Namdaemun Market is a huge shopping area in Seoul, South Korea. According to the official guide book it is the largest and best general wholesale market in Korea. You can get almost any product at the market, ranging from “clothing and textile products, everyday items, kitchen utensils, handicrafts, accessories, imported merchandise, food, miscellaneous articles, farm and fishery products and much more”.
The market opens from around 10:30am (different stores open at different times though) and generally closes in the early morning (2:00am or 3:00am). If you want to get the best wholesale deals it is best to go to the market at it’s peak, which is at around 2am. Namdaemun Market is a popular tourist destination in Seoul, and should be one of your stops if you make it to the city.
Namdaemun Market is massive, and for one to see the entire market would take determination, a lot of money and many, many hours. It covers approximately 66A000 m2 and has just under 10A200 stores. 50A000 people work at the market, and they travel there everyday in approximately 8A500 vehicles. The number of daily visitors ranges quite a lot, and is in the region of 300A000 – 400A000 people a day. Of that number, approximately 10A000 people are foreign visitors.
The market is very old, and was established several hundred years ago, in the year 1414 when it was established as a government chartered market. It has evolved over the years to become what is known as the Seoul Namdaemun Market.
When walking around the market, you will notice that it is broken up in to regions which separate different products. There are regions for children’s clothing, entire buildings for jewellery accessories, and many other sections. Take note however that it is not a high-fashion market (or at least the areas that I covered where not), so if you are looking for modern clothing at great prices you might not be able to find any at this market. There is a shopping district a few blocks from the market centre where you can get many more products which cater for the youth market (young adults specifically).
To get to the market you have several choices – you could go by bus (there are many buses from all over Seoul), by subway (Hoihyun/Namdaemun station on line number four), by express train (a five minute walk from the station) or by taxi.
So, if you get the chance and you have several hours to spare, go past Namdaemun Market and see what Korea has to offer.