Insadong: Where Old Crosses with the New
Seoul Travel Blog› entry 1 of 5 › view all entries
June 12th, 2007 – by: jeanhee717
I fell in love with Insadong yesterday. The entire area is oozing with culture, and new, modern art mixes with traditional Korean customs and cultures.
It's also a popular area for political activism. One thing that I really like about Korea is the amount of concern the average citizen has for politics. I think this stems from the fact that Korea is a relatively new democracy. (It's only been around 20 some odd years since Korea moved away from a military dictatorship.) Jen and I were walking towards another section of Insadong when we ran into a small group of students who were protesting the repatriation of North Koreans in China - essentially the same thing we had done last summer with 40 other students.
After joining the protest for 20 minutes, we continued on our way to where the shops were. I glanced into a passing staircase and spotted some streetwear, so I immediately stopped. The store (called Horse Cabbage) turned out to be a men's store, but that didn't stop us. I bought a present for a friend, and Jen got a shirt that she could wear as a dress. The prices there were pretty decent (T-shirts were around 15,000-20,000 won and sweaters around 30,000). All the guys working there were super cute, and the guys who were shopping there were adorable too.
There were a lot of great looking restaurants that all had a natural theme to their decor. They were all super charming and made me wish we hadn't eaten lunch beforehand. The heat began to exhaust us, so we ducked into a cafe called Leehaus that had three levels. The first level was a wine bar, and the second and third were reserved for coffee and cakes. Watch out, though. You may pay around 9,000 won for an ice coffee. The bathroom made it all worth it with the sink shaped like a traditional wooden water pump.
Afterwards, we went to a few stores and saw a number of famous ones. The shoe store, Sue comma Bonnie, is located there as well. The shoes run around $200USD. We also saw a canvas bag that supposedly cost 350,000 won. (Ridiculously overpriced, so beware.) We wandered around for a while more and saw riot police and a cracked out picture of Ronald McDonald and some creepy looking Korean guy hanging in an art gallery. All in all, I loved Insadong and can't wait to go back!
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