All it takes is one day in Seoul to realize that capital the capital of South Korea is no ordinary city, especially if you decide to peruse some of the best night markets in Seoul! None of the reasons to visit Korea’s capital city is more compelling than experiencing its gastronomic delights—and among the easiest places to do it is at one of these bustling marketplaces. Embark on a quest to find Seoul’s finest soul food with this quick & easy guide to our favourite Seoul night markets…
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Dongdaemun Night Market
One of the city’s most famous shopping areas, Dongdaemun Night Market lives true to Seoul night market form, surging to life long after most of the city shutters up for the day.
Most of the shops at Dongdaemun Night Market don’t start pumpin’ until after 10 pm. And, keeping with Seoul’s reputation for sleepless nights, you’ll be able to shop here until as late (or early?) as 5 am.
Looking to fill your backpack? You’ll find just about everything you’d ever need—whether it’s clothing, fashion accessories, toys, or souvenirs.
The bulk of Dongdaemun Market is holed up in the multi-story buildings and tents around Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station. And although it caters mostly to fashionistas and bargain-hunters, there’s another brilliant reason to spend your night hangin’ out here: Seoul street food.
Dongdaemun Night Market’s reputation for offering tasty Korean treats is well-known to Seoulites and visitors alike.
For the tastiest street food in the market, search out Mukja Golmok (“Let’s Eat Alley”), a small alley off of the food street of Jong-ro 40-gil. The area specializes in grilled fish and whole chicken soup, but other Korean favourites like hotteok (Korean rice flour donuts) and tteokbokki (Korean rice rolls) are also available.
Getting there: Both the Dongdaemun Station and Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station put you in the vicinity of Dongdaemun Night Market. Use exit #4 of the Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station for the open market. For Mukja Golmok, use exit #8 of Dongdaemun Station.
Namdaemun Night Market
Part of Seoul’s most famous 24-hour market, Namdaemun Night Market wheels and deals from late evening until the sun comes up. As one of the best places to find a bargain in Seoul, this bustling night market will keep you on your toes perfecting your haggling skills with Seoul’s most skilled vendors.
Namdaemun Night Market features just about anything you’d ever want, from household goods to clothing. The real excuse for dropping in at night, though, is a chance to sample the market’s gastronomical goodness.
While just about all the tastiest Seoul street food delicacies will be at your fingertips here, Namdaemun Night Market is especially famous for two:
- galchi jorim (braised hairtail fish)
- kalguksu (handcut Korean noodles)
Each of these unique Korean dishes has its own alleyway in Namdaemun Market, each lined with restaurants serving up some of its finest samples in South Korea.
Galchi Jorim Alley sits in the northern part of the market. It’s located just southeast of Gate 2 on the first alleyway south of Namdaemunsijang-gil. Kalguksu Alley is accessed north of Gate 6 on the first alleyway to the left off of Namdaemungsijang 4-gil.
Getting there: Take subway Line 4 to Hoehyeon Station. Use Exit 5 to enter the market through Gate 6, close to Kalguksu Alley and a large concentration of excellent food stalls.
As the oldest market in the city, Gwangjang Market draws upon over a century of tradition to deliver one of the most authentic night market experiences in Seoul. The market is most famous for its textiles and is one of the best places in Seoul to buy traditional Korean clothing (hanbok).
Gwangjang Market’s true worth, however, shines through the tastebuds. On the ground floor of Gwangjang Market, foodies will relish the chance to sample some of Seoul’s tastiest Korean street food. All the city’s favourite snacks are here, including bibimbap, gimbap, hotteok, and tteokbokki.
What Gwangjang Market is especially famous for, though, is its bindaetteok. These traditional Korean pancakes are made from mung beans rather than wheat flour and are packed with flavour. Bindaetteok recipes vary, but most feature kimchi, ground pork, sesame oil, scallions, and other savoury ingredients for a powerful taste profile.
Getting there: Take Subway Line 1 to Jongno 5-ga Station. Exit 8 is closest to the market.
Bamdokkaebi Night Market
Originally starting off in Yeouido, the popular Bamdokkaebi Night Market is distinctive among Seoul night markets. Unlike the others, Bambokkaebi is spread over several locations around the city. Each market gives off its own unique vibe and specializes in different goods.
Yeouido World Night Market
The original Yeouido location of the Bamdokkaebi is still one of Seoul’s most exciting night markets. Set upon the shores of the Han River, the Yeouido World Night Market draws its patrons in with international performances, handicrafts, and foods for a worldly experience.
Getting there: Take Subway Line 5 to Yeouinaru Station. Take Exit 2 and walk about 600 metres northwest along Yeouidong-ro to the market.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza Youth Runaway Market
The trendiest night market in Seoul is Dongdaemun Design Plaza Youth Runaway Market. Each week, this bustling area drops the bass with music performances and fashion shows flaunting all the newest Korean styles.
At Dongdaemun Design Plaza Youth Runaway Market, there’s also a killer selection of street food and handmade goods popular among Seoul’s younger denizens.
Getting there: Hop on Subway Line 2/4/5, to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station. Exit 1 or 2 will put you just outside the market.
Cheonggyecheon Time Slip Market
With a funky name like Cheonggyecheon Time Slip Market, you know you’ll see some interesting stuff here. Some of the city’s most atmospheric evening scenes unfold here as the Cheonggyecheon Stream is lit up with dokkaebi lights (goblin lights).
On the north side of the stream, you’ll get a chance to sample some of Bamdokkaebi Night Market’s best street food at one of the many food trucks parked here.
On the south side, more active pursuits and a chill-out zone await. In this zone, you can admire the Cheonggyecheon Stream under the faint glow of Seoul’s city lights.
Getting there: Take Subway Line 1 to Jonggak Station. Exit 5 is about 80 metres north of the market.
Banpo Romantic Moonlight Market
Bring your main squeeze down to the Banpo Romantic Moonlight Market. This Seoul night market is every bit as lovely as it sounds.
With the market’s fantastic riverside location, there’s a whole lot for couples to rejoice over at Banpo Romantic Moonlight Market. Treat your better half to a delicious selection of international food or soft acoustic guitar and jazz performances for a truly memorable evening.
Getting there: Take Line 3/7/9 to Express Bus Terminal Station. From Exit 8-1 or 8-2 it’s about 10 minutes by foot to the market via Sinbanpo-ro and Banpo-daero.
Myeongdong Night Market
One of Seoul’s most famous night markets, Myeongdong Night Market is in a league of its own when carving out your evening plans. It’s not as traditional as places like Dongdaemun Market or Namdaemun Market but dominates discussions of things to see & do in Seoul with the same vigour.
Although it’s most famous as one of the most popular shopping districts in Seoul by day (and filled with some of the top-rated hotels in Seoul), Myeongdong continues to impress as the sun dips below the city.
From about 5 pm onward, the main street of Myeongdong fills up with food stalls. Here you can find all the favourite Korean fixin’s from tteokbokki and fried Korean chicken to gyerangbbang (Korean egg bread) and the less traditional “tornado potato.”
Getting here: Grab a train on Subway Line 4 to Myeong-dong Station. Exits 6 & 7 are closest to Myeongdong Shopping Street, where you can start to dig into all the top Myeongdong attractions.
Noryangjin Fish Market
Not everyone will get on board with a visit to Noryangjin Fish Market. But if you can stomach the strong smells and sight of sometimes oddly disturbing sea creatures, visiting this traditional market will be one of the most memorable experiences in your South Korea itinerary.
Not just a night market, Noryangjin Fish Market operates 24 hours a day with activity buzzing at all hours of the day. One of the best times to visit the market is in the wee morning hours. Before the crack of dawn, a fish auction draws a group of over-caffeinated wholesalers who try their luck at getting their hands on the day’s finest catches.
At whatever time of day you visit Noryangjin Fish Market, all the world’s edible (and maybe not-so-edible) marine life makes an appearance. You’ll see everything here: shrimp, crab, squid, stingray, octopus, mackerel, tuna, lobster, clams, mussels, and more.
Got an instant hankering for fresh seafood? Buy something that catches your eye and head to the second floor. Many restaurants here will prepare you a fresh meal with your newest catch.
Getting there: Take Subway Line 1 to Noryangjin Station. Follow signs for Exit 1 and walk over the tracks (about 100 metres) using the bridge. Go downstairs to enter the fish market.