South Korea's most important port and second largest city, Busan, is nestled between the mountains and the East Sea. Located on the southern coast, it is the main port for ferry service to Japan and the stunning islands in the Hallyeo Maritime National Park.
In 1592, the Japanese warlord Hideyoshi launched an attack that was 150,000 strong in an effort to overthrow the Chinese empire. Korea, being loyal to China, refused Japan access into their country and the Japanese proceeded to fight their way through in an effort to reach and conquer China. Busan was the first city to fall during the Hideyoshi invasion. After six years of war, thousands of Koreans had either been slaughtered or forced into slavery. The self-described “shrimp between whales” was left in ruins.
Since then Busan has developed into a bustling metropolis. Amidst the successful economy and busy city life are monuments, memorials, and shrines that serve as a legacy of the sad history.
The city is now boisterous with honking cars, ferry horns, and towering skyscrapers. Dockside fish markets display the day’s catch of squid, abalone, dog sharks, bright orange sea squirts, and fish of all sizes and colors. Next to these animated and lively fish markets are countless office buildings, high-rise apartments, and “career men” in suits and company ID necklaces.
Close to the docks is Texas Street-a shopping district, nightlife hotspot, and restaurant haven all in one. It is very popular with foreigners and gets its secondary name, Russian Street, from the Russian sailors who call in at Busan’s port and enjoy a taste of Korea. Busan also offers first-class hotels and restaurants as well as excellent sandy white beaches which are a testament to the remarkable sundry of sights and activities available in the city.