Shopping in Seoul – My Favourite Haunts!

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

Myeongdong station, exit 6

Good for: Beauty Products

Street shopping in Myeongdong

Street shopping in Myeongdong

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.

My Tips:

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

Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station, Exit 13/14

Good for: Bargain shopping and affordable clothes and items.

More street shopping - only at Dongdaemun!

More street shopping – only at Dongdaemun!

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!

My Tips:

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.

Hongdae

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.

More street shopping but in Hongdae!

More street shopping but in Hongdae!

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.

My Tips:

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.

Me: Cat's Cafe! So cute! Cat: No, don't touch me...

Me: Cat Cafe! So cute!
Cat: No, don’t touch me…

Edae

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

Relaxing day spent at the cafe

Relaxing day spent at the cafe

My Tips:

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!

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26 thoughts on “Shopping in Seoul – My Favourite Haunts!

    • Oh, I felt that way some time before. If you visit now though, I feel like seoul is like an awakening city but definitely can still be explored further…thanks for reading and commenting!!..:)

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  1. I need to store all this away. I have only been to Seoul for about 15 hours as a stop over. The hotel was in a business area on a Saturday but I walked to a small hill with trees where there was a temple and a festival where I was made very welcome. Then 10.30 am and time to get back to airport.

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    • Oh yes, you should definitely give it some time here…i feel that seoul is multifaceted, you have the old and traditional and the new and modern, glad that you still managed to get a glimpse of this in the short time you had. 🙂

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  2. Hi Sha! Where is the shopping area in Edae located? I went there expecting that it would look like Hongdae but we went home empty handed, we only ventured at the main street near the metro station and there weren’t a lot of shops..

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    • Oh no, it’s nothing like Hongdae..it’s more laidback..but the shopping area is opp the school campus…from the subway exit, you can walk towards the school and turn left when you reach the school entrance…that whole area has shops for shopping so you will need to take time to browse…plenty of cheap food too! Haha…I can picture it in my head, not sure whether it’s clear for you. 🙂

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    • Haha…really? Gangnam area? Hmm, I usually don’t even think about shopping in gangnam area but may just drop by next time to have a look see. I’m not really a shopping person either but I love bargains!! Haha…:)

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      • Lol, yeah Gangnam area…but underground. There are blocks and blocks of connected shopping malls…like a whole other city with coffee shops, restaurants, shopping etc…etc… Just enter at one of the subway entrances and you’ll be right in the midst of it all…

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      • Hmm, shall give it a try on my next visit….always up to discover new places in Seoul!! I would say I don’t usually venture across the river to Gangnam and Apgujeong area but I’m willing to give it a try..thanks for the tip!.:)

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  3. Shopping is not at all my thing, but when I do shop I take my time finding for something I really want like what girls usually do. 😀 I like the shopping scenes in Asian countries than of American or even Europe. It’s just more alive in “people’s” market than in sophisticated shopping street line. Love the first and last photo. The first photo is an outstanding, truly amazing, perspective shot. The last photo is very well angled, and is just so adorable. 😀

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    • Ahh…a guy who appreciates we girls need time to find the perfect item…hehe…I think it’s more chaotic from an Asian perspective…never too shy to call out for more customers…haha…

      But thanks for noticing the photos! Slowly re-learning and practising my forgotten skills…:)

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  4. Hongdae is definitely one of my favorites. What did you think of Sinchon where Yonsei University is located or have you not visited there? It’s basically in Hongdae and Edae if you’re looking at a subway map.

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    • I’ve been to Sinchon before but I suppose it didn’t make as much an impression as the other two did. I have visited Hongdae and Edae much more often than Sinchon but I will try to visit again to see more of it next time. Do you have any recommendations for that area? I’m always open to looking out for more when I visit each time…:)

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      • I’m not sure. You might live somewhere where you can get foreign stuff so Hongdae/Edae/Sinchon is all special to me because I live in a small city with no foreign stuff. I liked the Indian food found there and there was a decent Thai Restaurant, though names are not coming to mind. Sorry. Baby Guinness is good if you want GOOD beer in Seoul, though lots of foreigners tend to stick to Itaewon for foreign fare.

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  5. Well informative post and great tips here. I am sure this post will be useful as I visit Seoul – not sure when though but I hope sooner than I expected 😉 But I have to admit the bargaining is not my biggest strength 😀

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