Shopping - Korea travel information

Gwangju Daein Market & Daein Art Market (광주 대인시장 / 대인예술시장)

Gwangju Daein Market & Daein Art Market (광주 대인시장 / 대인예술시장)

6746     2019-08-21

7-1, Jebong-ro 194beon-gil, Dong-gu, Gwangju

Daein Market in Gwangju is a wonderul example of the changes traditional markets have gone through to remain relavent in the modern world. Originally the community center for all living needs, including produce and household goods, the market lost much interest in the mid-1990s with the influx of large marts. From that point on, many shops began to close down as there was no business.

However, the market saw a revival in 2008 during the Gwangju Biennale. Many of the available shop spaces were rented out to host small art exhibitions, creating a unique art market. Thanks to this effort, Daein Market was designated a Cultural Attraction in 2013. The market continues to have a strong connection with the art that saved it, and the vendors and artists live and work together in harmony. The market also draws in a lot of interest from the community through their weekly night markets, taking place every Saturday.

Etude House - Myeong-dong No.1 Branch (에뛰드하우스 (명동1호점))

Etude House - Myeong-dong No.1 Branch (에뛰드하우스 (명동1호점))

61614     2019-08-19

37-7, Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

Etude House has five branch stores in Myeong-dong. It focuses on trendy cosmetic products. Its first floor boasts over 760 individual items while the second floor consists of the Dollhouse Gallery and the attic in which the entertainment star, Song Hye Gyo shot a commercial.

Cheongju Seongan-gil (청주 성안길)

Cheongju Seongan-gil (청주 성안길)

10923     2019-08-19

59, Sangdang-ro 59beon-gil, Sangdang-gu, Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do

About hundred years ago, the Cheogju Eupseong Fortress existed in the middle of what is today's Cheongju city. The fortress had two main gates connecting its northern and southern points, as well as a main avenue crossing the village formed inside the fortress. The name for this avenue, called Seongan-gil (literally 'road inside the fortress'), makes a clear statement as to the role it has served in the city throughout the decades.

Geographically located in the heart of the city, the place still serves as the central commercial area of Cheongju, drawing in crowds of both young people and older residents. Being the top tourist attraction in the region, the city government designated the area as a 'car free street,' making it a pedestrian-friendly place for shopping and meandering. Only registered and shipping vehicles can enter the area, but only in the morning until noon. After that time, all vehicular access is prohibited.

With its popular attractions, such as the Rodeo shopping district, the iron flagpole of Yongdusa Temple Site, as well as other major department stores, movie theaters, and recreational parks, Seongan-gil is a favorite gathering place for residents of Cheongju.

Dongwha Duty Free Shop (동화면세점)

Dongwha Duty Free Shop (동화면세점)

73960     2019-08-01

149, Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Dongwha Duty Free offers only the world’s best brands for sale. You can shop for the latest popular brands in perfume, cosmetics, accessories, leather goods, and more. Apart from Korean brands and popular imported brands, you can also shop for specialty Korean products and folk crafts from all around the world.

Insa-dong Art Street (인사동 고미술거리)

Insa-dong Art Street (인사동 고미술거리)

75217     2019-08-01

29, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul-si

Insa-dong has been situated at the heart of the nation’s capital for over 600 years and was at the center of culture during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The Insa-dong area usually refers to the areas extending from the Anguk-dong Rotary to Tapgol Park in Jongno 2(i)-ga, past the Insa-dong Intersection. The notable features of Insa-dong are the countless alleys that branch out from the main street. Insa-dong has also become known as ‘Merry’s Area,’ one of the favorite shopping spots among foreigners.

Over forty percent of the nation’s antique stores are clustered in the Insa-dong area, and they sell more valuable antiques compared to any other places in Korea. The price of the valuables and souvenirs in this area can range from 10,000 won to some hundred million won. Among the antiques sold there are old pictures, pottery, wooden containers and jewelry. There is a variety of artwork varying from earthenware of the Unified Silla Era to white pottery of the Joseon Era. Foreigners from all over the world including Japan, China, France, and America frequent Insa-dong to witness a truly traditional Korean atmosphere.

Prices range greatly depending on the customers and the items. Old books are usually popular among the Japanese and Chinese tourists who can identify Hanja (Chinese characters). Antique books are purchased by many visitors, from history professors to antique collectors, at prices varying from 10,000 won to 30,000 won. Highly valued items are not sold and even if they are displayed in the store, as some shopkeepers do not intend to sell them. Archaeology and history books are the most popular selections. Some items are priceless so shopkeepers often name their own price, but keep in mind that some stores do have price tags to indicate products for sale. Tongmungwan is a representative store selling old books and has been run by a family for three generations. When you enter this small bookstore, you can see old books packed in rows. This bookstore was originally opened by the grandfather of the current shopkeeper, and is living proof of Insa-dong’s long-standing history. This is definitely a place worth visiting even if you do not intend to make a purchase.

Traditional Korean ceramic ware is the main artwork Insa-dong has to offer. It is also the most popular item among tourists. Ceramic ware can be used in everyday life and many also consider it an essential decorative item. Ever since Queen Elizabeth I of England visited Insa-dong in April 1999 and praised the beauty of the ceramic art forms, many tourists from all over the world, including Europe, America, and Japan have become interested in them. Prices may start at 10,000 won, but can cost you up to some 10 million won. The most popular ceramic ware are pottery in the shape of a gourd bottle, costing anywhere from 100,000 won to 200,000 won. Keep in mind that the finer ceramic ware boast a clear color and have a clear resonant sound when tapped with the tip of your fingernail.

Famous shops include ‘Park Young Suk Yo’ where Queen Elizabeth paid a visit and ‘Haedong Godoja.’ The main artwork offered are the common porcelain ware that have been recrafted, and pots of the Joseon Era. ‘Haedong Godoja’ is known for selling the best quality ceramic ware.

‘Goseohwa’ (old paintings and calligraphic arts) is another main form of artwork offered in Insa-dong. There are shops selling old artwork along with oriental paintings, as well as modern paintings. Shops such as Dongmundang and Gonghwarang display and sell old paintings along with calligraphic works.

Antique furniture and other items are available at Naraksil and Gayajae. Naraksil offers great quality antique furniture such as bookshelves and bookstands, while Gayajae sells old pieces of furniture, stone Buddhas, and tiles. Other popular antiques can be found at ‘Toto’s Antiques’ where there are contemporary articles from the period before and after the liberation of Korea from Japanese forces. Even though there isn't any traditional artwork at this store, Korean antiques are displayed picturesquely. Toto’s Antiques seems to arouse nostalgia among its visitors, as it is decorated with old schoolbooks, toys, and ornaments from the 50’s and 60’s.

Sunday is designated a pedestrian-friendly day as cars are not permitted in the area for on that day of the week. Instead, a flea market opens on this day to sell various antiques, accessories, artwork, and books. Traditional antiques from different parts of Korea as well as international antiques brought by foreign tourists are displayed throughout Insa-dong, allowing visitors to view many items in one glance. It is highly recommended that you visit Insa-dong on Sundays since you can also view the beautiful street art.

When shopping in Insa-dong, make sure you check where the product is made. Recently, cheap Chinese goods such as teacups, wall tapestries, and small accessories have been brought into the Insa-dong markets and there have been cases where merchandise thought to be made in Korea turned out to be marked as ‘Made in China.’ So if you are looking to purchase only authentic Korean products, be sure to check the label.


Hadong Hwagae Market (하동 화개장터)

Hadong Hwagae Market (하동 화개장터)

23463     2019-07-30

15, Ssanggye-ro, Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do

Hwagae Market is one of the five biggest traditional market, which once flooded with people. It also appears as the background setting in Kim Dong-ri's novel, Yeokma (which means stagecoach in English). The market is one of the most visited attractions along with Ssanggyesa Temple and Jirisan Mountain due to it's location near a cherry blossom path. A market that offers a variety of local products and delicacies, you could count the number of markets of this scale in Korea on one hand.

Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)

Namdaemun Market (남대문시장)

747236     2019-07-29

21, Namdaemunsijang 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

Opened in 1964, Namdaemun Market is the largest traditional market in Korea with shops selling various goods. All products are sold at affordable prices and the stores in this area also function as wholesale markets.

Most of the goods are made directly by the storeowners. Namdaemun Market is even open overnight, from 11:00pm to 4:00am, and is crowded with retailers from all over the country. When day breaks, the site of busy shoppers bustling around the market creates a unique scene that attracts tourists worldwide. Namdaemun Market sells a variety of clothes, glasses, kitchenware, toys, mountain gear, fishing equipment, stationery, fine arts, accessories, hats, carpets, flowers, ginseng, and imported goods.

Jagalchi Market (부산 자갈치시장)

Jagalchi Market (부산 자갈치시장)

95157     2019-07-26

52, Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan

Jagalchi Market, located on the shoreside road in Busan's Jung-gu, is Korea's largest seafood market, selling both live and dried fish. After the Korean War, the market solidified itself as a fish market. Most of the people who sell fish are women, so the vendors here are called Jagalchi Ajumma, "ajumma" meaning middle-aged or married woman in Korean.

This market represents Busan and is famous throughout the country. Visitors can eat fresh raw fish right at the market. Even nowadays visitors can see women selling mackerel, sea squirts (ascidians) and whale meat on wooden boxes along the road outside of the market and along the shore.

Every year in October, the Jagalchi Cultural Tourism Festival is held, and it is easy to visit because of the convenient transportation provided by subway. Jagalchi Market is where you can see the lifestyle of the Busan locals.

Starfield Hanam (스타필드 하남)

Starfield Hanam (스타필드 하남)

31019     2019-07-24

750, Misa-daero, Hanam-si, Gyeonggi-do

Starfield Hanam is a grand shopping mall that provides the experience of shopping, leisure, and healing all in one place. A mere 30 minutes-drive from Gangnam, Starfield Hanam is the perfect location for family outings.

Larva Town (라바타운)

Larva Town (라바타운)

103     2019-07-10

1, Gyeonghuigung 1-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Larva Town is divided into areas of three different themes: TUBAn Yard, TUBAn Goods, and Cafe Wingcle. TUBAn Yard greets visitors with animation character Larva dressed up as a gatekeeper from the Joseon Dynasty along with other amusing sculptures that serve as excellent props for taking souvenir photos. The yard is open to public, welcoming any passerby to stop by and relax. As for TUBAn Goods, the shop is filled with character merchandise targeted towards consumers of diverse age range. Featured characters include TUBAn's iconic character Larva, Dinocore, and Wingcle bear. After looking around TUBAn Yard and TUBAn Goods, visitors can stop by Cafe Wingcle, where they can enjoy a cup of coffee with dessert surrounded by adorable Wingcle and friends.

Itaewon Shopping Street (이태원 쇼핑거리)

Itaewon Shopping Street (이태원 쇼핑거리)

165317     2019-07-10

Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Itaewon Street is the most exotic place in Seoul to spend a day of shopping, dining, and hanging out. Itaewon holds a long history in its making and is the first place most tourists want to visit in Korea. After the U.S. set up a military base in Korea during the 1970s, many foreigners stationed at the base settled near the Itaewon area, naturally developing the region into a shopping district catering to foreigners. Later, the existence of Itaewon became known worldwide after the widely publicized 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 1997, Itaewon was finally designated as an official tourist zone.

The 1.4 km-long street stretching from Itaewon 1-dong to Hannam 2-dong has been designated as Itaewon Street. There is an enormous variety of shops, entertainment venues, and restaurants for visitors to enjoy. Itaewon is a leader in providing exotic fashion, bars, and clubs in Korea. Most stores in this area are branded with English signs, and now with the recent influx of Japanese and Chinese tourists, Itaewon has become one of Korea’s top international hubs.

Daejeon Jungang Market (대전 중앙시장)

27276     2019-07-29

783, Daejeon-ro, Dong-gu, Daejeon

Daejeon Jungang Market is a large comprehensive market consisting of many smaller markets including the Jungang Comprehensive Market, Jungang Arcade Market, Jayu Wholesale Market, New Jungang Market, and Jungang Wholesale Market. Daejeon Jungang Market is located in downtown Dong-gu and is one of the most famous traditional markets in the city. The market has many different sections (dried seafood street, hardware street, fish street, herbal medicine street, hanbok street, delicacy street, etc.) which stretch all the way from Daejeon Station to the banks of the Daejeoncheon Stream.