This is the Day 4 installment for my Seoul Series (which I started to document our visit to Seoul last March) and I’m going to break it down into several posts:
- Insadong, Ssamzie-gil, Jogyesa Temple
- O’Sulloc Tea House, Nakwon Music Complex
- N Seoul Tower
- Myeongdong, NANTA Theater
The first two posts will focus mainly about where we went in the Insadong area and it will be helpful if I show you the map of Insadong. I have highlighted some of the interesting spots that you might want to check out.
The map is very simple and easy to understand but just to stitch all the points of interest together, I’ll try to explain it a little. Insadong is close to the Anguk MRT Station. If you look up at the middle of the map, you’ll see that the Anguk Station will lead you to several interesting areas: Changdeokgung, Bukchon, Samcheongdong, Gyeongbokgung, and Insadong. That arrow you see in the map pointing to Samcheongdong is the Samcheongdong Walkway which served as our short-cut from 126 Mansion to Insandong. It’s a nice walkway because it’s lined with cafes, shops, and galleries.
From the Samcheongdong Walkway, you need to cross a major road to reach the other side where you’ll find Insadong; hence, the pedestrian lane you can see right under where Gyeongbok Palace is written in the map. After crossing, the far right street will lead you to Jogyesa Temple. The next street after that is Insadong. When you enter Insadong, just walk a couple of meters and you’ll find O’Sulloc Tea House at your right. A little after that, you’ll see Ssamzie-Gil on your left. If you walk a little more, you’ll see Missha store and if you turn left at that corner, you’ll be heading to the Nakwon Music Complex. Back to Insadong, if you just walk straight along the street and follow the road, you’ll be heading to Tapgol Park where you ride the bus going to Nami Island.
Now, let’s look at the photos 🙂
Insadong Street is one of the must-visit places in Seoul because it’s where you’ll find various stores that specialize in a variety of goods that you can only find or appreciate in Korea. Stuff like hanbok, traditional paper, teas, pottery and other crafts can be found there. They say that approximately 40% of Korean crafts are exchanged in Insadong. But you’ll not only find traditional products there. In fact, Insadong is also home to several cafes, restaurants, ateliers, and galleries. Here are some photos of what you can see in Insadong ~
When you see those yellow characters that resemble the letter “M”, that means you’ve reached Ssamzie-gil. It covers about 42,000 sq.ft of shops, art galleries, restaurants, and more.
They say that Ssamzie-gil is the special Insadong within Insadong. The alleys are connected in a spiral-like stairway. There are may shops in Ssamzie-gil with most of them selling handicrafts.
But if I may suggest, if you’re really into souvenir items, you can find them along Insadong, and if you’re into stuff made by local artists, you can find them in Myeongdong or in Hongdae/Sinchon area. For those interested in paintings, there are so many galleries in Bukchon/Samcheongdong. In short, I didn’t find anything nice to buy in Ssamzie-gil 🙁 Still, if you’re already in Insadong, it won’t hurt spending 5-10 minutes of your time to explore Ssamzie-gil.
Most Buddhist temples in South Korea can be found in the provinces or in the mountains but Jogyesa Temple is right in the middle of the city. When you enter the temple, you’ll immediately notice the main building and the lovely trees. Those are locust trees believed to be about 500 years old.
Jogyesa Temple does not look as solemn as the other temples located in the mountains but tourists visit it because it is very convenient to reach. For tourists with very tight schedule, they don’t need to go to the mountains to feel what Buddhism is like in South Korea.
Along the street where Jogyesa Temple is located are Buddhist specialty shops selling prayer beads, incense, dolls, key chains, etc. If you’re interested about those things, you may want to spend time walking along the street. It’s just at the other side of Insadong.
Next up will be a post about my two favorite places in Insadong: O’Sulloc Tea House and Nakwon Music Complex.
Until then, Annyeong!
This is part of a series of posts about Seoul. Check out the others:
- [Updated] Getting a Korean Visa
- Seoul Series: Why I Love 126 Mansion (review)
- [Seoul Series] Day 1: Arriving in Seoul and Exploring Samcheongdong and Bukchon
- [Seoul Series] Day 1: Gyeongbokgung Palace (and Changing of Guards and Hanbok Wearing Experience)
- [Seoul Series] Day 2: Nami Island/Naminara Republic
- [Seoul Series] Day 3: COEX Mall, COEX Aquarium, Kimchi Field Museum, Doota Mall
- [Seoul Series] Day 4: O’Sulloc Tea House and Nakwon Music Complex
- [Seoul Series] Day 4: N Seoul Tower
- [Seoul Series] Day 4: Myeongdong, Myeongdong Cathedral, and NANTA Show
- [Seoul Series] Day 5: Bukchon Hanok Village and Samcheong-dgong Walkway