Get to know Ilgwang Beach in Busan and the annual Sea Art Festival. Ilgwang Beach is a calm, underrated beach where you can relax and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Additionally, enjoy the wonders of the Sea Art Festival, a magical event enjoyed by locals and travellers alike.
“Step through the portals of artworks and explore the uncanny worlds of eels, ocean-winds, anemones, deep-sea creatures, algae, sunlight, science-fiction, mythical spirits, cells, cyberpunk, scales, maps, theatre, artificial intelligence spectres, forests, shrines, and divers” – Ritika Biswas, Artistic Director, Sea Art Festival 2021
If you ever find yourself in Busan between October and November, I recommend that you visit the Sea Art Festival at Ilgwang Beach. The event is organised collaboratively by the Busan Metropolitan Center and Busan Biennale Organizing Committee.
The Sea Art Festival is held on Ilgwang Beach, a small but stunning beach in Busan. The art is displayed on the sand, designed to interact with the natural elements of its surrounding, such as the breeze and sunlight. Additionally, you can visit during the day or at night, lit up by street lights. Furthermore, some of the artwork change appearance throughout the day.
However, if you can’t get down to the festival in person, you can see it online via a 360-degree video tour experience, guided by Rikita Biswas, the Director of the festival. You can also enjoy ordinary photos and online interviews with the artists behind the masterpieces. Furthermore, if you’re an art buff or hardcore nature enthusiast, you can enjoy lectures and seminars!
If you’re visiting Ilgwang Beach during the festival or not, I highly recommend you try out some of the amazing cafes nearby. However, if you do visit during the festival, head to the Festival Info Center to pick up a bunch of discounts at the surrounding establishments.
There’s plenty of independent cafes, as well as the old favourites like A Twosome Place, complete with a terrace that looks out over the ocean. However, if you’re a fan of discovering new places, why not give Goody Wacky cafe a try?
Goody Wacky is a 4-story cafe with delicious desserts and decor almost as artistic as the Sea Art Festival! They have standard tables and chairs as well as recliners — why not take a nap? In terms of price, Goody Wacky prices are standard for a large cafe in an ideal location, but the quality of the food is excellent. From my experience, you don’t need to head to a restaurant after seeing the festival as the food at Goody Wacky will fill you up.
Goody Wacky Address: 7 Samsung 3-gil, Ilgwang-myeon, Gijang-gun, Busan Operating Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm everyday Directions: Follow the directions for Ilgwang beach below. Goody Wacky is just off the sand, next to the White House B&B.
However, if you do want a full meal, I spotted mostly Korean restaurants and small stands for snacks and cup ramen. Additionally, both restaurants and cafes were not open before 11am, at least on the Saturday that I visited.
Things to Do
If you explore the area surrounding the beach, you’ll find a place to rent swan boats, from which you can see fish below your feet in the clear water. I also found some carnival pier attractions, including a game where you throw darts at balloons. Although I just played for the first time, I succeeded with all 5 of my darts, winning my choice of tiara, bubbles and a keychain. Cute, right?
Location & Directions
Ilgwang Beach and the Gijang-gun area is located to the north of Haeundae, en route to Ulsan. It is a bit of a trek from central Busan, but worth it to explore this hidden gem!
Ilgwang Beach Address: Samseong-ri, Ilgwang-myeon, Gijang-gun, Busan Directions: Ilgwang Station (Busan Metro Donghaeseon Line) Exit 1. Turn left and continue straight in parallel to the sea for 5 minutes, turn left again and continue towards the beach.