Seoul – Shopping Heaven

Quick tips about Seoul:

  • It is a shopping paradise
  • It’s also a food paradise (especially if you like spicy and KBBQ)
  • We didn’t do any sight seeing, but based on reading from blogs, books and other guides, there isn’t an astounding amount of cultural / historical / scenic things to do (as compared to places in Europe).  A bit similar to Bangkok.  They EXIST but it’s not abundant and should be able to cover in a few days for the major attractions
  • The people there know very little English.  In fact, the salespeople in the retail shops actually speak Mandarin much better than English so prepare to bring some sort of translation book if you can only speak English
  • Transportation is very convenient
  • Although the transition between different train lines is a fair bit of distance… so plan your time accordingly
  • Many 24 hour restaurants
  • Felt safe the entire trip
  • very affordable (compared to HK)
  • actually Seoul is pretty much like Hong Kong except they speak Korean there instead of Cantonese

It’s definitely a trip well worth going, especially if you are into Korean Pop culture.  I’ll show you the places we went (for shopping and eating) so you can have a rough itinerary for your next trip.

Map for reference with most stations we’ve visited:

Seoul Subway Map

Place we stayed at:

We booked through AirBnB.  Our host was very nice… in case you want to stay near Gongdeok-dong (which was very central to everywhere we wanted to go) you can go to AirBnB and search for this address or just click on the link below…

461 Gongdeok-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul 121-020, South Korea
It is super convenient as it was only 1 minute away from the train station (Gongdeok).
*UPDATE (Oct. 5, 2015)
I went back to Seoul recently with some friends.  Another location I’d recommend is Ocloud Hotel.  We stayed at the one in Gangham; Ocloud Hotel Gangham.  Address: 1303-14 Seocho 4-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea.  Near Sinnonhyeon Station although it is also walkable from Gangnam station. Website:

Day One

Because we arrived quite late, we went to our AirBnB place to drop off our stuff first.  Luckily, Seoul is famous for their late night shopping in Dongdaemun, so we went there afterwards to indulge ourselves in some shopping.

Chicken Skewer
Yummy chicken skewers.

Dongdaemun Shopping
Some of these shopping malls even open until 4am, although most of them closed at around 2am.  We visited shopping malls like Doota and Migliore.  Also, they had yellow market stalls that were selling cheap (but fake) clothing right across the street, which we also went to take a look at.

Market Stalls
Of course after all the shopping, we were famished.  Time to munch up on our first Korean meal…

Korean BBQ

Day Two

On the second day of the trip, we decided to go to Ewha University in the morning…

If someone knows what this is called… please let me know.  SO GOOD.

Shopping at Ewha
Ewha shopping.

Bear Bear
Mommo’s Lounge.

Ewha University
And of course, the university itself!

Beef Stew
So good.

We walked to Sinchon to do more shopping, which was the station next to Ewha Womans Univ.

Art Box
Art Box – for people obsessed with stationaries.  You can find Art Box in major shopping districts.

Korean Dessert Cafe
Sulbing.  It’s sort of like shaved ice with red bean… really freakin’ good.  We ate at the Korean Dessert Cafe… you can find it at most places.

Korean Dessert Cafe
Must must must go.

Chicken Cheese
Chicken and Cheese for dinner.. yum.

On the way to Hongik University… of course VERY tempting but we had no more room in our stomaches.

Luxury Karaoke
Luxury Karaoke… you can see people karaoke and dance… from the outside.

Some restaurant near Hongik University… looks poppin;.  We were too full to eat anymore though =(

Day Three

OK, time for us to visit Insadong, known for their cultural items.  Very touristy.  Not my favorite place cause it was super crowded and I’m not a big fan of touristy cultural stuff.  Much rather go shopping for K-pop fashion.  Anyway, some pics:

Some contemporary art gallery we went to.



Dumplings and Cold Buckwheat Noodles
We tried this place because there were so many people queuing for it.  It ended up being one of the not so good meals of our trip.  Left: dumplings, meatballs.  Right: cold Buckwheat noodles.

Lots of People
From the outside of the restaurant.

Insadong was boring for us, and so it’s time for more shopping.  This time, we went to Sinsa-dong.  Very very good for the most trendy and fashionable items.  Unfortunately, we were too busy shopping to take pictures.

Coffee Cafe
Tired of shopping?  No worries… there are many coffee cafes sprawling around the city of Seoul for you to take a rest and chill.

Coffee and Lemon Tart Cake
Coffee and lemon tart cake.

Me trying to be creative… haha.

Shop Till You Drop
Shop Till You Drop

Open Space Coffee Cafe

Apgujeong-dong was right next to Sinsa, so we decided to walk there.  IF I lived here, I would be taking the subway.  But because we were tourists, I usually don’t mind walking and looking at the surroundings.


StoreFried Chicken and Beer
The mega popular chicken and beer combo.  Craved it since I came here.

Women's Shop
Hopefully by now I have convinced you that Seoul is a shopping heaven!

We knew we were in Apgujeong when we arrived at the Galleria Department Store.  But because the mall only had luxurious goods (ie. Chanel) which you can get anywhere in the world, and everywhere in Hong Kong, for the same price, we left early.

In our guide book it suggested another area in Apgujeong for many small shops and restaurants as well.  Also very cool, but unfortunately half the stores were closed by the time we went (getting late).

Exhausted from all the shopping and walking, we ventured to the Dragonhill Spa & Resort.

Tried taking the bus.  The bus stop panels are only in Korean… so be sure you either have a guide book or can understand Korean.

Dragonhill Spa & Resort
Dragonhill Spa & Resort.  Quite a fun place actually, many different spas to try, you can sleep on the floor, you can get massages.  Everyone gets naked here (I mean men and women separated of course, sorry to keep your hopes up guys), well in the changing room at least and certain sections.  You can even play games here.  Lots of people come.  My favorite?  Eating Dippin Dots!

Day Four

Next day, we were told to visit Hangangjin.  But first, we wanted to check out Itaewon.  Itaewon is basically the place where all the expats are located.  Like you wouldn’t see many foreigners elsewhere, but in Itaewon, they are everywhere.  There’s also a street in Seoul with all the restaurants, bars, and a few clubs.

Black crusted pizza
We ate at this restaurant called My Chelsea, as recommended by the Tripadvisor app I downloaded.

The street that I was talking about.

After, we checked out Hangangjin (who was recommended by a nice fellow at the bus stop who happened to live in Seoul and also spoke Cantonese!  He recommended this ‘less touristy’ place).  Hangangjin had more boutique shops.


Cool ShopCoco Bruni
Coco Bruni – coffee cafe chain in Seoul

Passion Five

Passion Five
Passion Five.

The next place we were told to go from the nice guy mentioned before was Hapjeong, next to Hongik Univ.

Also very nice place to shop.

At night, we decided to go to Dongdaemun again to do more night shopping 🙂

Day Five

My favorite place to shop was Hongik Univ. so we decided to go there one last time to do some last minute shopping before our flight back to Hong Kong.

Pork Knuckles
Pork Knuckles

Hello Kitty Cafe
Hello Kitty Cafe

Trick Eye Museum
Trick eye museum.  Didn’t have time to go, but heard it’s fun.

So gooooood Churros.

Seoul is famous for its cosmetics.

One last bite before taking the flight.  Oreo shaved ice.

Korean Traditional Food
OK seriously one last bite before taking flight.  Korean traditional food.  Super healthy.

Aanddd.. fly back to Hong Kong.  So like I said before, Seoul is perfect for eating (esp. spicy food and BBQ, two of my favs) and shopping.  I don’t know much about the cultural and historical landmarks but I think they would be worth a visit for a day or two as well.  Would I come here again?  Absolutely yes, especially the next time I need to upgrade my wardrobe.

What did you like most about Seoul?

*Last Update: Nov. 11, 2022 to update broken images.  Also, prayers to Itaewon 🙏🏼

**Originally published on Sept. 23, 2014

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