This article is part of a regional reporting project in partnership with GoUNESCO, a UNESCO New Delhi initiative.
Name of market: K/Gwangjang Market; K/Gwangjang Sijang (광장 시장)
Address: 88 Changgyeonggung-ro Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating days and times: All 7 days of the week. 8:30 AM – 6 PM (shops); 8:30 AM – 12 MN (food stalls)
How to get there: via subway, Jongno-5-Ga Station (Line 1, Exit 8)
Website: http://www.kwangjangmarket.co.kr (in Korean only)
- Korea’s first permanent market
- Over 100 years old; founded in 1905
- Coincides with the establishment of the Gwangjang Corporation in 1905
- Famous for vintage clothing, home furnishings, street food, and traditional fresh and packaged foods
- Wear comfortable shoes. The market is huge and it can take 10 minutes to get from the entrance to the street food area smacked in the middle of the market.
- There are market maps plastered outside every gate, right beside subway exits. They can help tremendously especially when you’re looking for specific items, or a specific shop.
- South Korea now has an information hotline for tourists, operating 24/7. You can call the office at 1330 (when calling within Korea), or +82 1330 (when calling from outside Korea). Four languages are currently supported: English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
- Why I’m going back: It’s a massive market that sells everything from traditional to modern South Korean foods and wares. I like how everything seems to fit in this one place.
- As with any country in the world: do not quickly assume. Make sense of the why behind the what first and while you’re at it, get lost and find yourself. Happy travels! 🙂
P.S. The keys to sustainable travels are universal: take public transportation | stay in accommodations where cooking is allowed (private or shared, it doesn’t matter) | walk as much as you can | wake up early | stay away from guidebooks | immerse yourself in local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut