Where to shop and what to buy in Seoul

Where to shop and what to buy in Seoul

Whether you are into shopping for traditional, fashionable or luxurious goods, Seoul caters to every need and every whim. From cosmetics to cheap clothes and designer styles, the South Korean capital is a bargain hunter's paradise. The city is loaded up with department stores, malls and traditional markets so you can shop till you drop.

Although men usually go unnoticed when it comes to shopping, Seoul has plenty of stores that will allure men to spend their money. Electronic lovers are also in for a treat in the Korean capital as it is not only home to the headquarters for big brands such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai, but it is also the largest electronics market in Asia.

As shopping in Korea is so vast and varied, you might want to download the "Simple Korean Handbook for Shopping" prior your trip. This handbook will give you tips to make your shopping experience that much easier.

Wholesale Shopping

Famous for selling just about everything, but specialized in wholesale clothing, Dongdaemun Market is the biggest retail and wholesale shopping area in South Korea. From electronics to clothes and shoes, leather goods, fabric, accessories parts and sporting goods, there's nothing you won't be able to find in either its 26 shopping malls or its small shops selling everything from Korean fashion to Western styles. Before venturing into this jungle of shops, however, do put some comfortable shoes on as you might find yourself shopping for hours.

Divided by the main street, the market has two main sections. The first consists of massive shopping malls and sells both retail and wholesale. Open from 10am to 5pm the next day, keep your eyes open and you might catch one of the many events put on at the shopping center.

Meanwhile, the second section mainly deals with wholesale, so it has no changing rooms and refund policies are not guaranteed, so do check your products thoroughly before leaving, particularly if they are made in either Korea or China. While Korean clothes have a better quality than the Chinese ones, you can haggle if you find any Chinese merchandise with a defect.


Home to shops and art galleries displaying everything from famous artwork to local pieces, Samcheong is the place to be for art lovers. As it is located far away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, its skyscrapers and shopping centers, the area radiates a peaceful vibe. If you are interested in accessory shops and small independent stores, you might want to head down Main Street and Hwagae-gil Street.


Ewha is a group of hip and cheap shops that line the streets surrounding the campus of Ewha Women's University. As most of the customers are female students, there you can find bargains on a range of styles which are mostly feminine. Don't forget to check the back streets are there you'll find one-of-a-kind and trendy items at discounted prices, as well as shoes on sale.


Known for its independent clothing stalls, indie styles and street art and music, Hongdae is weekend flea market that takes place from March to November in front of Hongik University. Given its proximity to a university campus, this market is the place to look for bargains on high-quality, often unusual, products. Here they also sell the wares of the art students and local goods.

Luxury Fashion – Apujeong & Cheongdam-dong

The whole world has listened to Psy's smash hit "Gangnam's style" but not everyone is aware this is the where the rich and famous spend their money. In the heart of this district you'll find Apujeong and Cheongdam-dom, and as you'll expect, both areas boast the most luxurious stores of the country. From hair salons to plastic surgery, this where South Koreans get the full beauty makeovers they are famous for. These the a modern and luxurious lifestyle, which is reflected by its sophisticated bars and restaurants.

Cosmetic and Make Up Shopping

Seoul is a great place to shop for cosmetics as they are extremely cheap and they offer numerous gifts, free samples and special deals. The brands you might want to keep an eye out for are Skinfood, Etude House and Innisfree, and the best place to buy them is Myeondong.