Dongdaemun is Korea's largest retail and wholesale shopping district. It is comprised of 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops and 50,000 manufacturers. Located within 10 city blocks, this area is home to silks and fabric, clothing, shoes, sporting goods, plumbing and electrical supplies, office supplies and much more.
The Market stays open from 10:30AM to 5:00 AM, with some stores staying open 24 hours a day. Typically, you will find retail shopping during the day and wholesale shopping taking place during the middle of the night.
Dongdaemun means "Great East Gate". It was named this because it was a major eastern gate of the wall of Seoul during the Josean Dynasty (1392 - 1897).
My first time in Dongdaemun, I went with friends to "check it out". I must say, I was overwhelmed and we only went into three different buildings and did not hit every floor, let alone every story in those buildings. From the picture above, you can see that the stores appear to go on forever. In the older buildings, which are usually 2 or 3 stories, little shops are crammed in next to each other and the main walkways are usually very narrow and even crowded with merchandise waiting to be put out for sale.
The newer buildings are high-rises and are similar to a department stores though they consist of individually run stores. They have wider walk ways and better lighting than the older buildings.
If you ever come to Korea, you need to check out Dongdaemun.