Sometimes it's hard to find that perfect piece of furniture you want for your apartment in Korea. Or maybe you're looking for the freshest fruits or vegetables, seafood, and traditional Korean snacks. Or maybe you just need a gigantic 32 cm pot to cook your king crab or turkey dinner. Whatever the case may be, the open-air market is your best bet. And so, it's awesome thing about Korea #3!
Gwangju's most famous open-air market, Yangdong (양동시장), is located between downtown and the bus terminal. It straddles the Gwangcheon Stream in an explosion of colors, shapes, and smells. You can find all of the things I mentioned above, as well as many more. It's quite an adventure to go there and take a look around--you never know what you'll find.
This past weekend I went to try and find a table for my bedroom that would fit my plush chair. It had to be the right height--not too tall or too short, and convenient enough to use with my computer. At first, it took a little while to find where the furniture section was in the market, so we wandered a bit through all the aisles of food, housewares, and hanbok until we found stairs to the second floor. This led us to more textiles: curtains and bedspreads. Finally we spotted a sign that said 가구 (furniture) and headed in that direction. The second floor housed very expensive, very luxurious furniture, but back down on the first floor we had more luck. Here was all the everyday furniture. And in the midst of all the vendors and stacks of shelves and chairs, I found my table. At 90,000 won, it was decently priced and within my budget, too! Home it went in a taxi, and now it safely holds up my computer. (My kitchen table is happy to be relieved of that duty.)
I am happy that if I need anything else unique in the future, I can just head over to Yangdong. I am also happy to recommend it to anyone else in Gwangju looking to shop. If you buy something very bulky you can't move yourself, you can have it delivered, although I'm not sure of the fee. It's best to have your address handy in Korean, or bring along a Korean friend to help you with any questions. Happy shopping!