the classic wanderer

When in Seoul: Dongdaemun Design Plaza

13 Jun 2018 · 11 min read

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    Seoul was named as World Design Capital in 2010, and one of the reason behind its recognition is Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). This urban landmark was built by world famous architect Zaha Hadid, and is famous for it’s unique shape and aesthetic beauty. DDP was even the most tagged Instagram location in South Korea in 2015! 

    On one fine day in Seoul, we decided to spend a few hours visiting this popular tourist destination that have also became South Korea’s fashion hub. 3 words for it; modern, artistic, and minimalistic!



    Dongdaemun Design Plaza: An urban hub for creatives 

    What can you find in DDP, you may ask? Well, this building has some diverse public spaces. From large exhibition hall, conference hall, design museum, the design lab, the academy hall, media center, seminar room, the designers lounge, and a design market. We walked around to see some ongoing design markets that sells cute accessories and bumped into special exhibitions.

    You can not only enjoy stuff indoors, but there is also a walkable park outside on DDP’s the rooftop. It’s also fun enough to explore the cutting edges of this landmark’s architecture.



    The amount of indoor spaces enables DDP to held wide range of events. They mostly held events from special art exhibitions, markets, workshops, and so on that lights up the city’s creative industry. That’s why it’s also known as a creative hub. So if you want to really get into the DDP experience, go out and find out what events are happening there firsthand.

    Check out DDP’s Instagram account to get updated on events happening there!


    What can you do here in Dongdaemun Design Plaza?


    Stop by at the LED Rose Garden at DDP’s Rooftop.. Psst, it’s even prettier at night!

    There are an LED Rose Garden on DDP’s rooftop. If you come here at night, these flowers will become a display of LED lights. 




    Here is what the LED Rose Garden looked like at night;



    Explore the minimalist architecture inside the plaza



    It feels like you’re inside some kind of alien spaceship. Along these rooms, you can also find either some art exhibition or events that’s currently happening. Some art exhibitions are free, but some special exhibitions requires you to pay.


    This area showcases the mock up of DDP, and it’s free to look around


    The iconic stairs of DDP, I bet it’s every tourist’s favorite “Instagram-worthy” spot!



    Go sightseeing outside the plaza


    If you wait until evening, this food truck will be open for business.

    ….and my mom was much more of a better pianist than I am!

    The beautiful architecture


    Cute stores for those shopaholic souls!

    If you are a sucker for cute things, you will definitely go mad in DDP’s shopping hall! There are also 3d printing center, or even food stalls that sells macaroons priced as much as 900 Korean Won (KRW).

    This brand is so cute!

    The shopping area


    …and it’s even better for K-Pop’s SM Town fans!

    For those K-Pop fans who likes SM Town artists and want to hunt for their souvenirs, I’d recommend you to go here instead of the official store in SM Coex. I have went to both places and I personally think the collections in DDP are more varying that the ones in SM Coex. They even have a DIY zone shelf where you can buy cute pins that represents each artist.

    Customized DIY zone


    Go inside the design markets and find some cute cafes


    Overall, it was such a beautiful and iconic architecture. Kudos to Zaha Hadid!


    How to get there

    • By MRT
      You can stop at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station, and follow the exit that leads you to Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

    Address: 281 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea


    Opening hours

    Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday

    Open from 10.00 AM to 7.00 PM


    Friday and Saturday

    Open from 10.00 AM to 9.00 PM 


    Closed on Mondays



    It’s free to enter the building, and to explore the park.

    However, there several exhibitions inside the plaza that may charge extra fee for you to visit.



    Sabrina Anggraini

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