Of all the neighborhoods in Seoul, Insadong is one of my favourites. I am not an avid art collector, or accumulator of antiques but I enjoy browsing the alleys and shops. When we go on our browsing adventures (can’t buy a lot, we wont be here forever) I always keep my eye out for an interesting piece and not grossly overproduced.
On our last adventure we stumbled down an alley with not much in it, some pottery, some overpriced dollar store style souvenirs (Insadong has that crap too) and then I saw some antique shops. In front of the storefront were some items displayed on some towels, ranging from mini crystal skulls to wooden spoons. I looked at a few things and then as we were leaving I saw two Buddha’s. One was a four face Buddha and the other full bodied and sitting.
Bartering was easy with very minimal Korean and I got both for 30,000W (30$). The four faced Buddha is brass and after some internet searching I found out it is worth substantially more than what I paid for it. WOO!
Another neighborhood we enjoy is Hongdae. Surrounded by Hongik and Ewha Womans University, Hongdae is the area around the Hongik University subway station. I would say it is a pretty trendy area, on par with Itaewon. Because of the universities there is an abundance of young people, coffee shops, and restaurants. There are a ton of clothing shops around as well as the art market on the weekend in Hongik Childrens Park.