Seoul has tons of great shopping, but where to start? Read this guide to know where you should go and why!
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This is the center for shopping in Korea. When brand names from around the world make their first entrance into Korea, Myeongdong is the first place they think of. So here you’ll find big brands such as H&M, Zara, Nike, UNIQLO, etc with retail stores (sometimes several). Also, all the most popular Korean brands are here as well. There’s also the oh so famous Lotte Department store, which has several floors of duty free shopping where you can shop hands free (buy and pick up at the airport). Shopping in Myeongdong is one of the best shopping experiences Seoul can offer.
Tip: Many stores in Myeongdong offer discounts for travelers to Korea. The type of discount and their requirements (e.g. spend over 50,000 won) differ for each store in the area. We suggest bringing your passport and/or eticket just in case
Tip 2: If you’re looking for domestic Korean brands to buy, try checking out our post on Korean Brands to buy!
Dongdaemun market is the mecca of domestic Korean fashion. You know all those small little retail shops found on the streets? Those small shops found even the subway stations? They all buy their merchandise wholesale here. So go shopping at Dongdaemun Market to get it all! There are several large buildings, such as Doota or Migilore, dedicated to Korean made fashion, and there you’ll be in shoppers heaven. Best part is the Dongdaemun night market. The street vendors will start opening shop around around 9PM, and you can shop till the sun rises (literally — shops close near dawn)!
Tip: Dongdaemun is cheap, but it’s not always the cheapest! Read this post for more tips on saving money while shopping in Seoul!
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Korean sizes can be a bit complicated, and since Korean shops might sometimes offer less variety in terms of sizes (usually leaning towards smaller sizes) than other countries, it can be hard for some to find perfectly fitted clothes. That’s why one should go shopping in Itaewon! Itaewon is famous for their custom tailored suits. There’s also baggy hiphop fashion as well as just bigger size clothes in general. Street shopping is awesome too and there’s a whole underground market for super high quality fake bags.
Young women love fashion, and what better place to setup shop than right in front of a Women’s college? (Answer: NONE). Since all college students struggle to even splurge on tteokbokki once in a while, and because of the massive competition from stores next door, the prices have to be cheap. And that means shopping at Ewha is one of the cheaper options for shoppers (for men, too!). This place is great shopping for cheap. Half of you are already on your way out the door!
Hongdae is another college town with tons of people and great shopping. There are some major retail brands here, but most of the shopping here is for domestic Korean fashion. There will be tons of clothing, but also many stores that sell accessories such as jewelry and bags. And since it is a college town, shopping in Hongdae is also quite cheap. Prices usually start at 10,000 won and up for most items. This is not labeled a Seoul night market, but many shops will stay open late, especially on weekends, probably for all the clubbers to look hawt!
Garosugil is one of the newest hotspots in Seoul. And since it is fairly new, it also has the newest fashion. Come here if you like the latest in global and domestic fashion, as well as shopping with good looking and fashionable people. Since it is on the cutting edge of fashion, you’re going to have to pay a premium for the newest and latest stuff. But that doesn’t mean shopping in Garosugil has to be expensive. There are definitely reasonably priced options in many of the stores and independent retailers. Oh yea, and there’s tons of cool cafes and restaurants here too
Apgujeong is one of the richest areas in Seoul, and that means shopping in Apgujeong is where all the high end fashionistas go. This is where name brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and Channel setup their main shops. There’s also the Galleria Department Store, which houses top line fashion brands. If you like high end shopping, come here. But don’t be scared off. Regular folk like to hang out in Apgujeongdong too. And that means there’s tons of affordable, yet trendy shopping in independent shops as well.
Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started seoulistic.com as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea. Personal Blog: gyopokeith.com Facebook: facebook.com/gyopokeithkim Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeith e-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at] gmail.com