Some call it Mary’s Alley, some call it Disney on kimchi, whatever you call it, it’s touristy but fun to totter down, and is a nifty onestop shopping strip if you’re after traditional rice paper crafts, calligraphy brushes and ceramics. Despite the government’s best efforts to revive this once-prime antique market, serious collectors will have to really root and rummage among the faff and faddle. Or for the best of Seoul’s selection, make a day of it at Dapsimni Antique Market (see Standout Stores).
Commence at the Anguk-dong Rotary end of Insa-dong /안국역인사동입구 / by the GS25 mini-mart and pick up a map at the Tourist Center. All you need to do is head down this granite-lined street and pop into whatever takes your fancy. At / 722 3812 / on your left, watch craftsmen carve out fancy Oriental seals. Stay on the main strip; amble halfway down to spy on your left the mall a heap of styley lil’ stores selling jewellery, hats, bags, and knick knacks. The mall’s open, ascending spiral layout means you can only go one way and can’t get lost. At the very top is a cafe and outdoor snack bar; once done, head back down to the main road, and directly opp. is a small street that leads to with sweet china and design bobble, Korean liquor (hic!) tasting room
and where you can view a spectacular private collection of trad wooden figurines. Note opposite the museum is the Insa-dong / 737 7890. Retrace to the main drag, on the right is / 736 1020 / insaartcenter.com / exhibiting fission-hot local contempo artists. Carry on and spin left at Sudo Drugstore수도약국 to find the
Tourist Information Center Gana Insa Art Center