Korea, Republic of
"A tapestry of kaleidoscopic colours, intense seafood flavours, and urban beach bliss, Busan rolls across a glorious natural setting on the Korean Peninsula's south-east. One of the largest and busiest ports in the world, 3.5 million people call South Korea's second city home, and the amiable locals help to lend the city its quirky, offbeat outlook. A spacious, playful and cosmopolitan place, Busan is a lively, liveable city, cradled by lush mountains and endless ocean scenery.
Haedong Yonggung Temple nestles on a dramatic cliffside, just above the crumbling rocks and crashing waves of the East Sea. Dating back to 1376, the temple's multi-storey pagoda is adorned with lions - each representing a different emotion. Elsewhere, lanterns glitter in the night sky around Mount Geumjeongsan, freshly released from the beautiful Beomeosa Temple, which was established in AD 678. The hillside shantytown of Gamcheon Culture Village has completed an improbable transformation, blossoming from a sea of makeshift homes for Korean war refugees, into a colourful explosion of creativity and curiosity. Local artists have been let loose to create interactive installations, and the entire area is now an expansive canvas for expression. Lose yourself among vibrant alleyways of flamingo-pink, lemon-yellow and baby-blue painted facades in this unique area.
Sample bibimbap, fiery-hot beef and rice, from street food vendors, before relaxing on one of South Korea's best beaches - Haeundae's banana bend of sand. Metallic skyscrapers offer an unusual backdrop to this pristine expanse of golden powder and are mirrored by elaborate sandcastles and sculptures during the annual sand festival - when spontaneous water fights and firework displays also take place. Gwangalli beach is another urban option, laying out spectacular views of the reaching Gwangan Bridge - the country's second largest bridge. At night, 16,000 bulbs bathe this engineering marvel in colour."