South Korea shopping is one of the highlights of any trip to this part of East Asia. Old meets new in the world of shopping in this country. The various South Korea markets, shopping malls, and stores offer everything from internationally recognized name brand clothing to cutting edge electronics and mobile devices to precious antiques and one-of-a-kind handicrafts.
Seoul is the second largest metropolitan area in the entire world so you might guess at the wide range of shopping options in such a place. The South Korean shopping malls in this vibrant and populous center are quite stunning. But Seoul is not the only place where you will find excellent shopping. Cities such as Busan and Incheon also offer great shopping experiences. Be aware that you will be able to purchase many things duty free. Any stores that offer tax refunds should advertise this prominently. You will want to know where to shop in South Korea to make the most of your experience. Some things you will find are uniquely Korean, and some even require filling out paperwork, as is required in the case of precious antiques that are over 50 years old.
Perhaps the best known and most notable South Korea shopping district is Myeong-dong. It is known in Seoul as a shopping epicenter and is home to a wide variety of shops and boutiques selling mostly clothing. It is a trendsetting area in Seoul to be sure. Myeong-dong is also near some of the most popular South Korean shopping malls such as KOZNEY and Shinsegae. The Lotte Department Store is large enough to be considered one of the South Korean shopping malls and is also an exceedingly popular destination in this thriving area. COEX Mall is another notable shopping mall located completely underground, beneath Samsung-dong Trade Center. It is very popular with teenagers and twenty-somethings in the city. There are also plenty of restaurants in and around Myeong-dong as well.
Dongdaemun Market is another of the most famous South Korea markets, widely considered to be the fashion Mecca of the city of Seoul. It is an expansive area dedicated to fashion. The latest and hottest trends in handbags, clothing, and shoes are always on display at the chic and trendy stores of Dongdaemun. For tourists, this is not only a popular area for South Korea shopping, but also for people watching. Some of the trendiest people walk through this area where the shopping, eating, and entertainment is second to none in Seoul.
If you are interested in seeking out more traditional Korean goods you should explore the Insa-dong area where you will find everything from antique shops to tea houses and traditional Korean restaurants. It is the largest market for Korean artwork and when you visit the long street that comprises the Insa-dong area you are able to watch many of the craftspeople at work. Sundays there are no cars allowed so if you can make it to the market then you will have a most leisurely and enjoyable experience. From pottery to leather goods, textiles to clothing and jewelry, you will find expertly crafted works by local artists in this area.
Busan is another brilliant place to shop for traditional crafts. Daegu and Daejeon also have a number of traditional markets. In Busan, you can buy traditional arts, crafts, clothing, and jewelry, and also traditional food at the largest fish market in the entire country. The Jagalchi Market is a long lane that runs along the Busan Harbor. Here you will find virtually everything that swims in the sea. Shopping at the Jagalchi Market is definitely a sight you will want to see if you are staying Busan. Busan, as a city of nearly 4 million, is also home to many major shopping malls, department stores, and internationally recognized brand name stores and boutiques.
If you are traveling outside of Seoul you will also have a similar experience and notice that there is a common thread that runs through the South Korea shopping experience. You will be able to find unique and distinctively Korean goods as well as a wide variety of new stores that you might see at any mall in the U.S. Many people who travel to South Korea love to get their hands on the latest electronic gadgets and toys. Busan is another good place to find electronics and things like video games and popular mobile devices.