Monday, October 4, 2010

Korea Report: Dongdaemun Market

Dongdaemun Market or DDM is a large commercial district located at Jongno-gu, Seoul.  I've written it as a must visit place because our arrival to Seoul will be around 10:00pm and I am sure our butt are quite tired from sitting inside the plane!  I'm sure there's a lot of leg energy!  The hubby is game with my evil plan!  As soon as we checked in at the Hotel Ibis Ambassador, we asked directions from the receptionist and went for our first Subway ride!  

It was around 11:30pm when we walked to the nearest subway station from the hotel which is the Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station.   On our way down, the subway station is a bit deserted because operation closes at 12:00am!  Since I'm pressed for time, I asked a lovely man who works there how to get to Nomdaemun Market! He has minimal English but he's very very helpful!  He helped us purchase our Subway ticket and told us to run!  It was the last train I guess! 

This is how deserted the subway station is at 11:50pm (Seoul Time) which is 10:50pm (Manila Time).

You can't go hungry with subways in Korea, they have a lot of vending machines!  24 hours, all you can play! *LOL*

Tip on how to go to Dongdaemun Market from Hotel Ibis Ambassador, Myeongdong :
  • As soon as you walk out of the hotel entrance, turn right and walk approximately 5 minutes to the nearest Subway station which is the Eulhiro 1(il)-ga Station.
  • As soon as you walk down, there's a lot of machines to purchase your subway ticket, you can ask for help and just tell them your location, if you're adventurous,  look for a ticket booth and purchase a ticket going to Dongdaemun Staadium, same line as the Station where the hotel is which is Line 4 (blue line)

  • Count the number of subway stops, Dongdaemun Station is on the 3rd subway stop
  • As soon as you get out of the Dongdaemun Stadium, look for exit no. 14

The place is supposed to be very very busy especially on weekends!  I guess all the side walk vendors where hiding because it was raining quite hard when we arrived!

Our last  meal by the way was inside the plane and it was only a sandwich, so we've decided to look for place to eat!  We were tired and hungry and guess what we saw???  A sandwich joint!  *laughs* Trust me, its totally different from the sandwich we had inside the plane!  I want to thank my dearest friend Xin for emailing me about this place, if she did not tell me about this, I will definitely give this a miss!


A lovely middle aged woman is the one manning this branch.  I ordered MVP sandwich and she prepared this right  in front of you.  Taking her time buttering up the pan, heated the egg, cooked the pattie and spread some butter with sugar as she toast the bread to perfection!  I enjoyed watching her!  

Here's the wonderful sandwich I had outside the rainy streets of Dongdaemun!

I was actually a bit sad that my first meal wasn't the street food rice cake I was expecting!  As we walked around with the hotel umbrella, I nearly shrieked when I saw this!....

Had sausage covered with fries and mini sausages on stick!  Will talk about street food on separate post!  People are really nice, they don't speak much English but you feel really relaxed knowing that they would take time to try to understand your needs!

After my tummy is full, we went in Migliore Mall which is a whole building of stalls!  Floors were separated base on women's wear, men's wear, accessories, bags, sleep wear, wedding essentials, etc..!

Here are some ninja shots care of Mr. AMW, thanks to his courage as he clicked away!  

Random lashes

Woman's Clothing
I think one lady customer saw us taking this shot!

Trendy Clothes
I look exactly like that panda printed on that white hooded sweater!  Promise! hahaha

Kid's Wear
Too cute!

Since subway is already closed, we took a cab on our way back to the hotel.  Though I was smart enough to ask the hotel staff to write down the hotel name in Korean, I just realized that most drivers do not know the names of the hotel or it's location even though you have it written!  I guess Seoul is that HUGE!

Tips from AMW:
  • Ask the hotel staff to write down the name of the hotel and the address, all in Korean
  • Ask the hotel staff approximately how much does it take to reach the destination so you have an idea!
  • Memorize the name of the subway station nearest to your hotel
  • Try to remember the nearby buildings or establishments near your hotel
  • Do not be afraid to tell the taxi driver to stop and change taxi if you feel uncomfortable!
Those tips really help because: (reasons sequential to the tips above)
  • I just show the paper to taxi drivers and I don't need to communicate with them
  • There are some taxi drivers who would ask for more just because it's "midnight rate".  It's okay if the rate is not as far as the "approximate" amount given to you by a local.  We were told it would cost approximately 5,000 Won on our way back and the taxi driver quoted us 20,000 Won!  
  • The taxi who drove us back to the hotel does not know  Hotel Ibis Ambassador Myeongdong, after telling him the Subway Station near our hotel, which is Euljiro 1(il)-ga, he got it right away!
  • Since we were dropped off at the subway station instead of the hotel, we have to walk a bit on our way back and looking at the nearby CPK and TGI Fridays helped!
  • We told the driver to stop driving and we changed cab after he quoted us 20,000 Won just because it's raining and it's late!  We changed 4 taxis in total by the way on that first night!
Best tip of the night given to us by the Hotel staff:  Try not to take a black colored cab because it costs more!  try to take the silver or cabs in other colors!

To those reading the tiny mishaps!  Do not worry!  I find the city pleasant and there are good drivers out there!  The driver who drove us back is actually super nice, minimal to almost non-existent English.  He showed us Korean hospitality by giving us LOTTE Gum and told us: "Best gum in Korea, Welcome!"   Isn't he super cute?

I hope my tips will be helpful to a lot of future travelers out there, whether Seoul or someplace else!  I charge it by experience! 

Anyways, this report is still on Day 1.  I still have loads of stories to tell!  Please stay interested okay??? Next will be about Myeongdong Shopping!   Love the place so much!!!! 

Before I end this post, I want to wish everyone a wonderful Monday!  Monday maybe bad to a lot of you but hey!  Think of Monday as Seoul's Subway Station...... CONFUSING!  *laughs*  I call it CHALLENGING too! :)

Keep smilin'
Stay happy!


  1. omg! thats weird! believe me, there is no defference between cab colors they just seeing tourists and want to get more from you! thats not right. look tright on the counter and DO NOT give them more!

  2. awwww!!! i miss those streetfood, and isaac!!! most of all, those skincare stores!!! i seriously had the shock of my life when i first saw the massive subway lines

  3. thanks for the tips.....
    May starbucks ba dyan?

  4. hi since you're there already, i hope you can also explore more about other okay hotels in myeongdong so we can have an idea and choices too.
    i really like the way you blog your experiences, it makes me feel as if i am there too...hehe. anyway, hope you and mr.amw enjoy your korea vacation.

  5. I think I want to live in Korea already =)

  6. ang saya Nikki! I want to go to Korea too

  7. oh, the cab driver's sweet~!
    enjoy your stay, mr&mrs AMW <3

  8. wahhh those lashes! wanna hoard them all! LOL

    looks like youre having a blast there in korea. take care! ♥

  9. oh those black cabs are limousine cabs that's why they're more expensive. fancier on the inside too!^^

  10. it sure looks like you're having fun. I can't wait to see you talk about this and read it too on your blog!! we super miss you!!! i know Korea is your dream country to go to!! so happy for you sis. :) Those tips are helpful. reminded me of whn i was really young and went to HK. :)

  11. i haven't been to korea but a lot of my students say that if you are a tourist most taxi drivers would really charge a fortune!

    what's 1 weird thing about korean taxi is that if you allow them, they will take other passengers with you if you are going the same way. isn't that insane?!

    you get in the cab because you wanted privacy & then they will take other passengers as well... crazy!

    you look cute looking at the subway look so lost..

  12. Hi Nikki
    I love reading all about your Korea posts! Keep it up!

  13. about the black cab,I remember something in one of the Korean telenovela of Jang Nara called "Wedding" In this series she only ride in a black cab. That time I am wondering why,now I know thanks for the info:)

  14. MyMakeUpMania, thanks for the tip, just to be safe from extra spending, we never took the black limousin cab, I guess they are the more luxurious kind and they can speak English!

    Xin, hahahah thanks to you my hubby LOVES ISAAC!!! Super yummy! Too bad we just ate there once!

    Babysaffron, meron! Super daming Starbucks and coffee shops! they love coffee! I was born a Korean way back in my past life ata! hahaha

  15. Other ok hotels are Royal Hotel, Sejong Hotel, Metro Hotel they are all within the Myeongdong vicinity, I look around when I was there! Hope this helps anonymous!

    Ladymishel, me too!!! Well not really live, I still love Manila but I want to have a rest house there and visit there for FREE one a year! Oh wait, twice a year! hahaha!

    Kim, super saya! I'm sure you'll have fun! When your baby gets bigger, you can take him along!

  16. dianneregina thanks for the greetings! We had fun!

    Abbie, I did not purchase any because they were priced almost the same as back home eh! Or maybe I did not haggle lang!

    Bea, thanks for the info! The regular cabs are already fancy enough for me! hahaha

  17. Shen, sis, you have to go there! But if you do, you need to bring loads of cash! Nag control talaga ako not to overspend! hahhaa

    Thiamere, thank goodness I take subway most of the time, so I don't have issues na with all the haggling, just that first night and its raining and its at 3am already! :) I've read about certain taxis taking along other passengers, they have this taxis that are private and some like our FX! hahaha I am not that lost na on our second day! I used only total of 3 lines out of the many subway lines!

  18. MrsMartinez, thanks dear!

    Mags!!! I'll tell you more about it when we see each other! I'm sure you'll enjoy Korea and you have to save up to visit the country too!Worth it for Koreanovelas lover like you!

  19. Hello! I was searching online and stumbled upon this post and found it very helpful. Do you think it'd be safe for me to travel to Dongdaemun alone and were the things you saw pretty cheap?

  20. Hi Angeelinee, you are traveling alone? Well, the place is safe naman pero it's not fun going to Dongdaemun alone especially late at night! Kasi the language barrier is already difficult tapos mag isa ka pa! Hmm, maybe go for Myeongdong na lang if you're alone! Reminder, check with your hotel the approximate rate you need to pay to go back to hotel! Because late at night, some taxis charge higher talaga and even if you have the name of the hotel in "Korean" some drivers cannot read, so please try to know the street name and know how to say it :) Enjoy!

  21. which is better place to shop clothes myeongdong or DDM???

  22. @Anonymous For clothing, its definitely DDM! hands down! but..for foreigners, you really have to know how to bargain! :) Myeongdong is best for streetfood and cosmetics!

  23. Enjoy your many interesting pics to explore including beauty items!

  24. Trust me when I tell you, regardless of how much money you spend on accessories stores, the key is to look at quality and if it can elevate your look. Cheap doesn’t always have to look cheap.


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