Dongdaemun Seoul


Moving on to another shopping haven in Seoul, Dongdaemun after a short hiatus from blog posts on my Korea trip. I have got more than half of everything covered, and I am wondering if I am too long-winded lol. Never mind, it's always better to be more specific since you guys are here to find out more isn't it?

In overview, the Dongdaemun area consisting of over 40 markets including the Dongdaemun Market, Pyounghwa Market and Shin Pyeong Hwa Fashion Town is well-known as the hub of Korea's fashion and design, but let us start from the top of Dongdaemun where Hyehwa is before we travel to Ihwa-dong Mural Village and down Naksan Park via the Seoul City Wall walking trail to return to the main shopping area of Dongdaemun which stretches all the way to Dongmyo, where the guesthouse I stayed in, Hostel Vanilla 2 Dongdaemun is located. They are all within walking distance!


Once the center of Seoul's art and music scene, Hyehwa-dong is a vibrant neighbourhood that is now neglected by most tourists and even the locals with the rise of Hongdae and other more popular places. Nevertheless, I really like the "arty atmosphere" here in Hyehwa, where there are more than 80 independent theatres showing performances on a daily basis and the streets are lined with many cute stationery shops, and pretty cafes for you to relax and immerse yourself in a book. You can visit this neighbourhood that is bursting with creativity via subway line 4 (light blue).

If you are looking for a perfect place for brunch, I would strongly recommend you to visit the Homestead Coffee at Hyehwa (turn left and walk straight from Exit #2 of Hyehwa Station to find Homestead Coffee on your left). It is relatively quiet and the food here, though require a bit of waiting as the cafe seemed to be under-staffed, was awesome! Another plus point would be the music. Is it because they are located in such an arty neighbourhood that their taste in music is so refined as well? Lol. Song after song, we just kept on sound-hounding and made it a point to learn and perform them on stage when we return to Singapore. It took us a whole lot of determination to finally leave the cafe.

Sweet Potato Latte | KRW 4,900

Choco Latte | KRW 4,400

We wanted to try the Sweet Potato Latte as it was something that can only be find at Homestead Coffee and was highly recommended by many native bloggers who also suggest tourists to try the Broccoli Latte. It wasn't as weird as I would expect but it was kind of milky and tasted very much like our Horlicks. I didn't really like it so I just took a sip and swopped it with (former) bf's Choco Latte. If the Sweet Potato Latte was Horlicks, then the Choco Latte would be some kind of Ovaltine haha.

American Brunch | KRW 12,000
Mushroom Omelette Brunch | KRW 12,000

This 24,000 won had to be the most well-spent money out of all our expenditures. Both meals were so crazily yummy! The pancakes were super soft and sweet, the ham and bacons well-cooked and savoury, and the best out of everything on the table was the mushroom omelette (this is like a very big thing because for me, nothing ever wins bacon). There was melted cheese inside the omelette so the inner remains moist and delicious, and the combination of eggs, mushroom and cheese was totally heavenly. I wish we have the same thing in Singapore.

Making our way to Ihwa-dong Mural Village!

To get there from Hyehwa, walk staight from Exit #2 and turn left at intersection.
You should see these works of art along the way.

Continue walking and turn left again at Ministop

Continue straight and the stairs up will lead you to Ihwa-dong Mural Village

Here we are ^.^

Ihwa-dong Mural Village

The mural village in Ihwa-dong is where Lee Gak and Park Ha went on a date in the drama Rooftop Prince, and is also where we can find a great number of beautiful paintings and sculptures created during "Art in the City" project scattered around the village. Frankly, we didn't expect there will be so many visitors at the village, since it is after all, not the most convenient tourist attraction to speak of. So we only took a few quick photos and started wondering around the village to have a "feel" of how it is like to live in a daldongnae - poor hillside neighbourhood with narrow, curving alleyways and steep flights of concrete steps. Our conclusion: one will be very slim from all the walk down and up the hill daily.

Naksan Park

Following the footpath at the top of the long flight of stairs with the floral mural will lead you to Naksan Park, which is named for its shape that resembles a camel's back. This park offers a spectacular view especially during sunrise and in the night from its peak, and is famous as the filming location of some popular Korean dramas such as the Shining Inheritance, The King 2 Hearts and Rooftop Prince. We slowly strolled down the walking tail of Seoul City Wall, a fortress wall that connects all four major ancient gates of the city and yup, we are in the shopping district of Dongdaemun.

You will see this same gate - Heunginjimun at the end of the walking trail!


When it comes to Dongdaemun, many will presume that it is more advantageous to visit during the pre-dawn hours, but according to our guesthouse owner, although it is true that it is cheaper to get your clothers from the wholesalers who would set up yellow tentages along the main road, you will be required to purchase in bulk and the atmosphere to shop may not be as "conducive" since they are after all more interested to do business with shop-owners rather than to entertain a tourists. Moreover, besides the well-known midnight-shopping places, there are many neglected markets very nearby where you can get really good bargains during the day, for instance:

Dongdaemun Shoes Wholesale Market
Former bf got 3 pairs of shoes in this place alone!
Dongdaemun Station Exit #6.

Dongdaemun Stationery & Toy Market
I bought lots of cute stickers here at just 1,000 won per piece.
Dongdaemun Station Exit #4. Opene from 8am to 7pm.

The shopping malls I would also recommend are:

Doota 두타
One of Dongdaemun’s most iconic shopping malls. Fixed prices.
Open 7pm to 5am (Mon), 10.30am to 5am (Tue-Sat) and 10.30am to 11pm (Sun).

Goodmorning City 굿모닝시티
You can find many trendy clothes and fashion items here.
Open 10:30am to 4:30am. Closed on Tuesdays.

Hello APM 헬로에이피엠
Sells fashion items catered for young ladies at low price.
Open 10:30am to 5am. Closed on Tuesdays.

Lotte Fitin 롯데피트인
Home to many stores run by Korean indie fashion designers.
Open 11am to midnight daily.

Migliore (Dongdaemun Branch) 밀리오레 동대문점
A wholesale vendor of fashion items. There is also a nail supplies store on the 16th floor.
Open 10:30am to 4:30am. Closed on Sundays.

Cheonggyecheon Stream at night

Use this map from for navigation!

Being a history and cultural park, Dongdaemun is also home to the newly completed Dongdaemun Design Plaza designed by acclaimed architect, Zaha Hadid and encompasses a design exhibition hall, museum and convention hall. We went by to check out some of the art pieces placed in the common areas. If you are interested in more, do check out their website here and see if they have any interesting exhibitions coming up so you can plan your itinerary accordingly. The special 'My Love From the Star' Exhibition was held at DDP last year. Click here to find out more information on the exhibition that will be at KINTEX till 31 August 2015.

By the way, if you are intending to purchase a Hanbok in Seoul, I heard the best place would be Dongdaemun Shopping Complex which is right across the Cheonggyecheon Stream (Dongdaemun Station Exit #4). There are many shops selling beautiful and affordable Hanboks on the first floor.


Dongmyo Station is located on subway line 1 and line 6, and is named after a nearby shrine that was built during the Joseon dynasty to honor Guan Yu, the most famous Chinese military general from the Three Kingdoms era. It was the first time I stayed in this area, and I must say I like the change and enjoy how quiet and ordinary this neighbourhood is. Apart from its proximity to Dongdaemun and how it is closer to attractions such as Nami Island and Sindang. It was not as "happening" or sleepless like in Hongdae and Myeong-dong, but the locals here are very friendly. They literally know each other and I don't feel that they see me as a tourist too. I shopped in a local mini-mart, ventured around like one of them and I really loved this experience.

And these are some of the food I had in Dongmyo..

Chicken Steak French Roll | 3,400 won
Grilled Cheese Ciabatta | 3,000 won

I really didn't expect to find us sitting in Dunkin Donuts but we were looking for a place to rest our legs, they happen to be introducing a series of new items on their breakfast menus and the pictures of the food looked good so, there we were. The one with chicken was surprisingly tasty - the meat was well-marinated, luscious and filling, and the melted cheese complemented the chicken. The grilled cheese ciabatta was disappointing on the other hand, especially when we tasted the other one first. You couldn't really taste the grilled cheese and the slice of salami that was so thin that I think I could see through it if I held it up, didn't help. The Vanilla Latte (3,700 won) and Iced Cappuccino (3,100 won) were very normal as well so I wouldn't suggest anyone to spend on the drinks either.

Half Fried and Half Teriyaki Chicken | 17,000 won

Despite its popularity and how we were attracted to its aroma before deciding to go in for a quick bite, I thought the chicken here at Two Two Chicken were rather normal. There were two other fried chicken places, Samtong and Kyochon on the same stretch and I wished I tried either one instead. The fried ones weren't bad, comparable to Colonel Sander's although it was slightly too boney, and I have no doubt it would have been better if both of us had a pint of beer on the table. Sadly we couldn't say the same for the teriyaki ones, which were a little too sweet and messy. It overpowers the fried chicken and that made me feel like I was eating the seasoning on its own rather than the chicken. To make things worse, what we ordered was supposed to be GARLIC chicken -.-""

Alrighty, that is all I have on Dongdaemun. I am targeting to complete the entire series of blog posts on my Korea trip by mid-March, which is exactly six months from when I returned from my trip. It does makes me appear to be lazy, boring and draggy to be blogging about a trip that was more than half a year ago. And I still have Phuket to go before I clear my bad debts. Good luck to me.

Find out more about my Korea itinerary here,

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  1. Hello there, may I know do you need to transfer one subway to another subway when you travel to Hyewa, Ihwa-dong Mural Village, Naksan Park and Dongdaemun? Or these locations are walking distance to each other?

    1. Hi! There is no need to take the subway if you are going from Hyehwa to Ihwa-dong Mural Village, Naksan Park and Dongdaemun. Hyehwa and Dongdaemun are side-by-side stations on Seoul Subway Line 4, and in between the two stations are Ihwa-dong Mural Village and Naksan Park. I'd say they are within walking distance, but it can be a really long walk especially from Hyehwa to Ihwa-dong Mural Village as it involves an uphill climb. Going down on the opposite side from where you came from will lead you to Naksan Park which is then linked to Dongdaemun. Hope I answered your query :)

    2. Thank you for your reply, it helps me a lot on planning my trip to Korea. Love your blog very much <3

    3. Thank you for your kind words and support! I'm glad what I shared is of help to you too :)

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