Namdaemun Market (남대문시장): Ginseng and Shopping

Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)
Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)

Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in South Korea with selling a variety of goods from clothes to accessories, ginseng and spectacles etc… The market is adjacent to Myeongdong and takes about 10-15 minutes by foot to get there. Although Namdaemun Market might not be that far away, the chilly autumn breeze certainly made it a walk to remember.

It can be considered as a wholesale market so items sold here are usually priced reasonably and you save the more you buy. Of course, you may also try your hand at bargaining. If you get something extra or got it a cheaper than usual, then great, but to haggle to the point of trying to outwit the other party till one party caves in is really something that I cannot phantom. The seller wants to and needs to earn a profit to survive, while the buyer wants to get the cheapest (perceived) best deal possible - probably the epitome of bargaining or shopping for that matter. Hence, in order to know whether it was really a deal, research research research... Knowledge is power after all.... But I digress…

C was on a mission to get some ginseng powder as requested by her sister, ginseng powder for a particular ginseng shop. We didn’t use a map and managed to find a  the Tourist Information Stand  to get our bearings.

Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)
Asking directions to "ginseng" street
Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)
Making our way to "ginseng" street and getting a little side tracked with the bags and socks on sale!
Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)
We have arrived at the street where all the ginseng shops are located.

We were at this other ginseng shop for quite some time, as the store guy was trying to convince C to buy his products which was the same as what she was looking for just that the packaging was different, so he said. C, on the other hand, was trying to ascertain if it was the right shop and right product.

Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)
The shop that we were at.

Eventually, C determined that the products were not the same due to the packaging and insisted on getting directions the shop she wanted. Despite his failed assertive soft-sales approach on C, the guy was nice enough direct us to his competitor with a smile still on his face, amazing attitude. 

With directions and a name of a shop to look out for, it was quite an experience meandering through the busy market streets, getting side tracked by the goods (the socks are really affordable and the varieties countless) on sale and doing a little shopping. Unlike Myeongdong with its bright lights and younger crowd, Namdaemun Market has a more mature vibe to it, with most of its store owners and clientele seemingly being more ahjummas and ahjussis. But that shouldn’t detract your from visiting this amazing place which is known also for its food.

[Exploring Namdaemun Market – One of the best street food in Seoul]
[Food in Namdaemun Market]

After a few streets (and shopping), we managed to find that exact shop and C bought her ginseng powder. The shop owner was so persuasive that C bought a couple more bottles. As the owner and her staff could converse in Mandarin, it turned out that this was the exact same shop that C bought her ginseng couple of years back. So they reminisced a bit before the store owner gave us two more carry bags (C asked for more since they were cute) and we headed back to the hotel to offload the goods before making our way to catch the JUMP performance within the vicinity.

Namdaemun Market 남대문시장
: 21 Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Namchang-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

How to get here:
Alight at
(Subway Line 4)  Hoehyeon Station Exit 5

Opening Hours: Varies by shop (Many are closed on Sundays)

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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.


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