Every year in October, Gwangalli Beach is filled with people to watch the Busan Fireworks Festival. This year, over 1.5 million people watched from locations all over Busan. The fireworks show follows a theme and storyline and uses the lights on the bridge, music, and narrative. Last year’s theme was a love story. It was beautifully portrayed and could be followed without knowing Korean. This year’s theme was seasons of love. The seasons theme was clear, but I’m not entirely sure how love came into play.
End of October. The actual fireworks start at 8:00 and lasts for an hour. This year, there were periodic pre-shows that lead up to the main event.
I’ve only been to the Gwangalli Beach location. Take the train to Busan Station. Then get on the subway Busan Station to Gwangan Station. There should be signs posted to point you in the direction of the beach. It’s about a 20 minute walk (maybe?).
Free if you sit in one of the free zones. Tickets for VIP seating and VIP table seating is 70,000-100,000 won respectively.
Tips if you want to go to the Busan Fireworks Festival
- Go early
I arrived at Gwangalli Beach last year at 4:30 and it was already packed. This year, I got there around 5:15 and people were already resigned to sitting in the street. Luckily a friend was prepared and saved us a spot. The police will set up a blockade when there’s too many people in the area. It’s better to be early than blocked out.
- Bring a mat or blanket
You know those mats that look like what you would use to reflect the light from your car windshield? Those are the perfect way to mark your territory. You can buy them from a street vendor for about 5,000 won or from the camping section at the store.
- Pack snacks, drinks, and games
There are lots of convenience stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and street vendors close by, but there are also a ton of people. The lines are quite long. There are also guys selling chicken on the beach. Just be aware that the chicken might not be hot.
- If you feel like you need to go to the bathroom, go. Don’t hold it in.
The bathroom lines are quite long. If you try to hold it so as not to unseal the deal, you might be sitting in a pool of your own making later.
- Check final train times
Last train out of Busan is around midnight. It takes about 35 minutes by subway from Gwangan Station to Busan Station. Since the subways are packed, you might have to wait for the next train or two. Do yourself a favor and schedule plenty of time for travel.