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Dongdaemun, More Than Just a Fashion Town

Published Date : Jan. 01, 2016 / Edited Date : Feb. 13, 2019
dongdaemun


 

Do you fancy shopping? Then it goes without saying that Seoul should be at the top of your list as a destination for shopping in Asia. Seoul has a plethora of shopping malls, department stores, and retail outlets, but let's be honest, while doing high end retail shopping at these outlets do have their merits, it's not the best way to experience the true shopping culture of a foreign country. Leave the western-style shopping practices behind you, and discover a whole new world of shopping at some of the most famous traditional markets and shopping centers in Seoul. If you are true lover of shopping - meaning you don't limit yourself to luxury department stores - then you will enjoy Dongdaemun Market, the shopping mecca of Seoul that never sleeps. 
Many of you - especially you fashion fanatics - are probably familiar with Dongdaemun Market. But for those of you who aren't, Dongdaemun Market is most famous as Seoul's largest fashion town that never sleeps. (Okay, it does go to sleep, but not until 5 am, which in my book is sleeps a lot less than I do!) Huge shopping centers, like Doota, Migliore, and Hello apM, at Dongdaemun are solely devoted to trendy fashion items. Hundred of stores and boutiques fill the floors of these towering shopping centers and offer the most trendy fashion items at reasonable prices. Dongdaemun Market is a shopaholic's haven on steroids; from wholesale to retail shopping, Dongdaemun Market is your one-stop location for just about anything - even for you nocturnal. If it's trendy fashion items that you want, then Dongdaemun Market is the place for you.

 

Dongdaemun Market

Dongdaemun Fashion Town


But Dongdaemun Market is not just a fashion district loaded with shopping centers; what makes Dongdaemun Market truly unique are its traditional markets (and the food at these traditional Korean markets): Gwangjang Market, Bangsan Market, and Pyeonghwa Market. 

For those of you who may be wondering, Dongdaemun, which literally translates to 'Eastern Gate', is one of the four major gates of Seoul. Gwanghwamun, Namdaemun (another major traditional market that we will delve into at a later point), and Seodaemun are the north, south, and west gates respectively. These four gates were once the major gates into the capital city during Joseon Period (1392-1897). The origins of Dongdaemun Market date back to 1905 at Gwangjang Market, which still exists today! Originally a night market opening from just 1pm~1am, today many areas are open from 10am~5am with some being open for 24 hours. 

Let's step away from western-style shopping and visit some traditional markets that truly represent the shopping culture and traditions of Korea. They may not be the cleanest places in Seoul, but the people there are full of love.


Gwangjang Market

With a history of over 100 years, Gwangjang Market is one of Korea's largest and oldest traditional markets. Up until the late 1800's, Korean markets functioned more or less like pop-up markets which were only open for a few days at a time. In 1905, Gwangjang Market became the first permanently established market that was open every day. The market still thrives today as a popular location for vintage clothing and its diversity of street foods. 

For anyone interested in fashion, especially vintage fashion and silk lovers, Gwangjang Market is a must visit. From t-shirts and jeans to silk and leather goods, a diverse variety of unique (and typical) fashion goods can be found here at bargain prices. For a smart shopper with a good eye, it's not difficult to find some great deals - which, let's admit, IS the most exciting part about shopping. 

Shopping for unique vintage clothing is fun, but for locals, the foods of Gwangjang Market is what the place is all about. The plethora of finger-licking good food is what makes Gwangjang Market busy, rain or sunshine. You can't go wrong with any of the food here, but the three foods that you absolutely cannot miss are Jeon, Yukhoe, and Mayak Gimbap. 

 


 

Vintage Jeans,Vintage Shoes

Vintage Jeans


Jeon Jeon refers to fried pancake like dishes in Korean cuisine. Jeon is made by mixing various ingredients, such as sliced meats, poultry, seafood, vegetables, with rice or wheat batter and then pan-frying with oil. Jeon is commonly eaten as an appetizer or as anju (food eaten while drinking alcoholic beverages), and is often paired with makgeolli (traditional rice wine). Bindaetteok is perhaps the most famous Jeon at Gwangjang Market. Bindaetteok, aka Nokdujeon, is a type of Jeon made from ground mung beans and meat (usually beef or pork), kimchi, and various other vegetables. It is typically served with a small side serving of dipping sauce made of soy sauce.

Yukhoe Yukhoe is essentially Korean steak tartare. Yukhoe is made from raw beef seasoned with various spices and sauces, usually soy sauce, sugar, salt, sesame oil, spring onions, minced garlic, and julienned Korean pear. A raw egg yolk is usually added on the top of the dish. Yukhoe is commonly eaten as anju (food eaten while drinking alcoholic beverages). What sets the Yukhoe at Gwangjang Market from the rest is the quality. It may not seem like it at a glance, but the Yukhoe restaurants here use only the freshest, premium quality cuts of beef, unlike many other places that use previously frozen beef.

Mayak Gimbap Many of you are probably familiar with Gimbap, but why are these called Mayak Gimbap you ask? Well, 'mayak' means narcotics in Korean, and the name suggests, the Gimbap here are so deliciously addictive that you will always want to come back for more. Seeing a plate of Mayak Gimbap for the first time may be disappointing to some because of its simplicity, but all doubt will disappear the moment you take your first bite. It's almost guaranteed that you will be thinking about it on your way home.

Gwangjang Market's Jeon, Yukhoe, and Mayak Gimbap Alley

Bindaetteok, Yukhoe, Mayak Gimbap / Gwangjang Market Food Alley


indaetteok, Yukhoe, Mayak Gimbap / Gwangjang Market Food Alley

Bangsan Market

Bangsan Market does not sell any fashion goods. This market is renowned for specializing in baking supplies and appliances. Whether it's for baking ingredients and small utensils to large baking appliances, Bangsan Market is the place to be for any baking enthusiast. With over 500 stores dedicated to baking supplies, there's practically no baking related item that you won't be able to find here. 

The name of the market comes from the location's former condition during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897). At the time, the area was infamous for its foul smell. People began ironically calling the market Bangsan, bang meaning fragrant in Korean, which stuck until this day. But don't let that make you think the area still smells foul; rest assured that it doesn't. 

Bangsan Market is also famous for its specialty chocolate shops. Mostly located on the first floor of the Jonghap Sangga (shopping center) building A, stores with over 20 years of history sell mouth-watering gourmet chocolates. 

Bangsan Market
Bangsan Market


Central Asian Town

Want to get some Central Asian food in Seoul? Then, head over to the Central Asian Town, located in the heart of the Dongdaemun area. 

By the mid 1990's, Dongdaemun saw a dramatic increase of textile merchant from Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Mongolia. As they began settling in nearby areas of Dongdaemun's Fashion town, so did their customs, traditions, and food. As a result, the neighborhood just west of Dongdaemun History & Culture Station slowly, but surely developed into the Central Asian Town of today. From all the non-Korean billboards and signs to the aroma of savory foods, once you step into the streets of the Central Asian Village, you will forget that you were ever in Korea. 

From a wide variety of services local immigrants to delicious restaurants for everyone, this is the place to go to experience the culture and food from Central Asia. Lamb dishes here are especially some of the best in Korea. Restaurants around here might not look much from outside, but do not judge a book by its cover. Slow-roasted lamb skewers are to die for. 


Slow-roasted lamb skewers


Pyeonghwa Market
 

Pyeonghwa Market paved the way for the Dongdaemun area to become the modern fashion town of Korea it is today. Located just south of Cheonggyecheon(Stream), the origins began as a shanty town for North Korean refugees after then end of the Korean War in 1953. Equipped with only a sewing machine, refugees began selling reformed clothes made from US army uniforms. In 1962, the first modern concrete structure, resembling the market today, was built and named Pyeonghwa, meaning peace in Korean, in hopes that no other wars would be fought on Korean soil. This historic fashion market is where the Dongdaemun Fashion Town, now consisting over 30,000 stores in 26 shopping centers, all began. 

Although Pyeonghwa Market is a wholesale market (from 9pm~6am) meant for retail merchants, many stores do sell to regular customers during the day. At prices slightly cheaper than many other retail outlets in Dongdaemun, Pyeonghwa Market is definitely a must visit for any fashion enthusiast.

Pyeonghwa Market

 

 

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#dongdaemun

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  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

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  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6025-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.
    (최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
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  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 보호자가 동반하지 않는 만 14세 미만의 하동 관광객의 경우 현장에서 취소됩니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 덕수궁의 경우 복지카드를 지참한 관광객에 한하여 무료입장이 가능합니다.
    ※ 중증(1~3급) 동반인 포함 2명 무료※ 경증(4~6급) 장애인 본인 1인만 무료
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  • 희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6025-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.(최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 덕수궁의 경우 복지카드를 지참한 관광객에 한하여 무료입장이 가능합니다.
    ※ 중증(1~3급) 동반인 포함 2명 무료
    ※ 경증(4~6급) 장애인 본인 1인만 무료
  • 본 프로그램은 수화해설 중심으로 진행되며, 수화가 불가능한 경우 이용이 불가합니다.
  • 희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6025-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.
    (최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 본 코스는 보행약자(거동이 불편한 고령자, 장애인, 유모차 이용자 등)를 위한 코스입니다.
  • 보호자를 동반하지 않을 시 이용이 불가능 합니다.※ 보행약자 1명당 보호자 최소 1인 이상 동반
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  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6025-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.(최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

Read before Reservation

  • Reservation shall be made at least 3 days before the tour day.
  • Reservation for the next month is available after 15th of the previous month.
  • Reservation may be closed early during weekend, holiday, and peak season in spring and fall.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office and Seoul culture and tourism guide are not liable for the safety accidents during the Seoul Guided Walking Tour.
  • Reservation for unaccompanied tourist under 14 will be canceled on site.
  • All reservations are canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour is unavailable due to Particulate Matter Reduction Measure or other weather conditions (heat wave, typhoon, heavy rain). (As of the date before the tour day)

Read before Reservation

  • Reservation shall be made at least 1 week before the tour day.
  • The course is for tourists with mobility problems (Senior, people with disability, stroller user).
  • You may not use the course without an assistant (or companion)
    ※ At least one assistant shall accompany a tourist with mobility problem
    ※ In case of electric assisting device users (electric wheelchair, electric scooter users), one assistant may accompany up to 4 tourists with mobility problem
  • Reservation may be canceled when a guide is unavailable on the desired date and course.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office (02-6025-0777) will contact you to confirm reservation.
    (At least 5 days~1 month before tour day) Reservation may be canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office cannot reach you for more than 3 times.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office and Seoul culture and tourism guide are not liable for the safety accidents during the Seoul Guided Walking Tour.
  • All reservations are canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour is unavailable due to Particulate Matter Reduction Measure or other weather conditions (heat wave, typhoon, heavy rain). (As of the date before the tour day)

予約前の案内事項

  • 予約は観光日を基準として少なくとも3日前まで可能です。
  • 翌月の予約は、前月の15日から可能です。
  • 週末及び祝日、春秋シーズンには予約が早めに締め切られる場合があります。
  • 解説を進行する時に発生する安全事故に対し、徒歩観光事務局と
    ソウル文化観光解説士は責任を負いません。
  • 保護者を伴わない万14歳未満の児童観光客の場合、現場でキャンセルされます。
  • 微細ホコリの非常低減措置発令及びその他の気象悪化(猛暑、台風、暴雨など)によって徒歩観光の運営が困難な場合、すべての予約は一括キャンセルされます。
    観光日前日基準)

予約前の案内事項

  • 予約は観光日を基準として少なくとも1週間前まで可能です。
  • 本コースは、移動弱者(移動が不自由な高齢者、障害者、ベビーカー利用者など)のためのコースです。
  • 補助人(或いは同行人)を伴わない場合は利用できません。
      ※歩行弱者1人当たり少なくとも1人以上の補助人を伴う
      ※電動補助具(電動車椅子、電動スクーターなど)使用者の場合、補助人1当たり歩行弱者最大4人まで同伴可能
  • ご希望の日付及びコースに活動可能な解説士がいない場合、予約はキャンセルされることがあります。
  • 予約を確認するため、徒歩観光事務局(02-6025-0777)で確認のための連絡が行われます。
    (少なくとも5日~1ヶ月前)3回以上電話が通じない場合、予約が取り消されることがあります。
  • 解説を進行する時に発生する安全事故に対し、徒歩観光事務局とソウル文化観光解説士は
    責任を負いません。
  • 微細ホコリの非常低減措置発令及びその他の気象悪化(猛暑、台風、暴雨など)によって
      徒歩観光の運営が困難な場合、すべての予約は一括キャンセルされます。
     (観光日前日基準)

预约前说明事项

  • 观光日基准最少3日前方可进行预约。
  • 下个月的预约可从前月15日开始。
  • 周末及公休日、春秋旺季的预约可早期结束。
  • 进行解说时,对于有可能发生的安全事故,徒步观光事务局和首尔文化观光
    解说员概不负责。
  • 未伴随保护者的未满14岁儿童游客,会在现场取消观光。
  • 因发布微尘紧急低减措施及其他气象恶化(暴热、台风、暴雨等),无法运营 徒步观光时,所有预约会批量取消。
    (观光前日基准)

预约前说明事项

  • 观光日基准最少1日前方可进行预约。
  • 本线路是为了行动不便者(行动不便的高龄者、残疾人、婴儿车利用者等)的路线。
  • 无辅助人员(或同行人)伴随时,不可利用。
    ※ 步行不便者1名至少需要1名以上的辅助人员陪同。
    ※ 电动辅助器具(电动轮椅、电动独轮车等)使用者时,每一位辅助人员最多可陪同 4名步行不便者。
  • 希望观光的日期及线路上无解说员时,预约有可能被取消。
  • 为了确认预约,徒步观光事务局(02-6025-0777)会致电进行确认。
    (最少5日~一个月前) 3次以上无法连接时,预约将被取消。
  • 进行解说时,对于有可能发生的安全事故,徒步观光事务局和首尔文化观光解说员概不负责。
  • 因发布微尘紧急低减措施及其他气象恶化(暴热、台风、暴雨等),无法运营 徒步观光时,所有预约会批量取消。
    (观光前日基准)

預約前說明事項

  • 觀光日基準最少3日前方可進行預約。
  • 下個月的預約可從前月15日開始。
  • 周末及公休日、春秋旺季的預約可早期結束。
  • 希望观光的日期及线路上无解说员时,预约有可能被取消。
  • 進行解說時,對於有可能發生的安全事故,徒步觀光事務局和首爾文化觀光解說員概不負責。
  • 未伴隨保護者的未滿14歲兒童遊客,會在現場取消觀光。
  • 因發布微塵緊急低減措施及其他氣象惡化(暴熱、臺風、暴雨等),無法運營 徒步觀光時,所有預約會批量取消。(觀光前日基準)

預約前說明事項

  • 觀光日基準最少1日前方可進行預約。
  • 本線路是為了行動不便者(行動不便的高齡者、殘疾人、嬰兒車利用者等)的路線。
  • 無輔助人員(或同行人)伴隨時,不可利用。
    ※ 步行不便者1名至少需要1名以上的輔助人員陪同。
    ※ 電動輔助器具(電動輪椅、電動獨輪車等)使用者時,每壹位輔助人員最多可陪同 4名步行不便者。
  • 希望觀光的日期及線路上無解說員時,預約有可能被取消。
  • 為了確認預約,徒步觀光事務局(02-6025-0777)會致電進行確認。
    (最少5日~壹個月前) 3次以上無法連接時,預約將被取消。
  • 進行解說時,對於有可能發生的安全事故,徒步觀光事務局和首爾文化觀光 解說員概不負責。
  • 因發布微塵緊急低減措施及其他氣象惡化(暴熱、臺風、暴雨等),無法運營 徒步觀光時,所有預約會批量取消。 (觀光前日基準)