Around Insa-dong

To experience the traditional culture of Korea while remaining in the heart of the city, visit Insa-dong. With art galleries, traditional craft stores, antique art dealers, traditional tea houses and restaurants, it is simply the place in Seoul for visitors wanting to experience traditional aspects of Korea. The area is especially good for antiques, old paintings, ceramics, paper crafts and antique furniture can be found in abundance. The 70 or so art galleries in the area also make Insa-dong ideal as a cultural attraction. In 1999, Queen Elizabeth II visited the area and heaped praise upon the old artworks.

Insa-dong is vehicle-free on weekends (Saturdays from 14:00-22:00, Sundays from 08:00-22:00) and flea markets are set up in the streets with people peddling their antiques, accessories and artworks. Travelers from abroad also gather here with goods from all over the world, so flea market items are not just limited to Korean goods.

Adjacent to Insa-dong are Nagwon Arcade (musical instrument market along with rice cake shops and delicacy shops), Unhyeongung (the Residence of the Regeant Daewongun of the late Joseon Dynasty, who closed the doors of the kingdom to foreigners) and Jogyesa Temple (the head temple of Korea’s largest Buddhist sect, Jogye).

Visitors can experience a Buddhist worship service laden with the fragrance of license performed in Jogyesa Temple. The street on which Jogyesa Temple lies is lined with shops packed with wooden clappers, gray robes, rosaries, incense, brassware and other Buddhist articles.

A bit further along towards Jonggak Station, Subway Line 1, is Jongno Tower, which has a commanding view of Seoul’s nightscape. Across from Jongno Tower are Youngpoong Bookstore and the historical Bosingak Bell Pavilion.

source: Korea Travel Guide

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