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12.18.2016

Seoul Searching | Namdaemun Market.

Annyeonghaseyo!
Yes, my dear friends and readers, we're back in Seoul where the little man and I will be spending the holidays. We landed a few days ago, actually, and we were quite lucky to have chanced upon some very, very light snowfall the day after we arrived. (Praying for a White Christmas this year!)

My hands have been quite full the past few days - unpacking, meeting friends, grocery shopping, doing housework, and the biggest chore of all - adjusting to the freezing weather, haha! I'm going to try my very best to get some blogwork done (and reduce this mammoth backlog) in between the shopping, eating, and visiting tourist destinations. And with that, let's do some Seoul Searching all over again with a trip to Nandaemun Market.
Welcome to Nandaemun Market!
The largest and oldest traditional market in South Korea, Namdaemun Market is located right beside the Great South Gate, Namdaemun, from which its name was derived. Established in 1414 during the reign of King Taejong, Namdaemun Market began as a government-regulated marketplace with grains, fish, and fruits as the most popular trading commodities.
And we're ready to explore!
In 1945, after liberation from the Japanese, the merchants earned full operational rights of the market through the establishment of the Namdaemun Merchant Organization. However, tragedy struck the then-developing marketplace, as it turned to ruins during the Korean War and then ravaged by fire shortly after being rebuilt.
One eager beaver.
After a series of huge renovations, Namdaemun Market re-opened its doors in 1964. At present, the market is filled with over 1000 shops covering a span of more than 10 acres.
It's like Divisoria, but cleaner and safer! 
With its labyrinth of shops, stalls, and street vendors, you can practically buy anything and everything at Namdaemun. From cellphone accessories to luggage tags, kitchen utensils to bath items, even cross stitch patterns, they have it all at Namdaemun Market! It's like Divisoria in the Philippines - but cleaner and safer!
Rummaging through the plushies and other cute items.
We have been warned that the place can get seriously crowded during Fridays and Saturdays, so I chose to visit on a Wednesday. Luckily, the place was not as jampacked as I thought it would be, making it a pleasant and comfortable shopping experience for both Yue and I.
See? He's all smiles!
Clothes, bags, shoes, toys, and souvenir items are a common sight in Namdaemun Market. Most of them are relatively inexpensive, and can be purchased at wholesale prices if you're buying in bulk.
Hanboks!
Chopsticks, coin purses, kitchen utensils...
Classic souvenir item - fridge magnets!
Namdaemun also has an area known as the 'Ginseng Market', which is found along the market's central path. The shops in this area sell quality ginseng at discounted prices. Both fresh and processed ginseng (tea and powder) can be bought in this area, along with a variety of oriental health food such as honey, yeongji mushroom, brown rice, and adlay.
Ginseng.
Mushrooms.
In front of an Oriental Medicine store.
Speaking of food, Namdaemun also has a wet market where you can buy fresh produce, dried fish, and other food products. This area is also lined with 'sikdang', or hole in the wall diners. (In the Philippines, these are called 'turo turo'.)
A bounty of fresh vegetables.
Nuts and grains.
Sikdang, and stores selling food products.
There's an abundance of street food in Namdaemun, too. You'll never go hungry as you hop from one shop to another.
Steamed buns.
Sugar-coated bread.
Jokbal.
Hotteok.
Egg bread!
Fish cakes!
I'm definitely coming back to Namdaemun to do some souvenir shopping; possibly within the week, if the weather permits. Staying out for long in the cold makes my migraine act up! :(
Character socks!
K-pop merchandise!
Descendants of the Sun plushies!
To get to Namdaemun Market, take the Hoehyeon Station (subway Line 4) Exit 5.
Or you can ride the following buses
Blue Bus # 103, 104, 105, 108, 51, 152, 163, 261, 262, 263, 300, 371, 401, 402, 406, 500, 501, 503, 504, 505, 604, 700, 701, 704
Green Bus # 0013, 0014, 0015 (to Yongsan), 0211, 7015, 7021, 7022, 7023
Yellow Bus # 01, 02.

8 replies:

Divya said...

There's definitely pros and cons to an outdoor market like that! I agree the weather may not always be perfect. But, to have so many shops up like that, it's much more open when we can do it outside!

Chloé Arnold said...

This place looks like so much fun!!! I lived in Thailand for a year and our markets looked similar! Would love to visit this market!

kelly reci said...

Wow, that market is such a nice place! I want to go there sometimes!

mail4rosey said...

It looks like there are so many wonderful things to explore. I hope you get your white Christmas :)

Lisa Rios said...

The Namdaemun Market looks like a busy area and with 1000 shops around I am sure you have lot of shopping options right in front of you. You must have had a great time with your little man at this wonderful place!

Mai C. said...

Wow! This looks similar to the markets in Japan! I would go crazy over this market!

Xoneia Tayag said...

I wouldn't even know where to look first! There's so much to see in markets like this, this is why it's nicer to travel to Asian countries! Markets are always packed with so much stuff!

Julie Syl Kalungi said...

I love outdoor markets even in Winter, esp. around Christmas time as it means some warm drinks aka mulled wine. Missed Seoul searching,. Glad you are back, love your detailed posts! Merry Christmas