The Top Shopping Districts You Must Visit In Korea
With so many markets and fashion streets, Seoul is truly a shopping paradise
The types of shops are so varied that shoppers can buy things in almost any style and color. The following lists all the major shopping destinations in the Gangbuk (North of Hangang River) and Gangnam (South of Hangang River) areas.
BARGAIN SHOPPING IN GANGBUK AREA
Namdaemun Market, which has been around for over 600 years, is a place for people to purchase various types of products at bargain prices. Within walking distance of the market is Myeong-dong, the busiest shopping district in Seoul. Because of its convenient location and popularity among international travelers, the Namdaemun Market and Myeongdong district have together become an international center for shopping.
The Dongdaemun Market
The Dongdaemun Market offers a totally different scene from Namdaemun: open from evening till dawn, the market offers a unique shopping experience unfound anywhere else. Here, visitors will find both local markets and large shopping malls where they can buy anything from fabric and lace to ready-made clothing and accessories.
The largest market in Korea, with 600 years of history Opened in 1964, the Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in Korea with various goods in store. All products are sold at affordable prices and the stores in this area also function as a wholesale market.
Most of the goods are made directly by the storeowners. Namdaemun Market opens from 11:00pm to 3:00am, and is crowded with retailers from all over the country. When day breaks, the site of busy Koreans bustling around th market, creates a unique scene that attracts tourists worldwide. The Namdaemun Market sells a variety of clothes, glasses, kitchenware, toys, mountain gear, fishing equipment, stationary, fine arts, accessories, hats, carpets, flowers, ginseng and imported goods.
Myeong-dong is a massive shopping district. Myeong-dong Street is around 1km long and extends from Myeong-dong Subway Station (Seoul Subway Line No. 4) to Lotte Department Store at Euljiro. All kinds of brand name shops and department stores are clustered along the streets and alleyways. You can purchase various products such as clothes, shoes, and accessories. Compared to Namdaemun or Dongdaemun, many good-quality brands are sold in Myeong-dong. Such stores include Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Myeong-dong Migliore, Noon Square and M Plaza. You can purchase good-quality products at the department stores or other fashionable products at reasonable prices at Migliore or Myeong-dong Clothes.. Moreover, all kinds of brand shops are densely located along the main street and lanes.
Myeong-dong also has family restaurants, fast food, and Korean, Western and Japanese food. Many restaurants in Myeong-dong specialize in pork cutlet and kalguksu (noodles). Other than restaurants, there are many convenient facilities such as hair salons, banks and theaters. Myeong-dong Catholic Church is also a famous tourist attraction. It is the first and main church ofCatholicism in Korea and was built in the Gothic style. Behind the church is a space where you can relax from long hours of touring.
The Dongdaemun Shopping Complex is one of Korea's most representative markets and was founded on December 23, 1970 as the largest of its kind in Asia. In December in 1985, the Dongdaemun Shopping Town was established, and now the area encompasses five buildings in total (A, B, C, D and the Shopping Town). There are over 5,000 shops located in this district, selling various fabrics, materials, accessories, wedding products, and more. The fabric and clothing here are of the latest fashion trends in the world. Inventory is imported and exported in real time, making Dongdaemun a must-visit fashion market for everyone.
HIGH-END SHOPPING IN GANGNAM AREA
The Gangnam area is usually associated with high-end shopping. The districts of Sinsa-dong, Apgujeong-dong, and Cheongdam-dong are lined with designer brand fashion stores catering to the rich and famous. Garosugil in Sinsa-dong has a distinct, trendy ambience and is lined with charming cafés, restaurants, stores, and galleries. It is a great place to shop or just take a walk and look around. The fashion streets in Rodeo, Apgujeong-dong cater to those who are very serious about fashion and beauty. The area is lined with department stores featuring luxury designer brands and famous local and international designer shops. With luck, visitors can even spot Korean celebrities shopping in the area.
Sinsa-dong Garosugil Street
As the Korean name implies (Garosugil means "tree-lined street"), this street is famous for the trees, which line both sides of the 700m-long promenade. In summer, the trees' luscious green leaves provide welcome shade for shoppers, and in autumn these ginkgo trees turn golden. This sophisticated, up-and-coming street is flanked with all sorts of trendy shops and European-style cafes. You can stroll along shopping at your own leisurely pace and then relax on café terraces with coffee and a tasty desert.
Apgujeong Rodeo Street
The center for the latest fashion trends, luxury designer brands, and hair shops Apgujeong Rodeo Street is the leading fashion mecca, formed as a cultural zone with a high propensity for consumption. It creates leading fashion trends, customer friendly shops, foreign brand name shops with high-quality goods, reasonably priced hip hop fashion shops, and accessory shops. There are many cafes with unique interior designs, as well as many Korean, Thai and Japanese restaurants. Beauty clinics are clustered on the streets and due to this atmosphere, Rodeo Street attracts many youngsters. Recently, many theaters have moved from Chungmuro to the vicinity of "Rodeo Street," which is emerging as a new theater space as well. Along with the opening of Multi-Plex Cine-City, more theaters such as Cinehouse, Cineplus, and Nanta Theater (non-speaking performances) have moved into the area, and it is now a full-blown cultural zone for youngsters. If you get lucky, you may meet famous Korean celebrities as they make frequent visits to the area.
COEX Mall is the largest underground shopping center in Asia. It is located in the basement of the Korea World Trade Center, located in Samseong-dong in the Gangnam-gu area of Seoul. The colossal shopping center stretches from Samseong station (subway line 2) in the south all the way to Bongeunsa temple in the north, and is considered to be the best shopping and entertainment complex in the area.
The complex's entertaining design takes the theme of Water Journey, and its main route is divided into the Summit Walk, Forest Walk, Lake Walk, Waterfall Walk, Canyon Walk, Riverside Walk, Tropic Walk and Ocean Walk. Despite the complex's huge size, visitors need not worry about getting lost. By simply following the main route you will reach most parts of the complex, and there are also signs in English.
Along the main route, visitors will find the Lake food court with 16 restaurants (Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Western-style), the event court (where concerts and performances are staged), the Bandi & Luni's bookstore (where you can find English books on Korean culture and history), and plenty of brand name stores. Visitors can find major international brands of leisure and sports clothing in a section of COEX mall that is operated by Hyundai Department Store.
There are also plenty of attractions for those visitors looking for a break from shopping. The Game Champ video arcade has 100 of the latest game devices, while the Megabox Cineplex has 16 theaters screening a wide selection of movies. Other popular attractions include the COEX Aquarium, with its water tunnel, and the Kimchi Museum, where visitors can learn everything they need to know about Korea's favorite food, and even try some of it.
About the Author