Whether you’re looking for street food, ginseng, jewelry, housewares, clothes, or souvenirs, you’ll find these (and just about everything else under the sun) in the stalls of Namdaemun Market. South Korea’s largest market is busy around the clock as locals and tourists rub elbows in search of the best deals.
Namdaemun ranks among Seoul’s most popular shopping destinations. The market is often a stop on sightseeing tours of the city, but dedicated shopping tours dig deepest into the market, giving travelers local insight into how and where to find the best bargains. Foodies can treat themselves to a market tasting tour, to sample some of the best bites from among the market’s 10,000 stalls.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Namdaemun Market is a must-visit for shoppers, foodies, and first time visitors.
- Mild haggling is expected, so don’t feel that you must pay the initial asking price.
- It’s easy to get turned around in the market; join a guided tour to ensure you won’t get lost.
- While credit cards are accepted at some stores, it’s a good idea to bring some cash in small denominations.
How to Get There
Numerous public buses stop at Namdaemun Market, but the easiest and most convenient way to get there is by taking the Seoul subway to Hoehyeon Station (Line 4) and leaving through Exit 5.
When to Get There
Namdaemun Market is almost always open. Most of the market activity takes place during daytime hours, though wholesalers stay open through the night. Some vendors close Sunday.
Although most visitors come to Namdaemun Market to shop, it’s also an excellent place to eat. Street food vendors sell a range of dishes; local favorites include dumpling soup, sujebi (shellfish soup), kalguksu noodles, bibimbap (Korean rice), and bindae duk (mung bean pancakes).