I went to Insadong (인사동) during one of those days to check the neighbourhood out. I didn't have any particular goal except to visit Ssamziegil (쌈지길) so admittedly, I only breezed through the area. It wasn't as busy as what I expected when I was there, so that was good.
According to my brief research, Insadong is your go-to place if you like something artsy and if you are looking for traditional souvenirs. However, please be aware that the prices here can be on the pricey side if you compare to places like Dongdaemeun (동대문) and Namdaemun (남대문).
My friend who is a talented artist (in my eyes) told me that she can easily spend a day at Insadong to enjoy all the artsy stuff and traditional souvenirs that Insadong has to offer. I can't really relate to her sentiment but I guess what Insadong means to her is like what Hongdae (홍대) means to me.
I personally found Insadong as an intriguing neighbourhood especially after I walked around the small alleys. Hidden behind those small and maze-like alleys are local restaurants that various dishes ranging from regular dishes to traditional dishes and traditional desserts to modern and western desserts. Some of the shops are so Instagrammable while some of them look like run-down buildings but give out such a warmth feeling?
Granted, I didn't try any restaurants or dessert shops at all but this is something that I would want to do in the future if I have another chance to go to South Korea (대한민국) .
I didn't explore the alleys much as my main goal was to visit Ssamziegil. It was hard to miss Ssamziegil especially if walk along the main street of Insadong (unless if you jalan tak pandang kiri kanan la). My first impression of Ssamziegil was, "Oh, besar rupanya tempat ni. Ingatkan kecil je. lol!"
Ssamziegil is basically a complex that is mainly filled with anything arts like art shops, craft workshops, art galleries and others. However, like any other complexes, there are few restaurants, snack shops, and teahouses in the complex as well. Having said that, do note that the restaurants and snack shops here are on the unique side? For example, there were few shops selling poop ice-cream and there were few restaurants serving their dishes in bowls shaped like jamban duduk.
Anyway, I think I spent about 2 to 3 hours at Ssamziegil alone because I kept stopping in front of the gazillion shops because almost all things that were on sale were bloody cute. Too bad that they came with bloody expensive price tag as well. If they were not, I might have bought few stuff T__T
Didn't get to take a lot of pictures here because most shops had this 'No Picture' sign. Ughhhh! I was utterly disappointed whenever I saw that sign. I understand the reason behind the sign; to prevent plagiarism yadda yadda but wow, the frustration T___T
Anywho, I truly enjoyed my time at Insadong especially at Ssamziegil. I just wished I spent more time exploring the alleys instead of spending 2 to 3 hours at Ssamziegil. Ssamziegil was all good, fun and entertaining but I think 2-3 hours was too much for a place like Ssamziegil.