Busan is Korea’s second largest city and visiting it wouldn’t be complete without going to its largest traditional market – the Gukje Market. It is one of Korea’s largest markets and quite similar to Namdaemun Market in Seoul. It is dubbed as “all-in-one-market” for it sells a wide variety of products such as food, clothing and even appliances and electronic items. Gukje Market is also close to Bupyeong Kkangtong Market, one of the oldest traditional market in Korea.
Historical Background of Gukje Market
Gukje Market is not just a place for shopping and trading goods. Just like Bupyeong Market, it also has a cultural and historical significance. It started its operation during the Korean War in 1950 as a place for war refugees ro make a living. As Busan is Korea’s largest port city, this market used to import a lot of military supplies for the U.S. armies and other imported goods. This is the reason why it is called Gukje Market, for “gukje” means “international”.
As the market grows into one of the busiest markets in the city, it has evolved into one of the most loved shopping centers for the locals. You can freely shop from its wide selection of stores and enjoy good conversations with the market vendors. The best thing about buying from traditional market such as Gukje Market is that you can even ask for discounts! It also features several streets exclusively for food, clothing and entertainment. Even though it is a large market, you can surely find your way at the stores with similar product offerings are arranged into zones.
Arirang Street: Gukje Market Food Street
Arirang Street is the Gukje Market’s Food Street (국제시장 먹자골목). You can find a lot of food products in this street such as fruits, vegetables, meat, traditional Korean dishes and many more.
The most notable thing there is its outdoor seating area along the street where you can just sit on a bench while you can the sellers cook the food that you order. After a while, you can eat there as you please or you can takeout your food and continue wandering around the market. The vendors usually offer Korean dishes such as kimchi, noodles, kimbap, tteokbokki and many more. But the most famous delicacy that sell is the Chungmu Kimbap. It is a seaweed rolls filled with rice, radish and squid. They also offer sundae or a boiled and stuffed cow or pig intestine.
Arirang Street is also the foreigner-friendly as most of the shops there employ professional shop assistants that are capable of speaking foreign languages.
Gukje Market Youth Street
Gukje Market Youth Street (국제시장 젊음의거리) is definitely an area that youth and young at hearts would love to go. This street is full of clothing and sports wear that you can buy at reasonable price.
Furthermore, there are clothing stores in this area that sell items for as low as 1,000 Korean won. Therefore, if you are planning to have Instagram-worthy OOTDs in Busan without breaking the bank, make sure to visit the Gukje Market Youth Street.
It is also near the BIFF Square (Busan International Film Festival), Busan’s modern movie district. It is the city’s cultural tourist attraction promoting the advancement of Korea’s film industry. After shopping at Gukje Market Youth Street and eating at Arirang Street, you can relax and enjoy watching movies at BIFF Square.
You can also see the Busan Tower from Gukje Market so you can visit it too in the same day to maximize your time.
How To Get There
GUKJE MARKET FOOD STREET
GUKJE MARKET YOUTH STREET
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