Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scenic Sites of Busan: Taejongdae and Oryukdo

I was looking forward to Busan: to seeing this coastal city and to bugging my three Busan friends whom I haven't seen in over a year. I didn't have any itinerary for my two days in Busan—my plan was to plan around their schedule. Kinda left it to them to take the wheel (of my itinerary).

And they took the wheel literally. Around 10AM, SangCheol drove up to the hostel, with Yong riding shotgun acting as guide. My friend and I jumped in (yes, we had to jump in; it was a no stopping zone) and we were on the way. These guys are not morning persons which clearly showed in SangCheol's half–closed eyes and in Yong's snores as we crossed a bridge and cruised along roads and highways for about 45 minutes to Taejongdae.

24, Jeonmang-ro, Yeongdo-gu, Busan
+82 (51) 405 2004

Directions to Taejongdae
  • Take subway line 1 to Nampo Station, exit 6. Take Bus 8, 30, 66, or 88 and get off at the last stop (Taejongdae Chagoji).
  • Take subway line 1 to Busan Station, exit 7. Take Bus 66, 88, or 101 and get off at the last stop (Taejongdae Chagoji).

Taejongdae is a huge park. You either walk around or shell out KRW2000 for a tram ticket. The uphill walk to the ticket booth was already too much for sleep–deprived SangCheol that he took the liberty to buy us all tram tickets.

The tram in Taejongdae is called Danubi

The tram makes five stops along its route: Taewon Jagal Madang, Gumyeongsa Temple, Observatory, Yeongdo Lighthouse, and Taejongsa Temple. I have no idea what Taewon Jagal Madang is or how the temples look; we only went to Yeongdo Lighthouse and the Observatory.

Map of Taejongdae (click to enlarge)

Yeongdo Lighthouse

The rock below the boardwalk near the lighthouse

Taejongdae is a refreshing park to spend the whole day hiking around, gulping in fresh air (and, if you're hiking, gulping gallons of water), taking in the views, and catching up with friends. We tramped around the boardwalk, checked out sculptures, and tinkered with a digital map of Busan's attractions that we found on one of the viewdecks. Back at the boardwalk, we took in the view of the fog and the sea (on a clear day, Japan's Tsushima Island can be seen from the Observatory) and the rock formations below. People were down on the rock fishing and some were just hanging around. There was a trail down to the rocks but I didn't subject SangCheol and Yong to a hike down—they still had a whole day of driving and guiding to do.

By noon, we drove back to Nampo for lunch, went in and out of stores around Nampo, went to Gamcheon Culture Village for more walks, and then before the day ended, SangCheol and Yong drove us to another scenic site: Oryukdo Islands.

We did not go to the islands itself, but viewed the islands from Oryukdo Skywalk.

137 Oryukdo–ro, Nam–gu, Busan
9AM to 6PM, weather permitting
Closed during Lunar New Year and Korean Thanksgiving Day

Directions to Oryukdo Skywalk
  • Take subway line 1 to Busan Station, exit 10. Take bus 27 and get off at Oryukdo SK View Humun (Backgate) Bus Stop (25 stops). Walk about 275 meters to Oryukdo Skywalk.

From Gamcheon Culture Village, it took an hour and two bridge crossings to get to Oryukdo Skywalk. Once we found a parking slot some 300 meters from the skywalk, SangCheol herded us to the skywalk where we had to wear cloth covers over our shoes before stepping on its glass floor.

Oryukdo Skywalk sitting above the rock cliff
Photo from

Oryukdo Skywalk
Photo from

The skywalk is built overhanging some 35 meters above the sea on a rock cliff. It affords a view of Oryukdo Islands, a group of five (오 o in Korean) islands called such because when viewed from the east it looks like six (육 yuk in Korean) islands.

(The five or six islands of Oryukdo can also be seen up close via a cruise. The boat leaves Mipo Ferry Terminal in Haeundae every 40 minutes on weekends or every hour on weekdays, and the cruise will run for a little more than an hour. A cruise ticket would cost around KRW 22,000 or about Php 900.)

Oryukdo Islands as seen from the skywalk. Usakdo Island is the island nearest mainland Busan.
The four other islands of Oryukdo are on the far this angle, it looks like one island.

Oryukdo Islands

We shuffled over the glass skywalk, tried to count the islands (in vain; it was too foggy and I could barely see the lighthouse on the farthest island peeking over the other three islands, plus we were on the south and the four islands looked like one island from that angle), hurriedly clicked our cameras, took two lungfuls of air, and then it was over. There was a long line behind us and we had to get in and out of there in a flash. (Here's a video of the skywalk and how busy it could get.)

Near Oryukdo Skywalk is Igidae Park, where one can enjoy more views of Busan via the 5–kilometer Coastal Walk. I did not want SangCheol and Yong to blame me for making them work like a horse on their rest day, so we skipped that. Walk or no walk at Igidae Park, SangCheol still blamed me the next day when both his legs were aching from all the walking we did in Taejongdae, Nampo, and Gamcheon.

Usakdo Island (left)

After the trip, while researching about the places I visited in South Korea, I stumbled upon the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea website and learned that South Korea has seven heritage classifications, and one of them is the "scenic site." Scenic sites are "places of natural beauty with great historic, artistic or scenic values, which feature distinctive uniqueness and rarity originated from their formation processes." The country has more than a hundred "scenic sites," and only two of these are in Busan: Taejongdae (Scenic Site 17) and Oryukdo (Scenic Site 24). Whether SangCheol and Yong knew this or not, I was lucky they brought me to these places. 감사합니다 SangCheol and Yong!

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

South Korea Quickie 2014
Wisdom from the Road #22
Seoul: Lessons From My Seoul Airbnb Experience
Seoul: Gwangjang Market
Seoul: Namsan: Park, Tower, and Village
Gyeongju: Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto
Wisdom from the Road #29
Busan: Mr Egg Hostel (Nampo)
Busan: Scenic Sites of Busan: Taejongdae and Oryukdo (you're here!)
Busan: Wishes at Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Busan: 40gyedan–gil and Beyond
Busan: Gamcheon Culture Village
Busan: An Ignoramus in Busan
Daily Dose of Kindness in South Korea
Squeezing Three Cities and One Wallet in Five Days
Busan: What's in a (Business) Name? Busan


  1. Hi! Was just wondering...if you were to visit just one site between taejongdae and oryukdo, which would you pick?

    1. Hi ZellyJhaze! If you're into sightseeing, go to Taejongdae. But if you're into hiking, go to Oryukdo — there's a hiking trail in Igidae Park which is just next to Oryukdo Skywalk.

      Thanks for visiting the blog!

  2. hello may i know how to go back from oryukdo skywalk to busan station? thank you!

    1. Hello Cielo. The same way you will be going to Oryukdo, by taking bus 27 (just in the opposite direction hehehe) :D