Seoul Folk Flea Market
By Micky Miranda
A Saturday thunderstorm proved to be fortuitous. A group of friends and I had planned to go to a park, but with the rain, we switched our plans and headed to the "Seoul Folk Flea Market".
I had been to the Seoul Folk Flea Market once before, but I went alone. This time, I thought it might be more enjoyable to browse around with some friends.
The Seoul Folk Flea Market is in a huge building that has used and new goods on each floor.
The 1st Floor
The first floor has all used goods, which creates more character than the second floor.
You can find old dishware, instruments, glasses cases, showpieces, very old TVs, and the list goes on.
A lot of stalls sell some great, old records. Then, you have stalls that have random items.
The list of random items includes various old license plates from different U.S. states, random slides that go into an old-school projector (slides include old college football games, Russia, nude pictures, Korean sporting events), old matchboxes, old Coca-Cola cans, old Ray Ban cases, and the list could go on forever.
The point is, you can find just about any material/consumer junk from the past. One man's junk is another man's treasure.
The first floor also has a more relaxed vibe than the second floor. You can browse at your own leisure.
Sometimes, you might not be able to find the vendor who owns the stall.
Don't worry. The flea market has a strong community vibe; look around for another vendor and they'll give you a hand.
The 2nd Floor
The second floor has more practical items.
"He activated the taser and all of us screamed."
They offer electronics, watches, clothing, sexual toys and videos, used laptops and TVs, shoes, military clothing and sleeping bags, western canned goods and drinks (like Cherry Cola) and used cell phones. Once again, the list could go on.
As you can tell by the sexual goods, the vibe also gets a little weirder on the second floor.
For example, after inquiring about a used cell phone, the vendor proceeded to show us a flashlight that was actually a taser. He activated the taser and all of us screamed.
One of the sexual vendors attempted to sell us a video about sex in the animal kingdom. Although it couldn've been educational, we decided to pass.
Food and Drink
If you're hungry, the food court is a must. They only offer Korean food, but it is very tasty.
I had the beef bibimbap, and it was delicious.
For those who are intrigued, many of the restaurant owners advertised dog soup.
If you are a fan of maekggoli (rice wine), there is a great maekggoli stall right outside of the market.
The stall owner makes his own maekggoli at home and pours it into a big brown pot. You can order a few bowls or buy two liters for 6,000 won.
There is a reason I came back to the market for a second time: many of the items are nostalgic.
They offer a blast from the past. It is also fun just getting lost and looking through random collections.
If you're looking for a random item (e.g. camping towel, old electronic wire, weird clothes, screwdriver, axe, etc.), this place should have whatever it is in stock.
If you need a Halloween costume, you could easily put something together here.
So, the next time it rains or it's one of those cold Seoul winter days, head on over to the flea market and get lost in its junk...and its weirdness.
There are ATMs from three different banks near the food court. Most stalls only accept cash. Most vendors will not negotiate their prices.
Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m. ~ 7:00 p.m.
Closed 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of every month.
How to Get There
Line 1 - Sinseol-dong. Walk out of exit 9, and make a u-turn. Walk 170 meters and you will see the Seoul Folk Flea Market.