A City of Culture – Insadong
Is there any place that comes to your mind when you think of Korean traditional culture & crafts? Yes? No? Probably you have heard about Insadong?
As compared to Hongdae, which is a place for modern arts, fashion & night clubs, Insadong instead, is well known for its Korean traditional cultures and definitely not an alien name to foreigners & tourists!
So, what can you expect to see here?
- Shops selling traditional Hanbok (한복), Hanji (한지), Korean traditional masks.
- Korean traditional tea houses, also known as Ta bang (타방) & restaurants.
- Interesting performances
- Signboards with Korean characters (most famous will be Starbucks)
- Ssam Ji Gil (쌈지길)
Every Sunday, streets will be turned into “car free street” (from 10am – 10pm), so it will only allow pedestrians to roam around freely without worrying about traffics, also, it will allow various performance & events to be held here, where flocks of spectators surrounded the performances while hungry customers & tourists line up by the street vendors to get themselves something to eat. There is a Hoddeok vendor (picture on the right below) which have a crazy long queue, I can’t comment on the taste but as far as I know, it only cost 1,000 won for 1 hoddeok! How about giving it a try?
Don’t worry that you will be disappointed as there will be lots of interesting things going on at Insadong street! This guy here showing his Calligraphy skills. Despite the cold, it seems that he even comes here during the winter. You might be able get a little “souvenir” from him as well. And if you are searching for some calligraphy items, of course, you may visit the Calligraphy shops here too!
Don’t forget about the symbolic sculpture of this city, a HUGE calligraphy brush at the North entrance. How could your trip be complete without a picture of it? As for selfies… I think you may try to challenge it~~ :P
Due to rapid modernization during the 1970’s, Insadong has become a popular spot among foreign visitors. So to preserve the Korean culture, a section of shops & restaurants have to install their signboards with Korean characters on it. Not only Starbucks’s signboard is in Hangeul, but other shops & restaurants too.
What caught our attention next was a real FIERY performance by a talented spray artist! Non-stop spraying & changing numerous cans of spray, a beautiful fictional scenery slowly came into place, and he ended the painting with a fiery blow! If you manage to catch them in action, be prepared to get “WOW-ed” by his workpieces.
Travelling with kids will give u a hard time once a while since they might get bored quite fast, but fear not! As there will be something which will keep their eyes & mouth wide open. There will be bubble fun time as well!
After a long walk under the sun and you started to feel dull, why not take a look at the famous Ssam-Ji-Gil! The shops in this 3 storey building mainly sells arts, crafts & fashion clothing. You could choose whether to walk the platforms or the staircases, but I recommend you to walk the platforms as you can do some shopping while walking and it is not difficult to walk, so it won’t be a problem if you have an elderly with you.
Upon reaching the top floor, walk around & you will find a corridor filled with love tags.
Can’t agree more that Insadong is a place suited for both the young & old people, definitely a must-visit tourist site in Seoul! If you wish to pick up some traditional Korean items or just to enjoy some tea while watching the street performances, below here is the map of Insadong and you could get there by Line 3, Anguk station!