If you aren't from Korea, the souvenir stands have plenty to offer - although halfway through the main street you'll realize most places are
selling the same stuff at basically the same price. Of refreshing uniqueness is the amount - and quality - of more traditional crafts and arts.
Suffice to say that you could go tacky with your souvenirs or very traditional - and not pay much more for the traditional ones.
All in all, Insa-dong is a fun afternoon. It's easy to get into, easy to spend some money there, and easy to get some food. As a touristy place
it rates well, although there isn't a lot of variety of things to see. Go along expecting a pleasant area to stroll through and be open to the
possibility of spotting some interesting things. Just don’t believe the hype put out there by some tourist information boards who build up Insa-dong
as if it’s the most fantastic place in Seoul. A slight over-exaggeration in some people’s opinions!
Once you start looking beyond the main street and the almost-overwhelming number of souvenirs and traditional arts / crafts; the art galleries
are all around you, and well worth a look. One large art gallery (Insa Art Centre) on the main road has free admission, and six - six - floors of
galleries. Each floor had a different exhibit - most of which are only on exhibition for a week.
Come to Insa-dong before 11am if you want to explore it before the tourists descend in droves! Sundays are also a little quieter as no cars are
allowed on that day.
Directions: Head to Anguk subway station (line 3) and take exits 1 or 6 (5 min walk). Alternatively, head to Jongno 3-ga station
(line 1, 3 & 5), and it’s a 10 min walk from exits 4 or 5. One final alternative is Jonggak Station (line 1) – it’s a mere 3 minute walk from exit 3.