Hongdae Free Market

2 weeks back I was in Seoul to hang out with a few friends. As usual I booked a hostel in Hongdae. There’s quite a few in the area, and thus far they’ve all been decent enough (though some are much better than others). I’d never really explored Hongdae in the daytime. Everyone knows the area for the clubs and nightlife, but there was one thing I wanted to check out during the daylight hours: the Hongdae Free Market (홍대 프리 마켓)

I found out about it just doing a quick search for “things to do in Hongdae” on Google. The Free Market is basically an open air market set up in a park for local artists to sell their wares. Since my major was Fine Arts and I love making crafts I was excited to check it out.

Welcome to the Free Market

The market is every Saturday from March until November from 1 pm – 5 pm. It’s held at Hongik Children’s Park, right across the street from Hongik University, so it’s not hard to find. It was a great day to go. The weather was warm and the sun was shining. Just the right weather for admiring art and dropping some cash.

An intimate market

The park isn’t that big, but they pack it with plenty of talented artists showing their talents. There were so many cool things!  I wanted to buy much more than I did, but I restrained myself. All the more reason to go back, right? Of course I gotta show off the things I picked up —

This was my first purchase of the day (and the vendor’s first sale of the day as well). She said she came from California, and she was selling a variety of hand-painted shoes. I love the bright colors, and they’re actually pretty comfy! If you wanna check out her stuff she has a website – www.slow2go2.com.

I couldn’t resist these. The penguin is one of my favorite animals, so I grabbed this coin purse. It’s also big enough to hold cards. The camera is a neat little wallet. Both are made from felt and very sturdy. The coin purse was 10,000 won and the wallet was 12,000.

There was a woman at a table doing calligraphy on various bookmarks and cell phone straps. Turns out she teaches calligraphy to foreigners in Seoul. If I lived up there I’d love to go for lessons. Alas! I’m a bit too far south. But if you’re curious, go check out her blog – Boot Touch 붓터치. I bought a bookmark and asked her to write “happy Janelle” in Korean. 🙂 I also bought a cell phone strap for a friend. They were only about 3,000-4,000 each. They’re very cute and inexpensive gifts.

There was another woman who had lovely jewelry. I chose this bracelet made with lapis lazuli.

This is another fun purchase – a double-sided necklace. One side has the colorful glass and the other is the flat 2-toned rose.

The last thing I bought were these cute coffee cup earrings. I don’t drink a lot of coffee, but I couldn’t resists these.

If you’re looking to hit up the market too, it’s just a short walk from Hongik station.

Go out exit 9 and walk straight until the 1st intersection.  Turn left and walk straight up the hill towards Hongik University. When you get to the end, right in front of the uni, turn right. The park is just around the corner on the right side. You can walk up some stairs or take the side street.

My advice is, if you like these sorts of things, take enough cash. However, if you run out there’s an ATM conveniently outside one of the nearby stores.

If you’re looking for a little more info, you can check out the website (only in Korean, sorry) – Free Market

And here’s just a few other pics I took while wandering around Hongdae ~

One of many streets with plenty of fashion to look at. A lot of the prices are low, so it’s hard to resists sometimes.

Oh, there you are, Perry.
(Phineas & Ferb reference btw)

I’m curious how one might be part of the market. I make accessories mostly for fun; however, most of the stuff I’ve made lately is just sitting in my craft basket. I may want to find a way to sell them. I suppose that’s one of my next missions!

 

 

 

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Noryangjin Fish Market

This past weekend I had a chance to meet with up an old college friend who happened to be on vacation in Seoul. The nice thing about meeting up with friends or family while you’re in another country is that you can get a fresh perspective. Since she was vacationing she had a guidebook with her. Even though I have a couple nice books from when I first came here, I wouldn’t carry them with me now. It’s not like I’ve seen a whole ton of things in Seoul either, but I just don’t want to look touristy anymore.

That aside though I had fun hanging out that day. I didn’t get there until after lunch. It only takes 50 minutes by KTX from Daejeon to Seoul, but I like sleeping in on the weekend as much as I can. 😛

First place we hit up with Gyeongbok palace. That was my 4th time or so, but it’s still nice to look at. There were a lot of people, but it was a Saturday and the weather was very nice.

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Afterwards we hit up Myeongdong. As much as I love shopping, that place has way too many people for my liking. However I’m willing to put up with it for a bit because there’s no H&M or Forever 21 (among other places) in Daejeon. Not that I went to those places this time. Once again I got sucked into several make-up stores. They’re like giant magnets for me.

Finally we went somewhere I hadn’t been before – Noryangjin (노량진) fish market. I like some seafood, but it really isn’t a big part of my diet. But it was in my friend’s guidebook and she really wanted to go, so I didn’t mind going.

Getting there is really easy. Just take the subway line wand go out exit 1 (there may only be one exit if I recall). Then you just follow the signs. You know you’re there by the smell. Certainly not that fresh, but hey it’s a fish market. We went over the bridge though I think you can go under as well.

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Go to the ground floor and browse among the many sellers. You’ll see all kinds of seafood there. I don’t know if people down there speak much English, but my friend, who speaks Chinese natively, ended up speaking to a seller in Chinese in the end. Actually the seller we started talking to, who only spoke Korean, brought the second lady over to talk to my friend. We ended up buying several things: salmon (which they cut up sashimi-style for us), prawns, sea urchins, and a nice sized crab. My friend wanted oysters, but I guess you can only get them in the winter. All that cost us 65,000 between 3 people. You may be able to haggle if you have the skills (?), but I don’t.

Once you buy your food you can ask the seller to hook you up with one of the restaurants upstairs to prepare the food for you. We were led upstairs to a fairly busy place. For prepping everything we we charged 21,000 won total. Oh man it was all so good. The salmon sashimi was amazing especially with a bit of soy sauce and wasabi. I never had sea urchins before. There really isn’t mucho a taste. They’re just sorta slimy/squishy and a little hard to grab with chopsticks. The prawns were great and so was the crab. I’ve only had crab once before, and this time was really delicious albeit a bit messy.

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So once you add in a few beers, between the 3 of us we paid around 33,000 won each for our dinner. Honestly for everything we got I’d say that’s a pretty good deal. If you like seafood I highly recommend giving this place try if you’re ever in Seoul. I don’t think you’ll find a better deal on fresh seafood. Enjoy!