Shop for clothing, homeware and souvenirs and sample typical Korean street food at this sprawling and lively market that is popular with locals.
Prepare yourself for a sensory overload at Gukje Market. This vast street market has hundreds of shops packed tightly together along a network of both covered and open-air lanes. Browse for electronics, fashion trends and sundry household goods. Enjoy the traditional flavors of Korean snacks. Gukje Market began during the Korean War of the early 1950s when refugees sold their wares as a way to make a living.
Wander the narrow alleys and experience the authentic marketplace activity. This is a much-loved shopping center for locals, where you can watch them poke around the stores and engage in conversations with the vendors. See shop windows stocked floor to ceiling with ceramics, children’s toys, electronic goods, kitchenware and suitcases. Find fashion outlets, jewelry shops, leather boutiques and shoe retailers.
Walk down the market’s Restaurant Street (aka Arirang Street) to discover dozens of bars, restaurants and food stands. An outdoor seating area runs the length of the street and is characteristic of a Korean market. Sit on a bench and observe as the cooks prepare the food in front of you. Try delicacies such as chungmu gimbap (seaweed rolls filled with rice, radish and squid) and sundae (boiled and stuffed cow or pig intestine).
Pick up food to take with you at the fresh produce stands. There’s everything from fruits and vegetables to fresh fish, pigs’ heads and spices.
The market is located in the southern region of the Jung District. Get here by catching the metro to Jagalchi station and then walk from there. The market connects with several of Busan’s other famous marketplaces, including Bupyeong Market and Khangtong Market. Gwangbokro Culture and Fashion Street and Yongdusan Park are short walks away.
Gukje Market is open daily, from early in the morning until late in the evening. It remains closed on the first and third Sunday of the month. Be aware that both genuine and counterfeit goods are sold here. Most lanes are organized according to the type of product on offer.