Since deciding not to send my 5 year old boys to preschool this past year, I’ve become a Pinterest addict, searching for preschool crafts and activities to do with my kids. I try to stick to activities that I have supplies for already, or I give myself time to order online (Amazon.com and Hobby Lobby ship to APO rather quickly) because taking to preschoolers and a toddler shopping isn’t exactly my idea of fun! However, there are times when I really need to get out for some art and craft supplies, both for my kids and for myself. Plus, there are quite a few art supplies that are significantly less expensive here in Korea!
You’ve probably seen the yellow and blue Alpha sign in various neighborhoods around Seoul, but the shops tend to be relatively small and limited in what they carry. The smaller Alpha stores (Korean website only) tend to have basic stationary, office supplies, art supplies and a limited amount of children’s items (crayons, pastels, stickers, etc.). However, the large 5-story Alpha in Namdaemun has it all. If you’re an artist, a crafter, a parent–well, basically, if you’re human, there’s something for you at Alpha.
How to get there:
The 5 story Alpha is visible and accessible from both the main road (Namdaemun-ro) that runs east/west along the northern edge of Namdaemun Market as well one of the alleys of the market.
The address for driving is: Seoul-si, Jung-gu, Namdaemunno 4(sa)-ga, 20-42. I’m not sure what the parking situation is there, although I would imagine that it’s not simple.
I usually take the subway to Hoehyeon station, Exit 6. From exit 6, walk straight until you reach the “gate” into Namdaemun Market on your right. Turn right into the market and continue walking straight (past all the children’s apparel shops) until you reach a T-intersection. Turn left, then continue walking straight and Alpha will be on the right.
What you’ll find at Alpha:
The 5-story Alpha carries just about everything from nail stickers and beauty products to children’s toys and puzzles, felt by the yard, paper plates, light bulbs and aluminum foil (there’s a whole section of housewares!), canvases, paint, sketchbooks, paper…
Worried about how to get your purchases home? One of the best things about Korea is the delivery system. I purchased several very large canvases (which, by the way, are significantly cheaper than U.S. prices) and had them delivered to my home the next day for 4,000W!
This Alpha store is NOT stroller friendly. There are lots of stairs, and it’s built like a maze, so if you take your children with you, keep them close! I lost my husband in there once. 😉
Happy shopping and crafting!