Everyone’s heard of the Korean 도깨비(Dokkaebi) or ‘Goblin’ thanks to the handsome Gong Yoo, but you might not know about Seoul’s 밤도깨비야시장(Bamdokkaebi Night Market) unless you’ve been lucky enough to stumble across it one night. The night market is run every weekend in four locations across Seoul (Yeouido Hangang Park, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Cheongyecheon River, and Banpo Hangang Park) from March to October.
The market brings together a selection of high-quality food trucks sharing both Korean and foreign food, and stalls selling handmade jewellery, crafts and home decorations. Each location also has music, performances or special events to enjoy alongside your food or trinket shopping.
The Bamdokkaebi Night Market is the perfect place to end up for dinner after a day exploring in Seoul, so here are two itineraries for things you might like to do in Seoul before eating at either the Yeouido or Cheongyecheon markets!
Every Fri & Sat 18:00-23:00
Specialising in food and handmade items from around the world. Highlights: Hangang River nightscape, busking musicians, world music and dance performances
Insadong -> Ssamzigil Mall –> Traditional Performances –> Yeouido Hangang Park –> Swan Boats, Cycling or Segways -> Bamdokkaebi Market –> Street Musicians
- Start in the morning in Insadong and walk down the main Insadong Street or explore the alleyways for traditional art, food and tea, household objects, clothing and architecture. Insadong is always busy and there’s always a lot to see and get a taste of traditional Korea.
- Make sure to visit the popular Saamzigil shopping mall for an eclectic mix of modern and traditional items and the outdoor stage at the end of the street for traditional music and dance performances.
- Take the subway for 30mins on line 5 from Jongno 3-ga Station to Yeouinaru Station and get off right next to Yeouido Hangang Park.
- Sit next to the river to rest and recharge with beer, snacks, instant noodles, or even a chicken or pizza delivery, and enjoy the fantastic views across the river.
- Ride the swan boats for even more beautiful views of the river. Or you can rent bicycles or even electric segways to ride alongside the river and explore the park.
- Walk to the other end of the park to get to the market and enjoy a delicious mix of food from around the world. Be sure to try the gigantic, luminous candy floss if you have a sweet tooth. A word of warning, if the weather is good and there are lots of people at the park the market will also be extremely busy!
- Enjoy your food against the incredible backdrop of Seoul’s river nightscape and while listening to the talented buskers, which Yeouido Park is known for.
Every Sat 16:30-22:30 & Sun 16:00-21:00
A ‘uniquely Korean market’ with actual Bamdokkaebi (night goblins) to grant your wishes. Highlights: The Cheongyecheon stream, dokkaebi lanterns, “love locks”, hopes and dreams “wish tree.”
Changdeokgung Palace –> Secret Garden –> Ikseon-dong -> Walk along Cheonggyecheon Stream -> Bamdokkaebi Market
- Head to Changdeokgung Palace after an early lunch. This is less well-known than the near-by Gyeongbokgung Palace but is an equally beautiful display of Korean history.
- Take a tour of the Secret Garden hidden away in Changdeokgung Palace for a truly peaceful and refreshing walk in the centre of Seoul. Make sure to reserve a time online the day before!
- Walk down the road for a café-break in Ikseon-dong, a neighbourhood of winding alleyways hiding old, traditional houses turned into trendy cafes and restaurants. This place has become very popular and you may have to wait for a seat in some of the cafes, but this is a hidden gem for café enthusiasts.
- Walk further down the road until you reach Cheongyecheon stream, and then stroll along the stream until you reach the market. If you are there after sunset, the lights along the stream and lanterns surrounding the market make for a lovely atmosphere and relaxing place to eat your dinner.
These are only suggestions based on (unplanned) days out when I enjoyed the Bamdokkaebi markets. Each of the markets has some really good food trucks and is a lot of fun.
If you’re hoping to spend your entire evening in one place I would recommend the Yeouido location, there’s plenty to do in the park and along the Hangang even at night and you can stay there after you’ve eaten to continue enjoying the street performances and the beautiful views. The Cheongyecheon market is a little smaller, and would be a lovely place to have a relaxing dinner before going onto somewhere else. Let me know about your experience with the other locations.^^