What we did in our foodie and artsy home neighborhood that is only 2 blocks west of Gyeongbokgung (but is overlooked by most tourists) and is a place not to miss!
Always get the guide for the areas you visit, there will be lots of things you’ll miss without one! Grab a map at the west entrance of Tongin Market.
Korea is organized like other big cities. The large areas are called -gu, the little clusters of a few streets are called -dong, and -gil/-ro mean street, so hopefully that helps break things down and identify names, but don’t worried if you get confused about street names or addresses, because most of the time, they don’t make any sense! They often give the neighborhood number rather than the street name and number. They’re seemingly not consistent in any way, so I tried to note down practical tips for where things are. This post covers Seochon (“West Village”): the Pirun-dong, Nuha-dong, Tongin-gong, and Sajik-dong area.
We lived at the SoHo Residence: 17 Pirundae-ro or 90 Pirundong T. (02) 722-1999. It was a perfect location for young kids. Our flat we selected was about 400 sq. ft. (they have larger options), which was kind of small with three kids, but the neighborhood was perfect. I highly recommend staying in this neighborhood because it’s not touristy, it’s quiet, and mostly ordinary Koreans live in this area. There are guesthouses and Hanok-stays everywhere, so this area would be great to see what it is like staying in a Hanok!
Once you do want to go to the big places, they are within a 0.5-2 mile walking distance, Like Gyeonkbokgung, Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwanghwamun Plaza and downtown museums, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Gwangjang Market, Insadong, Chandeokgung, or the #9 Maeul bus will take you to bigger neighborhoods and areas like Myeongdong, Namsan, Namdaemun, etc. The Sejong Village Food Ally has everything you could want to eat, plus the streets are lined with restaurants. There are dozens of cafes and specialty shops, and each one is so unique. Here are some of our favorites:
Seochon/Sejong Village + Tongin Market (Jongno-gu, #9 Maeul Bus, Blue, Red, and Green Bus Lines, Gyeongbokgung Station [Line 3] Exit 3)
- Visit the beautiful AsianMood Bag and Accessory handmade Korean-style knots, tassels, bracelets, purses, bags, jewelry, Korean lacquer, and gifts (look for the gold entry, also sovglobal.com) and other little shops on Ogin-Gil and Pirundae-ro
- Hyoja Bakery, bread shop, Scoff British bakery, and Coco Blanc cake shop
- DON’T MISS THIS! Zenana Jam and Scones on Ogin-gil is a must-get souvenir! Their plum jam was absolutely incredible. They have about 15 flavors, like persimmon, plum, apricot, tomato basil, apricot curd, black tea milk spread, green tea milk spread, so try a few samples to see which are your favorites. Great to bring back as gifts, W12,000 a jar; 23-1 Ongin gil, Nusang-dong, Jongno-gu
- Explore the little ally streets of Tongui-dong Hanok Village and street art, there are surprises around EVERY corner!
- Park No-Su Art house/museum on Ogin-gil with his beautiful traditional-style ink paintings
- Go to the 90s video game Okin Arcade on Ogin-gil
- Pungeopang Fish-shaped Croissants with your choice of filling and Rolled Ice Cream on Ogin-gil
- 2 doors up from Pungeopang on Ogin-gil is a ceramics painting studio so you can paint your own Korean ceramic dishes!
- DON’T MISS THIS! L’Eau Magique Fragrance Studio and design your own organic perfume (reservation: 02-6348-1073). If you just want to walk in, you can select a perfume you like from the house blends, which were all very unique and lovely. This is one of my favorite things I have done in Seoul. I went to find out how to do their blending but found out you need a reservation to do it, so I just decided to choose from the house blends. The man working there handed me a sample and said, “This is the blend for you.” It was a jasmine-melon blend (these are all very subtle notes, nothing strong at all!) that was so fresh and a little sweet. He laid out 3 other samples to smell, Grapefruit-floral, daffodil-yellow lotus, and mint-chamomile-jasmine. It was so hard to choose! But guess what, in the end, he was right! He totally called what would suit me best. He mixed me a fresh bottle and sent me on my happy way. Blends start at W29,000 and would be the most amazing souvenir or gift. Follow them in Instagram @leaumagique and read a little more about them on Seoul Selection’s list of things to do in Seochon Village
- TonginSweet Egg tarts (possible lines!), located on Jahamun-ro 7, Instagram @tonginsweet and FB (address is 73 Tongin-dong, Jongno-gu)
- Tongin Herbal Medicine Dispensary just off of Jahamun-ro 7, down a few doors from TonginSweet and right around the little corner to your right (address 48-6 Tongin-dong, Jongno-gu)
- Romantic and quirky Dae-Oh Bookstore 33 Cafe (on FB) Jahamun-ro 7, across from the THM Dispensary and TonginSweet, from the K Drama Shark (address is 33 Nuha-dong, Jongno-gu)
- Sejeong Village Food Street with everything you can think of!
- The famous Tosokchon Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup), go at off-time to avoid lines!
- Visit the G25 convenience store on Pirundae-ro for delicious beverages from all over Asia
- Sajik Shrine + playground, great if you have kids that need to run around!
- Hike up Ingwangsan Hill
- Tongin Children’s Library (#5 Maeul Bus stop)
- See different types of art galleries across the street in Jahamun-Dong/Tongui-Dong/Hyoja-dong on the way to Gyeongbokgung, also a great spot to rent a hanbok
- Stop by 7321Story (7321스토리) for an Alice in Wonderland-themed gift shop with stationary, jewelry, and gifts with motifs like Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, Wizard of Oz, and European Monuments
- Spanish, French, Italian restaurants on Pirundae-ro and Ogin-gil (Here is Mangoplate’s Top 30 Restaurants in Seochon)
- Michelin Guide’s Seochon Chef Kim Italian Trattoria for fine-dining Italian in an intimate place (Lunch W49,000/59,000, dinner 41,000/86,000); 2 Locations: 158-2 Chang-Sung dong, Jongno-gu or 2F, 138-1 Tongin-dong, Jongno-gu
- Eat all your favorite Korean dishes, from Tangsuyuk to Jjajangmyeon to Mul Nangmyeon to Japcahe at Man Ri Chang Seong (만리장성) on little Sajik-ro 9 ga-gil (look for the picture of Jjajangmyeon in the window)
- Eat the best Kimchi Jjigae and Fried Fish meal at Ulgengi Jip (울갠기집), 15 Pirundae-Ro, W7,000
- Tongin Market (Get map of area at West entrance). This little ally has everything from produce to dishes to snacks to clothes to food. They have a “lunchbox” for $5 that you get to fill with whatever the ladies are making that day. You might have to get 2 plates though, because there are so many options! There is dry-fried tteokbokki, japchae, kimbap, all the banchan, steamed buns, odeng, and battered 19. everything! If you just want to look around, we recommend the chicken skewers and honey hotteok and try to avoid the lunch hour. Go join the elderly citizens playing games outside in the little wooden gazebo!
Also see Seoul Selection’s list of things to do in Seochon Village and Soul Searching‘s list
Need Korean recipes to get you through until the next time you’re in Korea? I’ve got you covered with Korean and other Asian recipes on my Recipe Index: Team Korea
What else have you done in Seochon/Sejong Village? What looks the most enjoyable to you? Let us know in the comments!