near Chungnim-dong, Seoul (South Korea)
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We started this walk from an Air-B&B, appropriately 5-minutes to the west of Seoul Station. The track proceeds through the main lobby of Seoul Railway Station, then to the East Plaza by the Old Train Station, then under a wide street, and eastward to the Sungnyemun Gate. Next it explores parts of the Namdaemun Traditional Market, a bustling market featuring clothing. Price bargaining is expected here. There is a food section towards the NE side of the market, with tea houses and simple eating places.
Then proceed by subway (track has strait line segment between stations) from Hoehyeon to Dongsaemun Stations on the Light-blue Subway line. To the west of the Dongsaemun Station there are narrow restaurant lanes, where fresh grilled mackerel (three kinds) is one of the many lunch offerings. We didn't see foreign tourists here. there are picture menus. We ordered at the grill, by pointing.
Proceeding further west there are popular walking paths along both sides of a small, clean, living river (with native fish). These paths pass several well known traditional markets on the way towards Tapcol Park, one Market has a famous indoor food court, Korean style (see way-point with pictures).
In the late afternoon, the alleys north and east of Tapgol Park reveal a food culture, including popular traditional Korean Barbecue restaurants. Local patrons were helpful, and even provide us some coaching on what to order, barbecue eating tradition, and a soju toast. It might be best to get seated early; by 6:30 or 7 PM the most popular places have queues waiting for an empty table. The dark Blue subway (Line 1) is close at hand at the close of the day.
Air B and B
We were very grateful to find such a convenient and pleasant location to stay in Seoul.
Seoul Station (Railway and Subway)
Long distance trains, the Incheon Airport Express Train Terminal station, also Subway lines 1 and 4. A modern Terminal with a Mall and Lotte Store. There is also an underground mall as part of the subway station.
East Plaza - Seoul Station
The Old Railway Station (now a Museum) is on this plaza.
We went to the north of Lotte, and took an underpass to cross to the east side of a main street. Later we found there is a better underground route going down a double elevator and through the Line 1 and 4 subway station and mall.
One of Korea's most important heritage sites. Closed on Mondays.
One of the best known and most popular traditional markets of Seoul. Specializes in clothing, bargaining is expected. An easy walking distance from Seoul Station. Suggest trying the local Korean orange tea instead of coffee. A food section in narrow alleys towards the north east side of Market.
Hoehymon Subway Station
This light-blue subway line goes to the other famous Seoul Market areas to the north east of here.
Dongdaemun Subway Station
Disembark here to start walk to other Seoul traditional markets.There is a restored section of the City wall accessible near the exits at this station.
Food streets and alleys
Small eating stalls along street, some indoor restaurants in alleys, freshly barbecued mackerel (three kinds) is a specialty here.
Wandering around this area will surely reveal many interesting food option up lanes and alleys.
Access to river walk
The foot paths along both sides of the river extend many kilometers and pass all the major Seoul traditional markets in this area, including the more upscale Insadong Market Street (immediately to the west of this track).
Along the River
Native fish, clean water and rubbish free.
This is more of an industrial market area, an amazing range of goods on display.
Gwangjiang Market - Famous Food Court
Another of the famous traditional markets, best known for the unique Korean food court area at the east end. This is quite lively at night, with Soju drinking and eating. Local patrons are curious and friendly.
alley with more shops and restauraunts
Tapgol Park and alleys to the north-east of Tapgol Park
Tagpol Park was created in the 1890's and opened to the public in 1913. It was the start of the March 1, 1919 Independence Movement when four to five thousand students gathered, shouting "Viva Independent Korea". Relics of the Wonggaksa Temple, including National Treasures #2 and #3 remain here. Wongsa Temple was emptied when areas near the Royal Palace were pulled down by King Yeonsangun. The Buddhist Tower in Tapgol Park dates from 1467 (13'th year of King Sejo's reign). It is made of marble, rarely used at the time. The 12 meter high, 10-story pagoda is the remains of a Jogye Order Wonggaksa Temple built by King Sejo on 1465. The middle part depicts a process whereby the party of Monks Sanzang, Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie, and Sha Wujing obtain and bring a Buddhist canon from India. It is regarded as one of the finest examples of stone carving from the Joseon. When the stone pagoda was completed, King Sejo held a dedication during the Lantern Festival and ordered a stone monument to record the event. The monument rests on a turtle shaped stone made of granite. The marble monument was inscribed by the master writers and calligraphers of the time. Alleys and walking paths to the NE of Tagpol Park reveal a boutique shopping, street food, and restaurant area and a sub-area of authentic Korean barbecue culture that comes alive at dusk.
Evening barbeque and soju
On the night we were the only foreigners in the barbecue restaurant area, but managed well despite no English. Local patrons helped us with ordering suggestions, helped us understand Korean barbecue eating culture, and offered soju toasts.
Subway Line #1
Dark Blue line (#1) connection back to Seoul Station