the winter mainly due to its coastal location and it is seldomly hit by strong cold waves and temperatures below -8°C (12°F) are pretty rare. The record low is -14°C (7°F). Snow does fall in small amounts and on average around 5 days every year. Large snowfalls can cause significant disruptions to its infrastructure and transport system though. Spring and Fall are characterized by cool nights and pleasant days along with moderate amounts of rainfall. Summers in Busan are hot with highs around 30°C (86°F) in August and with nights being at around 22°C (71°F).
The city has an excellent and varied nightlife scene, spread in uneven clumps across various parts of the city – a single evening can see you sipping soju over raw fish at sunset, rubbing shoulders with Russian sailors near the train station, throwing back beer with students in one of the university areas, then dancing all night at a beachside hip-hop club. To do this, however, you’d be spending plenty of money on taxi fares – best to simply pick an area and root down for the night.
A G M Alamgir Tipu,
Intern, Content Writing Department, YSSE