Korean fish markets are one of the truly great cultural experiences in Korea. Noryangjin Market is a huge warehouse with hundreds of seafood vendors. Each of them has tanks full of various live fish. When you go, wander until you see the fish you like. The vendor will pull if from the water, smack it on the head to kill it, then skin and slice it in front of you. Take your fresh fish to the back of the warehouse where there are dozens of restaurants waiting to prepare your dinner. Your total price, depending on what fish you order, will be 20,000-40,000 won per person.
The market is said to have 700 vendors, mostly selling to restaurants. This is known as one of the world's largest fish markets.
This market was featured on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel in 2008 or 2009.
Gwangjang Market (광장시장) is located in Jongno adjacent to Dongdaemun Market. Gwangjang is best known as one of Seoul's best food vendor alleys, but it is also a great area to buy many other things. Here you can find all kinds of hiking and camping supplies, kitchen supplies, foods, traditional clothing, gifts, silk, handcrafts (including handmade deep fryers), and lacquerware boxes inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
Here is a link to my video at Gwangjang Market: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/vv/6fb6/
If you intend to purchase snacks, drinks, or any consumable items, there are a lot of convenience stores open twenty fours a days around the city. However, if you want a "supermarket" type of atmosphere, then you can go to either of four large chain discount stores: Costco, EZ Mart, Lotte Mart, or Home Plus.
The nearest Lotte Mart in central Seoul is located beside the Seoul Station. If you're taking the subway, take line 1 or line 4 and exit at Seoul Station. The nearest EMart is at Yongsan located at the basement and ground floor of I Park Mall beside the giant electronic store. For subway commuters, take line 1 and exit at Yongsan station. The nearest Costco, on the other hand, is south of the river, at Yangpeong. The nearest subway station is the Yangcheon-gu Office.
Most stores have two floors. First floor would be where you would find the food items and the second floor is where the non-food items are located. Majority of the items sold in Costco are in bulk but for the Korean stores, they sell in pieces or if in bulk, the quantities are small. In addition, there is a large fresh produce section wherein they offer a lot of sampling, especially of cooked items. Also, there is an annual membership fee of KW 35,000 at Costco while for EMart and the others, they don't charge any. Finally, there is always a food court beside the supermarket just in case one does not get full just eating the samplesand you have to bring your own shopping bag in case you don't want to pay for them from the store. If you bring a vehicle, parking is free is you purchase a sizable quantity.
South Korea has the largest online population in the world, with 83 per cent of the country's residents connected to the internet. As such, Koreans love to shop online and they are second only to the United States in terms of the size of the market; which is estimated to be around US$ 10 Billion this year (and growing). There are dozens of internet shopping websites to choose from and the most popular web portal is Korean: www.naver.com/.
While "surfing" the various Korean shopping websites, I discovered only one site, Gmarket, that offered an English alternative. Initially, I was thrilled about this but it did not last long as I realized that the offerings were limited. After placing the order for the few items we chose from the English website, I then clicked on the Korean Gmarket website to check on the items we were missing out on. I would click on the picture of a particular item but the text of the descripition and specifications remained to be Korean. However, I began noticing that the items I had clicked on remained on the rightmost column as a "List of Items Reviewed". I took a chance and switched back to the English site and to my surprise, the list remained on the screen. From thereon, I was able to either save the particular item on my Wish List or purchase this outright because I was in the environment wherein my account resided. Of course, the description remained in Korean so I had to ask the assistance of a Korean to translate for me.
My best recommendation for a book store in Seoul is "What the book"
They are located in Itaewon, not far from the subway station. The website give address and a map. However, if you live in Korea, they offer shipping to all corners of Korea.
The cater to the ex-pat community, so carry arguably the largest selection of foreign books and authors.
They carry foreign books and will likely be the best bet for any translated copies of Korean books.
What to pay: Prices are relatively competitive, even for the hard to find books.
Many many stores, although products are similar to each other, the feeling was good!
The real good thing is price, cheapest in all Asian airports!! You should try to stop by.
What to buy: Cosmetics, liquor, electronics
What to pay: Credit cards, prices were in USD.
This is a relatively new mall. The architecture is very modern and hip. There are outdoor areas where often events are held. There's a great food court where you place your order at a central register after looking at all the pictures (just take a picture of what you want and bring it to the cash), pay, and then go into the food court and wait for your number to come up at the counter/outlet you think corresponds to the type of food you ordered. Did you know you could get cherry tomatoes on your sundae? And don't ask for a "sundae" - you'll get something else entirely!
There's also a movie theater in the mall.
The rail and subway station are in the same building so it's very convenient to shop here.
Across from the I'Park Mall is one of the Yongsan Electonics Mall buildings. Definitely worth a visit.
What to buy: I didn't actually shop here but I did notice interesting underwear stores and Asian toy stores.
I know I'm A Sucker of Duty Free Shops!
Incheon Airport Duty Free Korea is 25000 sq. ft. area with a different themes for each store. It is subdivided into sections, each one with its own unique ambiance. The Brand they Sell are:
Channel, Hermes, Burberry, Bally, Peter Geeson, Trussardi, Furla, Dunhill, Certi, Nina ricci, Givenchy, Daks, Longchamp, Aigner, Missoni, Hunging world, Dupont, Versace, etc.
Hours: 7:00am ¡9:30pm daily
What to buy: liquor, cigarettes, brand electronics, cashmere wear, Tartan skirts, golf wear, raincoat, accessory (e.g. celtic), Australian top brand Kendone including wool, wine, kangaroo leather, high quality Korean industrial products and souvenir, World Cup souvenir, traditional Korean food such as Kimchi, laver and rice cake. There is even a fast shopping section for busy travelers. Products such as liquor, cigarettes, insam (ginseng) and gift set are sold for quick grabs.
What to pay: Payment: Korean Won, US Dollar, Japanese Yen, Credit Cards, Traveler Checks (Maxx out your credit card!)
I'm always surprised to see American businesses flourishing in other countries. 7 Eleven is a convenience store where you can buy quick food, drink, magazines and all types of other stuff that you wouldn't be able to get if the other stores are closed. In South Korea, the competition to 7 Elevens would be Storyway.
Most HRC I have been to are restaurants with a gift shop attached or within the restaurant. This is actually a night club with dancing. After viewing the map, I thought I could get off the # 4 Metro Line at Samgakji (428) and walk east on Itaewon to get there. Don't! It's tooo far, transfer to the # 6 line to Itaewon (630).
I collect HRC pins as you may have noticed on my various travel pages. Every once in awhile, I will also pick up a shirt or two. I always check to see if there are any HRC where ever I'm traveling to. This one in Seoul was due to open March 2008 but actually opened on April 16th, 2008! Just in time for my visit!
What to buy: American Food, Pins, Shirts, Hats.
What to pay: More than average. Two shirt and two pins cost me 110,00 WON (about $110).
GALLERIA LUXURY HALL
About 20 minutes walk from Apgujeong station is flourishing area that surrounds the Galleria Dept Store.
494, 515 Apgujung-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-110
HYUNDAI DEPT STORE
Hyundai Dept store is famous for introducing global luxury simultaneous to their debut in Paris, New York and Milano.From design to convenient facilities and spaces for general cultural activities, the store allows customers to shop more comfortably and pleasurably.
As the representative Korean dept store that bosats the longest history and tradition in Korea, Shisegae promises you high-class, top quality service. In addition to luxury products from around the world, you can also buy special gifts to remember your stay in Korea such as kimchi, laver, ginseng, and other local product.
COEX MALL Asia’s largest underground shopping complex
This is an underground emporium that integrates shopping, dining, and a variety of entertainment.
Subway line 2 Samseong stn exit 6
Located to the south of the Han river, Apgujeongdong is the leading fashion mecca, formed as a cultural zone with a high propensity of consumption. It creates leading fashion trends, customer friendly shops, foreign brand name shops with high quality goods, reasonably priced hip hop fashion shops, and accessory shops. Its very popular with wealthy Koreans. There are many shops and restaurants concentrated around “Rodeo Street” Apgujeongdong.
What to buy: Rodeo Street is well known for its hip pubs and high fashion boutiques from designer to vintage clothing shops. It is a favored haunt of Korean celebrities.
MYEONGDONG is pedestrian- friendly area in the heart of the city is loaded with departement stores, shopping malls and mid market apparel shops. Packed with shopping street and people symbolizes the ultramodern fashion and culture of Seoul.
NAMDAEMUN is Korea’s oldest open- air market; it has existed on this spot for more than 600 years. Just a few minutes from Seoul’s ancient Namdaemun gate ( Sunglyemun or South gate). Namdaemun market is permanently crowded and is open round the clock. It is a ‘must’ for bargain hunter.
DONGDAEMUN has recently become the largest apparel shopping area for young Koreans. While shopping, you can enjoy live performances and other events at the open stage of Doosan Tower, Freya Town and Migliore. Has more night time shoppers than day times, all looking for a better bargain
What to buy: Item you find during a trip become part of your memories. Visit the world-renowned fashion streets of Myeong- dong and Itaewon, the major wholesale district at Namdaemun and Dongdaemun market, the streets of Insadong full of traditionnal items. From arts and craft bade by artisan to the world-famous natural health food ginseng, the traditional costume ‘hanbok’, or the eye-catching array digital product.
Often considered the nation¢¢ç¯s first market, Gwangjang Market has developed into a market often frequented by tourists from around the world. This market is open every day except Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is famous for its silk and satin, hanboks (traditional Korean clothing), textiles, handicrafts, utensils, fruits and vegetables, fish and so much more. This market offers almost everything you might be looking for.
What to buy: The Ground :
Clothes subsidiary materials, Dried fruits, Womans clothes wholesale,
Bedclothes, handicraft, Curtains, Health foods, Agricultural and marine products, Etc, and
above all things, something to eat various street bender foods.
The second floor :
Custom-made HANBOK( Treditonal Korean clothes ), Silks and satins, etc...
TechnoMart is a large shopping center, which has a shopping mall, discount stores, and a total of more than 2,000 electronic shops located from the 1st to 8th floor. You can purchase electronic products, computers, sound systems, communication equipment, CDs and much more. Each floor specialises in it's own product.
On the B2 floor there is also a large Lotte Mart department/grocery store where you can shop for clothes, groceries, home appliances, food and snacks at a reasonable price.
Above the 8th floor are many affordable restaurants and entertainment options.
On the 10th floor there is a CGV movie theater with a total of 2,000 seats. Also, a Dairy Queen! The only one I've seen in Korea; was nice to be able to get a peanut-buster parfait! :)
There is also a viewing area next to the restaurants, where you can go outside onto the roof and take in the view of Hangang.
Open at 10am.
Electronics stores close at 8pm, restaurants closed at 9pm, CGV cinema open late for movies.
Be aware: TM is closed every second and 4th Tuesday of the month.
What to pay: Items can be purchased at a 10-20 % lower price compared to other shops in Seoul.
You can haggle prices here. The better you are, the better the discount!
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