Adventures in East Asia

Hongdae - Seoul’s Indie Culture Centre

Hongdae is Seoul's indie culture centre. There are several universities in the area so there was no surprise in seeing alot of young Koreans out and about and lots of shops catering for them.


We visited the area on a Saturday and the place was teeming with people, so I'm not sure if it was usual for the area. But the atmosphere was pretty buzzing and we managed to catch the so-called Hongdae Free Market located in a playground across the road from Hongik University.



The Hongdae Free Market is a weekly market that allows local artists to come and sell their work. I loved alot of the stuff on offer, even if Linh and I didn't buy anything and only wished we had visited the area earlier during our time in Seoul.


There were plenty of arts and crafty items, from handmade leather camera film cases to cards, mini figures cut out of wood and fashion items. There was also a section for portrait artists and I found these to be creatively-superior to any other "touristy" artists I'd seen in other countries.


This woman below has just had her portait painted in watercolours, and although it took awhile (with a queue of patient subjects gathering behind her) I saw the result and it was pretty stunning for a street commission. Much better than the marker portrait we had done in Taipei.


The Hongdae Free Market also hosted a musician. I quite liked his briefcase for collecting cash.



Nearby, there was an extremely popular waffle booth (see the snaking queue behind) and Linh wanted to try out the goods!



Moving on, as we were exploring Hongdae we saw a Condomania - a place selling all kinds of condoms, and probably similar to the Condomania we saw in Tokyo.


The street themselves hosted all kinds of art with this wall lined with graffiti and an actual lane called Mural Alley (shown in the photo below the graffiti).



Feeling the indie spirit, I also found these bikes fascinating for some reason.



Along Picasso Street, this peculiar building stuck out at us.


It was the Sangsang Madang(!), Korea's first privately run cultural complex which opened in 2007. The place provides support to artists as well as showcase cultural performances and exhibitions. There's also a decent gift/art shop on the ground floor too.


Along some of the quieter streets, we were passed by a jingle-playing lorry loaded with fruit.


We'd seen a few of these and it seems the drivers were selling their produce (sometimes vegetables) off the back of their vehicles, finding customers by driving through different areas and stopping regularly.


As if we weren't tired enough already, Linh decided to have a go on an exercising machine in a public park. These contraptions seem to be quite common in East-Asian countries.

Lastly, this row of beauties demanded my camera's attention. They were perched along the pavement at a busy retail junction as if to pose for passing photographers. I think they were promoting whatever it was whose logo was on their shirts. A little too subtle I thought, and before long someone made a sign for them all to move along to another spot.



More photos from Hongdae on Flickr.

This entry posted in : Shopping. South Korea.

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