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Much like Myeong-dong, Dongdaemun is a famous district of Seoul mostly known for its shopping district. Dongdaemun shopping district feature countless shops and boutiques selling top-brand fashion items. Though the most popular shopping attraction is Dongdaemun Market, a shopping area that sell high-quality apparels with retail prices. Dongdaemun Market is a place to go when the budget is tight but you would still want to splurge on some items. But even if you don't want to do any shopping, Dongdaemun is still a pleasant to go and relax. The district also boast many cultural and historical attractions you can visit for free.
Free Activities in Dongdaemun All Non-Shoppers Would Love to Do
Ihwa Mural Village is one unbreakable proof that art will makes the world become a better place. Years ago, Ihwa Mural Village is just a small dying slum near Naksan Park waiting to be demolished until Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism came with a great idea. They invited artists and Art students to come and decorate the village with artistic and captivating murals. The small village is indeed become more vibrant and inviting with its lovely Koi fishes staircases, intricate mozaic flower paintings, or an adorable wall painting of two small huskies. The village breathe in its new life and many quaint coffee shops are opened with their friendly servers waiting to welcome visitors.
If you're curious, Dongdaemun actually means Large Eastern Gate, and the district itself was named after a grand gate monument sitting at the center of the district. The Dongdaemun Gate still retain its majesty and power as the outer wall of Seoul Fortress centuries ago. It's one of the most prominent and also well-maintained historical monuments in Seoul, its charm shines even more when the night come and the whole place is illuminated by lights. Most visitors will take ton of pictures with the monument in the background while the other will silently admire the grand architecture and its ancient history.
Located just behind the Dongdaemun Gate is charming and tranquil Naksan Park. The park offer not only grand view of lush greens with Seoul modern buildings in the background, it is also a great place to hike up to the top. During your hike, pay great attention to read (or probably just admire) ancient inscriptions carved on the fortress' wall. If you have keen eyes, you'll get to see difference between various styles of the bricks and layering styles along the long fortress. It's a magnificent thing to realize that the differences in it reflect Seoul in each of its different eras.
Despite a fact that the riverscape is located on Seoul's busiest boulevards, Cheonggyecheon Stream still offer sense of tranquility and peace that makes the stream is a perfect place to escape from the city's noise. In fact, many families and couples will come to the stream and have a long sit while enjoying the peaceful scenery. Join them by sitting on the stone steps and let your ears and eyes feast on the rhytm of splashing water and decorative murals painted along the bordering walls. Some amateur Korean musicians usually perform on the banks to entertain the visitors, be sure to show them some appreciations! Wait until sunset to see Cheonggyecheon Stream in its full glory as the riverbanks lit up with lights.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, or much more known as DDP is one of Seoul's modern landmark located in Dongdaemun. DDP is famous for its unique design, it is considered as one of Zaha Hadid's masterpieces. While the edifice's design is absolutely stunning, you will be charmed even more as the building boast various art exhibitions, fashion boutiques, bookshops, beauty shops, and even some souvenir centres on each of its seven floors. On the basement is chain of cafes with various delectable menus that will satisfy your hunger pangs and fully recharge your energy.
If you're a huge enthusiast for Korea's culture and history, then you must not miss Dongdaemun History & Culture Park. The cultural park boasts many historical and traditional buildings of Korea from Joseon Dynasty such as Seoul Fortress and Igansumun Water Gate. Dongdaemon History Exhibition Hall, Dongdaemun Exvacation Site Exhibition, and Dongdaemun Stadium Memorial Hall are also located in the same site. You'll get to view more than 1,000 ancient relics and ruins that were unearthed and put on display, such as ceramics made in Joseon reigning era.
How to Get Tickets?
All Dongdaemun attractions listed above have no entrance fees, so it's a great alternative if you would love to enjoy Dongdaemun without spending too much on your money.
How To Get Around?
Getting around from one attraction to another in Dongdaemun can be easily done by taking public transportations, mostly subway or public buses.
What Should I Wear?
No strict dressing code regulations applied in any Dongdaemun's attractions above. You are free to wear your most comfortable outifts.
Best Time to Visit
There's no particular ideal time to visit any of these Dongdaemun's attractions. Though you might find the district more enjoyable when you visit in the afternoon or in the evening when the weather is much cooler and top sight-seeing attractions such as Cheonggyecheon Stream show its true charm.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, you'll do fine exploring Dongdaemun on your own. Any major informations about each attraction is written in this website.
How To Get There?
You'll need to take different subway routes if you're planning to visit all Dongdaemun's attractions above. To go to Dongdaemun Gate, Naksan Park, and Ihwa Mural Village you'll have to take Seoul Subway Line 1 or 4 to Dongdaemun Station, and take Exit 6 or 7. Your destinations are only 2-3 minutes of walking from the station. To get to Cheonggyecheon Stream, take Exit 8 from Dongdaemun Station instead and walk for about 3-5 minutes. To get to Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park, you will need to take Seoul Subway Line Line 2, 5, or 4 to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station Exit 1.