When it comes to travel, my Japanese students always talk about two things: food and shopping. And it's true that Japan, and all of Asia as well, has wonderful food and a wide variety of shopping options. When you look at the prices for name brand goods, you then understand why traveling to another country becomes an option - a weekend of ethnic foods and discounts on high-price cosmetics and clothes makes that plane ticket worthwhile.
But I'm a cheapskate. I love to spend money but I'm all about the value; thrift shops and bargain bins are my friend. That's something I really miss about America; Japan doesn't have much of a used goods market. But Korea does, in spades.
With many of my plans rearranged or canceled due to weather, I spent a good bit of time on both of my trips to Korea exploring shops and markets. On Saturday, I started my day at the Seocho Flea Market, a few steps away from my hostel.
Seocho Flea Market happens every Saturday, starting about 9:00. Sellers start heading home about 2:00, so arrive early. This market is known for the old people who can be quite pushy, so come prepared to stand your ground and act fast - stuff sells fast as the place is crowded.
The easiest way to get there is to take the subway to Sadang Station. Don't use Exit 1, like some websites say. Instead, go to exit 11 [best] or 13, and turn right down the small side street. In a block, you'll arrive at the split street and you should certainly see all the people buying and selling. Just follow that one street all the way to the end of the market, heading north. You can turn left down one of the cross streets to get back to the main road, and turn right (north) to get to Isu/Chongshin University Station.