Insadong is reputedly said to have about 40% of antique shops in Seoul. So this is a great place to start your search and buy.
You will different varieties of ceramic, wood and metalware, paintings, "hanbok" (a traditional Korean cloth accessory).
There are of course other souvenir and other smaller items at affordable price ranges.
Ginseng is expensive but highly appreciated by those who use them.
In Insadong-gil, there are stalls where you can see sweets and candy being made by hand. The vendor in the picture put on quite a show, but I found his toffee crunch too sweet and sticky and spent the next few minutes picking it out of my teeth. One good thing: he lets you try a free sample first.
Insadong isn't a shop so much as a few streets in Central Seoul that are considered the artist's district. This is a great place to go and view modern and traditional Korean Art. The whole area has a really great feel, quite relaxed with coffee and tea shops where you can stop and relax. The galleries are fabulous to browse through, as are the other shops. If you're looking for more information about tourist activities in the area, you can stop at the tourist information centre. The centre also has an international ATM and free internet service.
Probably the best time to visit Insadong would be on Sundays. The street is closed to traffic, so people walk to and fro without much care. There are also cultural demonstrations on Sundays, and you may occasionally see buskers out among the street vendors.
What to buy: This is THE place to buy art, as long as you remember that art isn't cheap. The artists who display here are not students, so you will be paying for professional pieces.
There are tons of paper shops in Insadong, so you can buy large pieces of rice paper, cards, papercrafts accessories and so on.
You can buy great Korean clothes in all sizes here. Even if you aren't as small as most Koreans, you will likely be able to find hanboks and other clothes in your size. My boyfriend, who is a little round, was able to find several comfy shirts that fit him well.
Another thing to buy in this area are Korean souvenirs. These are a little more reasonable than most of the things you'll buy in Insadong, but I would still check around to see if you can find them cheaper elsewhere.
What to pay: The art will be pricey. You can spend several hundred dollars on one piece.
Paper is also a little more expensive, but will be cheaper than if you were to buy it at home if you are from the West. Expect to pay about $1 for a large sheet, and $3-5 for already made papercrafts like cards.
Clothes aren't too expensive. Jesse bought both of his shirts on sale for about $35 each. The full hanboks are a little more expensive, up to $200 each, but the quality is pretty incredible.
Insadong is a tourist hotspot.
From simple postcards (still pretty hard to find in Korea), T-Shirts, jewelry caskets, personalized chops to Korean red ginseng and historical antiques... you're gonna find it in Insadong.
However, prices tend to be slightly higher than on markets such as Namdaemun or Dongdaemun. Really depends on what and how much you wanna buy though.
What to pay: Don't buy at the first shop you see but rather take a stroll and get familiar with the various products and prices.
Afterwards, decide on one shop and negotiate as much as you can. The more you buy, the more discount can be achieved!
The Insadong shopping area is considered an art and antique district. It's a very traditional area. Great place to get some souvenirs to send home to your family and friends. This is a good place to go to have a nice cup of traditional tea. There are several tea shops in Insadong.
*The YMCA is a good place to meet friends and then walk together to Insadong. There are several signs in the subway pointing towards the YMCA.
What to buy: Antiques, Souvenirs, Art galleries, Korean traditional clothes, Ceramics, and so much more!!!
Well if you want to bring home same local souvenir, so Insadong is the right place.
A bit expensive compared to other places,but more variety and better manufactured.
Korean masks was my choice.
Nice place to walk.
Street Vendors and small shops line the pedestrian street in Seoul's Insadong neighborhood. Situated near the palaces in the heart of downtown, Insadong is the historic art district of the capital, and the bestthings to buy here are still art supplies or art products. But if you want small souvenirs to bring to your family and friends back home, Insadong will serve you well.
As one of the few streets closed to traffic in Seoul, Insadong draws throngs of people, many of whom never venture into the shops. On weekend days, the human traffic flow can be very heavy. This makes Insadong a great place to people watch, as it is a popular destination for Seoulites as well as tourists.
What to buy: Celedon pottery, artistic supplies
Insadong is one of the most popular shopping areas in Seoul for tourists. It has stores specializing in Korean art, Buddhist crafts, wood carvings, calligraphy supplies, pottery, and many other items.
This is my favorite neighborhood in Seoul, not because of the expensive touristy shops on the main street, but because of the small back alleys. On these narrow streets you can find bargain shops, small local restaurants, craft stores, museums, antique shops, and much more.
What to pay: Things are a little expensive in Insadong, but you can't beat the atmosphere or the convenience.
"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.
Insadong is actually a nice place to go even though it's touristy. Sundays they close off the street to cars(well they try) so it's easier to get around. Lots of restaurants of differnt tastes, if you go off the main drags you can get all kinds of good Korean food too. On sundays they also have a street play running about an old famous trial and what appears to be a child king? Look for one of my favorite stores off the west side of the street tucked into a little alley- you can get great deals on ceramics there! --see pic
What to buy: You can get masks, korean traditional paintings, clothing, lamps etc. There is also great pottery and tea sets. If you buy off the guys on the street instead of the stores, it's much cheaper. Try the Korean pancakes, there is often a line, but it's worth it. It's kind of like syrup inside.
What to pay: It's a little expensive compared to other countrys. If you want a deal, sometimes Myeongdong dept. store has good souvineirs
The Insadong street area is interesting place of foreign traveller. this area is get a feel the living culture, learning culture, and other culture of Korea tradition. you can see the lots of many traditional Korean teahouses, small museums, various art galleries, craft shops, antique shops and traditional food. relax and looking around by walking area.
What to buy: Especially about buy a culture of Korea tradition
Insadong is a neighborhood in the center of Seoul. It has wooden tea houses, boutique galleries and street vendors selling traditional snacks. There are many souvenir shops here. Parts are pedestrianised on Sundays.
Insadong-gil has a great sellection of stores dealing in traditional Korean art materials and supplies. Just look out for the usual large horse hair brush out on display.
What to buy: In these Art Supply stores one can view and buy a large selection of paint and caligraphy brushes. Paints, ink and paper etc., aswell as pens and more creative locally produced post cards and gifts are also available in these stores.
Insadong is composed of one 800 meter main street intersected with small alleys lined with numerous shops and galleries, both tiny and spacious: antique shops, Korean stationery stores, frame shops, handicraft shops, pottery and porcelain shops, bookstores and painting studios, and art supply stores. In addition, restaurants and cafes serve traditional food and teas. Over forty percent of the Korea antique stores are in Insadong according to my Tour Guide. The antiques sold tend to be more valuable than those sold on other art streets in Korea.
What to buy: antiques, accessories, artworks and books, Ceramics and Celadon!
What to pay: The price range differs greatly depending on the customers and items. Old books are usually popular among Japanese and Chinese tourists whose cultures also use Chinese characters. As they are often quite expensive, Japanese tend to purchase these more than the Chinese. Buyers of old books vary from history professors to antique collectors. Archeology and history books are the most popular books. And Since this is a Kitschy Area, it is better to have a korean friend or interpreter with you once buying!
Don't buy stuff just for souvenirs here too since this place is really expensive! just go to Namdaemun or Dongdaemun for that!
A big shopping area yere you can find mainly Korean - themed items, from souvenirs to clothing, art and craft, pictures, books....
I was actually very happy that I went there, after unsucessfull attempts to find Korean stuff in some popular shopping areas such as Myeong dong, Dongdaemun, etc, that mainly contained "western" fashion and western styled items.
I collect national flags, t shirts with country oriented images, etc and usually (incredible but true) these are the hardest items to find in Asian countries.
On Insa dong, I have bought a Korean flag, couple of Korea themed t-shirts (I love the one that contains some written text in Korean(heh I hope it doesn't say something that might make people laugh at me :), beautifull jewelery(bijou) - book-markers, etc
Must say that i left the area very happy and carrying lots of bags
What to buy: Korean themed items of various kinds
What to pay: 5 - cpl of 1000s (US$ - Euro)