You know how detectives look through people’s trash in every episode of every crime show and figure out the bad guy? Or how archaeologists learn about long-gone civilizations by digging through what is pretty much a historical cesspool? Imagine you could do the same by going to flea markets and finding out all about Korean culture by looking at what Koreans think is too precious to just throw away.
Or simply put, if you like going to flea markets and looking at people’s junk in hopes you will find a gem among them – then this article is for you. Learn about the best flea markets in Seoul and prepare to shop!
Seocho Flea Market
The Seocho flea market is weekly event. You will find less junk than at the other flea markets as people here do not make a living out of selling their items but just want to get rid of some extra clutter in their homes.
You will find clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry, bags as well as household items and some electronic items. It’s a good idea to go here if you just moved and need some kitchenware, tableware and appliances. Going there in the morning will improve your chances of finding some good items.
The prices are very low – clothing ranges from 3.000 KRW to 10.000 KRW and the most expensive thing I ever saw was a small washer for 50.000 KRW. You can also buy some food items such as anchovies and soy sauce, all non-perishable.
Where: Sadang Stn. Line 2 (Green). Go out exit 12 and walk between the bakery and cafe, in the parking lot behind Pastel City
When: Saturday 9AM-3PM.
Platoon Seoul Flea Market
Bling & Platoon organize a monthly night flea market. They are open every first Sunday of the month from 8PM until midnight. This flea market is directed towards the younger people. They have a DJ and you can get drinks. The building is made out of blue storage containers.
The prices here will be higher than at other flea markets. On the other hand, here you will wind brand and designer brand items for a fraction of the price you would pay in stores. It’s also a nice place to spend a Sunday evening at, having a drink and listening to live music.
You can also find unique DIY pieces by perhaps Korean up-and-coming designers, or personalized items. This flea market is popular among foreigners too. The crowd is pretty hip and dressed to the nines so you can definitely get some outfit inspiration!
Where: Hakdong Station, line 7, stop 731, exit 10.
When: first Sunday of the month, 8PM to 12AM.
Seoul Folk Flea Market
This flea market has everything from fishing rods to antiques and war medals. However, if you’re not in the market for an antique armoire or a dynamo light you probably won’t enjoy this place too much. Going there as a foreigner it will give you a taste of Korean culture. You can tell a lot about people by looking at their junk. And you can find some cool junk here. There is an American attache motorcycle from the Korean War dominating the entryway of the market.
This Flea Market is open every day of the week until 7PM from Monday to Saturday and 5PM on Sundays. They have a delicious as well as dirt-cheap food court so you can at least feed one of your appetites!
However, if you collect vinyl this place will be the motherlode for you. Vinyls are super varied – my friend found a vinyl of a Dutch singer from the ’70s I had never heard about for only 3.000 KRW. On average the prices are around 5.000 to 10.000 KRW. You can also find rare pieces but you would have to pay for them as much as you would pay online. These sellers, however, do not put their stuff up on the Internet so you might just get lucky.
Where: Sinseoldong Station on subway Lines 1 (Dark Blue) and 2 (Green) exit #9. Turn right at the first intersection and then look for the signs in English.
When: Everyday 10:00 – 19:00
Attention! Closed on every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. You can find them online here.
Hwanghak-dong Flea Market
The Hwanghak-dong flea market is one of Seoul’s oldest trading centers for used items. The flea market houses approximately 500 vendors, and it’s a maze of clutter. If you’re claustrophobic this might not be the place for you because most times you have to squeeze through tight passageways between stalls.
You can find everything here. Really, everything. Clothes, accessories, electrical appliances and household items – you can find them all here. There isn’t really an assigned order but you might find a few stalls selling the same thing next to each other.
If you want to buy souvenirs better than a key-chain or a pin with the Korean flag on it, it’s really good idea to come here. You can buy china from China and it will be beautiful! You can also find some jewelry for that friend of yours who has eccentric taste. If you’re into war memorabilia this is great place to come! Most of the items used to belong to the US army. You can also buy an army of pins and vintage sunglasses.
You can also find hobby items such as fishing rods (and everything else related to fishing) and bicycles. Of course, some of the stalls sell brand new items.
Where: Sindang Station (Line 2 and 6), Exit 1 or 2
When: Everyday 9AM-7PM
Tip! Don’t forget to haggle! Korean vendors will always expect you to haggle, which is why they will high-ball their items. If the item is expensive you can always get it for at least 5.000 KRW less than the original price. Additionally, you can also expect to get a discount if you buy multiple items from the same stall.