before you go … BUSAN

The World, Rebooted
Busan (Pusan), South Korea

Busan, on the southern tip of South Korea, is a bustling city of 6.5-million people. This city may surprise you. It is modern, clean and the setting is gorgeous with rocky islands and a lush coastal area.

The central city has subways and shopping is handy both above and below ground. It is busy without being crowded. In fact, the monstrously large city is so efficient that it borders on being relaxed.

Busan is world’s largest ship builder, and even in the worldwide economic slowdown, Busan is cranking out lots of ships. The shipyards with the huge hulls and pieces of ships-to-be are easy to see from the road that leads to its port. It is worth a stroll.

Look, too, at Busan’s famous fish market. Fish that you love are laid out in huge arrays alongside fish you’ve never heard of. This is one place where there are always heavy crowds. If the smell of fish bothers you, in the fish market it will overpower you.

As befits an aggressive modern city, fast free Internet is easy to find. Finding people who speak English is much more of a challenge, but the South Koreans are a friendly and full of good humor. They invariably are willing to engage in sign language as you try to ask questions and as they struggle to answer.

Hollywood is also here with a respected and popular Film Festival that has its own area in the city. You’ll fare better here if looking for someone to speak English.

Busan is not the easiest place in the world to get to. Even the cruise ships only stop here intermittently. The business of Busan is business not play. But if you do get there, plan to stay a few days first to see the city and then to venture into the countryside.

If all you know about South Korea is that it was the site of a major war in the middle of the 20th Century, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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