|DON'S ESL ADVENTURE!||
Having read that Namdaemun Market was one of Korea’s oldest and largest markets, I couldn’t help but feel excited to pay it a visit for some good ol’ shopping and delicious street food.
Spread out across a whopping 24 blocks, Namdaemun Market offered everything from souvenirs, household items, clothes, toys, flowers, and sporting equipment, to hats, fabric, medical supplies, food products, and electronics, all at affordable prices.
What’s more, Namdaemun Market functioned as a wholesale market; that is, many merchants would purchase goods from shops in the market at wholesale prices and end up reselling them in their stores or on the streets elsewhere.
Unfortunately, I arrived at Namdaemun Market about 45-minutes before it closed so I only managed to purchased some Korean beauty products for my girlfriend back in China. I was taken aback at how most vendors there could speak enough English to carry out bargains and transactions, but I guess it wasn’t that much of a surprise since it was highly visited by foreign tourist.
As always, though, one of the best treats of exploring a market like this was that it was loaded with food stalls at every turn, and that stayed open past the daily closing hours. They served up a variety of delectable Korean street snacks such as giant dumplings, rice cake, fish cake skewers, barbecue, fried potatoes, vegetable pancakes, braised fish, and much more.
After exploring the market I stumbled upon the next big thing, which was Sungnyemun Gate, otherwise known as Namdaemun South Gate. Originally built in 1378 under the 7th Year of King Taejo, founder of the Joseon Dynasty, to protect the city from its enemies, Namdaemun South Gate has become a popular historical landmark and attraction of Seoul, and withholds the honor as Korea’s National Treasure No. 1.
The gate remained beautifully etched into its modern day surroundings, standing as a prominent ancient moment enclosed by a bustling city center brimming with towering skyscrapers, business offices, billboards, and endless traffic. To look up and spot such a dazzling fusion of past, present, and future was quite a humbling experience.
My trip to Namdaemun Market and Sungnyemun Gate was incredibly awesome!
Learn more at the Namdaemun Market website!
Directions to Namdaemun Market in Seoul: Hop on a subway to Hoehyeon Station. Take Exit 3 or 5.