Shopping in Seoul is fun because it is well organized. There are different parts of the city that specialize in different types of items, such as electronics. There are many interesting street vendors, boutiques, as well as big department stores to explore.
The Myeongdong area is a very popular shopping area among young Koreans, mostly women. It is Korea’s trendiest and most expensive shopping area, with over 300,000 square meters of shops selling clothes and fashion accessories. In this area, you will find the Lotte Shopping Centre, which is a huge department store.
It has dozens of name-brand stores such as Nike, New Balance, Levis, and others. Prices here are very steep, but it is worth walking around here just to people-watch. This area gets very crowded around lunchtime and in the evenings. It is estimated that two million people visit Myeongdong each day. This is the most famous fashion district in Seoul and one of the most expensive shopping areas in the world.
The Dongdaemun area is near the Great Eastern Gate of the city. This is Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district. It has 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops, and products from over 50,000 manufactures. Popular malls in this area include the Migliore Mall and the Doota Mall. Within the ten blocks of the market area, you can find silks, clothes, shoes, sporting goods, plumbing and electrical supplies, electronics, office supplies, toys and just about everything else imaginable.
The market was traditionally a night market and wholesalers once operated from 1:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Now, the area is open for 18 ½ hours each day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., with some stores open 24 hours a day, although most stores close on Sundays and holidays.
Yongsan Electronics Market
Yongsan Electronics Market has about 5,000 stores in some 20 buildings selling nothing but electronics.
Competing with the Yongsan Electronics Market is the Techno Mart with around 2,500 stores in one big building. Everything related to computers and video games is for sale here. It has an IT venture zone, a discount mall, a shopping mall, multi-theaters, a fitness center, many restaurants and a bank.
Namdaemun (Great South Gate) Area
This is Korea’s largest outdoor flea market where you can find almost anything you want. There are thousands of stalls and bargaining is essential in order to get the best prices.
Insadong is a neighborhood in the center of Seoul. It has wooden tea houses, boutique galleries, and street vendors selling everything you can imagine including knock-offs of major fashion brands. this is the place to go if you are looking for antiques because it has the largest collection of antique stores of anywhere in Seoul.
Itaewon is popular with tourists and is a good place to find custom tailored suits for men. Besides clothes, there are plenty of souvenir shops and stores selling pottery, leather goods, luggage, and other Korean-made items.
The COEX Mall has anything and everything you can imagine. It contains over 85,000 square meters of shops and restaurants that are all underground.
The E-dae area near the Ewha Women’s University is a great place to go to find bargains in women’s fashion items.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about shopping in Seoul.
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