To get to the know the real essence of the island’s villages it is necessary to stop by their local markets.
They will always be open on the same dates throughout the month.
Of course people go to the big supermarkets because it is convenient and they have pretty much everything you want, however, they can never beat the freshness and kindness that a trip to a Jeju five day market brings.
The big supermarkets deal only in bar codes with a lack of proper human interaction.
For example, at the five day market buying only 2,000 won worth of vegetables gets you a little extra in the bag from the merchant.
But it is clear the big supermarkets do harm smaller businesses with their trade, but they have agreed to a government sponsored policy of closing their doors two days in every month to encourage customers to visit their local market.
Every province in South Korea is a little different, but that is how it works on Jeju.
Is this hanchi (a type of small squid) or ojingeo (squid)? Do you know how to recognize them?
The easiest way is to look at their size and shape. Hanchi has a fin going through all of its body while ojingeo has a triangular fin at the sides of its body. Also look out for the tentacles. Another telling sign of difference is the length of them. Both have 10 but squids have two longer than the rest.
Jeju Island’s five day markets are all on different days throughout the month and each one is usually held six times.
This market is the second biggest out in Sewha. It is right next to the beach and can be found quite easily by driving along the coastal road. You’ll find it open on the 5th, 10th, 20th, 25th, and 30th of every month.
Jeju City’s is home to the largest which is located in Nohyeong-dong.
A weekday market sees some 10,000 people pass through, but on weekends or holidays this could be upwards of 20,000 people.
When taking young kids please be careful because you can lose them easily enough.
Also note parking is very busy so please keep that in mind.
Whenever I visit this market I love the hubbub of the crowd. I like to eat freshly cooked tempura and sundae gukbap or ggomjangeo with a cup of makkgeoklli (rice wine).
There is also a special rental-free place to drop by where the older grandmothers of over-65 sell their vegetables. They remind me of my grandmother who passed when I was younger.
At the five day market you’ll find a pet section with cute puppies and kittens waiting for a new family.
Fruit, fish, side dishes are all on sale too.
Customers wander here and there with numerous plastic bags in hands.
When I take a photo of a merchant he thinks I am a tourist and tries to engage me in a barter for some of his goods.
Some merchants even give away free samples.
By the way you can have a home delivery service for some items at the market. That includes people visiting from the mainland. Okdom and tangerines are some of the common items sent this way.
So for any visitor coming to Jeju I think a five day market is one place you have to go for the scent of the island and of its people.
Jeju City Five Day Market – every 2, 7 days (Jeju-si, Dodu 1 dong 1212)
Sewha 5 Day Market – every 5, 10 days (Jeju-si, Gujwa-eup, Sewha-ri 1500-5)
Hallim Five Day Market – every 4, 9 days (Jeju-si, Hallim-eup, Daerim-ri 1698-4)
Hamdeok 5 Day Market – every 1, 6 days (Jeju-si, Jocheon-eup, Hamdeok-ri 972-7)
Seogwipo Hyangto 5 Day Market – every 4, 9 days (Seogwipo-si, Dongheung-dong 2123-1)
Jungmun 5 Day Market – every 3, 8 days (Seogwipo-si, Jungmun-dong 2123-1)
Daejeong 5 Day Market – every 1, 6 days (Seogwipo-si, Daejeong-eup, Hamo-ri 1089-15)
Goseong 5 Day Market – every 4, 9 days (Seogwipo-si, Seongsan-eup, Goseong-ri 1188-2)
Seongsan 5 Day Market – every 1, 6 days (Seogwipo-si, Seongsan-eup, Seongsan-ri 181-6)
Pyoseon 5 Day Market – every 2, 7 days (Seogwipo-si, Pyoseon-myeon, Pyoseon-ri, 1001-1)
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