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Shopping in Korea is a favorite activity for anyone traveling to Korea. What many people don’t know when they visit Korea is that they’re paying more than they actually have to! Find out how you can shop in Korea and save your hard earned money!
Many people that are traveling to Korea don’t know that taxes are included in every purchase. But there are a number of ways you can save money on your trip to Korea!
The Semi-Obvious – Duty Free Shops
Incheon Airport is obvious for duty free shopping. But that’s only for when you’re on your way out of Korea. Don’t you want to do some shopping when you’re inside Korea and not rushing to take a plane? Of course you do! Korea has a number of duty free shops within Korea. Many of these duty free shops are located inside major department stores and in shopping malls. It’s also awesome as you don’t have to carry anything back to your hotel room. Just shop and pick it up at the airport for when you’re about to leave. Yay for hands free shopping!
Wondering where to shop in Korea? Click here for a list of duty free shops in Seoul.
(If you’re living in Korea, you can also take advantage of this if you are taking a flight leaving Korea.)
Note: Reader Ling reports that hands-free shopping is for Korean shoppers only 🙁 Thanks for the tip Ling!
Not So Obvious – Tax Refunds in Korea
Of course everyone knows about duty free shopping. But not everyone knows that you can get a cash refund when you shop in Korea. Some participating retailers help shopaholics in Korea save cash. Wherever you see these signs posted on doors of retailers, you can unleash the beast in you to buy whatever you want tax free… kinda. You actually have to pay the taxes up front, but once you fill out a few forms, and declare a few things at customs, you’ll be able to get that cash back. The process can be a hassle, and that’s partly why this free cash-in hand system is underutilized. But if you like to save money while you shop in Korea, check out Korea Tourism’s Website for more details on how to get a tax refund and save money while shopping!
Participating retailers can commonly be found in Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, Itaewon, Coex.
Note: Tax refunds only apply to those that are coming for travel (on a tourist visa). Sorry Korea residents. You’re stuck paying taxes!
Tip: For both of these, remember to bring you passport and flight information. You’ll have to fill out a few forms.