Destinations Asia

Strolling Through Dongdaemun in Seoul

Dongdaemun. Have you heard of it? Dongdaemun Gate, also known as Heunginjimun Gate, holds lots of history in South Korea. It translates literally to the “Great Eastern Gate” of the city. The area of Dongdaemun surrounds the gate and was a great place to explore. Follow me there.

Dongdaemun Gate

The gate itself was such a contrast to the modern buildings around it. Time stood still. I was transported back to the Joseon Era of Korea.

The gate was originally an entrance to the city and included a wall. You can still see the wall today. Climb up to the top and experience Dongdaemun from above.

To get the shot below, I actually needed a boost from a friend. The view was definitely worth it. Next, I headed to the Cheonggyecheon Stream. That was still located in the actual Dongdaemun area of Seoul.

The stream itself had an interesting history. It was buried below the streets at a point. The location is great for a mid-afternoon or evening stroll. There is no need to walk the whole stream. You can start and stop at any point that you like, as it is quite long.

Cheonggyecheon Stream

There were rocks to cross the stream. Some parts of the stream were calmer than others. Cross at your own risk.

Lots of stores lined the stream. They ranged from malls to wholesale buildings. There were also night markets that only opened after 10:00pm or so.

Cheonggyecheon Stream

We did enter the Pyounghwa Fashion Plaza. Pyounghwa (Pyeonghwa) means peace. The Pyounghwa Fashion Town market in Dongdaemun has been selling fashion clothing and accessories for over 50 years. This means from the end of the Korean War. North Korean refugees started selling clothes made from US army uniforms right in that market.

It was a wholesale market that wound around like a maze. Shops sold mostly women and babies clothing. The isles were narrow and the air was stuffy. It was a unique experience and very non-touristy, which is my favorite type of travel experience.

Dongdaemun Market

Below is another wholesale market that was part of the Pyounghwa Fashion Plaza. We didn’t go inside this part. The outside was so unique that I had to take a picture.

From there we went to the DDP. That stood for the Dongdaemun Design Plaza. I describe it as a large exhibition hall with a marketplace. It hosts different exhibitions and shows. There was also an area to purchase art from local artisans.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

The architecture of the building was very beautiful. It was a mix between a spaceship and a giant rock. My favorite part of it was the architecture. I also enjoyed its unique restaurants. Across the street was the Doota Mall.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

The Doota Mall is part of the “Dongdaemun Market.” There were many unique shops and a nice food court. Big names included the Line Store and Nike. Many stores sold local brands. I would consider it a luxury mall.

Doota Shopping Mall

Dongdaemun is a great area with something for everyone. Experience history or go shopping. There is a lot to see and do.

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