Dongdaemun (동대문), originally named Heunginjimun (흥인지문), was designated as Treasure No.1 in 1963 by South Korean Government. Dongdaemun means "Big East Gate" in English, since there used to be 4 gates in Seoul for each direction, 2 of which were demolished by Japanese Government during the Japanese Colonial Era. There are only 2 left and that's East Gate, Dongdaemun and South Gate, Sungryemun. Dongdaemun was built in 1396 and has been the center of merchants since Joseon Dynasty.
The term Dongdaemun is commonly used to refer to the surrounding area, not only the gate. The dongdaemun market area has now become one of the most developed parts of the city, packed with markets, shopping complex, shopping centers and extremely modern architectures like Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP in short).
To local Koreans, Dongdaemun is perceived as the biggest shopping place in Seoul City. No wonder it is because Dongdaemun is different from all the other shopping places in that it's open til late night, by late night I don't mean like midnight or something, I mean til morning. You visit Dongdaemun at 3 in the morning most shops and restaurants are still open, vividly.
Also, Dongdaemun is most commonly visited by those working in fashion retail businesses to buy materials or clothes in bulk. Of course, there's heaps of tourists and local shoppers on top of that.
Pyeonghwa Shijang (translated "Peace Market" in English) was established in the 50's by 60% of North Koreans and the rest of South Koreans. Pyeonghwa means "Peace" in English, and the merchants named it that wishing for peace between the North and the South. Pyeonghwa Shijang has been the symbol of Dongdaemun shopping district for its history and the impact it had on the Korean fashion trends back in the days.
As you can tell by the pictures above, the market is mainly focused on wholesales. Retailers come to get some samples, materials or buy clothes in bulk. You will encounter many people carrying a bunch of crazy big bags. Note that you could be rejected to buy just a piece of something in the market but it's still super fun to look around and see all those people selling, buying and bargaining.
Since the building was built ages ago, it does look a bit old and rusty yet has that unique atmosphere of its own.
Address : 274 Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours : 22:00 - 18:00 all year round
* Closed on every Sunday
Inquiries : +82-2-2265-3531
* More details available on the official website of Pyeonghwa Shijang.
Obviously, it wouldn't be called "fashion shopping mecca" just for Pyeonghwa Shijang. The whole area is literally crammed with shopping malls and street vendors. Each mall has pretty distinctive vibe of its own and the most well-known ones include Lotte Fit-in, APM Place, Doota, Migliore, Good morning City, Maxtyle, Designer Club and more.
Address : 18-12, Euljiro6-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
- Weekdays and Sat : 10:30 - 05:00
- Sun : 10:30 - 24:00
Inquiries : +82-2-3398-2386
* Visit the official website of Doota for more info.
Address : 18-185 Euljiro6-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours : 10:30 - 04:30
* Closed on every Monday.
Inquiries : +82-2-3393-0293
Address : 21-31 Euljiro6-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours : 11:00 - 24:00 all year round
* Closed on Chuseok and Seol.
Inquiries : +82-2-6262-4000
* More details available on the official website.
Address : 18-35 Euljiro6-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours : 00:00 - 24:00
Inquiries : +82-2-6388-1114
* Visit the official website for more details.
Address : 18-21 Euljiro6-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening Hours : 10:30 - 01:00
* Closed on every Tuesday
Inquiries : +82-2-2118-8700
* Discover more on the official website.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, DDP in short, was built in 2009 to promote the fashion industry of Seoul City. This modern, futuristic architecture was designed by a renowned British architect Zaha Hadid in a post-modernism style. The plaza introduces itself as a place to "Dream, Design and Play", implying that it's a multi cultural complex. They do provide a variety of programs including expos, exhibitions, fashion shows, conferences, educational programs for children, etc.
Lots of exhibitions in all different genres are frequently held at DDP. One of the most popular exhibitions in the past few years includes Louis Vuitton exhibition, Pixar, Andy Warhol, Jean Paul Gautier, Max Mara, How to live well with your pets, etc. Most exhibitions are free and open to general public.
DDP is where the most fashion shows are held in the city, including Seoul Fashion Week shows. The location, atmosphere, everything's perfectly set up for a successful fashion show. The plaza hosted Chanel fashion show in 2015 for the first time in South Korea. Naturally enough, DDP has been perceived as a fashion pioneer in the country.
On top of the fashion department, DDP also offers a number of different fairs, conferences, kids programs. Themes vary in diversity so there should be something that can appeal to anyone, regardless of age, gender, culture or interests.
The plaza is committed to providing anything that will entertain people, educate people and benefit people. You can enjoy shopping, exhibitions and lots of food all at once at Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
Address : 281 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
- Baeumteo : Tue - Thu / Sun 10:00 - 19:00, Fri - Sat 10:00 - 21:00
* Closed on every Monday.
- Sallimteo : Weekdays 10:00 - 21:00, Weekends 10:00 - 22:00
- Allimteo : Hours may vary by programs.
Inquiries : +82-2-2153-0000
* More info and program schedules can be found on the official website of DDP.
After all those shopping and browsing around the area, there is one more thing that you specifically shouldn't miss. You are very hungry and tired so craving for something but don't know what to eat and where to go? Head straight for the streets, look around numerous street stalls. Then there will be every option you can possibly imagine. Nevertheless if you are not satisfied with little traditional and classic snacks, do not even worry about it. Dongdaemun night market(Bamdokkaebi late night market, 서울 밤도깨비 야시장 동대문) will fully fill up all your needs and desire to conquer the Korean food culture with late night joy.
Address : 281 Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (DDP)
- opens every Friday and Saturday
- time differs per season
* More info and program schedules can be found on the official website of Bamdokkaebi late night market.