Square: 767.25 km2 – Population: 3.525 million (2014)
Located within South Korea's largest industrial area, "The Southeast Economic Zone" (which includes Busan, Ulsan and South Gyeongsang Province), Busan is the cultural, educational and economic center of the region. It is the largest port city in South Korea and the world's fifth busiest seaport by cargo tonnage. The most densely built up areas of the city are situated in a number of narrow valleys between the Nakdong River and the Suyeong River, with mountains separating most of the districts. Administratively, it is designated as a Metropolitan City. The Busan metropolitan area is divided into 15 major administrative districts and a single county. Busan has Korea's largest beach and longest river, and is home to the world's largest department store, the Shinsegae Centum City
From the beginning of the 15th century onwards, the Korean government designated Busan as a trading port with the Japanese and allowed them to settle there. Other Japanese settlements diminished later, but the Busan settlement continued until Japan invaded Korea in 1592. After the war, diplomatic relations with Japan were established in 1607, and Busan was reconstructed.
The Japanese settlement, though relocated into Choryang later, continued to exist until Korea was exposed to modern diplomacy in 1876. In 1876, Busan became the first international port in Korea and was opened to Japanese trade and to general foreign trade in 1883. After 1910, when Korea became a Japanese protectorate, the city was the center of trade in the area. Under the Japanese (1910-45) the city developed into a modern port, with ferry service connecting the city with Shimonoseki, Japan, and rail lines that connected Korea with China and Russia terminated in Busan.
Busan was also the only city in Korea to adopt the steam tramway before electrification was introduced in 1924. During the Korean War (1950-53), Busan was a major port of entry and a supply depot for United Nations forces. It was one of the few areas in Korea that remained relatively untouched during the war with UN troops establishing a defensive perimeter around the city. The flood of Korean refugees and repatriates from overseas drastically changed the city during this time.
Since 1978, Busan has opened three container ports and is ranked by the AAPA as the world's third largest ports in terms of cargo volume and efficiency.
Busan is one of the great, unheralded cities in Asia. Brimming with cobalt oceans, verdant mountains and delectable fare, it’s a city full of surprises and has a laid-back vibe that makes it the perfect base from which to explore farther afield in South Korea.
Sight seeing in Busan can typically be classified into two groups: seashore and interior land travels. Seashore sightseeing includes such sights as the beach areas, islands, and Hae Ahn Park. While interior land sightseeing includes such sights as downtown Busan, historical ruins and sites, Dongnae Shrine, Busan World Cup Stadium, and Bexco Exhibition and Convention Center.
Busan's most charming tourist point is its beautiful sea vistas. The southeastern beach areas have amazing views of the fantastically shaped rocks and islands, which are a must see. The famous beaches of Haeundae, Gwangalli, and Songjeong are enjoyed by many visitors. Boating, jet skies, and banana boats are just among a few of the water recreation activities visitors can participate in. Amnam Park, Igidae, and Haean Park offer views of nature's masterpieces. The natural beauties of Busan can also be taken in by riding the cruise boats in the harbor.
The summer months offer an array of festivals on almost every beach, while in the fall, the Jagalchi Fish market holds a cultural festival for foreign tourists. The Nakdong Estuary Seasonal Bird Migration Site is a famous tourist spot in the winter. Since the release of the movie 'Chingu' (Friend), which was filmed in Busan, Yongdusan Park and Jagalchi Fish Market have become popular areas for tourists to visit. Nearby museums include the Busan Marine Museum, Bokcheon Museum, Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, Busan Museum and many other cultural facilities.
DYNAMIC BUSAN: CITY OF TOMORROW
Located on the south-eastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, Busan served as South Korea's temporary capital during the Korean War in 1950-1953, when an attack from the North forced people to flee southwards. It boasts the country's most popular beach Haeundae and the famous Busan International Film Festival that draws huge crowds every year, to see their favourite Korean stars and foreign celebrities.
To grow its tourism and entertainment sectors further, Busan is trying to woo integrated resort operators to create integrated casino and resort projects. The Las Vegas Sands Corps has expressed interest in investing in a $6.1 billion USD project, but with a caveat - South Koreans must be allowed to enter the casino and gamble, not just foreigners.
The Busan government has committed a $3.0 billion USD budget to expand the city's port, as well as $20 million USD for coastal maintenance projects which are both are deemed important for the city’s expansion.
Busan is also slated to play a key role in the country's IT development, particularly in the areas of “Smart City Technologies” and the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Both concepts allow consumers to more intelligently connect with the government and the city that they live in, while physical objects are embedded with electronics that allow them to be linked up to create knowledge bases and provide a variety for services to both business and consumers.