South Korea: Pusan

99 Coastal Destinations Rated: Facing Trouble

Score: 50

Growing pains have come with rapid population growth in South Korea's second largest city. The air is polluted, the streets are crowded, and the "built heritage is being overwhelmed by modern construction." On the upside: local culture continues to thrive, and "the city center retains its original appeal."

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"This is a boomtown, with multiple skyscrapers—including a Donald Trump Center. Not particularly outstanding in terms of scenery or cultural integrity. Built heritage is being overwhelmed by modern construction. Substantial tourism development may benefit local people."

"Environmental and ecological quality is rather good, even though some air pollution was seen. Social and cultural integrity is as strong as in all those Korean cities I have visited. Built heritage could be in better condition. Places especially important to the Korean culture are in good condition. History is still present in the city. Aesthetic appeal could be better. In my opinion, the city is a bit too dirty in some cases. The beach area is beautiful. The city center has maintained its original appeal, and tourism has not dominated its atmosphere. Finding information about places to visit and see was quite easy. I did not have any problems with that."

"Too many people and too many tourists. The rural hinterland is attractive but is slowly becoming urbanized."