As the theme of this month’s CULTURE box is ART, we are having a closer look at all the arts and craft markets that South Korea has to offer, as well as some of our all time favourites to stop off at to refuel. These are amazing snippets into Korea’s young and creative who gather at markets to showcase their handmade products. We love that they are thriving and showing new and innovative creative pieces. Here are just a few of the main markets that are dotted all over South Korea, and we hope you like our choices!
1. Hongdae Free Market
Opening Times: Saturdays from 13:00-18:00, March – November
Located in the vibrant, youthful region of Seoul, the Hongdae Free Market is not something you should miss! Located in the Hongdae playground, you’ll see the market crowded with people meandering through the many little stalls. This market is absolutely packed with handmade arts and crafts, ranging from cards to jewellery to hand sewn dolls and talented artists. You can get your portrait drawn using beautiful watercolour paints for just 10,000 won, or even get your personalised stamp with your name (you could even have it engraved with a Korean name)! If you’re looking to get your friend or family member a unique present, this is the place to go! You could easily spend the a couple hours here and even spend a little more time listening to some buskers too.
2. Namdaemun Market
Opening Times: Most of the day but varies depending on the shops. Some are open overnight 23:00-17:00 the next day, closed on Sundays
You’ve probably heard of Namdaemun Market, Korea’s largest traditional market, before. And for good reason! There are stalls upon stalls selling all sorts of souvenirs and trinkets that you just wouldn’t find anywhere else. There are alleyways specialising in particular dishes such as Galchi Jorim (spicy braised beltfish) or Kalguksu (handmade knife cut noodles). Now you can satisfy both your stomach and your shopping cravings in one place!
With over 10,000 stores in one place selling a whole host of products – anything you can think of, you could spend the whole day here. It is also just a few minutes walk to Myeongdong which is always handy if you wanted to pick up some cosmetics in the same day. With such flexible opening hours, you should definitely make time to check this place out!
3. Insadong Ssamziegil
Opening Times: 10:30 – 20:30 every day
If you’re looking to visit a market with a unique charm, you’ve come to the right place! Instead of the shops being lined up row after row, they are stacked on top of each other with a spiralling walkway connecting them all together. Here, you can find all sorts of artistic pieces, from original artwork to craft workshops and so much more. If you want to take a break from shopping, go all the way to the top of the market and you’ll find a gorgeous sky garden and a little area filled with hanging messages written by visitors!
Want a unique experience? Go to the basement of ssamziegil and choose from a whole range of workshops – learn to make your own candle, pillowcase, fragrances and more! There are so many workshops to choose from, you’ll want to try them all.
4. Seoul Folk Flea Market
Opening Times: 10:00-19:00, closed on every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month
Did you know this is one of the main folk flea markets in South Korea? The purpose of these folk markets are to preserve the traditional Korean culture, which is a huge draw to tourists and locals alike. Located near cheonggyecheon a beautiful stream, it is a great way to kill two birds with one stone by visiting both of these great spots in one day! Here you can find both unique folk items, traditional crafts, rare and authentic items for friends and family back home, as well as traditional food items as well.
That’s everything from us! We hope that you’re now a bit more informed on these hidden gems and will plan to visit them sometime soon!
Featured Image Source: © Inspire Me Korea, 28.06.17, www.inspiremekorea.com