Editor’s Note: I opened up my inbox to discover I had received information about the “4 & 9 Market” from not one but two Korea Ye Contributors on the same day! I love both of their perspectives, so I’ve combined them here into one post.
CONTRIBUTED BY SARAH BECK
On days that end in 4 and 9 (4th, 9th, 14th, 19th, 24th, 29th), the Songbook Market transforms from a quiet everyday market in Songtan to a bustling market. Both locals and foreigners (mostly from Osan AB) frequent this market for fresh produce and good deals.
(Photos below in this section by Mr. Ed Neiman)
At the 4 and 9 Market you can find anything from underwear, seafood, rain boots, shoes, toys, produce, meats, eggs, prepared food (kimchi!), and more. In my experience the produce is fresh, and well-priced…in many instances equal to or less than the commissary (think “cheap” watermelons in the summer!!!).
I didn’t find many vendors that spoke a lot of English, but you can get by on basic phrases, hand gestures, and a lot of times they have calculators to show you the price. In most cases prices are negotiable.
It is best to go early, as you will get the best looking produce and goods. It is very busy, and at some points the “aisles” are narrow, so I let the hubby watch the kids and I leave the double BOB stroller at home : ) A lot of people from Osan AB take the pull along bags for ease of carrying back to the base. It’s within walking distance of the main gate. It’s amazing when you leave the “ville” and walk to the “other side of the tracks” (literally) it’s less American and more “Real Korea” (as my friends call it). Happy Shopping!
CONTRIBUTED BY LINDSEY BARROW:
The market, like most others, has a main street with many little alleyways branching off of it. They have live seafood, plants, vegetables, fruit, toys, clothing, Korean style tables, and street food to name a few things. The prices are good and the produce is fresh. At the peak of watermelon season I was able to get a giant watermelon for W10, 000. This was a great deal because watermelons about half of the size were selling on base for $12.00 each. The watermelon comfortably fed 13 people with a full Tupperware of watermelon left over!
While I like going to the market for the good deals on garlic, carrots, and the like, my kids like going for the slushy drinks and live seafood. They will stand at the stalls and watch the clams spit water and the baby octopus move around in their bowls. They absolutely love it when an octopus starts to escape and the stall worker has to pop it back down into the bucket.
Songtan “4 and 9” Market
Directions to the market from Osan: Walk straight out the main gate until you can go no further. You will see the train tracks ahead. Turn left here. Walk for about 2-3 minutes until you reach the underpass for the train. Cut through the underpass and go straight. In 3-4 minutes you will walk straight into the market. The entire walk from the main gate to the market takes me about 10 minutes without kids, 15-20 minutes with kids.
Parking: There are also a few designated parking areas around the market (garages and lots). The fee is general W3, 000-W5, 000 depending on how long you explore the market.