Although an insane man burned the Great Gate to the ground in 2007, it is being rebuilt and should be finished by summer of 2009. The gate was not and is not the main attraction. That is the shopping. There are dozens of small alleyways crowded with shops selling just about anything you want. In the buildings you can find expensive dishes, blackmarket merchandise, Chinese herbs, and fancy clothes. On the sidewalks are every kind of food sold in Korea. Be warned, it is never empty and is always crowded and hectic.
Out of the ordinary is the area where the smiling pig heads are sold. Traditionally, when a business first opens, the family wishing the new business people luck will present them with a smiling pig head. There is no bargaining for the pig heads.
Everything else can be bargained for and 25 percent discount is always acheivable. Tsa gae chusay yoh is the way to ask for a discount. Most of the vendors speak some English and a few of them are fluent. In the foreign product area there is no discount. These products are from the G.I.s who sell them to the Koreans who sell them to ex-pats like me who just have to have some Folgers coffee, Colgate or whatever and there is never any bargaining.
Named for its nearby namesake of Namdaemun (Great South Gate) and located near the downtown area, one of Korea's largest wholesale markets covers over 10 acres. 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.
Although many of Namdaemun's shops are within the buildings that make up the area, the most colorful aspect of the market is the group of street vendors that setup in the alleys and walkways between the buildings. Wholesalers operate from midnight to 6:00 a.m., and retailers are open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Although most retailers close their stores on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, many street vendors operate stalls in the alleys.
Due to its location near downtown and the convenient bus service to and from Itaewon, many foreigners visit here. Most of the vendors can speak a few words of English or Japanese, but you will generally need an interpreter for any intense bargaining. Because many shops are willing to take non-Korean currency, there is also a thriving black market for money exchanging, with rates generally a little better than those of banks. Should you decide to exchange money this way, take great care not to get ripped off.
Nearby is Namdaemun (Great South Gate). Also within walking distance are Seoul Station, Deoksu Palace, and City Hall.
This open air market of many stalls and shops is a favorite for local and foreign tourists. Famous for bargains from clothes, ceramics, Korean artwork, kitchen utensils, accessories, glasses and imported goods.
Open daily 9am to 6pm.
I need to find my information material to give the correct bus number that pretty much goes straight from the airport to here - but I found it best to go up the Nam San mountain first to get views from the TV tower and then down the cable car from there which arrives just a few minutes walk above these excellent markets.
And these markets were great - even if not buying anything - extremely colourful with loads of variety of stalls and goods for sale and heaps of signs and advertising everywhere with lots of shoppers - a great cultural and photogenic opportunity.
Namdeamun is one of those markets you always hear about where you can buy anything, or almost anything. I frist started walking around Namdeamun and thought alright ya this is ok. Alittle while later I found stairs that went down in to the underground and I got lost in there looking at everything for about one hour there is just so much to see. I think they had the heat turned way up in there becuase it was so very hot in there I was sweating like mad. After i left the under ground area ( The underground really impressed me ) I saw the south gate (the gate you see on all the post cards ) and I was amazed and i had to put it in my must see activitys.
So- head to The oldest Market in Korea. It's not what I would call "traditional" but some do. It's definetly interesting though. You can buy anything here and always at a deal. You're not going to find any high fashion here(unless you stop into the Department store for some Gucci) but some wicked ajumma gear down these twisting side streets of the market. Have fun, get lost and buy something you weren't expecting.
Namdaemun is not far from Myeong-dong. It's in walkable distance. But they are different. The store in Namdaemun sell children's clothing, men & women's clothing, daily miscellaneous goods, kitchenware and local products.
This place suit for local for seeking their miscellaneous goods for daily life. Many of the store is the wholeseller. We don't think it's for foreigner to shop here. But for survey, it's worth to see.
The Namdaemun Market is probably one of the larger markets to visit. They seem to have quite a variety of wares and food. A little smelly, I mean unfavorably smelly, but I think that just adds to the experience. We saw several, several markets like this throughout our visit to South Korea. Please check out my travelogue album on my Seoul page of Namdaemun Market for more pictures.
Is a nice place to wander around, there are so many shops. You will find everything you need in this place, and as a market you can haggle the price. Namdaemun Market is a huge place and famous market in Seoul. Also we found a lot of food stalls in between those clothes vendors. Some sellers don't speak English so, it can difficult to ask something or to bargain. Most products you see in this market are locally made.
This is too big to stroll, while it was freezing outside in January, our hotel is not far away. We went back to our hotel to warm up for an hour, and then came back. I haven't bought anything but I found really nice to wander and just look to the merchandize. This market open everyday but some of the retailers have their own opening/closing hour, we walk till late at night, I've seen some shops were closing down but some of them remain open. So I have no idea of the opening hour. Is a good place for shopping and also a good area to search for food
There are some awesome shops in Namdaemoon with art supplies. Lots of paper, from rice paper, to origami paper, to wrapping paper. One complex has every art supply you could want, from name-brand colored pencils to paints and easels. I haven't seen as good of a selection anywhere else in Korea during my 3-year stay.
You can find handmade cards, Japanese stickers, 3,000 gel pens, beads, jewelry backings and charms.
This market's pretty big and covers several city blocks. You can find a lot of merchants selling all kinds of souvenirs, fresh food, and LOTS of clothes. The clothes are probably really cheap, but of questionable quality. It's a good place to be if you want to be around a lot of people.
Of course, as with many other markets, haggling is a must.
Visit the Namdaemun market, an amazing array of goods and some quite strange food, the closest metro station will be Hoehyeon, line number 1. It is not far from the Seoul train station and from the City Hall.