Friday, January 25, 2013

Seoul Day 3 - Finding hidden treasures at Insadong

Continuing the day with another cultural site, I went to visit Insadong in the afternoon. As I am staying at the Samcheongdong area, I reached my destination in only 15 minutes – simply by walking. No sweat to it!

map of Insadong
courtesy of

From the main highway, the stretch of Insadong does not seem very intriguing as you can only see the usual urban landscape. However, after a few meters into the street, shops selling all kinds of traditional products abound. If you are looking for a product related to Korean culture and heritage, then this is the place to get it. No other part of Seoul can compare to the wide array of choices that the shops here offer!

shops at Insadong
courtesy of
There were also many stores selling Korean snacks. Most of their products really look tasty if you ask me! Although I wanted to sample all, I just picked out one in order to satisfy my cravings for such at time. I had no regrets in choosing this rice cake filled with red bean paste! Worth about 2,000 KRW for about a dozen pieces, it sure was value for money. More than that, it was truly delicious and filling at the same time!

red bean rice cake
courtesy of
It’s interesting to watch how these snacks are made as well. Most of the shopkeepers here attract customers by demonstrating the techniques used to create these well-loved snack items.

Korean snack stalls
courtesy of
One place here famous for its structure and novelty is Ssamziegil. The structure of the building is unique in a way that all floors are connected like a spiraling staircase.

view of Ssamziegil from the top

Apart from that, there’s also a gardened corridor near the top which leads you to the rooftop park. You can enjoy a relaxing time here while sitting on a bench and gazing at the sky. With tired feet, I definitely took some time to rest at this spot.

gardened corridor

rooftop terrace

There are many shops here – like a mini version of Insadong actually. Some of the shops include souvenir shops, clothing stores, handicraft stalls, and caf├ęs to name a few.

stores at Ssamziegil

While already here, I decided to look for a souvenir to bring home. I wanted one that will remind me of my first trip to Korea. This search of mine took quite some time – not to mention the countless stores that I had to go through. Finally, I managed to pick out a wind chime worth 26,000 KRW. I like how it produces crisp sounds that relax the nerves. It is similar to what I see at some traditional houses and temples. Also, this item brings you good luck as many of the locals here tell me. 

the lucky wind chime

Apart from that, I was on the lookout for some Korean dolls my friend asked me to buy. Wanting to get the best price for the right design, I scoured the many shops along the street. I was able to find one priced at around 12,000 KRW with the same design specifications my friend told me. Since it was already a good deal, I got it!

Korean dolls
courtesy of jidalakwatsera

It was great to look around here at Insadong. You can find so many great bargains for Korean traditional items. So if you’re into that, this place is a definite stop for you!

How to get here:
Anguk Station (Line 3, Exit 6)
Jonggak Station(Line 1, Exit 3)

Is shopping for cultural souvenirs always a part of your travel to-do list? Perhaps you've visited this place in the past? Feel free to share your opinions and experience with me by commenting below or by using the Contact button on the right.

Up next, Experiencing the Seoul Lantern Festival 2012 at Cheonggyecheon.


  1. Hi i was looking for a wind chime as a present. Do you remember where you bought it maybe?

  2. there are lots of stores in Insadong that sells wind chimes of different kinds. i found this one to be the nicest - similar to what you see in temples. :)