This was my first visit to South Korea. I did as much research as I possibly could in two weeks (that's when I knew I was going). So, this area looked interesting to me. I expected to see more "art" stuff but it seemed to have more souveniers catering to tourists than I expected to see.
My surprise was how many great looking eateries/restaurants there were. We were still a tad early for lunch but thought we would return at some point to have dinner. Unfortunately, we never made it back. But....next time!
Please see my travelogue album on Insadong on my Seoul page!
Tourists visit Insadong 인사동 for the traditional fine art and gallery experience but for me it was all about Ssamziegil (쌈지길). This mall is frequent by locals and tourist and it's you can buy a few unique items for gifts. Korean paper, music boxes, caricature and yes the "poo pancake" on the first floor. Don't worry it's just red beans and pancake batter and is safe on the tummy. Also you can try Pajeon 파전 (Korean pancake) here as well
Should be a good destination after Bukchon Hanok Village
I really had a hard time to find a nice place to stay online. Lucky me, I was able to find Saerim Hotel which is within the Insadong Street! Hurray!!!
Insadong street is the souvenir street where tourists should take time to look around the Korean shops. Along the street are shops selling traditional souvenirs, gift items, local foods (cookies, breads), traditional teas/restaurants, etc. This street starts to get busy at 10am.
Many shops accept credit cards but cash is more favorable. Sometimes when you use a card, you can't have a discount... (dunno why)
I bought some souvenir shirts on our last day but I found out that the prices here are a bit higher than in the Doota Mall. The "I love Korea" white colored shirt costs KW5,000, black/gray colored shirts costs KW6,000 while in Doota Mall costs only KW5,000 (white/gray/black). You see, that's already a KW1,000 difference! Anyway, I just bought additional shirts for my cousins... so I just took the white ones, haha!
I usually find myself lost at times... let me tell you a short story.
One night, I asked my friend if we can eat something heavy since I'm soOo starving! It was 11pm at that time that almost all shops/restaurants are already closed but due to my hunger, I insisted even if it's raining! I saw this place still open, so we went upstairs and sat. An old man politely greeted us and got our umbrellas and placed it in a corner. We were about to order, when... the menu was filled with different kinds of teas! Imagine how you can react in a situation when you are so starving! Then it turned out that the place we got in was a traditional tea house!!! waaaah!!!
if you want some time for relaxation, this traditional tea house is waiting for you (but I forgot the name of this tea house, haha), anyway... this is the only available tea house on a late night.
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!
Happened to be at Insadong area in the afternoon? You are welcome to visit the afternoon concerts in the Habit Wellness&Culture lounge. There you can have a nice time and relax listening to traditional Korean music and European well-known melodies performed by Kayagum orchestra.
But it is not only about music! Also you can experience breathing meditation accompanied by Kayagum solo. It was really refreshing I had a lot of positive emotions.
Ticket price is only 10 000 Won
Snacks and tea after the concert are also included ^_^
The concerts are performed by Wed, Thu, Fri each week. Time: 2 pm - 3 pm
PS: If you have more time on 3d floor there in a Tea House and Kooksondo (Korean Yoga) practice lounge, where you can prolong your relaxation also improve your health.
From my experience even basic stretching is helpful to keep body in tonus. While the meditation I tried take all the troubles out of my head for a while, wow!
Beware buying at National Souvenir Centre!
Ordered and paid for two beautiful hand-crafted table lamps for my wife's 50th birthday present @ £200 and paid for them to be sent by secure tracked delivery to UK.
Finally after 4 months of chasing by email and phone ONE of the lamps was delivered.
6 months on, still chasing the second lamp but all emails and phone calls go into a black hole. :((
Unfortunately paid cash so no recourse through credit card company.
If anyone is going to insa-Dong and would be happy to drop in and ask some questions please let me know.
Insadong is a very busy shopping street with restaurants scattered around the area. On a Sunday, there's a free classical music concert with popcorn & drinks. After a tiring walk around Gyeongbukgung Palace, this is a welcome relief.
Insa-dong ,located in the middle of the city, is an important place where old but precious and traditional goods are on display. There is one main road in Insa-dong with alleys on each side. Within these alleys are galleries, traditional restaurants, traditional teahouses, and cafes. The shops in Insa-dong are very popular among all age groups.
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!
Very similar to Vancouver's Granville Island area, Insa-dong is about a 400 meter long stretch of road, offering traditional tea shops, art galleries, antique shops, restaurants and ceramic dealers, with alleyways branching off in all directions.
Every Sunday the street is closed to traffic and opened up to performers, food stalls and all kinds of street entertainment. At night the alleyways are alive with bars and Hofs offering beer and more traditional drinks. For a real taste of Korea Insadong is a must!
It does get crowded, but is worth seeing.
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
Insadonggil is a must to-see for people who want to experience Korea. It’s surrounded by old palaces and many historic and cultural sites, and the modern building.
Many art galleries are situated here, and Wednesday is a popular day for gallery-opening parties. It’s a place where you can experience Korea’s traditional beauty and youthful spirit at the same time.On the streets of Insadong, there are many stores, restaurant and tea houses where you can experience traditional Korean life.
It used to be known among foreign residents by the nickname “Mary’s Alley”, was lovingly given due to the joke that because there are so many foreign shoppers, one was guaranteed to see their friend “Mary” anytime they visited.