Traditional markets can be found all over Korea. These are places filled with history and culture, often described as windows into the lifestyle of Korean people. Market vendors sell a wide variety of products and goods which come at surprisingly affordable prices.
Check out these seven traditional markets you can visit when in Seoul.
Thursday & Friday 14:30-20:30
Saturday & Sunday: 12:00-19:00
Dongjin Market is a traditional market located in the artsy neighborhood of Yeonnam. It runs like every other market during the weekdays but transforms into a lively flea market on weekends. Here you'll find upcycled and free-trade items, handmade crafts, fresh local produce, and so much more. And aside from shopping, activities for visitors include cooking workshops and other fun programs.
Closed on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month
Besides being known as the largest meat market in Korea, Majang Meat Market boasts clean (recognized by the Korean Medical Association) and modern facilities. Fresh meat is delivered from both within and outside Korea at every hour. The market strives to provide quality products at prices up to 30% cheaper than at supermarket chains.
Daily 07:00-21:00 (varies by store)
Closed on the 3rd Sunday of each month (whole market)
Closed every Monday (Dosirak Café)
With a history that traces back to the period of Japanese rule, Tongin Market once served the Japanese residents living around the Hyoja neighborhood. It was right after the Korean War when the locals started using the area as their marketplace as a response to the increase in consumption and demand.
Currently, there are about 75 stores, mostly restaurants and grocery shops, that comprise the marketplace. One very popular activity there is the yeopjeon dosirak from Dosirak Café, where you can exchange your money for yeopjeon (Joseon-era brass coins), which you can use as tokens to get a dosirak (traditional lunchbox) and fill it up with dishes from dozens of food stalls.
Varies by store
Closed on Sundays
The largest traditional market in Korea, Namdaemun Market was opened back in 1964. The market houses shops that sell various goods such as clothes, accessories, kitchenware, toys, stationery, mountain gear, fishing equipment, and many more at affordable prices.
The market is crowded during the day as it attracts tourists from every corner of the world. It is also open until midnight, depending on the store, filling the area with retailers from all over the country.
Open daily (hours vary by store)
Dongdaemun Market is South Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district, comprised of traditional markets and shopping centers. Both locals and tourists flock to it daily as it has almost everything you need at a good bargain price, such as electronics, accessories, toys, clothes, and the like. You can also feast on the latest trends in Korean cuisine at their food alley, Mukja Golmok (Let’s Eat Alley).
General stores: 9:00-18:00
Food Street: 9:00-23:00
Closed on Sundays (Food Street open all year round)
Also popular among tourists, Gwangjang Market is known for being the first permanent market in Korea. It started as a small trading center offering goods from neighboring areas and eventually became a large wholesale market selling things like clothes, vegetables, and other goods.
What makes Gwangjang Market a hit among international travelers is the street food. Food stalls offer a wide variety of mouthwatering Korean dishes to choose from and are set up around the East Gate, North Gate 2, and South Gate 1.
Agricultural and Fishery Market: open all day
Livestock Market: 4:00 – 22:00
Closed during Sundays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year’s Day, & Korean Thanksgiving Day holidays.
When it comes to agricultural products, Garak Market is the place to go to. The market first started as an agricultural and fishery market back in 1985, but eventually expanded and added in the livestock market in 1986 and other direct sales shops in 1988.
Garak Market is a large market complex with over 17 buildings. With how expansive the place is, visitors are advised to plan their schedules ahead of time.
[Live Fish Auction Schedule]
High Class Fish - Open 24 hrs.
General Fish 01:30–22:00
Frozen Fish 03:30–22:00
Shellfish Market 01:00–22:000
Dried Fish 23:00-19:00
Jeotgal (Salted fish) 03:00-19:00
Known for being the largest seafood market in Korea, Noryangjin Fishery Market is a mix of wholesale and retail stores that first opened back in June 1927. The market trades 250 to 300 tons of fisheries products each day, handling around 50% of the metropolitan volume.
Even in the wee hours, Noryangjin Fishery Market has a bustling atmosphere as they hold a live fish auction from 1 AM to 3 AM. There they sell live fish, mackerel, squid, abalone, crab, and other seafood products.
Source: Visit Korea, Visit Seoul