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