In recent years, South Korea has become famous as a shopaholic’s paradise, and Busan is no exception. While this city by the sea has a bit of everything – trendy independent boutiques, international name brands and air-conditioned shopping malls – its markets offer some of the most atmospheric and authentic shopping. Whether or not you plan to buy, set aside some time to get lost in the markets of Busan.
The Jagalchi Fish Market, perhaps Busan’s most famous market, is the largest of its kind in the nation, with vendors selling every type of seafood you could want and a bunch more you didn’t know existed. Visitors to the market will notice that most of the stalls are run by women – a tradition unique to this market that began during the Korean War when the shopkeeper’s wives had to take over for their husbands who were off fighting. Some visitors come to Jagalchi for the aquarium experience, others to buy and enjoy a meal of freshly cooked, fresh-caught seafood at one of the restaurants within the market.
Busan’s largest and oldest traditional market, Gukje Market, also has historic ties to the Korean War as a place where refugees began setting up stores to make a living. If you’re looking for inexpensive clothing, souvenirs, Korean kitchenware, hanbok or electronics, you’ll find them here at bargain prices.
Busan also has a few specialty markets if you’re looking for something in particular. Pyeonghwa and Jayu markets sell mostly designer shoes, while Busanjin market caters to brides-to-be.