Insa-dong 인사동

Insa-dong, Seoul, South Korea.

The Insa-dong area in the Jongno-gu district of Seoul is one of the capital city's most popular tourist destinations. Packed with shops, cafes, restaurant and art galleries, Insa-dong is great to stroll and take in the pleasing mix of traditional and contemporary Korean culture.

Busy Insadong-gil is the area's main drag. The road is closed to traffic on Sundays, when it becomes an open-air venue for music and street performances.

Insadong-gil is lined with a multitude of shops selling traditional Korean souvenirs, antique stores, tearooms and both contemporary and traditional Korean and western art galleries. Insa-dong is also known for its antiquarian bookshops and traditional painting and calligraphy.

The small, dense alleys off to either side of Insadong-gil offer a number of excellent Korean dining possibilities. Walking south towards Tapgol Park, the trendy Ssamziegil building has a interesting rooftop market.

Insa-dong ceramics shop, Seoul.
Ceramics shop, Insa-dong, Seoul, South Korea
Insa-dong street performance, Seoul.
Insa-dong, Seoul.

Noted art galleries in the area include the renowned Sun Art Center, Artside (with an emphasis on contemporary Chinese art), Insa Gallery, Ssamziegil and the Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art.

Other sights in the vicinity include Jogyesa Temple, west off Sambung-gil, a large, rather plain Korean temple dating from 1910 and the Unhyeongung Palace, near Anguk subway station, where the ill-fated Princess Myeongseong (aka Queen Min) married King Gojong. The historic Bosingak Bell Pavilion gives the area its name - Jongno means "bell street" - and the bell is the center of Korea's New Year celebrations, when the ringing of the bell 33 times (representing the 33 Buddhist heavens) is screened on national TV.

Hotels in the Insa-dong area include the Saerim Hotel, the Sunbee Hotel and the Lees Hotel.

Insa-dong, Seoul, South Korea.
Insa-dong, Seoul.

Insa-dong Access - Getting to Insa-dong

Take a Seoul subway Line 3 train to Anguk Station, which is four stops from Seoul Station, or a Line 1 train to Jonggak.

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