Vendor City Guide: Seoul

Street secrets revealed by the people who know them best

Yeong-su Moon was born in Gimpo, which is a city near Seoul. He has been working for The Big Issue Korea as a vendor for almost 13 years, selling magazines in front of Sindorim station. He is famous for always having a smile for people he sees on the street.

Best place to eat and drink

Yeon-seo Market, Tongil-ro, Eunpyeong-gu

This market is divided into various sections such as seafood restaurants, traditional Korean snack shops and street foods. You can also buy alcohol and low-priced Anju (the pub food Korean people usually eat with an alcoholic drink). It’s a popular place to enjoy an evening with friends. The market is totally open, so you can meet and chat to people who sit on the chair beside you.

Best street to visit

Rak-Hee Street (Lucky Street), the street of Korean traditional houses, Jong-ro

Rak-hee Street is known as the ‘Silver District’ because most customers are elderly people. This friendly place is full of movie theatres showing movies from the Sixties, cafes selling traditional Korean tea, public toilets accepting elderly people as priority and photo shops that offer services such as taking pictures of funerals. The size of letters on billboards is much bigger than a normal district. Just next door there is the street of Korean traditional houses. The area has small alleys, so bringing a car as transportation is not a good choice. It is good to visit when you want to enjoy the coexistence of traditional buildings with a modern vibe.

My favourite spot

Deoksugung, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu

Deoksugung Palace is one of five royal palaces of Korea’s last dynasty (the Joseon Dynasty) remaining in Seoul. Located at the corner of Seoul’s downtown intersection, Deoksugung Palace is famous for its elegant stonewall road. There is a scary legend that couples who walk on this stone road together always break up. Nevertheless, this is good place to escape from the busy city life and release stress.

Best place to buy

Dong-myo Market, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

This place is attracting young hipsters these days. There are various old-fashioned stores and clothing shops on the street and owners sell their items at very cheap prices. Also, the best part of this place is buying rare antique items you’ve never seen before such as dolls, old cameras, uniquely designed toys and retro games. Buying these items makes me feel like visiting the lives of people who owned the item in the past, like time travel!

Best time to visit

Autumn

South Korea has four seasons which are beautiful in each different way. But I think autumn is the best season to visit. There are lot of festivals, such as the Seoul International Fireworks Festival, the Fall Foliage and some music events. When it’s neither windy nor cloudy it is good to travel by bike. Seoul has amazing views of the Han river, so having a picnic around a nearby park
is awesome.

Thanks to Jieun Jung

Illustration: Taaryn Brench

Read all our vendor city guides here