Joanne Coughlan

17 June 2019

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There are fish markets and then, there are fish markets! Busan, South Korea

There are fish markets and then, there are fish markets!   The Jagalchi Fish Markets in Busan fall into the latter category. Markets are not every traveller’s “thing” but I have to confess to being a market tragic – especially when they are there for the locals, not the tourists. And even more so when they don’t have heaps of stuff manufactured in that country that manufactures everything!

I spent a few days in Busan which is Korea’s second major city. There are over 3 million people but this makes it about one third the size of the capital.

The question is what to see in Busan South Korea?  There’s a lot to see and do including temples, beaches, cultural villages, shopping and great food. However the main attraction – in my view – is the fish markets. They are housed in two buildings – a huge modern complex and an older one right next door. I’m not sure how big they are but it feels like the size of an undercover a football field. As you would expect, there’s a strong smell of the ocean and of fish so be prepared for this. There’s yelling and screaming from every direction. Many of the stall owners are women and I was hissed at by one elderly lady when I went to take a photo of her display. (While I thought it was quite funny at the time, she certainly didn’t). 

If it moves and lives in the sea, chances are, it’s for sale at these markets. In fact, it doesn’t even have to move! You’ll find, fish, squid and octopus, sea urchins, molluscs, slugs, seaweed, and the biggest crabs in the history of crabs – no kidding.  

A word of warning or two… You’re likely to get wet feet so wear old shoes. And if you are going to take photos, ask first or do it without getting caught. Or, like me, you might get hissed at!

Blue Dot Travel stopover in Korea on the way to The Stans of Central Asia.  Many of our clients spend a few additional days exploring South Korea.  You can do a day trip from Seoul to Busan on the high-speed train.  It is 3 hours each way so consider staying overnight.  Contact us to register your interest for future tours. 

Written by Brett Goulston

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