Sunday, 21 August saw us back in Busan, having been there previously last March. It was starting to look quite familiar!
We began the day with a trip through the magnificent countryside to the serene Beomeosa Temple, one of South Korea’s largest temples, which dates back to 678 A.D.
Then on to the Jagalchi Fish Market, established by women peddlers during the Korean War when there weren’t a lot of men around to take care of business. I was in two minds about this; on one hand I was curious to see this world famous fish market and the array of seafood. On the other hand, seeing lots of tanks probably overcrowded with fish just keeping them alive and fresh really wasn’t something that I was looking forward to seeing.
I have to say that when we arrived at the building, which housed all the tanks and restaurants, to find that it was closed to the public that day, I did feel a bit relieved. However, there were stalls set up next to the building and we went there instead, wandering up and down many alleys of market stalls covered with umbrellas, with every flat surface packed with fish of every type and colourful baskets of shellfish.
We were so engrossed in taking photos and looking at the sights that we suddenly realised we were lost and it took us several minutes before we got our bearings and found our way out to the main road.
There we discovered the International Market (Gukje Market) across the road. Interesting, lots of street food and small souvenirs. So we were able to spend a little while away from the crowded fish market enjoying a stroll around the block before boarding our coach once more to take us back to the ship. Nice day.
On Thursday, 23 March we arrived in Busan and we went our separate ways to do different tours. Alex to the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, and I went to the Bokcheon Museum. We both visited the Busan Museum and the Lotte Department Store.
It is the largest port city in South Korea and the world’s fifth largest seaport. With a population about the same size as Sydney, Busan can trace its history back as far as the Palaeolithic Age.
The city was about 35 minutes’ drive from the port and there were many blocks of apartments along the way. My first stop was the Bokcheon Museum which was an interesting mix of archaeological relics, paintings and ceramics and outside we saw actual tombs that have been discovered dating back to the 6th century.
The Busan Museum was much larger with several exhibition halls and focused on the history and culture of Busan. Everyone agreed we didn’t have enough time there, but it was a good introduction to this country’s history.
Alex’s tour centred around the visit to the U.N. Memorial Cemetery. The 35-acre Park contains the bodies of 11,000 soldiers from the 16 countries who died during the Korean War and the soldiers dispatched from the 53rd Division of the Korea Army have been guarding the Main Gate and the East Gate since 1 August, 2007.
Finally, the Lotte Department Store. On the 13th floor, there is a very large observation deck to view the harbour and the city which gave quite an impressive view of the large port. I didn’t think so much of the Lotte Department Store – prices are high and nothing that we could not buy at home.
There is a lot more to Busan – a world class aquarium and beautiful beaches; unfortunately, no time to see them in the time we had available but the visit to the cemetery was the goal for today to take some photos for the RSL back home.