Ikseon-dong: Strolling Seoul’s offbeat neighbourhood

Ikseon-dong (in Korean, 익선동) is a trendy area for young Seoulite as well as international tourists. We were lucky to stumble into this arty portion of traditional Insadong.

If you are looking for Instagram-able cafes and tea-houses, Ikseondong is for you. You might have to battle with tourists in some areas to take photos of the prettiest cafes.

Couple walking in a street in Ikseon-dong, Seoul

Taking a stroll along the streets of Ikseon-dong is a nice way of discovering the old traditional Seoul. Walking down feels like walking in a labyrinth, and the fun part is exploring the back alleys.

Street in Ikseon-dong, Seoul

Where is Ikseon-dong?

The Hanok Village of Ikseon-dong is located right in the centre of Seoul near Seoul’s main three palaces. Unlike Bukchon and Seochon hanok villages, Ikseon-dong wasn’t very popular. The area started to gain popularity after some renovations. It subsequently changed from an unpopular old hanok village to a bohemian, trendy and creative space thanks to young artists and entrepreneurs who opened shops, cafes and restaurants there.

We were lucky that our accommodation was right in the village, so didn’t have to commute to explore it. The first time we went there, we were surprised by the number of people and things to see. Despite the small size, the popular area was packed with people; but it was not overwhelming.

Ikseon-dong in pictures

There are so many nice places and so many different shops that you could easily spend a whole afternoon exploring.

Maison de Paris, Ikseon-dong Seoul
A tea house's terrace in Ikseon-dong
Colourful umbrellas hanging outside a shop, Ikseon-dong - Seoul
Charming shop in Ikseon-dong, Seoul
Shop front with lots of plants, Ikseon-dong Hanok village
Flowers, Ikseon-dong, Seoul
French bistro facade in Insadong, Seoul

Here are some of the fav addresses to check out when wandering the streets of Ikseon-dong.

Cafes and restaurants in Ikseon-dong

All the cafés, tea houses and restaurants are set in homely hanok furnished with traditional Korean furniture. Each serving either traditional Korean or English teas or tasty French pastries.

Ikseondong Ssal Sanghoe [익선동쌀상회] To get a taste of the traditional hotteok, this is the place. The pancakes filled with various topping are so delicious that you will always find a long queue in front of the shop.

  • Address:28, Gwansu-dong 28-gil Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Hours: 12:00-20:00

Chang Hwa Dang [창화당] Famous mandu (Korean dumplings) shop. Lines are often long, but you can distract yourself by looking at mandus being made through the large windows.

  • Address: 23, 28-gil, Supyo-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Hours: 11:30-21:00 every day

Dongbaek Bakery – bakery famous for their Strawberry Souffle Pancake

  • Address: 17-24, 28-gil, Supyo-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Hours: 11:30-23:00 every day

France Ange Dessert – French bakery

  • Address: 21-3 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Ikseon-dong, Seoul
  • Hours: 11:00-22:00 every day

Bagida – Fusion Korean dishes

  • Address: 51 Donhwamun-ro 11da-gil, Nakwon-dong, Seoul
  • Opening hours: 11:00-22:00 every day

Maison de Paris [빠리가옥 ]. Nice little French bistro set in a restored hanok.

  • Address: 33-4 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Opening hours:

Madang Flower Cafe. This cafe is perhaps the most photographed place in the whole Ikseon-dong! It’s not hard to see why if you look at the cute decoration with blooming flowers, hanging colourful umbrellas etc. You can have your drink either in the cafe space or the charming courtyard.

  • Address: 33-12, Supyo-ro, 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Opening hours: 7.30am-10.30pm
Ladies wearing 1920s inspired clothes walking down Ikseon-dong, Seoul

Where to shop

My Poetry [마이포에트리] (small jewellery shop. They specialise in rings and necklaces. They have lots of cute designs however I couldn’t buy any as it seems Korean women have tiny fingers or I have fat fingers!

  • Address: 23 Supyo-ro 28-gil, Ikseon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Hours: 12:00 – 22:00

Assibabgagan [아씨방앗간] (cute antique type shop)

  • Address:47, Donhwamun-ro 11da-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Hours: 11:00-22:00

Ikseon Boutique Rental shop specialised in clothes from the 1920s

  • Address: 38 Donhwamun-ro 11-gil, Nakwon-dong, Seoul
  • Opening hours: 9:00 – 19:00 every day

Vintage Bonnie – Adorable items and vintage clothing

  • Address: 77-1, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu Seoul
  • Opening hours: Every day except Monday 12PM-7PM
Colourful sign of Uncle Videotown in Ikseon-dong, Seoul
Uncle Videotown’s colourful sign

Other ideas and things to do around Ikseon-dong

Ssamziegil / 쌈지길 – Shopping centre with lots of traditional shops. Head there if you are looking to purchase some meaningful souvenirs

  • Address: 03146 44 Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Hours: 10:30 – 20:30 every day

Uncle Videotown / 엉클비디오타운- Uncle Videotown is a multi-purpose shop that is both a cinema and a cafe. Head there if you fancy watching some Korean movies while sipping on on traditional tea.

  • Address:47, Gwansu-dong 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
Hanok roof details, Ikseondong
Street decoration Ikseondong
Ladies walking in a street in Ikseon-dong, Seoul

How to get there

Ikseon-dong Hanook Village is accessible via Jongno 3-ga Station (line 5). Take Exit 4 or Exit 6.

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Hi there! I'm Mayi. Welcome to my blog SecretMoona! I hope to share with you the hidden secret of places I visit.

7 thoughts on “Ikseon-dong: Strolling Seoul’s offbeat neighbourhood

  1. I spent 4 weeks in Seoul over 2 trips but both of them were in the winter – so no strolling around in neighborhoods for me – MUST go back asap and languish here for a day or 2! So cute!

  2. Aside from a few layovers, I have yet to spend a good amount of time in Seoul and it is posts like these that make me regret that decision. What a perfect neighborhood, something I would for sure go check out when I plan my trip there. Thanks for sharing your hidden gem!!

    1. Thanks Abbie. I really hope you can go back and explore more of beautiful and amazing Seoul! We found this little gem of a place really by chance.

  3. I haven’t been to Seoul before but would love to visit this place. I loved the pictures, gave me such a nice impression of what it’s like! Thanks for all the tips. 🙂

  4. I haven’t heard of this area before, but you definitely put it on my radar for when I finally get to travel to Asia/South Korea. It looks like such a cute little place to walk around!

  5. I love posts like this where I can learn more about destinations i’m not familiar with. Seoul sounds fantastic and i’m definitely adding it to my list for when I can travel again.

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