Shopping in Seoul, Korea: A Guide to Shopping in Myeongdong

Sunday, June 7, 2015

This is a fun installment to my website that I thought would be helpful for those of you visiting Korea! When I was initially planning my trip, the thing I was really excited for was the SHOPPING. Seoul, Korea is the shopping mecca and of course, there are different areas that sell different things and have different vibes. Because of this, I wanted to create shopping guides for the different shopping districts! Today's post is going to be on the most notorious place; Myeongdong!

Myeongdong (명동) is the number one shopping district in Seoul. It attracts people from all over the world because it's the one-stop shop for essentially everything. All the streets are lined with delicious places to eat, beauty stores, and international clothing stores and designers.

So let's get to the breakdown of shopping in Myeongdong...

Beauty Shops
If you're looking for one place to buy all your Korean makeup and skincare needs, you should definitely go to Myeongdong. Myeongdong has every Korean beauty brand you could think of and most likely, a couple of the same kind. For example, you can walk down one street in Myeongdong and see at Etude House. Take a stroll a little further, you'll probably find another...and another...and another! This is especially convenient for those of you who like to find the best deals! You can shop around and find the best prices because yes, some of the stores will offer different deals. For example, you could go to one Etude House and find buy one, get one face mask and then go to another Etude House and find buy 10, get 10 face masks. 
Also, you'll notice that since they're are so many beauty shops, there will be sales people standing outside of the stores offering you free samples to come in and look. You do have to enter the store if you want the sample (usually it's a small box of cotton pads or a sheet mask), and look around. You actually don't have to buy anything to look, but I usually don't enter a store unless I'm interested in buying something. This is only because in Korea, the sales associates in the stores are very attentive, especially in the beauty shops. They'll actually follow you around so you can ask questions and they'll usually try to have you try some of their products.

Heads up though if you don't speak Korean, Japanese, or Chinese. If you speak one of these languages, there is almost always someone who can help you. English speakers are a little harder to find and you will rarely find someone to help you if you speak any other language. That's not to say you can't enjoy shopping here! Just be prepared to be a little on your own if you don't speak these languages. But hey, maybe you like shopping that way! 

Restaurants/Street Food

If you're hungry, you can definitely find all kinds of food at Myeongdong. Whether you're in the mood for sitting down somewhere nice for something to eat or just picking something up from a food cart to snack on as you walk around, you'll find it here! 
Don't forget to look up! Usually more places to eat :) 
In this area, you can find all kinds of foods, including international foods and fast food. The prices, even at restaurants, are fairly reasonable. If you're looking for something really cheap, check out the food carts that are usually lined along the streets! For about $1-3 USD, you can buy tteokboki, chicken skewers, spiral potatoes on a stick, and many other choices! And of course, they're delicious. You can always find something to your liking to eat :)   

Clothing Stores

Myeongdong is where you can find a mix of international and Korean clothing stores. The prices here for clothing are mid-range. They're not super cheap but you can clothing for reasonable prices. There are stores like H&M and Forever 21 and also stores like SPAO and UNIQLO. Typically, international brands like Levi's or Converse are more expensive since they're imported. If you're looking for super cheap clothing, check out the carts that come out later in the day or at night or go to another shopping district like Dongdaemun or by EWHA University which I will feature in later posts.   
Hope this was a helpful guide to shopping in Myeongdong! More guides like this to come so let me know if it's helpful or if you have more questions!