Friday, 5 April 2013

Dongdaemun & Cheongyecheon Stream, Seoul

For most of the tourists, Dongdaemun is probably the most well-known place in Seoul. You probably may not have gone to Seoul if you haven't visited Dongdaemun. No surprise. This place is known for it's shopping mall that opens practically 24 hours. Even if shops do close, it would probably be wee hours in the morning. 

For most ladies, it's a shopping paradise. For me, it was a disappointment. I have been to Dongdaemun a few times (sometimes sneaking out at night during my previous work trips to kill my shopping itch). Most times, I return empty handed, or with just an item or so. Why? Read on. 

There are two sections of Dongdaemun. The ones that most tourists visit located on the side of Doosan Tower housed small individual retailers are Yes APm, Doota, Migliore. Doota is more high-end, with local branded stuff.  This is the section that I always visit. 


The other side, nearer to the Dongdaemun Stadium, meant for wholesalers. This means they usually sell in bulk, are Designer's Club, Gwanghee Fashion Mall, Migliore Valley, Jeil Pyeonghwa. According to KNTO, the first three cater more to the teens and youth in the twenties while the later caters more to the 30s and 40s. 

No wonder I didn't find anything suitable as I was in the wrong building all these while! My girlfriend who travelled there one week before I do, also complained the same thing! That tells very much about our age. She was tremendously disappointed as she was expecting to bring home loads of good stuff. 

Other than the shopping malls, Dongdaemun is also famous for it's outdoor night market where street vendors lined their stalls in yellow tents. It's a bit like pasar malam. The usual things that they sell are belts, socks, T-shirts and accessories.

Look at the crowd after a rain.

Did I mention that you need to try bargaining while shopping at Dongdaemun? Stuff here are cheaper than Myeongdong. However, don't expect to bargain down too much especially when they know that you are a tourist. You just need to search for sincere and nice sellers. Papa Snew bought some shirts from this funny Ajumma (aka "Aunty" in Korean) in Migliore and in her hardly understood English, tried hard to give him tips on how to dress up and style like Korean fashion. He ended up buying few shirts from him.

My deduction is, you really need to go to the right place (since the entire Dongdaemun is huge). Probably the touristy part was really not the right place to shop afterall. Searching for the right stuff at a good price in Dongdaemun is like searching for gem. You need real patience and good stamina. Now that you know my age bracket, do share your experience and drop me a comment if you know where I can find good stuff in Dongdaemun.

Dongdaemun Stadium Station (Subway Line 2)
or Dongdaemun Station (Subway Line 1 or 4)

Since the rain has stopped, we decide to walk up and explore on the Cheongyecheon Stream. This is probably one of the longest stream, stretching 5.84KM and passing Deoksugung Palace to Changgyeonggung Palace. Not just any restored stream, the Cheongyecheon Stream is full of life and activities.

The Cheongyecheon Stream is a common place where young couples date. As it was just after a rain, we explored only on a  short section of the stream. If we do have the time and the weather was right, we could have taken a leisure stroll down a longer section of the stream.

There are many entry points to Cheongyecheon Stream. My suggestion is if you are going to Dongdaemun, just walk towards the stream if you just want to have a peep. However, if you do intend to take a leisure stroll, you can start from City Hall Station (Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 4. Walk 250 m north to Cheonggye Plaza. The Cheongye Square would be the start of the stream and the venue where events and activities are held.

Cheongyecheon Stream
Opens 24hours

Line 1: City Hall Station, Jonggak Station, Jongno 3-ga Station, Jongno 5-ga Station, Dongdaemun Station, Sinseoldong Station
Line 2: Euljiro 1-ga Station, Euljiro 3-ga Station, Euljiro 4-ga Station, Sindang Station, Sangwangsibni Station
Line 3: Jongno 3-ga Station
Line 4: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station
Line 5: Gwanghwamun Station

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Edae - Ewha Womans University Vicinity, Seoul

Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower), Seoul

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