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Enjoy the sights, sounds and, most importantly, the tastes of traditional South Korean life at the lively Gwangjang Traditional Market. Pick up everything from souvenirs to fine fabrics at this multi-level market, one of the oldest in Seoul. Arrive with an empty stomach, as by far the most tempting items on sale here are the edible ones.
Though this is less well known than some other nearby markets, it is still very popular, drawing crowds of thousands each day. The market’s good reputation has endured for over 100 years, since it was established in 1905. Visit today and see how it has grown into a thriving hub of activity, where about 20,000 employees work across the 5,000 stores and stalls.
Step into the market and your senses will be overwhelmed. The bottom floor of the building has street food, the market’s major attraction. Listen to vendors calling out as you walk past their stalls. Be sure that you enter with a strong will, as some vendors can be very convincing and do not want to take no for an answer. When you have found something that you want to try, eat on the go or sit down on the chairs or benches around the stalls to relax. Sample classic local treats such as bindaetteok, a fried mung bean pancake made with kimchi and peppers, or try the spicy rice cake dish known as tteokbokki, alongside a wide range of other foods including noodles and sashimi.
Head to the other levels of the market to browse for non-food items. Explore the huge selection of fabrics and second-hand clothes available on the second floor of the market. Take away fine silks, beautiful bed linens and other unique souvenirs, such as traditional Korean outfits.
Most of the stalls and stores in Gwangjang Traditional Market are open every day except Sunday. Hours vary, but many stores close in the early evening. Reach the market by taking the subway to Jongno 5-g station.
You'll find it hard to believe how much there is to do at Gwangjang Traditional Market. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
If you're after more activities, check out our Seoul things to do page.
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