Seoul's Namdaemun Area has hundreds of small shops selling everything from clothes and housewares to souvenirs at discount prices. There are also several decent restaurants on "food vendor alley."
This is one of the largest and most traditional markets in Seoul and it offers a wide variety of goods from authentic Korean pottery to knock-off American clothing. Just walking through the area is an adventure, whether you're buying anything or not. In my many visits to the area, I only bought a few small kitchen items, but I also stopped at shoe repair shops and a few of the great little restaurants.
During my 2013 visit, the streets of the area were decorated with small flags of the world. We really enjoyed the massive jewelry building with hundreds if not thousands of small vendors and manufacturers. We also had a great lunch of bebimbap at a small restaurant.
Namdaemun area is famous for budget shopping. You can find everything you need in several streets and alleys. Prices are reasonable, but there is still some room for bargain. You can spend hours in Namdaemun if you are into shopping. There are also food stalls serving noodles and other local delicacies. To feel the vibrant daily life in Seoul, you have to visit this market.
What to buy: Souvenirs, T-shirts, Local products
What to pay: Prices are reasonable
I was there twice.
One in the morning and one late noon.
What can I say about Namdaemun market,well in the late noon forget to look the floor because you can´t see it, so you can figure how packed it is.
But is a shopper paradise, lots of faked items, very good imitations but expensive too.
For me socks and belts was my way of shopping in Namdaemun.
Namdaemun is a large, open-air market, named for nearby Namdaemun (Great South Gate), has existed in the same place for more than 600 years and is Korea's largest traditional market. It is filled with over 1,000 shops, stalls, retailers, street vendors, and has several department stores nearby. Here you can find clothes, shoes, fabrics, tableware, flowers, vegetables, ginseng products, toys, and watches. Under Namdaemun-no (the main street to the north of the market) is an extensive underground arcade.
Wholesalers operate from midnight to 6:00 a.m., and retailers are open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the Market is closed on Sundays. Though it specializes in clothing, with hundreds of vendors selling shirts, pants and jackets, it sells just about everything (including low quality and high quality "super copy" luxury brands like LV, Gucci, Prada, Bulgari, etc-just enter the stalls and ask for the super copy since the low quality good are just displayed outside!)
What to buy: assorted Korean Souvenirs, shirts, food, soju, fashion dresses, low quality and high quality fakes of Luxury Leather goods like LV, Prada, Gucci or Bulgari and a lot more!
What to pay: depends on your haggling skills, they don't know much english so I would siggest having an interpreter or tour guide with you.
Nam (³²) is South, Dae (´ë) is great, mun (¹®) is gate: Great South Gate. Just get there and start walking. The market is bordered by massive streets but if you walk in and out of the blocks of stalls and shops you can find some little gems.
If you get a hankering for a real LV bag just go across the street to Shinsege Department Store (near the Bank of Korea building) but better bring a high-limit credit card.
What to buy: Not as organized as Dongdaemun, this market is mostly outdoor with many, many sellers of bags/attaches/purses/luggage and about anything else one could need. Some good knock-offs here as well, but not in the shops...got to go to the more mobile sellers in the street for the best goods. For instance, LV belt (vinyl, but nice looking) 15,000 - 1,000 discount if buying 2 (see: What to Pay).
Also: TONS of clothing, some of which is fake, others are just low-priced.
What to pay: Bargain everywhere. Never pay full price, always 10%-20% should come off. Never take your wallet out until you have the price firm. Never get too excited about an item. Always show flaws or make up some option or color you would prefer (one that they cannot give, thus should give you a discount for not having it). Always buy 2 or more items...should get a 20% discount at least for that. If you get 30%-35% off consider yourself a local.
This is a massive massive outdoor and indoor market selling everything from belts to ginseng to suitcases, material, music, everything! Prices are negotiable. You have to make offers.
What to buy: Clothes are cheaper and are brand name clothes. Custom made Football and Basketball jerseys can be found. Bootleg modern movies are a good deal. Designer material is really cheap and gorgeous quality.
What to pay: Material was 2,000 won for 2 yards.
Namdaemun Market is the largest and best general wholesaler market in Korea. It's here where you'll find probably every product imaginable: clothing, textile, household items, food, handicrafts and accessories...name it they have it! And the best thing of all is that they're so inexpensive! (well okay, it was still quite expensive considering that I come from the Philippines and was busy converting money).
Namdaemun is not just a shopping area but also a tourist destination if you want to get a feel of Korean culture and everyday life as even the ordinary folks come to Namdaemun. It is said that the best time to go is between 10:30pm until the wee hours of morning when retailers descend on the market to get the best wholesale deals.
What to buy: Shoes are a must as well as sweaters, coats and jackets. I think Koreans love their winter wear and you'll find the most stylish coats and jackets in Korea.
What to pay: i can't remember exactly but i do remember that haggling can be done!
One of the most vibrant markets in Seoul is the outdoor Namdaemun market. A maze of narrow alleys lined with stores, Namdeamun always seems crowded. The northernmost section is reserved for food vendors selling Korean staples like kimchi, soup and other unrecognizable dishes (I'm sure you can get soju or beer to wash down your quick meal). Most of the other stores sell clothes, handbags and everyday items. If you're looking for gifts to bring back home, you may find some here but you'll have to do some hunting. You'd have better luck shopping at Insadong or Itaewon.
There were 6 or more alleys of Namdaemun market selling clothes, grocery, food, medicines, bags and shoes. This is the biggest flea market in Seoul and perhaps the one that offers the cheapest goods compared to Dongdaemun and Myeongdong (more fashionable).
Try sampling Korean street food while you're here.
I even tried to exchange dollars into won in the nearby KB star bank
What to buy: T-shirts and blouses - start at 5000 W
Shoes - start at 10,000 W
Probably one of the largest markets I will ever visit, with literally thousands of stalls, and shoppers all looking for the best deals. Whatever it is you are looking for, it can be found here, believe me. It is a great place to buy souvenirs of any kind, and if the price isn't marked on the merchandise, then it's fair game for bargaining!!
What to buy: Korean Crafts, T-shirts, Food, Everything
What to pay: If you can speak a little Korean, and are able to bargain, don't expect to spend very much!!!
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