The Pyeongchang Olympics have brought about a lot of interest in South Korea. Let me walk you through some of my top recommendations of what to see and do in Seoul.
Eating and shopping are two things that South Korea has taken and perfected. Let’s start with shopping because the shopping in Seoul is amazing!
Coex Mall was the first place I went. In 2014 it was under construction. So I didn’t even get the entire scope of how large it was until I went back two years later. The current layout is a lot different. And you can’t forget about the 11 story Hyundai Department store located inside. I took the escalators all the way to the top, just because, and it was really fun. If you like to shop but malls just aren’t your thing, keep reading for a few other places you should try.
Hongdae is an area that also has lots of stores and restaurants. One of the places I visited was the Hello Kitty Cafe . It’s a must see for every Hello Kitty lover. A friend of mine who was with me is a real Hello Kitty fan. Myself, not so much. Honestly, it was a great place to say you went. It was a bit run down and the food was expensive for what it was. Their signature Hello Kitty cake was mostly mousse and very little cake. Don’t let this stop you if you are a true Hello Kitty fan though. Fortunately, there are lots of other places to get a more authentic Korean experience.
Insadong is a place that showcases a lot of cultural aspects. This is a great place to taste traditional teas at the many cafes. It’s also a great place to pick up traditional Korean gifts. I picked up a Goreyo Celadon tea cup. It’s a type of beautiful turquoise pottery I had seen in a period Korean drama and knew I wanted to take back home. What about shopping for the popular Korean skincare brands and Kpop of course?
Myeongdong is your place. Think skin care and makeup brands like Nature Republic and Etude House. Restaurants and street vendors selling food and accessories also line the streets. Don’t forget to check out the stores located underground in the Myeongdong subway. There are great stores that sell a large variety of Kpop cds and accessories. Clothing stores exist in both places as well. Beware of “free-size”, which is basically one size fits all. But it’s basically one size, fits no one. No subway shopping trip is complete without checking out Gangnam subway station shopping.
Gangnam shopping is of legend. You will get sooo lost, but you won’t even care. Imagine store after store of clothes, shoes and accessories. Don’t buy the first thing you see, though. Two stores down will have the same item with a better variety and possibly a lower price. Subway shopping is the haggler’s dream. If haggling is your style, you’ll also love Dongdamun.
One place I wish I had spent more time was Dongdamun. There is a thing called midnight shopping, where all the stores stay open way into the early morning. I must have came the wrong day because all the stores started to close within a half hour of my arrival. Think a skyscraper of vendors selling all types of clothes, handbags and shoes. No vendor is alike and you are sure to get one of a kind pieces no one else will have.
So there you have it, my Seoul 2014 Shopping Guide. Stay tuned for my updated version from when I went back in 2016. And I didn’t just stay in Seoul, so it will be epic!