K-Lifestyle Wiki

Shopping

Insa-dong

Insa-dong is a district in downtown Seoul that is packed with antique shops, antiquarian booksellers, art galleries, scroll mounters, craft workshops, brush shops, traditional teahouses, restaurants, and bars that provide tourists with ample opportunities for an exciting cultural experience. The district had many places frequented by Korea artists, writers, and journalists, which have now begun to attract tourists from around the country and beyond. The Seoul Metropolitan Government designated Insa-dong as a District of Traditional Culture in 1988 and turns it into a car-free zone every weekend to create a more comfortable environment for visitors.

Myeong-dong

Myeong-dong has long been the busiest and most thriving shopping district in Korea, where high-end shops and luxurious boutiques attract shoppers from all across Korea and tourists from different countries in Asia with luxury goods, brand garments, cosmetics, shoes, fashion accessories, and souvenirs. The district has also been the national hub of finance and culture as well as commerce since the Korean War (1950-1953) and, in the 1970s and 1980s, was frequented by Korea’s most energetic, fashion-conscious, outgoing people.
The position of Myeong-dong in the Korean fashion industry has dwindled somewhat in recent times, but its influence on the Korean fashion market remains significant. Many of the world’s top fashion brands maintain or have opened new stores in the district, winning back fashion-minded shoppers from the newly emerging fashion streets in the Gangnam area as well tourists from overseas. The district also contains Myeongdong Cathedral, established in 1898 and a central figure to all Korean Catholics, and the historic Chinese Embassy.

Jongno and Cheonggyecheon

Jongno was one of the two districts, the other being Myeong-dong, that typified the early economic and cultural vibrancy of Korea in the 1970s and 1980s. There were, and still are, between today’s Jongno 2(i)-ga and 3(sam)- ga some of Seoul’s oldest movie theaters, the nation’s major bookstores, and famous private educational institutions including foreign language schools which keep the districts perpetually crowded with students.
Cheonggyecheon, a historic stream cutting across the heart of Seoul, was restored and remodeled a few years ago and quickly emerged as one of the city’s top attractions. In the past, the stream was a source of water for the families living around it, but it began to be covered over in the 1950s, and the overpass built over it came to be regarded as a symbol of Korea’s industrial growth during the 1960s and 1970s. The overpass, however, was demolished in 2003 as part of the project to restore the stream, which was completed two years later.

Apgujeong Rodeo Street

Named after Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and home to some of the most prestigious fashion stores in the region, Rodeo Street in Apgujeong-dong is widely regarded as the “mecca of Korean fashion” and a trendsetter in Korea. Rodeo Street is packed with luxury stores, including the flagship stores of the world’s top fashion brands, and upscale restaurants, cafes, and bars. The street also contains stores selling special fashion items sought after by young fashionistas and fully meets all the diverse needs of shoppers. In October, the street is transformed into the main venue for the Apgujeong Culture Festival, which presents movies, hair shows, fashion shows, dance competitions, and other exciting cultural events.

Hongdae Street (Hongik University Street)

It was during the early 1990s that Hongdae, or the area around Hongik University, saw an explosion of cafes and live music clubs drawing young music lovers from all across Seoul, gradually turning it into one of Seoul’s most dynamic cultural areas packed with fun-seeking youngsters. What differentiate the streets of Hongdae from other similar districts are the live performances of indie bands held at the clubs scattered around the district.
The bands cover a variety of popular music genres, including rock, funk, and techno music, for the young audiences that gather there every evening.
The Hongdae district also contains numerous art galleries committed to displaying original works by emerging young artists. Some of these artists join with others devoted to other forms of art such as music and dance to put on collaboration performances in the streets.

Garosu-gil Street of Sinsa-dong

Literally “the tree-lined street of Sinsa-dong,” Sinsa-dong Garosu-gil is a street in Sinsa-dong in Gangnam-gu that is lined with gingko trees on both sides. The street and nearby alleys have recently grown into one of Seoul’s main attractions, attracting tens of thousands of fashion-minded people to its array of high-end coffee houses, art galleries, luxury boutiques, and other fashion stores every day. In the 1990s, Garosu-gil began to attract ambitious young fashion designers, who opened shops along the road, eventually transforming it into a “fashion street.” The success of their shops was followed by the opening of other shops vending exquisite interior objects, furniture, and personal fashion items.

Itaewon

Itaewon, located south of Namsan Mountain in the heart of Seoul, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, particularly among foreign tourists seeking shopping, fun, and thrills in more comfortable surroundings. The development of the district and the growth of its reputation among international travelers visiting Korea are largely related with the presence, since the Korean War (1950-1953), of the Eighth United States Army Base in nearby Yongsan, which relocated its headquarters to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggido Province in July 2017. Today, the district contains a number of foreign embassies, including those of Denmark, Belgium, Argentina, Romania, Lebanon, Hungary, Qatar, and the Philippines, as well as the Seoul Central Mosque and diverse foreign communities. Itaewon’s streets are packed with shops selling fashionable clothes and fashion items, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, many of them providing exotic, at least to Korean visitors, foods from Mexico, India, Vietnam, and Turkey among other countries, and a distinctly cosmopolitan atmosphere. The district was designated by the Korean government as a Special Tourist Zone in 1997 and has since then held the Global Village Festival every October. Furthermore, street performances are held for foreign tourists on a daily basis.

Lotte World Tower

Lotte World Tower is a 555m–tall skyscraper located in Sincheon-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul. The tower has 123 floors aboveground and 6 floors belowground and has a total floor area of 420,000. Completed in December 2016, the multifunctional complex features offices, accommodation, and tourism, and shopping spaces. As of its opening day, Lotte World Tower is the fifth tallest building in the world after United Arab Emirate’s Burj Khalifa (828), China’s Shanghai Tower (632), Saudi Arabia’s Abraj Al-Bait Clock Tower (601), and China’s Ping An Finance Centre (600). The tower’s architecture was inspired by the curvature found in traditional Korean porcelain and brushwork.

Source: Korean Culture and Information Service 'Facts about Korea'

ReplyPlease leave a comment about any information you wanted to add!
Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

In English, the Korean Dojang is also known as a stamp or seal. They make for really cool souvenirs, especially because they’re small and they don’t easily get worn out as time passes. Seoul has many dojang stores you can go to to buy these stamps, they come in all types of stones and sizes. Some also come with their own engraving already and designed – but you can also get stamps customized however way you want. Where to buy: Insadong Budget: Starts at 26,000 won

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

You might have seen this in postcards and your favourite Korean drama series, but it’s a totally different story when you see it up close and touch it for yourself. The Hanbok is as elegant as the people who wear them – it’s the traditional clothing of Korea and is made of jeogori (a shirt or jacket) and the chima (a wrap-around skirt that is worn from waist to floor). Koreans don’t usually wear the Hanbok anymore, but they do come in handy for semi-formal events and special occasions – not to mention, they come in handy too when you want to relive your own K-drama fantasies. Where to buy: Gwangjang market, Dongdaemun market Budget: Prices vary depending on quality and fabric

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Dried seaweed is a great buy in South Korea too because they come pretty cheap but still of high quality. This delicacy is quite tasty and has many health benefits, and you can use it for a lot of things too, like mixing it with your food. You won’t have a hard time finding dried seaweed as it’s everywhere in South Korea, so make sure to remember to grab a bunch before you leave. Where to buy: Supermarkets, convenience stores Budget: 5,000 won for packs of 6 to 10

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Korea is known to have what they call “stationery culture,” and yeah, you guessed it right – it means Korea is full of stationery items. From pens to paper, stickers, stamps, and notebooks, you will find yourself in heaven if you’re a stationery lover travelling to Seoul. They’re all very cute, useful and pretty too, so make sure to buy a lot while you’re here. Where to buy: Kyobo Bookstore, Artbox, Line friends Budget: Prices vary depending on the product

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

What to buy that is really, really Korean? Look for Hanji. Hanji, or Korean paper, is the traditional handmade paper made in Korea. It’s not flimsy at all and can last you years after you’ve bought them. You can use it for many different things, too – from handicraft items to journals. Where to buy: Hanji Chueok, Insadong District Budget: 1,000 won above

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Seoul is known for its fashion-forward tastes, and you can see this on clothes and all fashion accessories – you can see this in backpacks too. It’s pretty easy to find backpacks all around Seoul, so if we were you, we’d avoid buying travel backpacks here in Singapore and just wait to land in Korea. They come in different colours and designs and can range from cheap finds to high fashion bags. Where to buy: Shopping districts and markets Budget: Can reach up to 427,000 won

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

The twelve animals in the zodiac calendar come in cute, tiny figurines you can put in your pocket and take home with you. It makes for a great souvenir item too – each zodiac figurine has its own unique characteristics, and they’re made in beautiful gold colours. You can keep them for yourself or give them out as gifts to your friends and family back home – a cute way to say “I was thinking of you (and your zodiac) while I was in South Korea.” Where to buy: Local markets Budget: Varies

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Get your fix of cute Korean socks! They’re all the rage in South Korea, and they go well with any outfit – you can use them as a fashion statement, or even just a general declaration of love for your all-time favourite characters. If you have friends and family back home asking for souvenirs, buy character socks in Korea – there are so many in malls and shopping streets that it’s hard to miss out on them. There are even character socks vending machines all around Seoul! Where to buy: Myeongdong shopping district, department stores Budget: 1000 won above

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Dubbed as Korea’s “secret superfood,” Korean Red Ginseng is known for its special medicinal properties. It’s typically used to strengthen the immune system and fight off stress – kind of like how vitamin C works. Korea’s one of the best producers of ginseng all around the world because they’re able to perfect the environment needed to grow this special tea. A good buy to take back home! Where to buy: Local stores Budget: Starts at 33, 800 won

Carl Ivan Setias
3 months ago

Koreans take their beauty seriously, and if you do too, go on a beauty products haul while you’re in Seoul. Innisfree is one of the more popular brands here – they’re big on naturalism, and carry products from skincare (we love their face masks!) to make up for both men and women. It’s no wonder Innisfree is a crowd favourite here: they simply have everything, and no matter what you pick, you’re sure it’s of high quality. Some of the must-buys from the brand Innisfree include the Super Volcanic Clay mask, Olive Real Cleansing Foam, and the Wine Peeling Jelly Softener. (Sadly, we don’t think the last one is edible). Where to buy: Can be bought at Myeong-dong shopping district
Budget: Prices vary