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Exploring Seoul’s Design Landmark and Charming Alleys
Energetic Seoul has a population of over ten million, and just as many charming attractions. Those visiting Seoul for the first time should be sure to visit its royal palaces, which have stood firm since the Joseon Dynasty despite being surrounded by a vibrant city of rapid change. At the other end of the spectrum is the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza, arriving in 2014 and a modern cultural space where visitors can experience design, fashion, culture, and the arts. To experience and enjoy Seoul’s various attractions in one day, visit these stunning sights, followed at sunset by wandering through every corner and alley of Yeonnam-dong, falling in love with its unique atmosphere.

* Tour Routes
Changgyeonggung Palace – Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Yeonnam-dong
Changgyeonggung Palace

"창경궁 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Changgyeonggung Palace?

"창경궁 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Changgyeonggung Palace. It is located at .

"창경궁은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Changgyeonggung Palace?

"창경궁(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Changgyeonggung Palace. It is located at .

  1     1810007201108023k changgyeonggung palace

Thick and overgrown pine trees at Changgyeonggung Palace

A Walk around Beautiful and Tranquil Changgyeonggung Palace in Downtown Seoul

 

The five royal palaces located in the busy city of Seoul are, among many other things, great rest areas where history and nature meet. Changgyeonggung Palace, in particular, offers a tranquil and cozy appeal that one might not expect to find in the middle of a city. Its origins date back to 1483, when it was built to provide additional space for the royal family at Changdeokgung Palace where King Seongjong lived. As such, Changgyeonggung served as a detached palace for the three queens, constructed therefore as a living space for women as opposed to a workspace for the king, aiming to be neat and simple, as well as strongly harmonizing with its natural surroundings.

 

Unlike other Joseon palaces, which are arranged to face the south, Changgyeonggung’s main gate and its buildings are positioned to the east. This configuration not only fits with the theory of divination based on topography, but also follows the tradition that the queen’s residence had to be to the east. Including Myeongjeongjeon, the oldest of all the existing halls, is Munjeongjeon Hall, where the king ran political affairs; Sungmundang Hall, where the king discussed his studies, and Tongmyeongjeon Hall, where the king and queen slept. 

  3     1810007201202014k changgyeonggung palace  horz

View of Tongmyeongjeon Hall at Changgyeonggung Palace / Corridor connected to Myeongjeongjeon Hall rear porch

The palace is also blessed with beautiful scenery across all four seasons, with flowers such as plum, cornus and azaleas in the spring, green leafy shades in the summer, autumn-colored foliage in the fall, and tiled roofs covered by pure white snow in the winter. The Geumcheon Stream, which flows beneath the Okcheongyo Bridge, runs down to Chundangji Pond: be sure to follow the walking trail toward the stunning scenery found here after exploring the palace. 

3

Crossing Okcheongyo Bridge, located near the main gate / The Great Greenhouse, brightly lit for “Open Night”

Despite its name, Changgyeonggung, meaning “palace of magnificent celebration,” is a palace with a painful history. During the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592 and the Japanese colonial era, the palace was significantly downsized. Eventually, its name was changed to Changkyungwon and both a zoo and botanical garden were installed in its grounds. In 1983, ongoing restoration work began on the palace, whereupon it was redesignated “Changgyeonggung” and gained its current – and original – form. However, the Daeonsil, or Great Greenhouse, a vestige of the botanical garden, has remained as a distinctive feature of the palace, and has been recognized as Korea’s first Western-style greenhouse and acknowledged for its beautiful glass structure. 

 

Tip. Cheonggyeonggung – Visitor Information

Address: 185, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

         (15-minute walk from Hyehwa Station, Exit 4)

Hours of Operation: February–May, September–October 9am–6pm

                    June–August 9am–6:30pm

                    November–January 9am–5:30pm

               * Last admission is one hour before closing

               * Closed on Mondays

Cost of Admission: 1,000 won

Online: cgg.cha.go.kr

 

Integrated Admission Ticket for All Palaces

 

The integrated admission ticket allows entry into all five palaces in Seoul: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung (including Huwon, the garden), Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, and Gyeonghuigung. The ticket is priced at 10,000 won – 4,000 won cheaper than buying five separate tickets, viable for a month and allows purchasers to visit each of the five palaces once. Tickets are available at each palace’s ticket office. 

 

Changgyeonggung Palace Open Night

 

Held 3 to 4 times a year in the spring, summer and fall, Open Night is an opportunity not to be missed where visitors can walk around the palace under the enchanting moonlight. At night, Changgyeonggung Palace has a whole different atmosphere and appeal, with the illuminations giving off a majestic presence and dignity to the 500-year-old buildings. The lighting installed along the walking trails in particular brighten a good leisurely stroll through the grounds, while the silhouette of the old trees, together with the beautiful scenery of Chundangji Pond, give the palace a mystical feel.

 

Periods of Operation: February, May, and October

Hours of Operation: 7pm-10pm

Cost of Admission: 1,000 won

4

Myeongjeongjeon, the oldest hall in Korea, rebuilt in 1616 / Night scenery of Chundangji Pond

Hearty Home-style Cooking at The Bap     

  

Across the road from Changgyeonggung Palace is an alley near Seoul University Hospital in which can be found clusters of restaurants and cafés. Kong biji jjigae (pureed soybean stew), bossam (napa wraps with pork), jikhwa bulgogi (fired beef marinated with soy sauce), cheolpan bugeo jjim (pan-fried braised dried pollack) are just some of the Korean dishes available, each served with plenty of side dishes. The health-conscious will enjoy the kong bigi jjigae, which is cooked without meat and a specialty with broad appeal. From the entrance, the walls are filled with the autographs of visiting celebrities. The restaurant is also a popular destination for local college students. 

5

Kong biji jeongsik (pureed soybean stew set meal) and cheolpan bugeo jjim (braised dried pollack) /

Nutty and light kong biji jjigae (pureed soybean stew)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

"동대문디자인플라자 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Dongdaemun Design Plaza?

"동대문디자인플라자 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It is located at .

"동대문디자인플라자 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Dongdaemun Design Plaza?

"동대문디자인플라자 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It is located at .

  10 ddp 3820142201400007k dongdaemun design plaza  horz

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the world’s largest asymmetrical building

Dongdaemun Design Plaza: International Icon of Design 

 

In just one year since its opening in March 2014, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) has become an icon of fashion and design in Korea. Located in the Dongdaemun Fashion Town; the largest apparel market in South Korea, the DDP has been creating one buzz after another by holding the Chanel fashion show, showcasing the brand’s new collection, as well as a Dior exhibition featuring the label’s collaboration with contemporary artists. The Rose Garden, home to over 25,000 roses made out of LED lights, became one of the complex’s most famous spots after it was featured in the popular actor Kim Soohyun’s television drama, The Producers.

7

Cave stairway connecting to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station /

Soft, streamlined interior of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza

One thing that should not be left out when talking about the DDP is its unique architecture, which resembles an enormous spaceship. Its designer, world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, was inspired by the dynamism of the Dongdaemun Fashion Town; which continually transforms from dawn till dusk, creating a structure that looks like flowing liquid. Both the interior and exterior of the building consist of smooth curves, eschewing straight lines or doors as much as possible.

 

In contrast to the exterior that is covered with about 40,000 silver aluminum panels, the interior has been painted exclusively in white. Once one steps inside this maze-like structure, they may end up staying for longer than planned. Try simply moving through the spaces organically rather than attempting to find a particular destination, and unexpected and intriguing spaces and objects will be discovered along the way.

8

The Design Shop, featuring a diverse array of fun design-related products /

Art exhibitions being held in different sections of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza

The DDP, which spreads over an extensive area, including three levels below ground and four levels above ground, is largely divided into five sections. The main interior space of the complex consists of the Art Hall, where international conferences, fashion shows and performances are held; the Museum, where 3 to 4 art exhibitions are held simultaneously; and the Design Shop, where products created by budding designers are on sale. From the Oullim Square located in the front yard, the impressive landscape of the DDP and the Dongdaemun Fashion Town can be viewed all at once.

9

The Excavation Site, located in the center of Ouillim Square / The Rose Garden, made up of 25,000 LED lights

The Dongdaemun History and Culture Park offers a space where visitors can experience both the past and future of the Dongdaemun district. The park exhibits significant historic objects excavated during the demolition of the former Dongdaemun Stadium which, for a long time, had previously occupied the site. The Dongdaemun History Museum, the Historic Site of Igansumun Gate – which is part of the Fortress Wall of Seoul – and the Excavation Sites that reproduced the old residential site from earlier times, are located in several corners of the park. The tall light towers from the baseball stadium can still be seen today, symbolizing the popular sports center that many still fondly remember.

 

Tip. Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Visitor Information

Address: 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, Exit 1)

Hours of Operation:  

Art Hall 10am–9pm

Museum 10am–7pm / Wednesday & Friday 10am–9pm

 * Closed on Mondays, January 1, and during Lunar New Year and Chuseok breaks    

Design Lab 10am–10pm

Design Market & Oullim Square Open 24 hours

Cost of Admission: Free (Except for some special exhibitions)

Online: www.ddp.or.kr

Yeonnam-dong

"연남동 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Yeonnam-dong?

"연남동 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Yeonnam-dong. It is located at .

"연남동은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Yeonnam-dong?

"연남동(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Yeonnam-dong. It is located at .

10

Café filled with the rich aromas of hand-dripped coffee

The Hidden Gems of Yeonnam-dong, as Seen Through its Alleyways

 

“Hongdae is noisy and crowded! Try taking a 10-minute walk to our tranquil neighborhood, Yeonnam-dong. Things here are cheap and delicious. It’s got me and it’s got the booze. Let’s stay up all night and catch up. I’ll sing for you. Come and hang out here.”

– Come to Yeonnam-dong by Yeonnamdong Dumb & Dumber

The lyrics of the song by this popular local indie band successfully portray the leisurely and warm atmosphere of Yeonnam-dong. While Hongdae is frequently packed with revelers in search of places to shop, clubs to dance in or bars in which to drink, Yeonnam-dong, located a few minutes away, is the perfect place for those who enjoy a more relaxed pace. Here, they can discover the district’s hidden gems by taking a slow stroll down every alleyway.

11

Corner mural in a Yeonnam-dong alleyway / Store selling vintage objects and toys /

Small bookshop selling independent publications / Yeonnam-dong street view seen from Dongjin Market

Yeonnam-dong is a rich, multicolored district. Here, franchise stores are seldom seen, while bars with warm and welcoming atmospheres, cafés serving hand-dripped coffee, ateliers selling handmade accessories, and small bookshops selling independent publications offering unique perspectives are in abundance. Although it may seem like an ordinary residential area at first glance, small but unique stores are waiting to be discovered in every corner of the alleyways, making each step through them an exciting revelation.

 

Yeonnam-dong is also a great place to go on a gastronomic tour, as it is filled with dining venues serving a wide range of international cuisines. There is a diverse selection of casual restaurants to choose from, including Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and Italian. Also known as “Little China” for its many Chinese residents, Yeonnam-dong is unsurprisingly famous for its Chinese restaurants that pride themselves for their authentic Chinese flavors. Live musical performances in the district’s cafés and bars are also recommended on weekends when the beer is flowing.

 

12

Dongjin Market, where a flea market is held every Saturday / Street musicians at Railway Forest Park

At Dongjin Market, open every Saturday, one will find lively drawings sold by the artists themselves, as well as handmade candles, soaps, food items cooked with organic ingredients, vintage fashion items, and much more. The Railway Forest Park was created by covering the space where the railway used to pass through with grass. This open area provides passersby with a place to rest and enjoy a slice of nature in the midst of a concrete jungle. In all these locations can be enjoyed Yeonnam-dong’s laid-back and leisurely atmosphere, where tunes from local artists only add to the the visiting experience.

Ha Ha Chinese Dumpling Restaurant

 

Famous for its Chinese-style dumplings, Ha Ha is one of the most famous Chinese restaurants in Yeonnam-dong. There is always a long line at the entrance, above which is a distinctive red sign bearing the Chinese characters '哈哈' (Ha Ha). Their signature dish gunmandu, or fried dumplings packed with various ingredients, costs only 6,000 won for 10 dumplings half the size of one’s palm. Other Chinese dishes, including fried eggplant, ohyangjangyuk (five-spice sliced steamed pork) and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork), are also served in generous portions at reasonable prices. Occasionally, Yeonnam-dong can become crowded with visitors on outings or those grabbing a couple of drinks after work; even then, however, the atmosphere is more lively than noisy.

13

Ha Ha, one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in Yeonnam-dong /

Ha Ha’s signature dishes – gunmandu (fried dumplings) and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork)

Exploring Seoul’s Design Landmark and Charming Alleys
Energetic Seoul has a population of over ten million, and just as many charming attractions. Those visiting Seoul for the first time should be sure to visit its royal palaces, which have stood firm since the Joseon Dynasty despite being surrounded by a vibrant city of rapid change. At the other end of the spectrum is the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza, arriving in 2014 and a modern cultural space where visitors can experience design, fashion, culture, and the arts. To experience and enjoy Seoul’s various attractions in one day, visit these stunning sights, followed at sunset by wandering through every corner and alley of Yeonnam-dong, falling in love with its unique atmosphere.

* Tour Routes
Changgyeonggung Palace – Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Yeonnam-dong
Changgyeonggung Palace

"창경궁 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Changgyeonggung Palace?

"창경궁 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Changgyeonggung Palace. It is located at .

"창경궁은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Changgyeonggung Palace?

"창경궁(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Changgyeonggung Palace. It is located at .

  1     1810007201108023k changgyeonggung palace

Thick and overgrown pine trees at Changgyeonggung Palace

A Walk around Beautiful and Tranquil Changgyeonggung Palace in Downtown Seoul

 

The five royal palaces located in the busy city of Seoul are, among many other things, great rest areas where history and nature meet. Changgyeonggung Palace, in particular, offers a tranquil and cozy appeal that one might not expect to find in the middle of a city. Its origins date back to 1483, when it was built to provide additional space for the royal family at Changdeokgung Palace where King Seongjong lived. As such, Changgyeonggung served as a detached palace for the three queens, constructed therefore as a living space for women as opposed to a workspace for the king, aiming to be neat and simple, as well as strongly harmonizing with its natural surroundings.

 

Unlike other Joseon palaces, which are arranged to face the south, Changgyeonggung’s main gate and its buildings are positioned to the east. This configuration not only fits with the theory of divination based on topography, but also follows the tradition that the queen’s residence had to be to the east. Including Myeongjeongjeon, the oldest of all the existing halls, is Munjeongjeon Hall, where the king ran political affairs; Sungmundang Hall, where the king discussed his studies, and Tongmyeongjeon Hall, where the king and queen slept. 

  3     1810007201202014k changgyeonggung palace  horz

View of Tongmyeongjeon Hall at Changgyeonggung Palace / Corridor connected to Myeongjeongjeon Hall rear porch

The palace is also blessed with beautiful scenery across all four seasons, with flowers such as plum, cornus and azaleas in the spring, green leafy shades in the summer, autumn-colored foliage in the fall, and tiled roofs covered by pure white snow in the winter. The Geumcheon Stream, which flows beneath the Okcheongyo Bridge, runs down to Chundangji Pond: be sure to follow the walking trail toward the stunning scenery found here after exploring the palace. 

3

Crossing Okcheongyo Bridge, located near the main gate / The Great Greenhouse, brightly lit for “Open Night”

Despite its name, Changgyeonggung, meaning “palace of magnificent celebration,” is a palace with a painful history. During the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592 and the Japanese colonial era, the palace was significantly downsized. Eventually, its name was changed to Changkyungwon and both a zoo and botanical garden were installed in its grounds. In 1983, ongoing restoration work began on the palace, whereupon it was redesignated “Changgyeonggung” and gained its current – and original – form. However, the Daeonsil, or Great Greenhouse, a vestige of the botanical garden, has remained as a distinctive feature of the palace, and has been recognized as Korea’s first Western-style greenhouse and acknowledged for its beautiful glass structure. 

 

Tip. Cheonggyeonggung – Visitor Information

Address: 185, Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

         (15-minute walk from Hyehwa Station, Exit 4)

Hours of Operation: February–May, September–October 9am–6pm

                    June–August 9am–6:30pm

                    November–January 9am–5:30pm

               * Last admission is one hour before closing

               * Closed on Mondays

Cost of Admission: 1,000 won

Online: cgg.cha.go.kr

 

Integrated Admission Ticket for All Palaces

 

The integrated admission ticket allows entry into all five palaces in Seoul: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung (including Huwon, the garden), Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung, and Gyeonghuigung. The ticket is priced at 10,000 won – 4,000 won cheaper than buying five separate tickets, viable for a month and allows purchasers to visit each of the five palaces once. Tickets are available at each palace’s ticket office. 

 

Changgyeonggung Palace Open Night

 

Held 3 to 4 times a year in the spring, summer and fall, Open Night is an opportunity not to be missed where visitors can walk around the palace under the enchanting moonlight. At night, Changgyeonggung Palace has a whole different atmosphere and appeal, with the illuminations giving off a majestic presence and dignity to the 500-year-old buildings. The lighting installed along the walking trails in particular brighten a good leisurely stroll through the grounds, while the silhouette of the old trees, together with the beautiful scenery of Chundangji Pond, give the palace a mystical feel.

 

Periods of Operation: February, May, and October

Hours of Operation: 7pm-10pm

Cost of Admission: 1,000 won

4

Myeongjeongjeon, the oldest hall in Korea, rebuilt in 1616 / Night scenery of Chundangji Pond

Hearty Home-style Cooking at The Bap     

  

Across the road from Changgyeonggung Palace is an alley near Seoul University Hospital in which can be found clusters of restaurants and cafés. Kong biji jjigae (pureed soybean stew), bossam (napa wraps with pork), jikhwa bulgogi (fired beef marinated with soy sauce), cheolpan bugeo jjim (pan-fried braised dried pollack) are just some of the Korean dishes available, each served with plenty of side dishes. The health-conscious will enjoy the kong bigi jjigae, which is cooked without meat and a specialty with broad appeal. From the entrance, the walls are filled with the autographs of visiting celebrities. The restaurant is also a popular destination for local college students. 

5

Kong biji jeongsik (pureed soybean stew set meal) and cheolpan bugeo jjim (braised dried pollack) /

Nutty and light kong biji jjigae (pureed soybean stew)

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

"동대문디자인플라자 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Dongdaemun Design Plaza?

"동대문디자인플라자 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It is located at .

"동대문디자인플라자 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Dongdaemun Design Plaza?

"동대문디자인플라자 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It is located at .

  10 ddp 3820142201400007k dongdaemun design plaza  horz

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the world’s largest asymmetrical building

Dongdaemun Design Plaza: International Icon of Design 

 

In just one year since its opening in March 2014, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) has become an icon of fashion and design in Korea. Located in the Dongdaemun Fashion Town; the largest apparel market in South Korea, the DDP has been creating one buzz after another by holding the Chanel fashion show, showcasing the brand’s new collection, as well as a Dior exhibition featuring the label’s collaboration with contemporary artists. The Rose Garden, home to over 25,000 roses made out of LED lights, became one of the complex’s most famous spots after it was featured in the popular actor Kim Soohyun’s television drama, The Producers.

7

Cave stairway connecting to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station /

Soft, streamlined interior of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza

One thing that should not be left out when talking about the DDP is its unique architecture, which resembles an enormous spaceship. Its designer, world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, was inspired by the dynamism of the Dongdaemun Fashion Town; which continually transforms from dawn till dusk, creating a structure that looks like flowing liquid. Both the interior and exterior of the building consist of smooth curves, eschewing straight lines or doors as much as possible.

 

In contrast to the exterior that is covered with about 40,000 silver aluminum panels, the interior has been painted exclusively in white. Once one steps inside this maze-like structure, they may end up staying for longer than planned. Try simply moving through the spaces organically rather than attempting to find a particular destination, and unexpected and intriguing spaces and objects will be discovered along the way.

8

The Design Shop, featuring a diverse array of fun design-related products /

Art exhibitions being held in different sections of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza

The DDP, which spreads over an extensive area, including three levels below ground and four levels above ground, is largely divided into five sections. The main interior space of the complex consists of the Art Hall, where international conferences, fashion shows and performances are held; the Museum, where 3 to 4 art exhibitions are held simultaneously; and the Design Shop, where products created by budding designers are on sale. From the Oullim Square located in the front yard, the impressive landscape of the DDP and the Dongdaemun Fashion Town can be viewed all at once.

9

The Excavation Site, located in the center of Ouillim Square / The Rose Garden, made up of 25,000 LED lights

The Dongdaemun History and Culture Park offers a space where visitors can experience both the past and future of the Dongdaemun district. The park exhibits significant historic objects excavated during the demolition of the former Dongdaemun Stadium which, for a long time, had previously occupied the site. The Dongdaemun History Museum, the Historic Site of Igansumun Gate – which is part of the Fortress Wall of Seoul – and the Excavation Sites that reproduced the old residential site from earlier times, are located in several corners of the park. The tall light towers from the baseball stadium can still be seen today, symbolizing the popular sports center that many still fondly remember.

 

Tip. Dongdaemun Design Plaza – Visitor Information

Address: 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, Exit 1)

Hours of Operation:  

Art Hall 10am–9pm

Museum 10am–7pm / Wednesday & Friday 10am–9pm

 * Closed on Mondays, January 1, and during Lunar New Year and Chuseok breaks    

Design Lab 10am–10pm

Design Market & Oullim Square Open 24 hours

Cost of Admission: Free (Except for some special exhibitions)

Online: www.ddp.or.kr

Yeonnam-dong

"연남동 은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Yeonnam-dong?

"연남동 (으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Yeonnam-dong. It is located at .

"연남동은/는 어떻게 가야 하나요?" How do I get to Yeonnam-dong?

"연남동(으)로 가주세요. 이곳의 주소는 입니다." Please go to Yeonnam-dong. It is located at .

10

Café filled with the rich aromas of hand-dripped coffee

The Hidden Gems of Yeonnam-dong, as Seen Through its Alleyways

 

“Hongdae is noisy and crowded! Try taking a 10-minute walk to our tranquil neighborhood, Yeonnam-dong. Things here are cheap and delicious. It’s got me and it’s got the booze. Let’s stay up all night and catch up. I’ll sing for you. Come and hang out here.”

– Come to Yeonnam-dong by Yeonnamdong Dumb & Dumber

The lyrics of the song by this popular local indie band successfully portray the leisurely and warm atmosphere of Yeonnam-dong. While Hongdae is frequently packed with revelers in search of places to shop, clubs to dance in or bars in which to drink, Yeonnam-dong, located a few minutes away, is the perfect place for those who enjoy a more relaxed pace. Here, they can discover the district’s hidden gems by taking a slow stroll down every alleyway.

11

Corner mural in a Yeonnam-dong alleyway / Store selling vintage objects and toys /

Small bookshop selling independent publications / Yeonnam-dong street view seen from Dongjin Market

Yeonnam-dong is a rich, multicolored district. Here, franchise stores are seldom seen, while bars with warm and welcoming atmospheres, cafés serving hand-dripped coffee, ateliers selling handmade accessories, and small bookshops selling independent publications offering unique perspectives are in abundance. Although it may seem like an ordinary residential area at first glance, small but unique stores are waiting to be discovered in every corner of the alleyways, making each step through them an exciting revelation.

 

Yeonnam-dong is also a great place to go on a gastronomic tour, as it is filled with dining venues serving a wide range of international cuisines. There is a diverse selection of casual restaurants to choose from, including Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and Italian. Also known as “Little China” for its many Chinese residents, Yeonnam-dong is unsurprisingly famous for its Chinese restaurants that pride themselves for their authentic Chinese flavors. Live musical performances in the district’s cafés and bars are also recommended on weekends when the beer is flowing.

 

12

Dongjin Market, where a flea market is held every Saturday / Street musicians at Railway Forest Park

At Dongjin Market, open every Saturday, one will find lively drawings sold by the artists themselves, as well as handmade candles, soaps, food items cooked with organic ingredients, vintage fashion items, and much more. The Railway Forest Park was created by covering the space where the railway used to pass through with grass. This open area provides passersby with a place to rest and enjoy a slice of nature in the midst of a concrete jungle. In all these locations can be enjoyed Yeonnam-dong’s laid-back and leisurely atmosphere, where tunes from local artists only add to the the visiting experience.

Ha Ha Chinese Dumpling Restaurant

 

Famous for its Chinese-style dumplings, Ha Ha is one of the most famous Chinese restaurants in Yeonnam-dong. There is always a long line at the entrance, above which is a distinctive red sign bearing the Chinese characters '哈哈' (Ha Ha). Their signature dish gunmandu, or fried dumplings packed with various ingredients, costs only 6,000 won for 10 dumplings half the size of one’s palm. Other Chinese dishes, including fried eggplant, ohyangjangyuk (five-spice sliced steamed pork) and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork), are also served in generous portions at reasonable prices. Occasionally, Yeonnam-dong can become crowded with visitors on outings or those grabbing a couple of drinks after work; even then, however, the atmosphere is more lively than noisy.

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Ha Ha, one of the most popular Chinese restaurants in Yeonnam-dong /

Ha Ha’s signature dishes – gunmandu (fried dumplings) and tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork)

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