Thursday, June 9, 2011

[SEOUL] The Crowd and Art of Insadong

Insadong-gil is a street in Seoul's Jongno district that is famous for its market. Foreigners usually go there for the souvenirs; others, for art and antiques. If food is what you want you can also find it there. It is also a good place to practice your haggling skills. In Korean.

What I liked about Insadong is that it takes its reputation as a center of art seriously. The art is not limited to the souvenirs or antiques that you buy, they are also very much evident in the façade of the various shops along the street. They all boast their own unique design and motif. Perhaps it is because of this that you still get to enjoy your trip down that road despite the thick crowd of shoppers.

If you are there to shop and you have the time you might as well survey the place first to canvass and compare prices of the items you want. I bought a souvenir shirt in a store for ₩7,000. I found the very same shirt a hundred meters away selling for just ₩5,000. In terms of souvenir items, Insadong is probably the best place to buy them, but still it is the same case. Since most souvenir shops sell the same items, it is highly probable that you will find one which sells for a lower price.

There wasn't a dull moment when I was in Insadong. Everywhere you turn your head you see something different. Talking about turning heads, the many side streets are replete with hidden treasures, from eateries to antique sellers. Some of the shops are even housed in temple-like structures that contribute to the charm of the place.

Most of the stores accept credit cards by the way, so make sure to have your plastic handy if you feel like shopping. But I have to tell you, in Insadong, that feeling is never absent. You will eventually go home with something in hand. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2 creature(s) gave a damn:

Anonymous said...

interesting. dapat may ganyan din dito!yung pedestrian only na street for shopping. i'm sure magiging tourist attraction din sya, kahit pamugaran pa ng pickpockets. katulad din to sa mongkok in HK and the one in Macau senado square, taipei, KL.etc..hay pinas.gising

ihcahieh said...

Pwede rin, ilagay sa may Intramuros para maganda rin ang view, hehe. Pero I doubt it, may Quiapo at Divisoria na e. Maybe the closest we could have to Insadong and Jalan Petaling would be a street in Quiapo nga, meron dung isa yung laging pinupuntahan ng photographers. Hidalgo street ata ang name, not sure. =)

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