VIDEO: Bamdokkaebi Night Market tasty picnic on Han River

Photos by Hyemin Lee
Photos by Hyemin Lee

VIDEO: Bamdokkaebi Night Market tasty picnic on Han River

by Hyemin Lee
Stripes Korea

The Han River (or Hangang) is a major river in South Korea that has played an important role in the country’s history. It also is an amazing place where you can enjoy picnics and outdoor activities in the center of Seoul. Most Koreans, especially those living in Seoul, adore the Han River and have a lot of good memories there.

The Bamdokkaebi Night Market is a night gathering with a bunch of great street food that is really popular for locals and foreigners alike. In recent years, food trucks have become trendy in Korea, so you’ll see plenty of them selling pizza hotteok (Korean sweet pancake) and street pork belly ssam (wrapped with lettuce) at the night market. Because of this, the Han River is a great place to have a picnic in the cool weather while watching some great music and other performances. You can also enjoy shopping for unique handmade items such as accessories and scented candles at the night market.

Whenever I go to the night market, I love trying as much of the different food truck offerings. One thing to note is that while it’s a wonderful spot to chill on a beautiful fall evening, thousands of others flock to the event. So be prepared for the possibility of waiting in lines for more than 20 minutes at some food trucks. 

Even though it was very crowded, it was nice to be able to feel the energy of an outdoor event. Buskers were playing beautiful music and the delicious smells from the mobile kitchens spread about in the cool breeze. I could definitely feel that the Bamdokkaebi Night Market was back! 

After I picked something to eat and drink, I looked for a place to sit down. Since I forgot my picnic mat (dotjari), I found a comfortable rock to sit on. From my seat, I paired the beautiful view of the river with some tasty torched beef sushi, fried chicken with cheese flakes and sweet shrimp. I washed it down with with a cold Jeju Tangerine Ade. 

You’ll see plenty others enjoying their own picnic by the river. Koreans are very serious about eating and drinking, and many order food that is delivered near the picnic areas. In addition, area convenience stores make it easy to grab picnic supplies and Korean drinks. So give it a try and you’ll fall in love with the Han River right away!

Though the Bambdokkaebi Night Market is a great place to visit on the Han River, you can still enjoy the riverside anytime the weather is good. Just remember my tips and have fun!

Visit the market
Dates: Sat, Sep. 16 - Sun, Oct. 22 (Only weekends)

Hours: 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. 

Address: Mulbit Square in Yeouido Han River Park (Line5. Yeoinaru Station exit 2) 

* Last year the event was held at Banpo Hanriver Park. This year it is being held at Yeouido Han River Park.

Naver map

Life hacks for a fun picnic! @Bamdokkaebi Night Market

1. What to bring
- Bluetooth speaker (if you have one)
- Dotjari (you can buy at Daiso or rent near the Han River)
- Blanket or jacket (it gets colder in the evening) 
- Friends (the more people, the more fun)

2. Exit at Yeouinaru Station

3. Pick your teams
It’s going to be busy by the river, so I suggest you and your friends split up into teams to complete your mission!

- Team 1. Find a good picnic spot and set up a picnic mat (dotjari). It is always competitive getting a good spot so don’t leave once you find one. Reserve your seat and wait for your friends to come back with food and drinks!
- Team 2. Go to a convenience store to buy drinks, ice cups, snacks, ramen, tissue, etc., and a picnic mat (dotjari) if you haven’t brought it. You can also rent a mat (dotjari) in front of the station, but a deposit and ID card are required.
- Team 3. Go to the Delivery Zone and order food. If you go to the Delivery Zone as the map shows you, there are flyers of restaurants. Once you order food, they bring your food to the zone. I recommend that you pay with won in case your U.S. credit/debit cards don’t work in their mobile card machines.
- Team 4. Have friends line up at different trucks at the Bamdokkaebi Night Market. Getting your order can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour if it’s too busy, so be prepared.

4. Enjoy Han River!
When you all get food and have everyone back, it’s finally picnic time! All you have to do is to enjoy food, drink and chill on the Han River. 

5. Try to ride Seoul Public Bike
If you like to ride a bike, you should try Seoul Public Bike! Go download Seoul Public Bike app and purchase a pass. A pass for an hour is 1,000 won ($0.70). But you can use this service only when you haven’t drunk alcohol. Please keep in mind that riding a bike after drinking alcohol is dangerous and also illegal in Korea with maximum 200,000 won (about $140) fine.

Speakin' Korean: Gang

Korean words we learned in this article:
•  Gang (강): a river
•  Bam (밤): night 
•  Dokkaebi (도깨비): a Korean goblin
•  Dotjari (돗자리): a picnic mat
•  Jari (자리): a seat

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