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Visiting Dongdaemun Design Plaza Seoul International Handmade Fair

Dongdaemun Design Plaza Experience

The weather was warmer and people wanted to spend time outside enjoying the outdoor activities they had missed because of the Winter.  This was my first trip going to Dongdaemun Design Plaza.  I was having a lot of first since coming to South Korea.  I read somewhere that’s why it feels so great to travel you’re taken out of your normal routine.  This was definitely not something that I would normally do if I were in Los Angeles.

However, my friend wanted to purchase this specialty blended tea that she could only purchase at the Seoul International Handmade Fair.  Exiting out of the subway I saw the big silver egg-shaped structure looming in front of me.


There are such beautiful designed building all around Seoul, that one day I want to go on a walking tour and learn their history.

Shake Shack

We decided to go and have lunch first at Shake Shack burger.  The line was incredibly long, but moving rather fast.  My friend and I realized there was a dilemma with eating at this restaurant.  There was no seating available and when a seat did become available it was open seating.  There were no rules, it didn’t matter if you had been waiting for the longest or you just arrived.

We started scoping out seating instead of focusing how long it took to prepare two burgers, a fry, and two drinks.  It seemed like every time we moved closer to a table, another table opened up on the other side of the restaurant.  Eventually, we decided to give up and sit outside at a table that was directly in the sunlight.  My guess is that’s the only reason why the table was open.


After finishing our meal we walked across the busy intersection to Dongdaemun Design Plaza.  Because of the handmade fair, there was live music being played in front of the entrance.  There was also a band playing music and dancers holding a small crowd’s attention dancing to the rhythm.

We picked up a map of the handmade fair and saw all of the booths that were exhibiting.  After paying a small entrance fee we went inside to the exhibition floor. There were rows and rows of handmade crafts.  The options seemed endless from handmade soaps, cutting boards, jewelry, needlework, you name it and there was a booth selling goods.  We decided to start at the far end of the exhibit hall and work our way to the other side.

After sampling some of the homemade bakery goods we finally found the booth was selling the specialty tea leaves.  My friend wanted to purchase a gift set for one of her co-workers who was leaving Korea soon.  As my friend completed her purchase the shop owner gave me a sample of her remembrance tea blend and gave us instructions on how to properly prepare the tea leaves.

Just before the cupcake booth closed we managed to haggle out a deal and purchase two cupcakes for the price of one.  Since we had the cake we decided to get away from the crowd and go to a nearby coffee shop.

Cheonggyecheon Stream

After coffee, we decided to tour the Cheonggyecheon Stream since it was later in the afternoon and the weather was much cooler.


There were families with kids playing around the stream.  Written on the wall were different plaques and pictures providing information about the history of the stream.


Next, we went to go to a small section of the underground shopping district.  Mostly, we saw only large area rugs and household items for sale.  We quickly figured out that we were not in the right section for clothes or shoe shopping.  However, my friend did find a shop that sold reusable grocery bags, she found a bag with a picture of a cuddly cat and we left the underground shopping district.

You can check out South Korea rentals at HomeAway by Expedia.

We had been walking around all day and had formed an appetite once again.  Since it was early spring, I wanted to try a dish that I had seen on a variety show called 2 Days & 1 Night.  The dish is called Naengmyeon and consists of cold buckwheat noodles submerged in an iced broth, topped with sliced cucumbers and a boiled egg.  Usually, you add vinegar or a type of tangy mustard before you chow down.  This was one dish that looked better on TV and was not suited to my taste buds.  Now, that I’ve given it some thought I really don’t like cold dishes unless it’s a salad and unfortunately, that’s something that I rarely eat.

Leaving the Naengmyeon restaurant we browsed the street vendor booths as we walked to the nearest subway entrance.

If you liked this story check out my other travel diary post on Insadong Street Shopping & Gyejeol Bapsang Korean Buffet.

With Spring soon approaching what are some of the things you’re looking forward to enjoying?  I’d love to hear all about them in the comments!

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