Gwangjang/ Kwangjang Market in Seoul, South Korea (광장 시장)

This article is part of a regional reporting project in partnership with GoUNESCO, a UNESCO New Delhi initiative.


The main entrance of Kwangjang/ Gwangjang Market


One of the many entrances to Kwangjang/ Gwangjang Market

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)

Fast Facts:

  • 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

Visitor Tips: 

  • 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.

Market guide maps written in Korean and English posted outside every gate, right beside subway exits.

  • 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 the local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut❤