Just like other famous Seoul attractions such as #Hongdae, #Gangnam, #Myeongdong, and #SeoulTower, #Insadong is also a popular hashtag mention, and I don't wonder why.
The first time I walked around Insadong more than a decade ago, it felt like a throwback to an old Seoul with its cobblestone walks and traditional artisan shops. Although this place is slowly turning modern with galleries and cosmetic shops, Insadong, in the olden times, was a place for artists and craftsmen given its proximity to Gyeongbukgung Palace.
(A flash mob at Insadong)
Straight from my photo albums, here are my fun memories of #Insadong.
(Giant inflatables invade Insadong)
This was the most fun day I had at Insadong. Why? I wasn't just a tourist; I was taking part in an 'instant' tourist attraction!
A few years back, during the launch of the Korea In Motion campaign, I got to participate in a flash mob activity by documenting its 'behind-the-scenes' story as a member of the K-Performance Supporters, a group of bloggers whose job was to help promote Korean tourism.
Of course, I didn't even think of volunteering to dance with the pack, lest I wanted to ruin the whole campaign.😄 Insadong was the best place to hold the flash mob as it was always full, although I was thinking, if it were held in Myeongdong, that place would have been too crowded for all the dancers, giant inflatable mascots, and camera crew.
(B-boys join the flash mob)
From their rehearsal in the morning until the flash mob in the afternoon, the day spent in Insadong was worth the excitement and the fulfillment that I was able to help promote Korea In Motion.
(B-boys join the flash mob)
Insadong's location is perfect for tourists with limited time in Seoul. Since it's located in the Jongno District, which has a lot of tourist spots, one can just walk around its neighboring attractions like the Gyeongbuk Palace, Changdeok Palace, Tong-in Market, Bukchon Village, Samcheong-dong, and Jogyesa Temple.
Insadong's mandu restaurant
And if there's one place in Insadong that I would go back to every now and then, it's Koong Mandu, Seoul's best mandu restaurant. Over the years, I brought friends here for lunch or dinner, including my former colleague, Agnes, and her pals when they were in Seoul. The grandma's yummy mandu recipe has been a reason why people keep coming back over the years.
And because Insadong was just five minutes away from Jongno's beer alleys, we simply walked towards the direction of Cheonggyecheon and continued the night with beer, chips, and stories.
(My friends Fay and Joy about to
enjoy mandu at Koong Mandu)
(Joy, Loren and Fay at their 'Expressions' exhibit at an Insadong gallery)
Showcasing local painters and artists, Insadong has galleries as well as shops where you can purchase materials for your painting handicraft hobbies.
(Fay, Loren and Joy at their 'Expressions' exhibit at an Insadong gallery)
(My mom and sister at Ssamziegil)
(My mom window shopping at Insadong)
When I toured my mom and sister around Seoul, I made sure they got to see Insadong's interesting galleries, artisan shops, and cafés by walking its cobblestone main alley.
Ssamziegil, right in the middle of Insadong, is the most popular place to visit. This square is actually a 'street' because it's called 'gil', the hangeul name for 'street'. The building's design enables one to ascend to higher floors without taking the stairs.
Insadong welcomes Patricia
And the latest guest Insadong welcomed? Patricia.
My niece, Patricia, recently came to Korea to work and I just had to introduce her to Insadong just as I did my family and friends. Patricia got to know Insadong by strolling around its corners and alleys after our lunch at the Philippine market in Hyehwa-dong along Daehangno in the Jongno District.
(Patricia on top of Ssamziegil)
From our heavy lunch of Filipino dishes, we just had to walk off the few calories we gained that day, and climbing all the way up to the rooftop of Ssamziegil helped.
(Patricia ordering her crêpe)
For KRW3,000, the ajussi prepared the yummiest strawberry-banana-Nutella crêpe right in front of Patricia. To pay, Patricia simply dropped the KRW3,000 at a small box on the table. For sanitary reasons, the ajussi doesn't touch the cash; he simply lets his customers drop their payment and get their change, if any, from the box.
(Patricia enjoying her
Just like other tourist attractions in Seoul, Insadong has its special vibe and character not found in any other place in the city. It is unique on its own and you have to visit it to feel it.
So, have you also visited the Insta-popular Insadong lately?
By the way, here's the video of our #Insadong flash mob: