The Folk Flea Market is an immense flea market located in the heart of Seoul close to the Cheonggyecheon stream. This market’s aim is to “preserve the culture of the traditional Korean marketplace and draw in visitors with a range of folk items that embody the unique charm of Korea.”
In this two story building you will find vendors selling items including furniture, traditional crafts, fake purses, hiking gear, clothing and much more. The majority of good are used. Everywhere you look there is something new to discover. The market is overflowing with items. It is not a glamorous place, but then again few traditional markets are.
The majority of the items being sold are folk items including paintings and furniture. Because it is mainly indoors it is a great place to come on a cold or rainy day to escape the weather. On weekends merchants spread along the surrounding streets as well.
At the entrance there is a program for foreigners to create traditional crafts free of charge. During operating hours you simply can walk into the small trailer on your rightand a friendly volunteer will assist you with the daily program.
I came to the market with my sister. We started our time there by utilizing the craft station. The day we visited they were making traditional mask magnets. A volunteer showed us what to do and we spent about an hour painting our magnets. It was a fun activity and a great souvenir to take home.
My sister is an interior designer so I wanted to bring her to help me find a few pieces of furniture that I could use to decorate my apartment here, and then ship home once I leave Korea. We wandered around the maze of dealers looking up, down and all around at the thousands of items on display.
There were so many beautiful pieces it was hard to choose. After a few hours walking around both floors we found several pieces that stood out. We went back to each merchant and inquired about pieces. The majority of vendors do not speak English but they are able to communicate through showing prices on paper or a calculator. Most will barter for a final price.
I’ve been to the market now several times. The merchants are always getting new items. I am still in search of a Korean screen I can bring home with me but the ones for sale were out of my price range. I will have to visit again.
In the end I chose three pieces of Korean style furniture: a trunk, nightstand and shelf. Everything including a metal Buddha statue cost me around $400. The merchant also arranged a deliveryman to bring the furniture to my home on the spot. The delivery fee (including a free ride home with my furniture) cost me $20.00.
If you are looking for some great Korean used goods I highly encourage a trip the Folk Flea Market. Even if you are not interested in making a purchase it is still a fun place for browsing. The market also has a small food court with many traditional Korean dishes. There is an ATM on site. I am happy to say that now, no matter where I end up, my home will always have a piece of Korea in it.
2 story indoor folk flea market
Hours: Everyday 10am- 6:30 pm Closed every second and fourth Tuesday
Address 21, Cheonho-daero 4-gil, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul
Subway Line 1 Sinseol-dong Stn. Exit 9