Traditional Markets are one of the best places to get a real taste of Korean’s life and culture. Shopping, bargaining with ajummas (middle-aged Korean women), eating, people watching, what more fun can you have? ^^ Check out these 6 Markets worth visiting in Seoul!
1. Namdaemun Market
Namdaemun Market is one of the oldest (with a history of 600 years!) and biggest markets in Seoul. This is a place where you can buy anything from clothes, ceramics, household goods, accessories, jewellery to electronic goods and regional specialities. But in particular it’s known for its traditional crafts (great for souvenirs) and its eyeglasses district. At the glasses section of the Namdaemun Market, you can find a wide selection of eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses sold at half the price of those in other retail stores. Also worth visiting is the food district where you can try noodles, jokbal pork hock, pan-fried bindaetteok, boiled hairtail stew and other Korean favorites!
How to get there: Hoehyeon Station (Line 4, Exit 5). Market will be to your right.
2. Dongdaemun Market
Dongdaemun Market might be the best place to shop for Korean fashion! In the 1970s, the market became the heart of the Korean textile industry and today’s center of Korea’s wholesale and retail fashion industries. Korean fashion here is cheap, unique and super modern! So if you are looking for some hot clothes and accessories this is the place to be!
Though the market is open throughout the day, the night market is particularly popular with people coming from all over the country to shop from late evening to early morning (the market closes at 7 am).
How to get there: Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station (Line 2, 4, 5, Exit 14) or Dongdaemun Station (Line 1, 4, Exit 7 or 8).
3. Gwangjang Market
Gwangjang Market is a great place to taste some Korean traditional food! It’s a very genuine market eating experience complete with our infamous ajummas (Korean middle-aged ladies). The market serves popular comfort foods like bindaetteok (Korean-style pancake made of ground mung beans, pork or beef, and kimchi), gimbap, bibimbap, and sundae (a kind of sausage made by stuffing meat, tofu, and cellophane noodles in pig’s intestines) and lots of sweets!
How to get there: Jongno-5-Ga Station (Line 1, Exit 8). Market will be to your left.
4. The Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market
The nation’s largest wholesale fish market with a history of more than 80 years. Open and busy 24 hours a day, the already bustling marketplace really picks up around dawn when the fish auctions begin. You can find about 800 vendors selling fresh seafood offering prices lower than normal asking prices. And you know what? After you make your purchase, you can take your fresh fish to a nearby restaurant to have it sliced raw, grilled, or deep fried for a small fee (2,000-3,000 won per person).
How to get there: Noryangjin Station (Line 1 – Exit 1, Line 9 – Exit 2). Walk along the overpass to the market.
5. Garak Market
Garak Market is the main wholesale market of Seoul and it’s one of the biggest markers here. It offers independent sections for fruits, vegetables, garlic, fish, dried foods, and meat in a huge area. Run by the Seoul Agricultural & Marine Products Corporation, the market is where agricultural and fishery products from around the nation are gathered for distribution and standard prices determined. The best time to visit the market is between 6 to 9pm. That way, you’ll still be able to catch the auctions, but you won’t get lost among the trucks and merchandise that start pouring in. Because the market is so big, it may be too time-consuming and tiring to look around the entire market, so make sure to get a map and decide which sections you want to visit.
How to get there: Garak Market Station (Line 3, 8, Exit 8). Cross the street, it’s on the other side.
6. Yangnyeongsi Market
The Yangnyeongsi Market is responsible for about 70 % of the nation’s total distribution of medicinal goods. In addition to other medicinal herbs, you can buy things like ginseng, bonnet bellflower, and balloonflower as well as tea ingredients that are hard to find in other parts of the city, like the fruits of schizandra, cornus, and Solomon’s seal.
How to get there: Jegi Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 2
Come here and get lost in the wonders of Korean culture!