When traveling to new places, we always want to know more about that place’s culture and history: how it was built, by who and how it is preserved until today. If you are coming to Korea you will instantaneously see that this country was very good at preserving its history, memory, and culture through all kinds of things. Today I’m going to introduce to you one of these things that preserve Korea’s history so well. I’m talking about the Paldal Market in Suwon. Suwon is a small town nearby Seoul (it’s around 1 hour away by subway) with a lot of its culture preserved!
The Paldal Market is a street market of clothes and beauty products, but mostly clothes. There you can find all kinds of os styles, but the most interesting thing is the fact that you can feel true Korean culture when you go there. In various cities of South Korea, you will see how popular street markets actually are, but most of these markets are food markets and not clothes like the Paldal Market. When you visit places like these, you are able to see how locals dress, what kind of style they like, how does the selling and buying dynamic works, etc: what means that the place is living culture site.
The Paldal Market has an outside and an inside part. On the inside, you will find mostly clothes stores, and most interesting fact about this: most of the clothes you will find in Paldal Market are clothes that you see been used by senior citizens. It’s the moment where you can compare how different fashion is for different ages in Korea. You won’t see much people between their 20-40 shopping in Paldal Market, and if your age is among these numbers you probably won’t find clothes for yourself, but you will be able to understand a lot about Korean dressing code.
Not only the dressing code but this street market culture is also evident when you visit Paldal Market: you can buy stuff for a cheaper price if compared to stores outside the market, and you also see a lot of people bargaining for an even cheaper price than what they are already paying for the goods. It’s interesting to see how these dynamics works here in Korea, the give and take conversation about the discount is very polite from both sides, but either of them wants to give in.
On the picture above, you can see some examples of the clothes you will find in Paldal Market: mostly stripes and flower stamps, and also a lot of sequins. As for the colors, red and warm tones are predominant, alongside with black – in comparison to clothes for “younger” people, you will see that the colors tend to be darker and soberer, although the patterns are less discreet. But one thing that is universally worn and you will find at Paldal Market are leggings! Vert comfortable and cheap leggings in various prices, sizes and colors for you to choose.
The market also has stores on the outside. These stores tend to have more clothes for toddlers and children, as well as some formal clothes for daily life – for those who have a more “clean” style of who doesn’t like patterns at all. But on the outside part of the market, you will also find stores that sell a bunch of different products: from beauty products and shoes to a fake flower shop. It’s very interesting to see the variety of items you can find in this market, and the prices will also kinda blow you away.
As seen in the picture, you can find good quality nail polish for like 3,000 won, which is cheap compared to what you will find in Olive Young for example. Also, face masks pack for 5,000 won!! It’s not something you just find every day and everywhere – usually you pay around 1,000 won for each mask and buying this pack each mask is around 500 won. Not only face masks and nail polish, but also hair products, face creams, hand creams, and many other beauty products – some I dare to say you would not find anywhere else but in South Korea.
There are also some stores with products to decorate your house. When I was in this market with my friends, I got a strong vibe of “my grandmother would really like to come shopping here”, and I could spot several items that she would actually buy for her house if she had the opportunity of coming to Korea. As I said many times in this post, is a good place to go if you want to understand more about the local culture and way of life. Even if you don’t buy anything, is really interesting to find out about other cultures.