I could babble for days about my favorite Busan hikes, but a recent trip to Seokbulsa (석불사) has me second-guessing my ranks. The temple, located in Busan's Dongnae (동래) neighborhood, is further out from more popular tourist locations, like Haeundae. But with its hundred Buddha statues and all those massive carved rock-faces, you'd regret not making the trek. Getting to Seokbulsa can seem confusing, especially if you don't speak Korean, but the easiest starting-point would be Oncheonjang Station (온천장역) on the orange 1-Line
From Oncheonjang to Geumgang
Geumgang Cable Car to South Gate 남문
After getting off the cable car, your goal is Geumjeongsanseong Fortress (금정산성) South Gate. There are plenty of signs with both English and Korean, but I've found that sometimes those signs aren't pointing in the clearest direction. Asking for directions shouldn't be too difficult, given the area's popularity. Just ask for "Nam-moon" (south-gate).
South Gate 남문 to Seokbulsa 석불사
Don't go through the doors at South Gate. Instead, take the concrete road that slopes slightly downhill. You'll end up trekking through the woods for a while before passing small restaurants, vegetable gardens, and even tennis courts (yes...all on the mountain). This area's known as "South Gate Village"--남문마을-- and gave me such culture shock. I'd said it to my friends, but this was what I pictured when reading about all those getaway camps in YA dystopian novels. Luckily, South Gate Village has got soju and laughter rather than apocalyptic despair and ambiguous teenage morality.
After cutting through the village, you'll travel down a flight of wooden stairs to a stream, following a path parallel to the water until you come to a proper road for buses and cars. Turn right and go up the concrete hill. You'll pass fitness equipment as you snake up the last bit of mountain, finally making it to Seokbulsa at the top.
From guides to rants.