For all kinds of clothing and food at bargain prices, a trip to Seoul's oldest and largest traditional market is a must-visit.
The enormous Namdaemun Market is the place to go for everything from clothes, stationery and toys to delicious Korean street food. As the city’s oldest market, it’s worth paying a visit to Namdaemun even if you’re not interested in shopping – the vibrant atmosphere and authentic local flavour make a great day out and offer some fantastic photo opportunities.
The market first appeared in the 15th Century but has been operating under its current name and form since 1964. Named after the Namdaemun Great South Gate, the market is busy all day, every day, so come prepared and allow yourself two or three hours to see everything.
Namdaemun is packed with people, stalls, permanent stores, and the occasional bike or cart transporting goods throughout the streets. There are no cars allowed on the streets, but it can still get pretty hectic, so pay attention. Don’t miss the underground arcade situated to the north of the market.
Namdaemun Market is the place to practise your bargaining skills, although prepare to be patient as not all vendors speak English. Haggle for clothes, fabric and jewellery, all available at low wholesale prices.
After all that bargaining, take a break and grab a bite to eat. Namdaemun is bursting with great street food options, with dozens of stalls located throughout the market. The warm and filling mandu gook dumpling soup is delicious.
Namdaemun Market is open from Monday to Saturday, with retailers open during the day and wholesalers open from evening to early morning. To get there, catch the subway to Hoehyeon. Keep an eye on children at the market – it’s a big place and it’s easy to become separated.