We had a delightfully sunny day here in Busan on March 2nd! Temperature was quite warm throughout most of the day for winter season, reaching up to 10°C, which convinced us to explore the city by foot!
We headed out early in the afternoon, with one goal in mind: visit the biggest fish market in Korea – Jagalchi market! Composed of both outdoor stalls and big dedicated buildings tightly connected to each other, the market expands over a whole street/block. Octopus, calamari, tons of different kinds of fishes and shellfishes, there isn’t much you wouldn’t be able to find here! I even stumbled upon whale meat.
Although some might prefer strolling and shopping within the market buildings themselves (the main building allegedly represents a seagull when seen from above and I must admit I somehow agree with this observation after seeing the building from the top of the nearby Busan tower), there is something touching in interacting with the mostly elderly fishermen and women from the outdoor stalls. The displays are much more captivating, with fishes and other sea products hanging out from the temporary umbrella ceilings. A lot of outdoor and indoor restaurants will offer a large choice of dishes for the hungry ones!
Although Jagalchi market already offered quite a picturesque view by day, we decided we would head back there later at night.
We then walked through another market, GukJae market (or literally, international market) which consisted mainly of very tight streets with tons of little shops each. There, one can find virtually everything, from clothes, to toys, to houseware and building materials. This market is adjacent to a quite indie shopping area, with lots of small trendy boutiques, which might be of interest for our fashionable friends!
While wandering there, we spotted the white and quite tall Busan Tower and decided to climb at the top. A bunch of escalators lead to its entrance but in between them, some doors give access to small parks with work-out equipment. There, you can measure up to other visitors by doing (or desperately trying) push-ups, exercising on parallel bars or monkey ladders and so on. I opted for the hoops after losing against the monkey ladder!
Once on top of the escalators (and therefore almost at the bottom of the tower), a few traditional looking gates and small structures (one of which is sheltering a big bell, the Bell of the Citizens) separate the brave adventurer from the entrance of the tower. The admission fee to the observatory is surprisingly affordable, 5,000₩, which make about 4€! The tower is about 120 meters tall but since built on top of a hill, the cumulative height reaches about 180 meters (but in the end, only 69m above sea level). From the top (there are two levels, one with a small coffee shop, and the observatory itself, reachable through a small staircase), Jiyeon and I got a pretty scenic view of most of Busan! I wrote “most” because some parts of the town still remain hidden from the viewers’ eagle’s eyes, secretly sheltered by hills.
(For more information on what there is to do in the Tower and the underground exhibition hall: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1475231 ).
After enjoying the sunset from the observatory, we headed down towards another shopping street in the Nampo-dong area, not too far from the huge Lotte Shopping mall, and where some food stalls had now sporadically appeared.
Jiyeon and I tried the local version of Hoddeok (호떡, a kind of sweet pancake with a brown sugar, cinnamon and ground nuts filling), Ssi-at hoddeok (씨앗호떡), which differs from the former by its whole seeds filling! Delicious! We even had a second round!
We then went for a last walk around Jagalchi market, to enjoy the night view and fetch some dinner! The building fog and cold led some of the stall owners to light up small fires, vision which some visitors might want to immortalize with their cameras. Dinner for me consisted in a soup of rice cake and dumplings, 떡만두국 [ddeok mandoo gook], guaranteed to fill your stomach up!