Saturday, January 17, 2009

Shopping in Seoul

As the Korean currency, the Wong, has been on a downward spiral of sorts against the Yen recently, shopping in Seoul has become very attractive for the Japanese. Couple that with the generally low prices of Seoul and you get a good explanation for the recent influx of the shoppers, taking the short trip over to Seoul.

P1100079 The biggest shopping center in Seoul, at least the biggest one that is underground - an attribute which is crucial in the frigid Seoul winter, is COEX. COEX is an underground maze of big and little stores selling pretty much anything and everything you can think of, as well as restaurants. The place is so huge it is basically made up of individual malls and streets of shops connected together. It is definitely a good place to check out but unfortunately it is quite a ways far away from central Seoul - about half an hour to forty minutes by the Seoul subway. If  you can brave the travel though, I am sure you can find what you are looking for here (assuming you are not looking for the infamous pirated/fake stuff - those are hard(er) to spot in big shopping centers).

P1100037 The most popular shopping location is much closer to the city center - albeit it is a smaller, more traditional, and outside - Myungdong Shopping Street. What you have here is basically a longish street flanked on the left and right by stylish shops with a decided bias for clothing items. This place is the place to shop if you are even remotely interested in clothing stuff. The prices are, at worst, competitive with Tokyo in higher end stores and at best less than half of what one would pay for similar items here in Japan. I was able to pick up a corduroy jacket, shirt, and sweater for less than $100.

P1110097 Another underground/covered mall is the Lotte Mall connected to Lotte World (which I will talk about in the next post). Lotte Mall is similar to COEX though of course smaller. If you happen to go to Lotte World you can easily step into the the mall.

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