Visiting Insadong 인사동 (仁寺洞)

Insadong 인사동 (仁寺洞), located in the middle of Seoul, is a busy shopping street. Its main street, Insadong-gil, is flanked by shops selling things both old and new. Tourists and locals alike come here to experience the eclectic shopping, food, and sightseeing. Hidden in small alleys that branch out from the main street are numerous cafes, galleries, and traditional restaurants.

Map of Insadong by The Beetle Map

There are so many stores selling similar items that you can be easily overwhelmed. There are touristy things, souvenirs, clothes, accessories, ceramics, vases, toys, street snacks... you name it. If you want a map of Insadong or ever need any help, there are Tourist Information Centers like this dotted along the street:

Tourist Information Center in Insadong

As I walked down the length of Insadong, I found that most of the things being sold at the beginning of the street were sold at the end of the street as well. I didn't end up buying anything, but you can bargain with the sellers here.

Insadong in Seoul, South Korea

Accessory shops in Insadong

Shops in Insadong

***

You don't have to worry about going hungry here, as there are lots of available restaurants and snacks.

Looked like peanut-brittle type snacks

Not really sure what this was, but the dragon head oven looked cool

Kkultarae (spun sugar snack 꿀타래) for 5000 won

And hey, you can never escape Starbucks:

Starbucks in Korea

If you're feeling tired, you can rest your feet on the numerous rock or concrete stumps.

Insadong in Seoul, South Korea

Insadong in Seoul, South Korea

I went on a Thursday afternoon and didn't find the crowds to be too bad. They will probably be much worse on the weekends though.


Ssamziegil 쌈지길 (包袱街) is an interesting little section of Insadong, known as the "Special Insadong within Insadong." 

Ssamziegil entrance

Here you can find more than 70 shops and restaurants, selling handcrafted items and delicious snacks. The multiple story complex is great for window shopping and taking in the view of Seoul at the very top.

Inside Ssamziegil

Caricature painting at Ssamziegil

There was also a stand selling poop-shaped bread. I don't who got the bright idea of shaping something you put in your mouth to look like something that comes out of your ass, but apparently, dung-like bread has been embraced by the people here. 

Stand selling poop-shaped bread in Insadong

I thought the sack of shit hanging over his head was well-placed.

Stand selling poop-shaped bread in Insadong

I didn't spend too much time in Insadong because the street shopping was very similar the street shopping in Taiwan. Is it worth making a trip out here? Yea, I guess so. It's nice to see what the fuss is all about. It would probably be fun to go there just to people watch and soak up the experience of just being there, even if you don't want to buy anything.

Having said that, Insadong is a good place for touristy stuff, but where is the best place to shop in Seoul?

2 comments:

  1. Hi! I found this post through pinterest... the Starbucks picture, in particular. I've been living in Korea for the last 2 years and I've never seen a Starbucks actually written in Korean!... so now I'm on a quest to Insa-dong in the next couple of days to find this particular one! Haha!

    Thanks for sharing your stuff! Keep travelling... also, your bio reminded me of this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2239087/Graham-Hughes-British-man-person-visit-201-countries-WITHOUT-using-plane.html

    Good luck!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's cool! Have fun in Insa-dong!

      Delete

LinkWithin