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Insadong is an arts, crafts and antiques area in northern Seoul not far from Kyeong Bok palace. This popular tourist destination has been a place for art and culture for the past 600 years. Insadong is centered around a narrow road which runs from Anguk station down to Pagoda park and is lined with shops, galleries, tea houses and restaurants. The theme of the street is strictly traditional. In fact, the famous Starbucks coffee shop chain was ordered by the Seoul city government to have the name of their shop in Insadong written using Korean characters rather than the usual Roman characters. If you don’t like the hustle and bustle of the main street you can find many quaint little traditional restaurants and tea houses tucked away in back alleys that branch off from the central street. These places provide cozy environments where you can relax and soak up the culture and history.

What can be bought

Paintings – oil and ink



Calligraphy paper, brushes and ink in liquid form in bottles and solid form carved into the shape of landscapes with  mountains, lakes and trees

Buddha statues –  metal and ceramic

Miniature temple bells and wind chimes

Old books

Antique furniture

Herbal teas

Small gifts – fans, dolls in traditional clothing, and jewelry

Traditional sweets – rice cakes and Yot (Korean candy)

What you can eat and drink

In the tea houses (chat jip), a variety of teas and wines are sold. These include herbal and fruit teas and rice and fruit wines.

The restaurants in Insadong serve Korean food with some specializing in vegetarian meals such as those eaten by Buddhist monks, for whom meat is forbidden.


Sundays are a good time to go to Insadong (unless you don’t like crowds) because on Sundays, Insadong is closed to traffic and events are held in the street. These events include live singing, traditional musical instrument performances and street parades with people dressed in traditional costumes.

How to get there

Insadong can be reached by getting off at exit one of Ankuk subway station nd walking about twenty meters, or exit one of Chongno 3 Ga station and walking towards the Chongno 2 Ga intersection which is the one where Burger King and Pagoda park are located.

If you want to go by bus, then any bus which stops near Chogno 2 Ga intersection will do.


by Robert Reginald


Traditional Korean tea

Traditional Korean Tea along
with some snacks (DDeok).
Pear tea (top right) and plum tea (bottom)