I smell summer in the air! That’s Seoul calling me…allllll the way here from Singapore. If there’s one thing that defines summer in Seoul for me, it’s the fact that I spend so much more time shopping in summer than during any other seasons. Money just keeps draining away!!
To me, shopping there in summer is perfect! Not because of the hot and humid weather that I obviously do not miss. Rather, it’s my only chance to shop for clothes that is actually wearable in Singapore’s weather. I don’t usually shop much but on my last summer haul, I was like a madwoman hunting down bargains. So here’s me sharing my favourite shopping haunts that I never fail to visit on each trip to Seoul.
Myeongdong station, exit 6
Good for: Beauty Products
I personally feel that Myeongdong is best visited in the evening/ night when the push carts are all lined up on the streets and there’s street food around. It gives you a bazaar-like feel to it with all the push carts and stores fiercely promoting their products to passersby. It makes for a lively environment to just walk around to watch and window shop. Most of the push carts are selling almost the same things so just bargain and buy when you like something. I also find it convenient to shop for cosmetics and beauty products here because some rows have a lot of those beauty shops. Some shops are right next to each other so I literally went in and out the shops in that row to stock up on my products.
Myeongdong is a big area so it’s good to explore the whole area away from the push carts frenzy. Away from this area, there are a lot of interesting shops and also affordable restaurants in the area. I’ve always managed to discover something different in Myeongdong each time I’ve been there just by exploring further.
I also notice that I tend to get more samples when I buy from the beauty shops here than anywhere else. It could be that the shops are more used to tourists so they tend to be more accommodating. I’ve even seen them dumping bunches of samples into the bags when asked. So next time, just ask!
Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, Exit 13/14
Good for: Bargain shopping and affordable clothes and items.
If I were to choose a favourite place to shop, you would find me spending the most time here. I do like to hunt down bargains after all. If I am to pick mall on this street, I would shop just at HelloAPM. All others like Migliore, Doota have almost the same variety but HelloAPM feels less emptier and abandoned. Go from top to bottom if you wish to. The top floors sell luggage and shoes, followed by the mens’ section. There are about 2 – 3 floors catered only for the females with sports apparel occupying the basement. That’s about 7 levels altogether. Pure shopping heaven!
Bargain, bargain, bargain. They are always looking for customers because they are mostly selling the same things so it can get quite competitive. I’ve even had some of them grab me just to make me stop to look at their shop. The shops right at the back are also more likely to be open to bargaining rather than the ones near the entrance since these shops usually get less traffic.
These malls generally open around 10am but closes very late around 4am – 5am. I love it here so much that I don’t stay anywhere else whenever I visit. I’ve gotten pretty familiar in getting around here.
Hongik University Station, Exit 9. To get to the shops on the street, walk straight down from the exit and turn right when you come to the main street. Continue till the end and cross the road.
Good for: Edgier, funkier fashion and items.
There is so much that I can say about Hongdae that can’t be put into words. It gives off a hippier and funky vibe, largely due to its proximity to the university there. It’s awesome just to walk around the area. By day, there are plenty of great affordable restaurants and by night, Hongdae transforms into an area with a funky vibe, with really good street entertainment or live music in bars. You can expect anything here because it’s open to everything.
Visit in the evening or afternoon but the live music and clubs start mostly in the evening. Flea market is open in the summer at the playground near the university as well. Products here tend to be more unique because it’s mostly handmade so don’t expect a lot of bargains here. It’s still good to visit just to browse the products available.
If you are a fan of cats, there are lots of cat cafes in this area. Just head to the shopping streets and you are most likely to bump into one along the way.
Ehwa Womens’ University Station, exit 2
Good for: Cheap shopping, affordable food and haircuts!
Just like Hongdae, Edae is a university area. This means that shopping and food tend to be more affordable since they cater to students. It has a more laidback environment with interesting cafes scattered all around for you to hang out with friends. Although I tend to shop mostly in Dongdaemun, I have managed to dig some awesome finds through the shops here. I also like to slow down and have even found myself in a café, relaxing for an hour or two to soak up the ambiance there
It’s worth taking time to walk to the university campus to look at the building architecture. The architecture is really intriguing and modern.
If interested to get any hair done, I would definitely recommend Edae as an affordable choice. It may be slightly hard to communicate but stylists have photos for selection as well. Unfortunately, I did mine in Myeongdong which left me with a regrettably lighter pocket. I wished I had gotten it done at Edae instead.
Ahh, these just makes me miss Seoul even more. I’ll have to come back for yet another visit. Seoul, I’ll be back!