Now if you are thinking of milling about the streets of Korea and doing a little shopping, do yourself this favour and go to Insadong instead of Itaewon. Unlike the latter, Insadong is a cool little street where you can find other things other than fake hard rock t-shirts, counterfeit louis vuitton , vcds, etc. Yes, if none of these interest you, pop down to Insadong and you'll find interesting antique shops, calligraphy shops, quaint tea houses and lots and lots of art galleries. Littered on the sidewalks are also quaint little sculptures like this frog.
Insadong street is closed to traffic on Sundays and shopping is a lot more fun then!
The Insa-dong art and antique district has dozens of art galleries and shops selling art supplies, antiques, and handicrafts along one main street (Insadong-gil) and many side alleys. It also contains many traditional tea and coffee shops. is located here and can be On weekends, the main street is blocked to vehicular traffic, allowing the throngs of people to mingle without fear of being run down by Seoul drivers taking a shortcut.
Recently, a new attraction has been drawing visitors to Insa-dong. Sunday has been named as a car-free day, so cars are not permitted in the area for one day of the week. Instead, a flea market opens on this day to sell various antiquities, accessories, artworks, and books. Traditional antiques from different parts of Korea as well as international antiques brought by foreign tourists are displayed throughout Insa-dong, allowing visitors to view many traditional items in one glance. It is highly recommended to visit Insa-dong on Sundays since you can also view beautiful street arts also.
When shopping in Insa-dong, make sure you check where the product is made from. Recently, cheap Chinese goods such as teacups, wall tapestries, and small accessories have been brought into the Insa-dong markets and have spurred cases where merchandise thought to be made in Korea turned out to be marked as ‘Made in China.’ Also, remember to prepare a map of Insa-dong in your language as well as Korean in order to quickly check information on famous shops, restaurants, or cafes in advance. Maps are available on the basement floor of the Korea Tourism Organization building as well as Tourism Information Centers located throughout
Insadong is the district of Seoul best loved by foreign visitors. Queen Elizabeth came here in 1999. Americans nicknamed it "Mary's Alley". Its narrow streets are lined with traditional buildings housing arts and craft shops, restaurants and tea shops. Nearly half of Korea's antique stores are located here. In the main street of Insadong-gil, there are also foodstalls and street performers. You may even see a parade, like the one in the picture.
The area is for pedestrians only, on Sundays. Nevertheless, it can get so crowded that it is still difficult to walk there!
Insadong is where you can find traditional Korea within Seoul. Wander around the place and enjoy the street full of art galleries, craft shops, antique stores and restaurants.
I especially like the shops where the store owner lets you admire those wonderful antiques and the street artisans willing to tell you about their craft.
One could easily spend a day here just walking around the place. I loved this street so much I returned here 3x in 9 days.
My favourite activity in seoul is to wander around aimlessly (more or less) This past fall i spent a half day wandering around the hilly area just north of Insadong (or Anguk station) There are some beautiful views wandering through the quiet alleys in the area. There are loads of art galleries and cafe's as well as interesting architecture old and new.
This is a narrow alley packed with cheap restaurant, and sul jip (bars) that sells all kind of drinks. Here if you order beer, that's kinda out of fashion. ask for the menu, you will see amny different kinds of korean traditional booze, Some sells in the market, but some doesn't. and usually they are pretty good and price is also reasonable.
the people there might not be very friendly, )well don't know how they treat foreigners though), but nevermind, that's the way they do their business...
oh.. and the gate of alley won't look real neat. but you can't judge a book from its cover.. well..
It could be said that Seoul is representative of Korea, but it has grown too much like the other great cities of the world to say that it is of Korean culture alone. But what if there was a place in Seoul where you could hear traditional Korean vocalizations in the street, experience a proper Korean meal while enjoying a cup of traditional tea, and observe traditional Korean fine crafts, all in one place?
If you follow the bustle and noise from Jongno past Tapgol Park, you’ll find Insa-dong to your left. “Insa-dong," as referred to here, is the stretch of avenue extending about 700m beginning at Tapgol Park.
Here, in the myriad fine craft stores that line both sides of the street, you can find anything from simple hanbok (traditional Korean clothing), to beautiful Goryeo era vases. Recently there has also been an influx of items that have dominated an era yet can't entirely be considered Korean almost to the point where Insa-dong can now be considered a giant flea market.
Insadong is chocka full of restaurants, you’ll Japanese udon noodles, Chinese dumplings, and European cakes up until the entrance of Insa-dong, once inside, you'll find distinctly Korean foods in temporary stalls on the streets such as tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), eomuk (skewered fish sausage), hotteok, and various tempuras. These street foods are tasty and cheap, so it's definitely worth a try. You also find rare korean foods, such as rice cakes, yeot (traditional candy), and rice cookies. There are also many kinds of traditional drinks, such as cinnamon tea, Chinese quince tea, jujube tea, shikhye (fermented rice punch), and sujeonggwa (cinnamon flavored dried persimmon punch), so try a cup to compliment the food. If you'd like, you could also try the different traditional alcoholic beverages made from rice or grain. If you escape the busy main streets of Insa-dong into one of its alleys, you can experience a true Korean meal.
Insa-dong area is a great place to get souveniers from all across Korea. There are many galleries with origional artwork. There are also traditional tea houses and cafe's. In the warmer months the main road has street buskers from all around the world. There is a stage area near the entrance to Tapgol Park. On sundays there is usually a traditional show.... Last time I was there I caught a tradtitional wedding
The main street in Insadong is Insadong-gil, which is lined with rather ordinary-looking modern buildings. To see beautiful, traditonal Korean buildings and get away from the crowds, just walk down any of the sidestreets leading off Inadong-gil. You will also find some of the best, traditional restaurants in Korea there.
Insadong is a really cool little street with ton's of little shops. Mostly selling traditional korean stuff, there is also alot of little art galleries and a buddist temple thats pretty intresting. It is a lot like Asakasa in Tokyo.
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