Seoul is synonymous of shopping. Yes, I mean it as I say it’s impossible to leave Seoul without shopping. You name it and they have it. For people living in South Korea there are countless fashion boutiques and newly defined vintage shops all over the Korean peninsula, but for the ‘fashionstrucks’ here for a short time there are couple of requisite shopping tours one should explore. The top most contemporary, uber-cool and fashionable districts of Seoul are Myeongdong, Hongik University, Dongdaemun, Itaewon and Ehwa Women’s university. (This post is about Clothes, Shoes, Accessories & Bags). Let’s get to know these places and how to shop the best out of them
Hongik Uiversity – As the name suggests this is the Hongik University area and caters to lots of young and urban korean crowd. This area is also popular popular for being one of the happening clubbing places of Seoul with an interesting night life. This place can be reached by any means including Bus, Subway, Taxi etc. The subway station is called Hongik University station on line no 2, exit 9 will lead to the main shopping area. One very unique thing that makes Hongik very special would be it’s ambience. The area is very beautiful with small boutiques and cafes. Since it’s a university area the crowd comprises mostly of students and young people. A night time or a weekend stroll through lanes often ends up on a lovely roadside singing performances by young boys or let-loose dances. Like all other shopping area this area brags about all the trendy must haves but however it has it’s specialities. This market is best for buying casual clothing and casual accessories.
Main Shopping Attractions – Reasonable Summer & Spring casual clothes and accessories.
Myeongdong – Myeongdong is the most common shopping area of Seoul. I remember being there just within 10 hours getting of off from the flight. This place has become way more than just shopping. It is indeed a must visit place in Seoul for an average tourist visiting South Korea. Now, that is big ! Apart from the shopping,the Myeongdong theatre and the Myeongdong Catholic Church also attracts many people to this shopping haven. Myeongdong is a blend of both branded and street fashion. Surely all the ZARA, Uniqlo, Lacoste, Forever 21 etc are lined up on both the sides of the cobbled alleys of Myeongdong, but also we find amazing stylish stockings, interesting hats, ballerina shoes and everything so economical. Especially for winter shopping, Myeongdong should be visited as it sells really bright and varied colored woolen & non-woolen mufflers, scarfs, ear-caps etc. Myeongdong can be reached by subway, Myeongdong station is on line 4 and exit 6 leads to the market.
Main Shopping Attractions – Winter Accessories
Dongdaemun Market – Before I continue with the Dongdaemun shopping area, I would like to share this place’s history. Dongdaemun is also home to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park where one can see a unique combination of Seoul’s history and Korea’s fast paced advanced technology. It is one of the oldest market place and during the korean war this market was completely destroyed. Since 2002 Dongdaemun market has been one of the special tourism Zone where one gets everything. In short it is the wholesale market of Seoul. Popular with the domestic korean shoppers the Dongdaemun also has a night market which starts around 10pm and stays open till dawn. This market is spread over a very large area and is divided into A,B,C & D section. However for fashionistas Dongdaemun is the best place for buying formal dresses or semi formal wears. This place has several shopping Malls and the best would be Doota Tower and Miligore Tower for buying dresses. The price would not be very economical or may be, depends on one’s bargaining skills, but the dress collection they have are to die for. Size is a tricky concept in korea. I would keep it short by saying most foreigners are large sized. But, one should not back out without trying a particular outfit. Dongdaemun can be reached by subway at Dongdaemun Stadium Station and the market can be reached exiting through exit 8 or 9.
Main Shopping Attractions – Dresses
Ehwa Women’s University – Unlike the previous shopping areas of Seoul the Ehwa Women’s University shopping are is not very big or has many big and branded shops around. The shops are mostly for women buyers and have lots of young girls passing by. I personally thing Ehwa Women’s University shopping area is good for shopping for bags. It has couple of very good stores for bags at reasonable ranges. Ehwa Women’s University shopping area is on line no 2 and can be reached through exit 2 or 3. On exiting from exiting 2, one can walk straight for about 200 meters and then turn right, while walking towards this place a big campus area would be passed by on the right hand side. After walking for about 200 meters turn right from a fast food joint. The second store would be an exclusive long & narrow bag store. This store has been one of my favorite places to purchase bags and the price is very reasonable (10,000 KRW – 80,000 mostly). There are other store around Ehwa Women’s University shopping area as well but I would vouch for this one.
Main Shopping Attractions – Bags
Itaewon – Itaewon is no different from any major international airport like JFK, Heathrow, Dubai or Singapore. I say this because of the sheer volume of foreigner that can be seen in this area. Itaewon is definitely one of the coolest shopping places in Seoul, especially its underground market. The best thing about shopping in Itaewon is one does not have to bother about size. This is primarily because Itaewon is very close to the American Army base and most of the English teachers live in Itaewon. However the underground market and the back alleys of Itaewon have interesting boutiques with unique collections, that can be rarely found in other markets of Seoul. On coming out from exit 2 and after walking about 200 meters a big travel bag shop can be found just before Mac Donalds. The underground market and the back alleys start from that point. Itaewon can be reached by subway by line 6 at exit 2.
Main Shopping Attractions – Availability of sizes