Seoul travel centres partly on the city's abundant markets. At options like Mandaemun and Dongdaemun you'll find sprawling retail worlds of clothing, accessories and cheap technology. Insa-dong is a great market to head to for souvenirs to take home to your loved ones. For a high-end experience, journey to the Apgujeong district, where many of the city's chic boutiques are located.
When it comes to shopping in Seoul, there’s no place more popular among tourists and locals than the famed Myeongdong district. This sprawling shopping locale is the go-to destination for every shopaholic, with its streets lined with local and international stores and restaurants. Global fashion brands like Zara, H&M and Forever 21 can be found here, while several malls and mega department stores like Lotte and Shinsegae also call this district home. If that wasn’t enough, many of Myeongdong’s streets are filled with stalls that sell an assortment of items that include street food and local delicacies.
If shopping (and eating) seafood is your thing, the Noryangjin Fish Market is the place to visit. Providing an experience that’s comparable to the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan, here you’ll find vendors selling a variety of seafood, including shrimp, octopus, clams, blue crab and fish (both well-known and obscure). Several restaurants are also present in the surrounding area, allowing you to bring your fresh buys from the market and have it cooked in practically any way you wish. Even if you aren’t much of a seafood enthusiast, the sheer spectacle here will make it a worthwhile experience.
The Dongdaemun Market is another famous shopping hub, offering several malls, retail outlets and a traditional night market. This shopping district is renowned for its plethora of clothing and fashion stores, featuring international brands as well as many local designers. Some stores even sell items wholesale and provide fabrics and materials that are difficult to find anywhere else in Korea.
For a truly satisfying mall experience, visit the outstanding Times Square Mall, which is also one of Korea’s biggest shopping centres. Boasting over 300,000 square metres of floor space, this centre offers a varied collection of shops and restaurants that every mall-goer will love. Major tenants include retail giants like Shinsegae and E-mart, while lifestyle and fashion stores are available throughout the centre. The mall also houses the CGV multiplex theatre, which features the largest permanent cinema screen in the world.
The Kyobo Book Centre is the country’s largest book store chain that has several branches throughout Korea. Its flagship store in Gwanghwamun, however, is the one to visit, thanks primarily to its overwhelming amount of books and numerous categories available. While the majority of its books are in Korean, the book centre is also known for its extensive collection of foreign-language books and materials.