Seoul is a shopper's paradise. It hosts luxury brands, the latest in international and domestic fashion, cosmetics, souvenirs and other oddities unique to Korea. Those who have a serious knack for shopping will not want for choice in Seoul, but the problem lies in where to start?
Insa-dong is assured to be a one of the most memorable attractions for shoppers in Seoul. It serves as a focal point of traditional Korean culture. If it is traditional Korean goods that one is seeking, then they will find them there. From traditional hanbok clothing, hanji paper, teas, pottery and folk crafts, shoppers will find them all in the 700-metre stretch between the Anguk-dong Rotary and Tapgol Park. Insa-dong is easily the best place to head for shoppers looking for an interesting and uniquely Korean souvenir. There are also a number of cafes and restaurants on this pedestrian-only thoroughfare to treat the weary.
Myeong-dong is one of the busiest places in Seoul and should be a shopper's first stop. As the premiere shopping destination in Seoul, over one million shoppers pass through this area each day, which means that practically anything can be found there. Shops for clothing and cosmetics can be found on nearly every corner with street stalls and luxury brands littered in between. Since it receives so many international visitors and is a hub for international goods in the city, most of the shopkeepers speak a variety of languages, which makes haggling much easier than in other areas. As for what to shop for in Myeong-dong, this has been and will forever be the hub of fashion shopping. Foreign shoppers should be sure to try on any clothing they buy first though; Korea hosts different sizes than other countries. Aside from the hottest in Korean and international fashion, Myeong-dong is also an excellent place to shop for cosmetics and skincare products.
While Myeong-dong hosts a good bit of luxury fashion, Cheongdam is where Seoul's elite go to do their clothes shopping. Hailed as Asia's Champs-Elysees or Milan, Cheongdam holds the bulk of Seoul's luxury fashion. This is an excellent district to buy some of the best and most expensive fashion in the city, but also to get a beautiful and expensive haircut. There are a number of beauty salons in between the shops and they always deliver quality and style.
Finding Seoul a little more expensive than you ever could have dreamed? That seems to happen a lot to foreign shoppers, but the city does have its outlet stores. Those who are looking for a real bargain on brand new goods will have to travel as fair bit for it. Munjeong-dong is located all the way on the southern outskirts of Seoul, but it is the city's hub for outlet shopping. With over 200 stores on the street, it houses a wide variety of brand names that cater to everyone from teenagers to senior citizens. The best part of the area that makes it so worth the travel is that visitors can find goods anywhere from 30 to 70 percent off what they would be elsewhere in the city.
Sinchon is home to Seoul's universities. As such, it has also become a Mecca for youth culture and shopping. Those who are young and still free-spirited with a limited pocketbook will want to head to Sinchon not only for its shopping, but for its fun bars and cafes as well. Primarily, Sinchon has a varied collection of fashion for young women, but some men's stores can be found. Regardless of gender, the stores host a wide variety of styles from professional for the newly graduated students to young and hip for those that are looking for a good time. Shoppers can be assured that there are a number of accessory stores to pair with any style as well.
Korean sizing can be complicated, as any shopper in Seoul will soon learn. However, smart shoppers can skip around them completely by going to Itaewon which is renowned for custom-tailored clothing. Why spend hours trying on clothes when you can get something tucked or let out so it fits your shape in the most flattering way. Aside from the custom-tailoring, Itaewon also has a whole underground market dedicated to high quality fake bags. It's not the most above-board of shopping districts, but it is a great place to get a good deal or to haggle for a better one.