Once the easternmost of four main gates to the capital city, the Dongdaemun Gate now serves as a tourist attraction and a beacon for shoppers—both Korean and international—to browse the sprawling market for souvenirs, folk items, clothing, and a wide array of traditional Korean and fusion cuisine.
As one of Seoul’s most notable landmarks and most popular shopping destinations, Dongdaemun features on almost every city sightseeing tour. Take a nighttime tour to sample street foods, or if you’re looking for some retail therapy, opt for a shopping tour for a day of bargain hunting at Dongdaemun, as well as Paju and trendy Myeongdong. There are some 30,000 vendors within the market, so having a local guide will be a big help.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Dongdaemun is a must-visit for shoppers and foodies.
- Bring cash, as many vendors offer discounts for cash payments.
- Bargaining is acceptable, so don’t settle for the first price offered to you.
- Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk; the markets cover a large area.
How to Get There
The Dongdaemun market and gate are easy to reach via public transportation. Take the Seoul Subway (Line 1 or 4) to Dongdaemun Station and leave through Exit 6 or 7. From there it’s a short walk to the gate.
When to Get There
The market is almost always buzzing. Wholesale clothing vendors operate throughout the night, while retailers take over during the day. It’s possible to get a discount no matter when you visit, but the evening hours tend to be the most lively. Many shops are closed Monday.
Should you visit Dongdaemun in the evening, be sure to walk up to Seonggwak Park behind the Heunginjimun Gate to take in the scenery. Though it’s small, the park offers excellent views of the entire Dongdaemun area, which is particularly beautiful when illuminated at night.