To cover Dongdaemun Market in a week, let alone a day, is virtually impossible. The commercial district is made up of about 26 malls, 30,000 stores and 50,000 manufacturers, all spread over 10 city blocks. You can find almost anything you need here, including fabrics and jewelry, sporting goods and toys. Discount fashion items are a specialty, and both locals and tourists come here to buy clothes.
A trip to Dongdaemun can be overwhelming, so pick up a map and get familiar with the layout. The complex is divided in two by the main street. Section 1 is on the same side as Doosan Tower. Here, the shopping malls are generally more geared to tourists. Money exchanges and English-speaking help desks are readily available, and items can be bought individually, rather than in bulk. Doosan Tower, Migliore and Hello apM are three of the major shopping malls.
Section 2 is focused more on wholesale items, though it’s still worth visiting if you have the time. Big fashion malls on this side of the street include Designer's Club, Migliore Valley and Nuzzon. Note, however, there are generally no fitting rooms, and refunds and exchanges may not be guaranteed.
Booklovers should go to the first floor of Pyeonghwa Market, where it’s possible to buy secondhand and rare English language books. You can also expect decent discounts.
For good cuisine, head to Mukja Golmok, a street packed with restaurants serving soup, fishcakes and grilled fish.
To get to Dongdaemun Market, take the subway to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park, or to Dongdaemun. Most stores in Dongdaemun Market are open from mid-morning to late afternoon, although some are open 24 hours. The majority of outlets are closed Mondays and public holidays.