Gukje Market reflects the heyday of Busan as one of the busiest cities in Korea in terms of commerce and trade. It boasts virtually every imaginable item. Along with Gukje Market, the nearby Bupyeong Market is also a perfect place to visit to experience the feel of the traditional market.
First-time visitors can easily get lost in Gukje Market because of its countless alleys, shops, and street stalls all tightly-packed into the same area. Fortunately, Gukje Market is well laid out in a grid pattern with each alley having a name that gives visitors a hint to its contents, such as: Shoe Alley, Bag Alley, Jewelry Alley, Eyeglasses Alley, Art Alley and so on. These distinctive names make it easier for visitors to look around Gukje Market without getting too lost.
Arirang Alley in Gukje Market, in particular, deserves the special attention of visitors from overseas. Located in the third alleyway of the market, it houses shops specifically tailored to the tastes of international shoppers, selling great souvenirs such as kimchi and pottery. An owner of a cosmetic shop in the area comments that there have been an increased number of Japanese and Chinese visitors in recent years and that bestselling items include BB cream and face masks. Arirang Alley is easily identifiable by the series of lanterns decorated with yin and yang patterns hanging along the street.
Located right next to Gukje Market, Bupyeong Market is home to almost every kind of product imaginable. Visitors can easily find a huge array of imported food, clothing, utensils, souvenirs and leather goods heaped up at street stalls and wedged into tiny shops. From children following their mothers with snacks in their hands to young people looking for inexpensive t-shirts (2 shirts for 10,000 KRW), the market is crowded with people, befitting the traditional market atmosphere.
In Bupyeong Market, visitors are strongly recommended to stop by Hanbok Alley. Here, over 100 specialty shops spread out their finely-crafted knitwear and beautifully-designed hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) in a colorful mix of art and commerce. Visitors may want to simply look around in the alley or purchase hanbok as a souvenir. Either way, the alley is a nice place to experience part of traditional Korean culture.
After getting your fill of shopping at either of the two marketplaces, you may want to visit Yongdusan (Mt. Yongdu) Park, a popular place for visitors to relax and unwind. Located on a hillside area accessible by covered escalators, the park is full of flowers and is just the place for a leisurely stroll. An observatory in Busan Tower in the park offers a breath-taking, birds-eye view of the area around Busan Port.