Shopping in Seoul can't be completed without a visit to Namdaemun Market. Although it's not really a market per se, Namdaemun is comprised of several alleyways that house clusters of shops which sell variety of goods from food stuffs to clothing. It is said the area was filled with over 1000 merchant stores. Walking through the alleys of shops were exhaustive and I should mention there were also underground shopping arcades surrounding the market area. Two or three hours time spent in here seems to be insufficient. But No.1 rule here is to bargain. Beware of cheap quality cotton material as well. It's cheap but you might end up wearing it once and dump it.
Getting here can't be easier than taking a subway on Line 4 and stop at Hoehyeon Station. Exit the station via Exit 7 and one will be right in the middle of Namdaemun Market area. In my case, I did stop at Seoul Station (1 stop before Hoehyeon) and had to walk about 10 minutes to get to Namdaemun but it worth all the effort as I stumbled upon a great 'gadget' store. For Canon camera enthusiasts, do stop here for a best priced camera shop - Digital OK. From big lenses to small camera accessories, all in one place. Practice your bargaining skill here as the owner is a friendly guy who speaks moderate English. Out from the store I was short of KRW35000 (equivalent to about RM105). In return, I got myself brand new ES-62 and EW-60C, both are original from Canon. In KL, I'll need to fork out twice as much to get the same things.
Since we discovered this wonderful shopping place quite late (in fact very late) on the last day of our visit to Seoul, we had to forget about Namdaemun (the Great South gate) even it is located not far from the market area.
Basic guide on Namdaemun
- How to get there: subway Line 4 stop at Hoehyeon Stn exit 7
- When to go there: 0900 - 1800 (closed on Sundays)
- Expected time to spend: 3-4 hours (minimum)
- What are available: clothing, leather goods, hiking equipment, shoes, bags, souvenirs, kitchenwares etc.
- Do: Improve your bargaining skills. Start from as low as 30% to 40% of the quoted price. Or get ripped off.
**Go here for other version of Namdaemun Market experience.