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The Best Traditional Markets in Jeju

A Korean ajumma selling her wares in a traditional South Korean market
A Korean ajumma selling her wares in a traditional South Korean market | © Freshly Diced / Flickr
Jeju’s vibrant traditional markets occupy a special place in the island’s culture. Many of the markets are five-day markets — much as the name suggests, they’re held once every five days. As their dates rotate, many sellers travel from market to market across the region. Historically, this movement was an important way to transfer information across the region. Today, the bustling and lively markets are still visited by locals old and young, along with tourists eager to try Jeju specialty street foods such as black pork skewers. Here are some of the best traditional markets on the island.

Jeju Minsok Five-day Market (제주민속5일장)

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Fresh vegetables on a market stall in Jeju, South Korea | Fresh vegetables on a market stall in Jeju, South Korea

This five-day market is the biggest in Jeju. It has over 1,000 stalls and covers approximately 40,000 square metres of space. You can find everything a local market would have here, and more — from locally grown produce such as garlic and hwanggeum hyang (a type of tangerine unique to Jeju Island), to plants, pets and fortune-tellers. It’s a good place to try out street food (although don’t go too late — the market closes at 7pm) and explore the many stalls. This market differs from other Jeju markets, as it has a Halmang Jangteo — meaning ‘grandma market’ — which is a designated area where women over 65 can sell their wares without paying any rent for the stall. Market dates are the 2nd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 22nd and 27th days of each month.

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Seogwipo Hyangto Five-Day Market (서귀포향토오일시장)

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This market is located in the arty hub of Seogwipo. Like other five-day markets, you can expect lots of street food and interesting wares, but what sets the Hyangto market apart from others is its emphasis on culture; stalls have a traditional atmosphere, and there are frequent musical performances. A traditional Korean blacksmiths is located in the market for visitors to see, as well as displays of traditional farming equipment. Inside the market is a flea market called Teumeong Jangteo, which is known for street food made of black pork and horse meat. Teumeong Jangteo is also open on Saturdays and Sundays. Hyangto Market is open on the 4th, 9th, 14th, 19th, 24th and 29th of each month.
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Dongmun Market (동문재래시장)

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A variety of dried fish for sale, Jeju, South Korea | A variety of dried fish for sale, Jeju, South Korea
Dongmun Market is the place to go for hairtail, hoe (fresh raw fish) and other fish varieties from the well-known fish market. As well as stalls, there are a number of restaurants around Dongmun Market where you can take your freshly purchased fish and have it prepared for you and served with side dishes. Dongmun also sells a number of other goods, including local produce and souvenirs. It’s the oldest local market on the island, and opened in 1945. It’s close to the airport, so great for making last-minute purchases. From March 2018, Dongmun extended its opening hours until midnight, making it into a night market as well as daytime market. The market is open every day except Sundays.
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Sewha Folk Five-day Market (세화 오일장)

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The Sewha Folk Five-day Market is the place to go to see an uber-traditional five-day market. It’s the largest market on Jeju Island’s eastern side, but it’s small, simple and rarely frequented by tourists. Prices are low and merchants often give free samples. You can also haggle — for the best deals, go towards the end of the day. It also has a monthly night market. Sehwa is known for excellent gukbap, a pork soup, using Jeju black pork. Market dates are the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th of each month.

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Donam Market (도남시장)

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This traditional market in Jeju City sells a variety of goods, but it’s especially good for clothes — including traditional hanboks. It’s not a touristic destination, so it is good for clothes shopping at slightly lower prices. There are many inexpensive restaurants and food stalls to sate your hunger, and it’s close to the Sungshin Women’s University shopping district. The stream nearest to the market (leading to Hansung University station) is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in springtime.

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These recommendations were updated on June 19, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.