It is quite an experience to visit Noryangjin Fish Market 노량진수산시장 in Seoul – be prepared for an assault of the senses from smell to sight to taste.  Noryangjin Fish Market is a 24-hour, 7 days a week wholesale fish market – if you are here very very early, you can see the fish auctions in the morning.  If you are not an early riser, that’s also ok as throughout the day, you can see a display of all kinds of marine creatures in the stalls and all are edible.  The market gets quite crowded in the evenings with the dinner crowd craving for seafood and drinks.  I suggest going to the market around 11am – all the stalls are open and you can have a seafood lunch there after exploring the market.

I do recommend a few “precautions” if you are visiting Noryangjin Fish Market.  If you are planning to go to other attractions after your visit to the Noryangjin Fish Market, bring along a change of clothes – if you stay too long in the fish market, you will have a fishy smell lingering in your clothes.  The floor of the market is quite wet and dirty (think fishy smell) so wear shoes that are not too slippery and not too thin that water will soak through it.

To get to Noryangjin Fish Market, (if you are staying in Myeongdong J Hill Hotel), take the subway from Myeongdong Station (Line 4) to Seoul Station and transfer to Line 1 where you will then alight at Noryangjin Station (Exit 1).

train noryangjin seafood fisheries wholesale market

Once you get off the train, you will know you are near Noryangjin Fish Market because of the fishy smell in the air.  Take exit 1 and walk across the overhead bridge to the fish market.  Once you cross the overhead bridge, you will need to walk across a carpark (the carpark is at the top deck of the building that houses the Noryangjin Fish Market) – just take the steps down a floor or two and you will see the Noryangjin Fish Market from up top.  The level you will be in is the restaurant level – there are a lot of restaurants here and I will soon explain what these restaurants have to do with the fish market downstairs.  Take the stairs further down to reach the fish market proper.

getting to noryangjin fish market seoul seafood

There are many many stalls at Noryangjin Fish Market and almost every hawker will try to sell you their fishes, prawns etc.  Take your time to look through the selection of marine creatures on display and ask for prices and compare across the stalls (just don’t bargain and agree to a price too soon – they will hold you to it).  Once you get a sense of the rough pricing, then pick a hawker you are comfortable dealing with.  Because of the number of Chinese tourists visiting this market, language barrier isn’t quite a problem as there are quite a few hawkers who speak fluent Mandarin.

noryangjin fish market seafood review travel seoul

Most hawkers are quite ok with you taking pictures of their fishes, abalone, squids, prawns – they are quite used to tourists after all.  Just be prepared for pushy sales tactics.

seafood variety noryangjin fish market seoul

You might be thinking “why should i buy a fish or prawns here at Noryangjin Fish Market – I don’t know how to cook or can’t cook it back at the hotel” – all stalls here at Noryangjin Fish Market partner with the restaurants at level 2 and 3 above.  You can select and buy the fish and other seafood at the fish market – the hawker will scoop up the fish, kill or stun it and you pay for the fish.  Then a runner from the partner restaurant will take the fish (or whatever you buy) and guide you to the restaurant where you pay to have it cooked in whatever way you prefer (steamed, fried, fried etc.).

From my own research at various forums on other travellers’ experience at the fish market, I have compiled a rough price list for seafood sold at the Noryangjin Fish Market (non-exhaustive and not necessarily the most updated):

One whole fish will cost around 20,000 to 60,000 won depending on the weight.  Bigger fish command higher prices.

King crab from Sakhalin, Russia: 80,000 won and up for a 1.5 kg crab which can be shared by 2-4 persons

When in season (spring and fall), Flower crab: 10,000 to 15,000 won per crab

Abalone: 3-4 for 10,000 won

Oysters: 12 for 5,000 won – oysters are very cheap in Korea (if you buy several stuff, you can ask them to throw in a plate of oysters for free)

For the more adventurous, try sannakji (live baby octopus chopped up and still squirming – to be eaten dipped in hot sauce or sesame oil – careful to chew many times before swallowing as it can get stuck in your throat and you can suffocate to death).

alaskan king crab noryangjin fish seafood market seoul review

If you are bad at bargaining or don’t know the market price of seafood, then I don’t recommend that you buy at the first hawker you see as you might get charged exorbitant rates.  Compare the prices of a few stalls first before reaching a decision.

Below is a typical process of buying seafood at Noryangjin Fish Market.  Do note that you will have to pay for the seafood twice – once for the materials i.e. the fish, oyster, abalone (whatever you ordered from the hawker at the fish market) directly to the hawker and then another time for the cooking and preparation of the food for your consumption directly to the restaurant staff.  There will typically be a restaurant runner at each of the hawker stall so you can pre-negotiate the prices for cooking whatever you bought.  If you prefer to deal with a local Korean hawker, a calculator always come in handy despite the language barrier.  If you don’t have a good feeling dealing with the restaurant runner, then just take the seafood you bought and go to any of the many restaurants at 2nd and 3rd floor.

noryangjin seafood market seoul guide bargain buy lunch

Most of the restaurants don’t have table and chair seating arrangements – guests sit on mats just like how local Koreans do it so you will have take off your footwear and keep them in the provided bags.

restaurant noryangjin fish market keep shoes in bag

Enjoying our seafood feast at one of the restaurants at Noryangjin Fish Market – not sure which one is this – didn’t get the name.

noryangjin fish market feast family seafood

Our dishes – fried fish …

noryangjin fish market seafood fried steamed fish cooked

… tiger prawns and …

seafood feast noryangjin fish market restaurant

… abalones.  Don’t remember how much all these cost but not very cheap meal (although the abalones are a bargain since it is local specialty).

abalone steamed noryangjin fish market seafood

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The winter is coming to an end, leaving way for the spring – one of the most beautiful seasons of them all. Days are getting warmer, but not warm enough yet for spending time at the beach, though. This is why the official tourist season starts later – in May, or even June, depending on the climate of the area. And while tourists are not flocking to the beaches and resorts at this time, spring is the perfect season for grabbing some incredible travel and lodging deals.

Before you make up your mind on your next destination, consider a few things other than just the special offers available at hotels and resorts. When off season, you will likely find special offers on lodging, activity packs, museum tickets and the likes, but things like food will cost you the same amount. When traveling off-season you will also avoid certain types of travelers – this is an unexpected benefit, which can assure you a good night’s sleep. Keep in mind, though, that the tourist season usually coincides with holidays and school vacations – so traveling off-season can mess up your kids’ school schedule.

save-money-travelling

Photo credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/

Also make sure you do your homework before leaving on a trip – check out the weather conditions, the events to attend, and other similar factors. Leaving on a trip to Asia, for example, during the rainy season means that you might spend more time in your hotel room playing at Platinum Play online casinos instead of seeing the sights of the city – which is nice, but you don’t need to travel half across the world to do it. Also, if the destination you have chosen has a history of harsh weather conditions, make sure you can even get there. Leaving for the Ice Hotel in Sweden during a massive snow storm is a turnoff for most of us.

Traveling off-season usually means that you save on a variety of things – airfare, hotel rates, and so on. The money you save on these can be used up to benefit of better services or products somewhere else. The bucks you save on the hotel room with free WiFi and minibar included can be used to treat yourself with a nice dinner at a five-star restaurant, or visit all the attractions you otherwise couldn’t afford – or souvenirs other than the cheap, dime-a-dozen stuff tourists are usually offered during the high season.

travel off peak

Photo credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lorenzogdnz/

And to conclude, here is one for those in search for authentic experiences. The tourist season usually means that locals act as they are expected, and they often overact – they focus on the appealing part of the local life, which does not necessarily reflect their real one. Traveling off-season can help you explore the local reality, wherever you go, without being under constant pressure by the hosts of visitors looking for cheap memories.

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Spanish Festivals: Not Your Average Parties

by Zhiqiang & TingyiFebruary 26, 2015
spanish parties

Spain boasts some of the most unusual festivals in the world – adding to its bow of attractions for people looking to getaway. Here are three summer festivals bound to spice up Spain holidays for years to come: La Tomatina Festival, Buñol Festivals don’t come much wackier or messier than this one. Beginning in the […]

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Why You Need Travel Insurance No Matter How Far You Roam

by Zhiqiang & TingyiFebruary 26, 2015
travel insurance

Vacations are all fun and games — until somebody loses an eye overseas. Most travelers don’t anticipate experiencing illness or injury when they are on vacation, but the very fact that these events are unpredictable and often accidental is the reason they should be planned for. But how can travelers prepare for unknown bodily harm […]

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Review of Demilitarized Zone/Joint Security Area (DMZ/JSA) Tour by Koridoor USO

by Zhiqiang & TingyiFebruary 22, 2015
DMZ JSA Tour Koridoor

There are a lot of tour companies in Seoul offering tours to the Demilitarized Zone DMZ.  You have to be clear what you want to see – do you want to “cross” over to North Korea territory via the blue house you see in the picture below (the MAC Conference Room)? If so, you need […]

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Moneysaving Tips for Holiday Planning

by Zhiqiang & TingyiFebruary 22, 2015
Save Money Travelling

It is important to save a little money wherever possible, because small cuts add up to big savings. When it comes to holidays, grabbing a bargain, even a small one, means you have more to spend in another area, such as accommodation, or money to spend whilst you’re there. So, with that in mind, how […]

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Ascott Raffles Place Finlayson Suite Staycation Review (2014 Singapore Experience Awards Best Hotel Experience Finalist)

by Zhiqiang & TingyiFebruary 17, 2015
ascott raffles place singapore staycation

We have reviewed quite a few hotel staycations in Singapore over the past years. Each staycation is unique because of the effort each hotel puts in to provide guests with a differentiated and personalised experience. To me, a hotel staycation is about what you can experience during this mini vacation from the perspective of a […]

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Review of Visondata Travel Pocket Wifi Rental (Overseas Mobile Wi-Fi Router Device Included)

by Zhiqiang & TingyiFebruary 15, 2015
Visondata Singapore Pocket Wi-Fi

There are a number of overseas mobile Wi-Fi router services rental services in Singapore so it is important to know what to look out for so that you get the most value for money deal. I look out for two things – coverage and cost, when renting these overseas Wi-Fi services. VisondataSG (VDS) is one […]

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7 Tips for Travelling Around the World on a Budget

by Zhiqiang & TingyiFebruary 5, 2015
Budget Travel

If you’ve dreamed of an international vacation, don’t give up because you think it’s too expensive. Overseas travel is possible on a budget, especially if you’ve got an adventurous spirit and practice a few money-saving tips. Besides, thrifty travel lets you live like a local and experience the culture of the cities you explore. So […]

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Exploring Langkawi Pantai Cenang with Costa Victoria Cruise – Tax-Free Shopping and Beach Walking

by Zhiqiang & TingyiJanuary 27, 2015
Costa Cruise

Our Costa Victoria cruise ship docked at Malaysia Pulau Langkawi port (beside Resorts World Langkawi) on Day 4 – cruise passengers can just alight at the dock without the need for tender boats so no need to make any special arrangements for the disembarkation (like queue early for tender boat tickets).  Unlike Resorts World Sentosa […]

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