As if its gorgeous seaside locale weren't enough, Busan's cutting edge technology and world-class convention facilities make it an obvious choice for meeting planners. A center for international conventions, Busan is no stranger to hosting large-scale events. In fact, the city played host to the 2002 Asian Games and the APEC Summit 2005, and since 1995 has annually hosted the popular Pusan International Film Festival. Korea's largest port city, Busan beckons visitors from every corner of the globe.
Easily accessible, Busan's Gimhae International Airport is just 40 minutes from the downtown district. Seeing over 462 flights per week on 21 different airlines, it is one of South Korea's busiest hubs. In addition to air travel, Busan lies on a number of rail lines that connect it with other major Korean cities including Seoul, Daejeon and Daegu. Once in the city, public transportation opportunities abound with buses, subway trains and even taxis that cater specifically to international guests. Busan's transportation system is about to get even more convenient with the addition of a new light rail system, scheduled for completion in 2010.
When it comes to meeting venues, the premier convention facility in Busan is the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO). Built in 2001, this massive facility is both beautiful and practical, capable of accommodating simultaneous conventions of up to 5,800 people. Busan tradeshows and exhibitions also find plenty of space in its 26,508-square-meter exhibition hall, which spans the equivalent of three soccer fields. A state-of-the-art facility, BEXCO offers numerous amenities including simultaneous translation in eight languages, on-site catering, a cafeteria, restaurants and even a shopping mall.
Beyond BEXCO, Busan offers a number of smaller alternative venues that offer groups a chance to experience a unique taste of Busan. Host a meeting amidst a backdrop of dance, music and art at the Busan Cultural Center. Enjoy the city from a new vantage point while aboard the Tiffany 21 cruise ship, which can accommodate parties as large as 300 guests. Or, immerse convention guests in an underwater adventure at the Busan Aquarium, home to 35,000 colorful sea creatures and perfect for receptions and events.
When the day is done, Busan welcomes tired visitors with over 9,000 hotel rooms that rate at three stars or higher. These hotels can also serve as a convenient all-in-one meeting options, as they offer top-notch meeting space in addition to luxe guest rooms. In downtown Busan, the five-star Busan Lotte Hotel offers 11 banquet rooms for everything from dinners of 60 people to grand galas of 2,500 guests. Or, plan a conference, seminar, or even a fashion show at the Westin Chosun Hotel, boasting over 1,300 square meters of event space.
As the 5th largest seaport in the world, Busan's economy is embedded in transportation and shipping. The city is also home to a number of colleges and universities including Busan National University, Busan National University of Education, Dong-A-University and Busan Arts College.
Situated on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula overlooking the Korean Strait, Busan (also pronounced Pusan) is Korea's largest port city and the 5th largest port in the world. Spanning 766 square kilometers and divided into 15 major districts, the city is home to 3.6 million people, making it the 2nd most populous city in Korea after the capital of Seoul. From rolling hills and fresh seafood markets to endless beaches and picturesque islands, Busan is undoubtedly one of Korea's most beautiful and captivating destinations.
Busan's seaside location has made it a prime trading port since the 15th century. As such, it's no surprise that a number of the city's top attractions are tied into the water. Starting at the coast, sun worshipers head to the famed Haeundae Beach, bask in the white sands of Songjeong Beach, or wander through the camelia and pine trees at the ancient Dongbaek Island. Meanwhile, families with children will not want to miss Busan Aquarium, Korea's largest aquarium with 45,000 inhabitants. Or, stop by the Jagalchi Market, the largest seafood market in the country. Here, guests can watch expert vendors prepare seafood for storage, purchase the freshest catch, or dine at the six-story Shindonga Market, home to several fresh seafood restaurants serving both raw and cooked dishes.
Back inland, visitors can explore the remnants of Busan's storied past around every corner. Travel to the summit of the eastern portion of Mount Geumjeong and visit the popular Beomeosa Temple, one of the five greatest temples in Korea. Or, observe a prime example of Yi Dynasty architecture at Dongnae Hyanggyo. Visitors can also check out the Provisional Capital Memorial Hall, the former official residence of the president during the Korean War. For a more comprehensive view of Busan's historical significance, pop in the Busan Modern History Museum or the Busan Museum, featuring more than 11,000 historical artifacts.
Today's Busan is a hotbed of modern culture and eclectic shopping districts. An art lover's dream, the Busan Museum of Modern Art has 11 exhibition rooms and a serene outdoor sculpture garden. Shopping is a very popular activity in the city, with favorite stores being Lotte Department Store and the Choryang Arcade for Foreigners. Visitors who want a true taste of Busan can visit the largest traditional market in the region: Gukje Market. This patchwork of alleyways is brimming with vendors that sell everything from food and industrial products to handmade goods. In addition, visitors can pick up traditional Korean handicrafts at the Urisegye, while the Hankook Folk Art Center features pieces of folk art, regional specialties, lacquer works, ceramic ware and antiques.
When the sun sets over Busan, every corner of the city comes alive with an array of entertainment possibilities. Become the star the show at MURPII, which offers private karaoke rooms and a massive dance floor. Another favorite among tourists is Basement, a University area hangout that's a must-visit for those looking for live music in a relaxed atmosphere. For something more low key, Busan's dining scene is a culinary experience that won't soon be forgotten. From the trendy Kaya to the serene Morning Calm in Haeundae Beach, Busan's restaurants serve up everything from raw fish to grilled eel to the popular spicy seafood soup, Haemultang. A meal out in Busan will certainly be just as unique and refreshing as the city itself.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Busan has a humid subtropical climate. Due to its location at the southeastern most tip of the Korean Peninsula, the city experiences little variation in temperature throughout the year. Extreme highs and lows are rare in Busan, and average annual temperatures are a mild 14.4C.
Busan only sees an average of six days of snowfall per year, but does see an average of 1,492 millimeters of rain, with the wettest months being in summer. Typhoons are possible in the rainy summer months.
With pleasant temperatures throughout the year, Busan is a year-round destination. However, the very best time to go is during autumn when the weather is warm and dry. October is a great time for visitors to get out and enjoy the many festivals, gardens and outdoor markets of this enchanting city by the sea.
Busan Exhibition & Convention Center
Completed in 2001, Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) is Korea's leading facility for international conferences. The center has hosted a number of high-profile events with international significance, including the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 2002 Asian Games.
Outside, the appearance of this facility is striking, designed and constructed to resemble a seagull soaring toward the Pacific Ocean. Inside, BEXCO is equally impressive, offering a total area of 92,761 square meters. Its various exhibition halls span the size of three soccer fields and form the only one-story, pillar-free exhibition space in Korea. Convention space is available in 22 conference rooms, a main 2,400-seat conference hall and a wide entrance lobby perfect for registrations and coffee breaks. BEXCO also boasts a stunning, light-filled, 4,843-square-meter Glass Hall, which connects to the convention and exhibition spaces, and just over 13,000 square meters of outdoor event space.
BEXCO's technological amenities include simultaneous interpretation systems for eight languages, international video conferencing systems, and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment. In addition to the latest in cutting edge technology, BEXCO also features restaurants, lounges, a business center, a cafeteria, a shopping mall and 1,200 parking spaces. Six different catering teams can provide Korean, Japanese, Chinese or Western menus. Its prime location places it just steps away from the famed Haeundae Beach, allowing meeting attendees to enjoy the beauty of Busan's stunning sea vistas.
Gimhae International Airport (PUS)
Approximate taxi fare: 25202 KRW
Just 22 kilometers to the west of Busan, Gimhae International Airport opened at its current location in 1976. Since that time, the airport has been focused on expanding its travel options and services for passengers. Today, over nine million travelers pass through the airport annually for destinations in Asia and Europe. Serving over 462 flights per week on 21 different airlines, it is one of South Korea's busiest hubs.
As part of its continued expansion and redevelopment, Gimhae International opened a new international passenger terminal in 2007. The airport has also upgraded communications and passenger services and added service from Asiana Airlines and Korean Air. Additional improvements at Gimhae will include extending Busan's subway line to the airport, a project scheduled to be completed in 2010.
Passengers will find a number of delightful amenities at the airport, including Western, Chinese and Korean cuisine restaurants, an airport clinic, currency exchanges, a post office, and various retail outlets. Gimhae International Airport's International Terminal even has a movie theater catering to passengers with extra time on their hands.
The Airport Limousine Bus runs from the airport to major hotels in Busan in about one hour. Travelers can also take the airport shuttle bus, which is linked to the subway network.
Airline carriers serving Gimhae International Airport
Buses in Busan cover large stretches of the area, though visitors should bear in mind that stops are announced in Korean only. Public buses are less expensive, but involve more stops and longer destination times, while express bus lines are more comfortable. Express bus lines link Busan with other major Korean cities at two main terminals, Nopodong and Seobu.
Fares for the bus can be paid in cash or with a transportation card; fares vary by bus type. Fares for the public buses are KRW 1,000 in cash or KRW 950 if paid with a transportation card. Fares for the express buses are KRW 1,500 in cash or KRW 1,400 if paid with a transportation card.
Operated by the Busan Transportation Corporation, the Busan Subway is a convenient and easy way to get around the city. The subway system consists of three lines. Lines 1 and 2 are recently constructed, while the third line is under construction and only partially completed. Once finished, the network is expected to have just over 100 stations and 112 kilometers of track.
Each subway line is open from 5 to 12:40 AM. Fares for the subway can be paid in cash or with a transportation card. Fares are charged by section; one section costs KRW 1,100. Travel through two sections is KRW 1,300. Travelers using a transportation card receive a 10 percent discount on fares.
Four rental car companies operate out of Gimhae International Airport: Kumho Rent-A-Car, Avis Rent-A-Car, Jeju and Sambo. The information desks are located outside of the baggage claim area.
Two types of taxi are available for hire in Korea: regular taxis and deluxe taxis, marked by black cars, yellow signs on top and the words "Deluxe Taxi" written on the side. Regular taxis start at KRW 2,200 for the first two kilometers and are metered at KRW 100 for every additional 144 kilometers. If the taxi is going less than 15 kilometers per hour, an additional charge of KRW 100 applies per 35 seconds. Additionally, a 20 percent surcharge applies between the hours of midnight and 4 AM.
Deluxe taxis start at KRW 4,500 for the first three kilometers and are metered at KRW 200 for every additional 164 meters. Deluxe taxis do not apply nightly surcharges. Visitors should keep in mind that deluxe taxi drivers cater frequently to tourists and are more likely to speak English than regular taxi drivers.
Taxis at Gimhae International Airport can be found outside of both the international and domestic terminals. Taxi fare to downtown costs about KRW 25,000.
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