Opened in 1976, the Gimhae International Airport serves Busan, Korea’s second largest metropolis after Seoul. It is located on the west of Busan, in Gimhae Town. There are two separate terminals for domestic and international flights. Within Korea, domestic flights are available to Jeju Island, as well as Gimpo and Incheon airport in Seoul.
International flights enter from all over Asia. Japan in particular has many airbases that connect to Busan. Airline carriers include Japan Airlines, Korean Air, China Eastern Airlines, and during limited periods, Singapore Airlines and Air Asia.
How to get around
Immaculately organised public transport ensures you’ll never miss a flight. The Busan Gimhae Light Rail takes an hour to get from the city centre to the airport, and local buses also leave regularly from downtown. There are also limousine buses that stop at various points in the city. Of course, taxis are available, although this will costs you at least twice as much as the limousine bus.
Things to see and do
The airport is well-equipped with souvenir shops and a convenience store for any last minute pick-ups. There is a Lotte Duty Free store on the second floor of the departure lounge offering a wide collection of fragrances, cosmetics, clothing, accessories, watches, jewelleries and local specialties. Liquor and tobacco are also available. For those heading off on business, there is even a shoeshine service in the international terminal!
Just a 15 minute drive away on Gonghang-ro 811 is the Traditional Korean Folk Food Store. It is located beside the police station at the gateway to the airport. Popular with the Japanese, this is where you can buy local specialties such as Kimchi, ginseng, Korean cookies and dried fish. Handicrafts and folk art articles are also available.
Take the Light Rail from the airport and stop at the Royal Tomb of King Suro Station. The monarch’s tomb sits on Seosang-dong, and is also called Napneung. King Suro was the founder of the Garak Kingdom. Legend has it that he was incarnated from an egg!
A little further away is the historic site of Gimhae Bonghwangdong, featuring the first archeological site excavated in Korea. It contains a shell mound from the Gaya period, as well as the Bonghwangdae tomb. Climb onto the hill to see the remains of Yeoui Pavillion and Hwangse Rock, both featured in the legend of General Hwangse and Yeoui.
Nearby, Gimhae National Museum displays many relics of the Gaya era. It is closed on Mondays. All the above information can be found in tourist brochures at the airport, so be sure to pick one up upon arrival.