Often called "the summer capital of South Korea," the port city of Busan is just a two-and-a-half-hour train ride from Seoul.
The country's two largest cities, however, are remarkably different places.
In the more low-key Busan, a night out usually means drinking soju with friends on the beach while watching kids play with firecrackers.
Or eating hoe (Korean sashimi) -- again with soju -- at the shiny new fish market.
Or watching burly, tattooed local men (widely considered more manly than their Seoul counterparts) play a popular street game, driving nails with a single blow into a thick wooden beam, for prizes of cigarettes and whiskey.
Even apart from the prevalence of seafood, the cuisine in Busan is also different from that found in the rest of the country.
Here's what to do in Korea's second city.
During the summer swim season -- it runs from July 1 to August 31 each year -- millions of Koreans, and increasingly more foreign visitors, descend on this strip of beach and revel in the water before heading out to party on weekend nights.
Just in front of the beach is the Haeundae "Sea Village" Pojangmacha street, a strip of identical, tented seafood stalls selling everything from live octopus to lobster.
Customers pick their own meal from a tank and minutes later have it cooked and served to them alongside their favorite Busan soju.
Haeundae Tourist Information Center; +82 51 749 4335
Lit by 100,000 lights that change colors, Korea's longest suspension bridge is particularly beautiful from the beach at night.
While Haeundae is a family friendly beach, Gwangalli is popular with younger crowds who come in single-sex groups and eye members of the opposite sex and occasionally party together.
etour.busan.go.kr; +82 51 780 0077
Westin Chosun Busan
The Westin Chosun Busan's Haeundae beachfront view is so fantastic that the government capped the hotel at 10 floors when it was being built 35 years ago.
The lobby has floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular panoramic views of the sea; the hotel organizes local tours for guests (free or with a minimal fee).
Savvy guests ask for sea-view rooms when booking.
Westin Chosun Busan, Haeundae, 737 Woo 1-Dong, Busan; South Korea; +82 51 749 7000; rooms start around $200 excluding 10% service charge and 11% tax (rates vary according to season )
Park Hyatt Busan
The newest, highest and shiniest hotel in Busan isn't on the beach, but it has great views of Gwangalli beach.
The rooms have stunning interiors that incorporate traditional Korean design into a monochromatic modern aesthetic.
Park Hyatt Busan, 51 Marine City 1-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea; 82 51 990 1234; rooms from $240 excluding 11% tax (rates vary according to season )
Paradise Hotel Busan
The Paradise Hotel is the hippest hotel in the city for nightlife (there's a club in the hotel), spa (the new rooftop pools have incredible views and a bar) and fancy desserts.
The lobby lounge's mango bingsu (Korea's favorite shaved ice dessert) is made with rose petals and is a culinary marvel.
Paradise Hotel Busan, 1408-5 Jung-dong Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea; +82 51 742 2121; rooms from $210 (rates vary according to season)
Eat and drink
Dwaeji gukbap ("pig soup rice")
This humble pork stew is probably Busan's most emblematic dish. It's served with an equally humble-looking dish of vegetables and a bowl of rice.
The slightly stinky smell from salt-fermented shrimp masks the deep, satisfying flavor. Locals call it a perfect hangover cure or 2 a.m. post-clubbing meal.
Miryang Sundae Dwaeji Gukbap, 543-1 Woo-1-dong Haeundae-gu, Busan, Korea; +82 51 731 7005; ?6,500 ($6)
Busan has a number of food-themed streets, but a favorite among locals is Jokbal Golmok (Pig Feet Alley).
Cooked in soy, ginger and garlic, the pig feet are served on a large platter with the option of naengchae -- a side of cold jellyfish slivers in mustard sauce -- that's particularly popular in summer.
The longest lines are at Hanyang Jokbal, in the middle of the alley.