There are certainly a lot of cute and interesting things to buy in Korea, but sometimes it seems like every street is lined with the same chain shops. As a result, our apartments are all filled with the same assembly line stuff. To find truly unique items and to support local artists, you have to venture out of the usual shopping areas.
One of the best places to pick up unique souvenirs, gifts, or even just a treat for yourself, is the Free Art Market at Haewoljeong (sea and moon pavilion) Plaza at the top of Dalmaji Hill.
Among the handmade items there is jewelry, woodwork, ceramics, and hanji (traditional Korean paper handmade from mulberry trees). You can also have your own caricature drawn, or just do some ‘window shopping’ while enjoying a variety of performance art, like hip-hop dancing, singing and pantomime.
The Free Art Market isn’t the only great thing about Dalmaji Hill: This is a vibrant and charming neighborhood with plenty of galleries, art shops, cafes and restaurants that will make you want to come back every weekend.
There’s also the tree-lined Moontan road which, as the name suggests, becomes drenched in moonlight come nightfall. It’s beautiful during the day time too, especially as the cherry blossoms begin to bloom. Be sure to stop at the viewing platform to take in the spectacular view of the ocean and Gwangalli Bridge. From there you can walk down to the decommissioned Donghae Nambu train track. You can walk all along the track to either Haeundae beach of you turn right, or Songjeong by turning left.
Dalmaji Art Free Market (Haewoljeong Plaza, Dalmaji Hill). March through November, Sat & Sun 2.00 pm – 9.00 pm. During July and August, 5.00 pm – 9.00pm.
(Featured image courtesy of Haeundae Disctrict Office)