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Insadong: Antique Alley
"Insadong" is a great place to spend an afternoon, even if you aren't a collector. The cobblestone streets are usually closed to traffic and are lined with art, souvenir, and antique shops, creating a quaint pedestrain-friendly atmosphere. Street vendors sell everything from traditional candy to scrolls bearing your name in calligraphic script. In the back alleys, you'll find beautiful tea houses (try to find one - on the second floor - that's famous for its birds) and traditional restaurants (at Sanchon you can sample a traditional monk's feast (vegetarian) while you watch a dance performance - reservations recommended).
What to buy: "lucky bells" - beautiful wind chimes
artwork, art supplies and antiques of all kinds
wood furniture (like Chinese medicine cabinets or low Korean tables)
pearl inlay jewelery boxes
wood or silver business card holders
scrolls of calligraphy
souviners (we especially like the bookmarks)
What to pay: Perhaps a bit more than average in Korea, but the quality of workmanship and pleasant atmosphere make the markup worthwhile.
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