Seoul Shopping Tips by kdoc13 Top 5 Page for this destination
Seoul Shopping: 184 reviews and 342 photos
An average day at the COEX Mall.
The COEX mall is a little slice of America totally improved upon in Korea. It is everything a mall should be, complete with food court and annoying teenagers trying to rebel against society because their parents don't dig the vibe they are giving off outside the record store. The difference is it is a very friendly atmosphere, and there is actually customer service.
I loved the mall when I was there because it just had about everything I needed, from movie theaters to game and CD stores, and a food court with all kinds of ethnic foods. It was also in one of my favorite Korean movies "Tube".
What to buy: The Cinema's are probably the nicest ones I went to in Korea, and for food court food, it is above average.
Directions: It is really easy to get to, take subway line 2 to the Samseong station and look for the signs. It is right under the World Trade Center and goes underground all the way over to the ASEM tower.
The Itaewon Shopping and Club District
Itaewon is a mighty strange area. It is very western friendly, but also kind of third worldish at times. I love it because for a first time visitor to Seoul, it is a good place to ease into it. Many vendors speak english, during the day there is very little to zero crime, and there are actually some good buys on things....There is also Hwenson Lee!
The entire strip of Itaewan runs along one road, from the area of the Yongsan military base to where the road curves just past the "Thai Orchid". It is easily accessed by subway through the Itaewon station, and is on Line 6 which runs all over town! The area is a great place to duck into a restaurant (both western and Korean), buy Cd's (I highly reccomend SES or BoA), buy shoes, or visit the infamous Hwenson Lee!
Ok, I have teased enough about Hwenson Lee, time to let you off the hook. Mr. Lee is a tailor in Itaewon, who actually makes very nice suits at a good price. He has one and only one major customer though, Lucciano Pavoratti, yes, the Italian Opera Tenor. Mr. Lee is always happy to take a stranger off the street to show them his works, and his pictures of his most famous client. On all three of my trips to Seoul, I have been welcomed back into the shop to see pictures of Mr. Pavoratti. Again though, very nice suits.
Many of the vendors also reside on the street, where good deals can be had on everythign from Nike Shoes, to coats, to umbrellas (handy in the rainy season.) There is also a police station very close, and very public in case anything should go wrong while you are there. Plus, you can stick around for the western friendly nightlife. But be warned about interaction with the local women, this is an area where the women who may share a drink with you are on the job and looking for your money for their companionship.
What to buy: The Korea Leather Center had some really great looking coats, and of course there are suits made by the tailor to Pavoratti!
What to pay: It is hard to say. Many vendors are used to westerners with a set price, but I found I was able to haggle my own price on a lot of items, just by showing interest and then pretending it was too much. This probably won't work everywhere, but is worth a try. Your results may vary.
Directions: Line 6 to the Itaewon station, any exit.
Jongno Tower, the coolest building on earth!
Ok, besides being the coolest building ever, Jongno Tower is also a great place to eat and shop. The tower is home to many restaurants, and shops and has an underground shopping area called Milenium plaza.
Be sure to check out the Top Cloud Grill and Cafe which in on the top floors of this unique building. It provides a great view of downtown.
Directions: Subway line 1 to Jonggak station, exit 3.
Namdaemun gate, next to an open air market.
Have you ever asked yourself where you could go to shop for a pig's head, dry anchovies, and a coat, all without having to make three trips? Well have I got the place for you!
Namdaemun Market had just about everything I could think of Flowers, wigs, coats, food, you name it, it is probably here, and that is just the outside open air market.
Namdaemun also features many stores nearby such as Mesa. Mesa is a fun place to shop. My first memory of Mesa was their bus which had people dancing on it. The bus was driven all over town. It is kind of fun to shop there.
Shinsegae Department Store is also a great place to shop. It is a lot more upscale than the open air market of Namdaemun, but a great place to pick up some finer items in Seoul.
Directions: Take the subway line 4 to Hoehyeon Station.
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