With the massive crowds and expensive shopping, why exactly does everyone like Myeongdong?
Myeongdong is famous as it is one of the most built-up areas of Seoul. With one of the most stunning skylines in Seoul, it is also one of the most popular areas to visit. Myeongdong is also one of the most widely covered (in terms of blogs and articles) areas in Seoul due to its insane popularity. Nearly every tourist to the city has Myeongdong on their bucket list.
I was not planning on covering the area as it is simply too common already. However, when visiting the other day there were a lot of cool street photography opportunities that I wanted to share!
Everything from fruit cups to meat skewers can be found in Myeongdong! Beware of the prices though… 10,000KRW strawberries are insane!
You may or may not know already, but Myeongdong is famous for shopping. Not just shopping though, but also street food. The street food in Myeongdong is incredibly famous as it has some of the largest variety of street food in Seoul. Really, you can find pretty much anything here! The variety in foods is unimaginable. Not just Korean food, but foreign foods from all around the world can be found at the street food sellers in Myeongdong.
Something important to keep in mind, however, is that although Myeongdong has an incredible variety of food, it is also not the cheapest. In fact, it is the total opposite. The street food in Myeongdong is often very high priced and is often between 5000-10,000KRW (essentially $5-$10). For food that is usually just considered a snack, this is insane! If you are interested in more budget-friendly street food, then you are probably better off looking at Namdaemun Market or Gwangjang Market. Both markets are famous for their varied and quality street foods.
If however, you decide to stay in Myeongdong, then this post is for you! While visiting the other day I took a lot of photos and I wanted to share some of the atmosphere of the area with some street photography.
Street Food in Myeongdong
The crowds and constant business keep the vendors on their toes!
Myeongdong is always a thriving and busy area – one of the busiest in Seoul in fact. However, it is usually more popular with tourists and you often won’t find as many Koreans here. Most locals avoid Myeongdong at all costs, simply because it is too busy, or too stressful to shop in. It is great if you want to find everything in one area though.
On the streets passing below the towering buildings, you will find a totally different atmosphere to that inside the shopping malls. A more raw and traditional feeling of being surrounded by what is pretty much one diverse and large market. You can’t explore Myeongdong without being constantly hit by new and unique smells. If you go there and you don’t end up buying food then I would be very surprised!
Many of the street food vendors have steam wafting from their carts, and it gives the area a special feeling of a more traditional market. Albeit one surrounded by one of the most ultra-modern areas of Seoul.
While exploring the streets of Myeongdong we found many different kinds of unique and exotic foods. Everything from stuffed lobster tails to kebabs and hotdeokk (a type of Korean pancake with sweet or savory flavors inside). It is definitely one of the most multi-cultural places I have ever visited!
So, why should you visit Myeongdong?
Meat skewers are prepared at Myeongdong.
Myeongdong’s failings also make some of its most unique aspects. The incredibly busy streets are so busy that I don’t think anywhere I’ve ever visited in my life can compare. The pictures really don’t do it justice – it is insanely busy. In saying that though, I would also say that the crowds give it a truly unique feel. You know when you are in Myeongdong as it is unmistakable.
A word of warning: If you are still planning where to stay when you visit Seoul, try to avoid Myeongdong. It isn’t the worst place to stay, but it’s just so busy and loud at all times of the day… and night. It’s never quiet, and you will have trouble pushing through the crowds every morning to get to the subway or bus station. If you have the choice of where to stay still, I would definitely advise that you stay somewhere a little quieter. I don’t think that many people go back to Myeongdong after visiting there once or twice, however, it is most definitely worth visiting that once or twice.
A Unique Experience
You can’t escape the variety of aromas in Myeongdong!
Back to the street food in Myeongdong though! When visiting the area, make sure to bring lots of cash. Many of the street stalls in the city either won’t accept cards or will have a 10% surcharge. While this isn’t the end of the world and ATM’s are always close, it’s well worth always having some cash on you. It will help you avoid a lot of potential problems and hassles.
As I mentioned earlier, the street food in Myeongdong is very expensive compared to that of other food markets nearby. As such, it isn’t really worth getting food here unless you want something specific to Myeongdong. Many international foods are the best (in Korea) here, however, if you want Korean food then try the markets Namdaemun and Kwangjang. Often you will be able to find food at half the cost or even less!
Myeongdong is somewhere that like many places, is truly unique. While it may not be unique for the normally ‘good’ reasons, it is somewhere that I recommend visiting at least once! The street food in Myeongdong along with the unique atmosphere that it has is dynamic and diverse. If possible though, avoid staying in Myeongdong. It’s nice to visit, but staying there is definitely not as nice. Not only is it busy and crowded, but usually you will get a lot less and pay far more.