Seoul is a shopping heaven for both girls and guys (trust me guys, there's something for you too
). So during my trip to Seoul last month, I tried my best to cover all the popular shopping districts to make sure I shop till I drop! I spent a total of 8 days in Seoul and so I feel like I did manage to go to quite a number of shopping areas. Some places, I wished I didn't go to because I felt like it was a waste of time. Therefore, I've decided to share with you the places I shopped at to give you an idea of what these places sell, so you can decide for yourself whether or not it is worth it to make a trip down. I will also be including a couple of shopping tips I've picked up while I was there!
*I won't be sharing with you the cosmetics I bought because cosmetics stores are literally at every corner of Seoul. But if you're interested, feel free to watch my Korean Beauty Haul
1. Ewha Woman's University (Edae)
Directions: Alight at Ewha University on Line 2 (green line). Our favourite route is to exit via Exit 3 and walk downwards towards the University. On the way, you'll be able to spot loads of cosmetic shops and street food. Once you arrive at the University, turn left and you'll see even more cosmetic shops as well as Elcube Lotte. Walk further down and you'll see alleys of clothing shops.
This is probably hands down my favourite place to shop at. If you love cheap and trendy clothes, this is the place to go. Boys, I know what you're thinking. Ewha Woman's University, it's a place for women. Well, you're not entirely wrong as I'd say 85% of the shops cater to women. But there are still a couple of (cheap) clothes and bags and accessories for guys! We only planned to visit Ewha University once, but one night, we decided to forgo Noryangjin Fish Market and head to Ewha University again instead.
(inside ElCube Lotte at Ehwa University)
If I were to compare Ewha University to a shopping area in Singapore, I'd say Bugis Street and Scape. Although most of their clothes are not of supreme quality, they are still of good and decent quality which can definitely last a long time. The best part is, *spoiler* it's the cheapest. Prices of the clothes, shoes and bags at Ewha mostly ranges from 5,000won to 10,000won (S$8 to S$12). Prices of trench coats and outerwear can reach up to 30,000won (S$37), but I don't think I've come across anything that is above 30,000won.
: Like Bugis Street and Scape, majority of the clothes
in Seoul are Free Size (unless they are legit stores like SPAO, 8 seconds, Forever 21, etc). And that means one size fits all. They do love baggy clothes and so you'll definitely see a lot of oversized button downs and T-shirts. The only thing that is not free size is probably bottoms such as jeans or denim shorts.
: Koreans love their button downs, floral prints, oversized T-shirts, and while I was there, they were obsessed with the trend of wearing a spaghetti top or dress over either a button down or a T-shirt. So literally every shop sells pretty similar, if not, the exact same clothes. Therefore, if you're not into the Korean Fashion trend... It's gonna be quite tough to find something that's different.
Located at the basement of Elcube Lotte is a shop that sells clothes, accessories and bags for both men and women. Most of their clothes range from 5,000won to 20,000won too, and they even have unisex clothes that you can get as couple wear!
As we visited Ewha right after we landed, my boyfriend also got himself this 10,000won (S$12) backpack which he used for the rest of his trip. Despite it being so cheap, it came with loads of compartments and it is also well-padded inside with a laptop compartment too. It was probably one of his best buys.
(Watch my Korea Vlog Day 1
here! Featuring Ewha University and Myeongdong.)
Directions: You can either alight at Myeongdong station on Line 4 (blue line) or the station we always alight at, Euljiro-san(3) Station on Line 2 (green line). Both stations are located at the shopping area, and you can easily walk to the other station too, so I don't think alighting at either stations will make any difference. For us, we like to alight at Euljiro-san(3) Station because our Airbnb is located on Line 2 and it is just a couple of stops away from Ewha University. If you choose to alight at Euljiro-san(3), just follow the Exit that says "Myeongdong".
Myeongdong is known to be the place to shop for cosmetics. At Myeongdong, you will be able to find rows and rows of cosmetic stores, even the same one at different alleys. Some of the special shops you'll find will be the 3CE Style Nanda Pink Hotel, Chosungah, LUSH, InnisFree Cafe, as well as Aland, where you'll be able to find brands like Corsx and Heimish.
Along the street, there are also rows of street food, cheap T-shirts (like the "I love Korea" type of shirts) and cheap bags selling for 10,000won to 15,000won. If you're looking for clothes similar to the ones at Ewha, you won't be able to find them at Myeongdong.
At Myeongdong, you will be able to find clothes only at shops like 8 Seconds, Top Ten, Aland, SPAO, Style Nanda, Folder etc, and majority of their clothes range from 30,000won and above, although they are definitely more trendy looking and of better quality.
(Inside the 3CE Pink Hotel)
: Boys, if oversized T-shirts are not your thing, 8 seconds and Top Ten are pretty good places to find some decent clothes. Apart from button downs, I feel like 90% of the T-shirts for men are oversized
: The salespeople at the cosmetics stores are EXTREMELY pushy. So be very firm and reject their offers as early as possible. If things go out of hand, just leave the store immediately. Like I mentioned, you can find the same shops at every alley or street at Myeongdong, so you'll be able to find another one within a few steps. If you're keen to know more about my horrible experience at one of the Saem stores, feel free to click here
to hear my story.
: Most shops offers Tax Refund for tourists, especially legit shops like cosmetic shops, and the apparel stores I've mentioned above. Obviously, small shops like the clothing stores at Ewha don't provide such service. Sometimes, they don't state it at their cashiers, but Tax Refunds can be done for transactions 30,000won and above, so whenever you hit that amount, just ask! Keep in mind that you will need to present your passport (not a photocopied version, the actual passport!) for them to scan to their system and deduct the money for you. For some tax refunds (in my experience, certain Aritaum outlets, Shoopen, and Aland), you will only get the refund at the airport.
At Myeongdong, I only bought a pair of jeans at 8 Seconds. I found the need to get at least one piece of clothing item because G-dragon is their current ambassador. Unfortunately, I got the smallest pair without trying and it was still quite loose fitting.
3. Hongik University (Hongdae)
Directions: Alight at Hongik University on Line 2 (green line). Exit via exits 1, 9, 2, 8. Just don't go towards Exit 4, there's nothing there.
I really like Hongdae when it's the day time, on a weekday, when it's pretty much deserted and quiet. The first day we arrived at Hongdae was a Monday morning where we had brunch at Ugly Stove. The streets were almost dead, but peaceful. At night, Hongdae is a totally different place. Crowded, noisy, street performances everywhere. We did enjoy some of the performances, but it was the crowd we hated. It was so crowded that the subway station exits were jammed up.
Nevertheless, during the day time, you will be able to find not a lot, but a decent amount of apparel stores and cosmetic shops like Memebox. The 3CE Style Nanda Flagship Store is also located at Hongdae, where you can use their free photobooth. Opposite of the flagship store is another apparel store called Chuu, but we didn't enter as it was closed. I bought a pair of sunglasses from Style Nanda, but was quite disappointed to find out that other shops sells them too.
At night, you will be able to find even more stores as the street stores will be opened too. I don't know the exact location, but we ended up in this wide "alley" filled with rows of shops selling clothes, caps, socks, phone cases, etc. The clothes are similar to the ones at Ewha University, but I didn't get anything there as the prices starts from 12,000 to 15,000won whereas the prices in Ewha starts at 5,000won.
: My boyfriend did get a coat/cardigan for his mom at 25,000won and we previously saw the same (or similar) cardigan at another store selling at 29,000won. The initial price of the cardigan was 27,000won but after the salesgirl saw us hesitating, she offered to sell it to us at 25,000won. Therefore, I suggest walking around first as most shops sell the same type of clothes. Also, bargaining is totally fine and acceptable!
(Watch my Korea Vlog Day 2
and Day 7
here! Featuring Hongdae)
4. Common Ground
Directions: Alight at Konkuk University on Line 2 (green line) and exit via Exit 6. Walk straight down and you'll easily spot the huge blue containers.
Inside the containers, you will be able to find shops that sells a variety of things, from handmade jewelry, to hippy clothes, Kpop merchandises, and more. One of the containers is filled with men clothing stores, but they were too expensive for us to afford. Well, majority of the items inside the containers are quite expensive anyway. The apparels at Common Ground are more unique in my opinion, as the place itself is quite "hippy", you'd expect to find a lot of fashionable pieces that you can imagine hipsters wear.
For cheaper alternative, you can take a look at the flea market outside the containers.
Lucky for us, we actually stumbled upon this shop that sells pretty and reasonably priced clothes for both men and women, inside one of the containers! My boyfriend bought himself 2 pairs of smart bottoms for work (sizes available) for 35,000won each, and I bought myself a summery lemon peplum spaghetti top for 12,900won which is one of my favourite pieces!
(Watch my Korea Vlog Day 7
here! Featuring Common Ground.)
Directions: Alight at Dongdaemun Station on Line 1 or 4 (dark blue and light blue) and choose the exit that will bring you towards Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). Walk through DDP and you'll see a row of shopping malls.
Dongdaemun is known for its midnight shopping experience as the malls there open all the way until 5 in the morning. The first mall we went to was Dooda Mall and I bought 2 character home slippers from the LINE friends store for US$16 each. For some weird reasons, all the items are priced in USD. Apart from the LINE friends store, Dooda Mall reminds me of TANGS in Singapore as the layout, type of clothes, and prices are very similar.
If you're into local designer items, they have a level dedicated to local designer clothes which all looked amazing! If you watch Q2Han on Youtube, you'll know the brand Eyeye which is available at Dooda Mall too. I really wanted to get something from Eyeye, but it was way too expensive. We left the mall within 30 minutes because most of the clothes there are more suited for older working adults, and all their clothes range from about 70,000won (S$87) and above.
The next mall we went to was Migliore Mall. You can also find Migliore Mall at Myeongdong. Migliore Mall looks exactly
like Platinum Mall in Bangkok, except it's pretty dead. I don't think any locals shop there as the only customers I saw were a few foreigners. You will be able to find button downs, trench coats, as well as school uniform-ish clothes, like the ones girl groups wear. Again, I didn't get anything there as the prices starts from 15,000won and above and I was sure that I will be able to find a better deal elsewhere.
The third mall we went to was just beside Migliore Mall and it looks pretty much the same as Migliore Mall, empty and dead. We went up to the "Mens wear" level, only be greeted by creepy salespeople who were desperately fighting for us to visit their shop. I freaked out a little and quickly exited the mall.
To me, Dongdaemun was a waste of time. What's not a waste of time though is definitely the Dongdaemun Grilled Fish Street located at Dongdaemun market. But, if you are into expensive clothes, Dongdaemun is the place to go!
Directions: Alight at Sinchon Station on Line 2 (green line).
Sinchon is usually not in the list of "places to shop at", but I genuinely recommend you to check this place out. Located right in the middle of Ewha University and Hongdae, Sinchon is a food heaven. Of course, this is a shopping blog post so let's not talk too much about food, but basically we went to Sinchon twice for Dakgalbi and Jjajjangmyeon on the last couple of days in Seoul and there were surprisingly a really good amount of apparels and cosmetics shops!
Because it was our last day, we had to carry our luggage around and so I didn't shop much. But I was just on a to spend the rest of my cash away so I did keep my eyes wide open for any interesting shops. I ended up spending all my money in Olive Young and Memebox, but I also went into this huge store selling a huge variety of button downs, spaghetti tops, oversized T-shirts, denim shorts, skirts, dresses, all within the range of 10,000won to about 18,000won! Since I completed my mission, I didn't walk further down, but I did see more clothing shops along the street, as well as a handful of cosmetic shops.
I think Sinchon is great as it's literally filled with popular restaurants too so you don't have to worry about food when you are shopping!
7. Namdaemun Market
Directions: Alight at Hoehyeon station on Line 4 (blue line) and follow the exit that says "Namdaemun Market".
Namdaemun Market is a traditional market where you can find loads of Korean snacks, big packets of seaweed, souvenirs, street food, and clothes that are more suitable for ahjummas and ahjusshis. If you're planning to get those mainstream sovenirs such as magnets, keychains, pens and whatnot with "Korea" written all over it, this is the place to go! Because honestly this is the only place where I saw those souvenirs. Granted they're not cheap, so I decided to let it pass. I ended up buying souvenirs in Jeju which was more unique (and slightly cheaper) in my opinion.
There is also an entire alley selling really pretty baby and children clothes, so if you're looking for children clothes, you can come and check them out too.
If you're interested in "I love Seoul", or those "Supreme" T-shirts, you can find many of them at Namdaemun as well for 3 for 10,000won if I remembered correctly. Also, clothes like pajamas, track pants, can be easily found here. With that said, this is not a place for you to buy trendy clothes. Nevertheless, I do recommend you to drop by for awhile to experience the buzzing atmosphere of a traditional Korean market!
(Watch my Korea Vlog Day 4
here! Featuring Dongdaemun and Namdaemun.)
8. Apgujeong / Garosugil
Directions: Alight at Sinsa Station and exit via Exit 8.
Apgujeong and Garosugil are both located near Sinsa Station and honestly, I can't tell the 2 places apart. I believe Garosugil is a smaller area between Sinsa and Apgujeong? I'm not sure. But I do know is that these 2 places are well-known for their variety of unique cafes, which is great for cafe-hoppers. Apart from cafes, of course, there are a ton of shopping spots too.
When we arrived at Apgujeong, the atmosphere felt different. With branded cars parked all along the roadside and models posing and having their shots taken, even while they walk... It gave me the impression that this is the place for (rich) hipsters. The clothes offered at Apgujeong are definitely prettier, classier, and much more unique than the ones sold at Ewha University or Hongik University. For a comparison, I'll say that they are similar to clothes from brands like LazyOaf, Zara, and Motel Rocks. One of the shops we went into was SJYP which is quite a popular local designer brand. I only took about 10 steps in because I left immediately after looking at the price tag.
You can also find the 3CE Style Nanda Cinema Flagship Store which we didn't enter, as well as a 3 or 4-stories Aland.
We also went into ElCube Lotte and this time round, the shops inside were completely different (apart from the YG Entertainment shop) from the ones at Ewha University. At the very first floor is a shop selling home ware, kitchen ware, stationary, party essentials and all sorts of quirky items. On the top floors, they have a "K-pop Street Wear" section, the YG Entertainment shop, a cafe and a few other apparel shops. All of the items were quite pricey in my opinion. The basement is an area of toy crane machines and at the rooftop, there is a lounge area where you can sit and chill with your friends for free. My favourite part of this ElCube Lotte is probably this 2 huge snow globe thing where you can enter and take pictures inside! This is located on the first floor just beside the main entrance of the building.
If you love LINE friends, just thought I'll mention that you will be able to find a huge LINE friends cafe at Apgujeong. The top floor is a photo area where you can take pictures with various LINE friends characters, and at the basement, there is a clothing shop as well as the actual cafe.
Of course, you will be able to find cosmetic shops here, but there are surprisingly not a lot. So if you just wanna get cosmetics, I'd say just go to Myeongdong.
Although we didn't get to buy anything from Apgujeong and Garosugil, we really enjoyed exploring around the area and it was pretty cool seeing all these pretty models doing their thang. We also saw a girl dancing in middle of a street while filming herself and that was quite eye-opening. I don't think there were any street shops there, so don't expect to find any cheap clothes. But if you're looking for unique pieces and you don't mind spending more for your clothes, make sure you check this area out!
(Watch my Korea Vlog Day 5
here! Featuring Apgujeong and Garosugil.)
Directions: Alight at Anguk Station and exit via Exit 1.
Anguk station is where you will alight if you are planning to visit the Bukchon Hanok Village. This is usually not mentioned in "where to shop" lists, but I actually bought quite a number of apparels here so I thought I'll share.
We actually went here twice, first to rent our hanbok, second for Mukshidonna Ddeokbokki and oh my god this ddeokbokki is one of the best dishes we had during our trip (there is also an outlet in Sinchon)! Whoops, going off topic again
Unfortunately, I have no idea what is the name of the shop, but on our way to Mukshidonna Ddeokbokki, we passed by a shop that sells 1+1 clothes at 10,000won (meaning one for 5,000)! I went in and bought 2 oversized T-shirts as well as a sling bag for a total of 20,000won. There were a huge variety of clothes, jeans, trousers, skirts, dresses, button downs and they were all priced within 5,000 to 20,000won which was so affordable! I really wished I have gotten more oversized T-shirts!
We also discovered a flea market at an alley that sells mostly handmade items such as magnets, keychains, bags and pouches. I really liked the flea market even though we didn't get anything, but the atmosphere was really relaxed as there were some street performances (of acoustic guitar) along the alley and you will be able to see so many people walking around in hanboks too!
10. Gangnam Underground Shopping Centre
Directions: Alight at Gangnam Station, tap out and you've arrived at the Gangnam Underground Shopping Centre!
The Gangnam Underground Shopping Centre reminds me of the second floor of Bugis Street. It is packed with apparel shops that sells similar and affordable looking clothes, crowded, and busy. Again, the clothes here are very Korean-styled, and are pretty much 90% identical to the ones at Ewha and Hongik, and the prices are quite competitive too.
What attracted my attention was 2 shops selling 10,000won denim jeans. I managed to get a pair of slightly bell-bottomed jeans, which is also a popular trend in Korea at the moment. Unfortunately, trying is not allowed and the jeans wasn't a perfect fit for me. I could have gotten the right size if I noticed that those jeans were not high-waisted but oh well, they were 10,000won.
So that sums up the 10 places to shop in Seoul. Personally, my favourites are definitely the shophouses type of shops as compared to shopping malls because they are relatively more affordable, yet they still offer very trendy and good quality clothes! Where is your favourite place to shop in Seoul?
Labels: korea, lifestyle, seoul, tips, travel