Posted in Life in Korea, Sightseeing in Korea, Study Abroad

Sightseeing in Busan — 자갈치 시장 (Jagalchi Market)

Last weekend (July 16-17), I traveled with the ISA group on an overnight excursion to Busan.  Saturday we left Seoul at 8:30 in the morning to take the 3 hour train ride to Busan.  3 hours!  It boggles my mind to think that we traveled from one corner of Korea to the opposite corner in just 3 hours.  I wish I had spent more of the train ride looking at the Korean countryside, but instead I spent most of the trip napping.

Saturday was a rather rainy day, both in Seoul and in Busan, which made sightseeing slightly more dreary, but we still got to explore a lot of places.  Our first stop was 자갈치 시장, or Jagalchi Market.  Since the Official Korea Tourism Organization’s website describes the Market a lot better than I ever could, I’ll use their words:

Jagalchi Market in Busan is one of the best known seafood markets in Korea. Formed in the late 19th century, it distributes 30 to 50% of the total seafood (both dried and fresh) sold in the nation. Fresh seafood caught in nearby areas (such as Namhae) fills display stands all year round: flopping fish, scuttling crabs, and wiggling sea squirts are spread out aisle upon aisle. No matter the season, Jagalchi Market teems with female merchants touting their wares and throngs of customers soaking up the wonder of this unique market. In October during the Jagalchi Festival, the number of visitors increases drastically as countless people come to take part in the various events and taste the area’s famous fresh delicacies.

I didn’t have the chance to take that many pictures of the different fish they were selling at the market, because whenever I stopped at one of the stalls to snap a photo, the vendors would assume I wanted to buy fish.  I didn’t have the heart to keep getting all of their hopes up when all I wanted was a photo or two.

On the roof of the building that houses most of the market, there is an observatory deck that gives you a view of the bay.  We went to the roof after wandering around the market, and I was surprised to realize that I had been less than 50 yards from the bay the entire time!  The market building is literally right on the water, as you can see from the photo below.  (The left side of the roof is the observatory.)

jagalchi market

I do wish I could see the view on a bright and sunny day, though, so that it wouldn’t be quite so grey.

All in all, I’ll admit it wasn’t my favorite excursion.  It was wet, smelled like fish, and it’s not like any of us could have bought seafood to cook anyways, since we were staying at a hotel.  On the positive side, I did enjoy seeing the variety of sea creatures for sale, and I really liked going up to the observational deck to see the view of the bay and the city.

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