Friday, 14 June 2013

Hongdae 2013 - Lively Shops, Quaint Streets

Hongdae is a much loved place. Not only for me, but for alot of locals.

This is like the hot spot for university students & young adults. Filled with buzz and life. You can easily spot random wall graffiti street arts, performances etc. It's one of my favourite hangouts.

As the area is REALLY REALLY BIG.... I couldn't possibly cover all areas, so just for record, these are the 2 areas i most like.

Hongdae Station (aka Hongik University), Via Exit 9.

Area 1: Shopping Area

Area 2: Cafe and Wall Art area (or so i call it) 

For illustration purposes, here is a snap shot of the map i used. 

 And here is the one with more details on area 1 (green arrows); 2 (blue arrows).

SNAP SHOTS to Area 1 

This would be the main shopping district around Hongdae selling clothes, shoes, bags, accessories etc. And as you walk further, you will come to realise there are small, perpendicular lanes connecting to the main street. Feel free to roam around cos there could be "hidden treasures" in these small lanes. Cafes, pubs, chill-out restaurants.... Too much to name.

Here are some street shots captured while walking around the area.

Shopping starts the moment you exit the train station (on the left-hand side), these are just the tip of the ice berg.

Random street performances are often held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and these are best times to catch all the action.

As you explore further, you will come to a point where there's a small road, don't hesitate to cross it cause that IS WHERE the action is.

 This is the view of the shopping street from across the small road, you need to cross it to get to the main shopping district.

Your shopping starts here!

Continue walking and you will spot a SNOW SPOON on the left-hand side. That's one of the lanes that has a few other fun-looking joints. Like Big Mama, Omao and Adgio. (See below map for exact locations)

SNOW SPOON cafe... serves ice-creama, yoghurt ice-cream, charged by the gram.

Big mama - somewhat like a pub restaurant

And Adgio Restaurant. I didn't visit this restaurant, but i reckon it must be serving some European Cuisine, definitely not Korean food. (Pictures all taken in a rush, so doesn't do justice to the real place)

 OMAO Cafe... another fusion looking cafe.
I didn't find it as pretty as many other cafes i passed by (see below photos)
but since it was featured in the map, i just took a snap shot of it)

SNAP SHOTS to Area 2 

This part is a little quieter than the shopping areas. I also call this the "wall art" street.

It is an area where I roamed and discovered many quiet little concept cafes. Quaint, distinctly, and each having it's own personality. The walls are mostly painted with with random drawings... It's just such a good area to hang out, and i could possibly sit in one of those cafes for the whole day, looking out of the window and building castles in the air.

 The blue arrows will lead you to the main gate of Hongik University (aka Hongdae).


 Turn right and there is like a random empty area where you will spot a small lane at the corner

This is how obscure the lane looks like.. In fact it looks like it is leading to nowhere, but just go into the lane and follow the path


After some walking, you will arrive at this quaint cafe - SEMO, somewhere I really like, but didn't have enough time to stop by for a cup of coffee.

Updated on 14 September 2014:
Also, just to add, this is the cafe that was featured in Ep 7 
of the recent Korean Drama, It's OK, that's love.

Back to photo spamming.

Following the blue arrows, you may walk further down and you will hit a couple wall arts.

And you will find other cozy cafes, each with its own style and personality. 

I quite liked this one as well... So homely.. And sells only coffee and cup cakes.

This one is not open, i reckon it only opens at night? 
But it looks kinda Victorian, again, a totally different personality. 

Some other random cafes that caught my eye.

And here are some street arts, performing arts, basking etc.. all happening on a Friday evening after school!

In conclusion, this is an area i am biasedly in love with for it's energy and life. The culture, arts, performing street arts etc are all filled with hopes, dreams and aspirations. This entry just captures 20% of the real place but it is enough to make me smile knowing that i will surely want to visit this place again.

I shall end this entry with a picture of a well-loved playground (which often appears in dramas).

If you are planning a free & easy trip in Seoul, this is one of the must-go places!

Too lively & real to be missed!


  1. Hello Melissa! Would like to know where did you get the map from? :-)

    1. hi there! I hope my reply came in time. I got all my maps from a place called M plaza located in Myeongdong. I also wrote abt directions there in one of entries. You may wanna check that out by scrolling in the left column. ;)

  2. just for easy reference. here is the link to how u can get there.

  3. hi i know this comment is pretty late but for area 1, is it supposed to be near Seoul Art Space or the white lane near it because i'm not sure if the arrowhead it pointing to the area or if the area is the space of the whole arrow:P and what are the green arrows for then? lastly, for area 2, is it at the white lane or the lane where the blue arrows are? lastly,

    1. Hi Nicole, sorry I didn't receive notifications but I guess I must be late to this! When I indicate "area" it just means the while area is good for exploration. Those green arrows/ blue arrows are just my way to directing readers who r interested to explore Honda because this whole area is huge n as a guide, u may wanna follow the green/blue arrows so as to save time. ;)


Thank you for your comment. I read each one of them. ;)