Pweb - Sat, 2006-11-04 23:31
**Scroll to the bottom of this page for specific shopping guides** Shopping in Busan can be an experience both challenging and exciting, but it helps to know where to go. The city offers an immense variety of shopping venues, from glitzy department stores decorated with chandeliers and fountains to sprawling outdoor markets where vegetables are piled on the ground and sea creatures flap in buckets near your feet. It may seem daunting at first, shopping in Busan, and as a result, countless expatriates wind up either paying exorbitant amounts of cash to try to live comfortably, or denying themselves the things they want--never realizing how easily they could find it all. It's true, of course, that some goods are easier to locate than others. Glasses and sporting equipment, for example, are readily available and affordable, while imported food and larger-sized clothing are not quite so easy to find. Large department stores, such as Lotte and Hyundai, carry everything from groceries (typically found in the basement) to clothing, cosmetics, and household goods. Department stores, while convenient, do tend to be on the pricey side; however, if you look carefully, it's possible to find bargains. Many department stores keep their discounted items on one floor, and it's worth it to find out which floor that is. Recently, foreign "hyper-markets," such as Carrefour and Walmart, have popped up around the city, making it a snap to find the items you need at more affordable prices. Wide aisles, carts, and helpful clerks make shopping excursions pleasant and uncomplicated. Another option to explore is the shopping malls. Some, such as the ones located in Seomyon and Nampodong, can be found underground, while others occupy large buildings. Renecite and Migliore are two such examples. Clothing, shoes and electronics are the items most commonly sold in these malls. For a more unique, "Korean" shopping experience, visit an open market, or shizang . Most markets specialize in something--in Nampodong, for example, Jagalchi Market is the place to buy fresh fish, while Kukje Market is a goldmine of clothing, glasses, household necessities and school supplies, as well as a myriad other goods. Busanjin Market in Pomildong caters to newlyweds, selling everything from furniture to shoes, and it's also the place to buy reasonably priced silk and other bulk material. A short distance from Pusanjin Market are three others, Pyungwha (peace) market, Jayou (free) market, and Chungan Market. Local outdoor markets are truly ubi! quitous, carrying virtually anything you desire at prices significantly lower than department or grocery stores. For the consumate budget shopper, second-hand shops (called recycling, or jae-hwall-yong centers) are scattered throughout the city. Most specialize in electronics and furniture, but it's not uncommon to stumble upon valuable antiques from time to time. Recently, several second-hand clothing stores have cropped up as well, particularly in the Namchundong area. Shopping in Busan may not be quite the same as at home, but if you're resourceful and persistent, chances are you'll find what you're looking for. So before soliciting care packages from home or making the long trip to Seoul, take a day or two to explore the shops and markets of Busan. You might be surprised by everything you'll find, and by how much fun you have buying it.