Photo essay: Navigating the street market of Pyeongchang

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — While the Winter Olympics unfold in the mountains, some serious haggling is under way on the coast.

One part of the Pyeongchang area that hasn't been Westernized and beautified for the Winter Olympics is the traditional market in Gangneung. It is made up of several blocks of street stalls operated, for the most part, by old women who are decidedly no-nonsense about selling their wares — from naturally dried octopus legs to goopy globs of seaweed freshly harvested from the local waters.

Markets like this one are a common sight in South Korea. And while the Pyeongchang promoters are hoping it will impress the foreign tourists here for the Games, it hasn't been given much of an Olympic makeover. That's a good thing.

To help visitors unfamiliar with the language navigate their way through its alleys and side streets, local promoters have put up a volunteer information tent and printed out a glossy map book listing the market's attractions.

Other than that, the marketplace is unabashedly authentic.

Markets in South Korea can range in size from simple gatherings held every five days or so in some rural areas to the massive Namdaemun market area in Seoul, which houses more than 10,000 stores selling anything from fur coats to sneakers to deep-fried shrimp balls.

General tip: Haggle. It will probably pay off.

— Story by AP Writer Eric Talmadge


Associated Press photojournalist Felipe Dana is on assignment in Pyeongchang for the 2018 Winter Games.

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