Dongdaemun Market is one of the most popular attractions in all of Seoul. It is most notably the largest shopping center in South Korea and an alluring destination for tourists of the domestic and international stripe. One of the biggest appeals of a trip to South Korea is the shopping. The country is unique in that you can find a wide range of traditional goods as well as the latest and most technologically advanced electronic gadgets, mobile devices, video games, and much more. Dongdaemun shopping incorporates the best of shopping in Seoul into one conveniently located center.
The market originally opened in 1905 in Yeji-dong and has since moved to Jongno-gu, its current location. It is right by the Dongdaemun Gate, one of the most impressive and distinguishing landmarks in the capital city. Dongdaemun translates to Great East Gate, and has this name because it was the main eastern gate of the wall that surrounded the city during the reign of the Joseon Empire.
There are a stunning 26 distinct shopping malls spanning over 10 blocks at the impressive Dongdaemun Market. Although it may at first seem hard to believe, there are over 30,000 different shops represented and tens of thousands of manufacturers of all kinds of goods, from clothing and jewelry, textiles and various homewares, to automobiles and electronics. You can buy a leather jacket as well as large swatches of leather. You can purchase a silk shirt or hundreds of spools of silk. Dongdaemun shopping is important for retailers and wholesalers alike in the city.
As you pass through Dongdaemun Gate and catch your first glimpse of this huge complex you may not be able to believe your eyes. This is somewhat the norm in South Korea. As its export economy, which relies heavily on electronics, robotics, and auto manufacturing, continues to boom, the country continues its supersonic growth. Many of the most popular attractions in Seoul can be said to be the biggest in their classes in all of Asia. Another example besides the Dongdaemun Market, the biggest shopping center in South Korea, is the COEX Shopping Mall, the largest underground shopping complex in all of Asia.
Dongdaemun shopping can roughly be divided up into two major areas: Section 1 for retail goods and Section 2 for wholesale goods. There is a street that divides the two major sections and the retail portion is on the side where the Doosan Tower is located. There are virtually limitless things to see and buy and you will not be able to fit it all in in one day, so don’t even attempt this. If you are staying in Seoul, there are plenty of awesome hotels nearby as well as a range of excellent restaurants, bars, and cafes. If you want to enjoy the full Dongdaemun shopping experience, try to spend at least a couple of days taking in all of the sights. There are tons of food counters and eateries located within the complex as well.
Dongdaemun Gate is the entrance, as it were, to this amazing shopping center. The size and scope of this great landmark is suitable for the massive shopping district.
Image: Janine Dupree (Flickr)