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A Seoul shopping guide – where to shop and what to buy

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The Seoul shopping scene is a vibrant mix of the traditional, the fashionable and the luxurious. It manages to balance and embrace every aspect of the modern and the historical world and this is reflected in the breadth of shopping Seoul has to offer. From towering department stores to traditional markets, Seoul has it all. 

Ulla & Kristian Risager

My Destination local expert on

Seoul

Best buys in Seoul include electronics as the city is home to the headquarters for Samsung, LG and Hyundai (to name but a few) and also the largest electronics market in Asia.

 

Dongdaemun Market

 

Seoul is home to the biggest market in South Korea. Known as Dongdaemun Market, it is famous for selling just about everything, but specializes in wholesale clothing. The market first opened in 1905 and has continued to grow throughout the years. The main street divides the market into two sections. The first contains huge shopping malls and sells both retail and wholesale and often has English speaking staff. The market is busy all day and is open from 10am in the morning until 5pm the next day. If you’re lucky, you might catch one of the many events put on at the shopping center. The second section deals largely with wholesale and as a result has no changing rooms and exchange/refund policies are not guaranteed so be careful.

 

Samcheong-dong

 

For those interested in the arts head down to Samcheong. The area is home to many shops and art galleries displaying a mixture of professional artwork and local pieces. It is a huge step away from the busy glittering skyscrapers and shopping centers of areas like Gangnam, and emanates a feeling of comfort and personality. Take a walk down Main Street and Hwagae-gil Street for accessory shops and small independent stores.

 

Ewha

 

Situated in front of Ewha Women’s University, Ewha is a cluster of hip, cheap shops that wind through the streets that surround the university’s campus. The area is packed with students who are looking for bargains on a range of styles, mostly feminine, casual style clothing. Be sure to check the back streets – here you’ll find one off items and current trend items at discounted prices! You’ll also find plenty of shoe shops here at prices as low as $10 – so stock up!

 

Hongdae

 

Hongdae is known for its independent clothing stalls, indie styles and street art and music. During the weekends from March to November, flea markets occur in front of Hongik University. They sell the wares of many of the art students, and are a great place to visit for high-quality, sometimes unusual, buys and to show support for the local scene. Like Edae, the items are largely affordable, thanks to the university location.

 

Luxury fashion – Apujeong & Cheongdam-dong

 

Apujeong and Cheongdam-dong are the Milan and Champs-Elysees of South Korea. Situated in Gangnam, this is the place to shop for the rich and famous. Both areas offer more than just luxury fashion and international designer stores, people flock to the neighborhoods for full beauty makeovers from hair salons to plastic surgery. The areas exemplify and embrace the modern and wealthy lifestyle, which is further enhanced by the sophisticated bars and restaurants and the young professionals who frequent them.