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Shopping trips – Part 6: Seoul, guide to best buys and Gangnam style!

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Seoul is for serious shoppers. In this buzzing capital city of South Korea there are miles of cool shopping streets, neighbourhoods and markets. Anything and everything is possible.

Even better - the energetic team at Budget Direct Insurance has done all the legwork! Here are a few expert pointers to help you find your way.

1. Skin care freebies

Myeongdong is the primary shopping area of Seoul. Head here if you’re into Korean cosmetics and skincare as you will find all the brands, at prices much cheaper than Singapore. Stores give out lots of freebies and samples so hold out your hand and grab some goodies!

Big brands like H&M, Zara, Nike, UNIQLO and the well-known Lotte Department store are also located in Myeongdong. Bring your passport and e-ticket and take advantage of duty free shopping. You can arrange to pick up your goods up at the airport but be careful to clearly put down your departure date. There’s also a great variety of street food to sample.

Subway Myeong-dong station, line 4, exit 6 / Euljiro 1-ga Station, Line 2, exit 5.

2. All night shopping

Dongdaemun market is the place where you can literally shop ‘til you drop, with many street vendors open all night. Smaller retailers come here to buy their merchandise – you save more by cutting out the middleman (we are in favour of this!). A few larger stores, such as Doota or Migilore, are dedicated to Korean made fashion.

Subway Dongdaemun station, Line 1 and 4.

3. Student fashion

Students + fashion usually = cheap and trendy. Ewha Womans University Shopping Street is the place for twenty somethings and teens looking for something different. Located just outside one of Seoul’s nicest campuses, the Ewha’s Womans University area is a mecca for young fashionistas. Good quality and reasonably priced, with hair salons in abundance to complete your new look!

Subway Ewha Womans University station, Line 2. Take Exit 1, 2 or 3

4. Rainy day?

No need to stop shopping, head for the Gangnam Underground Shopping area. This is a cheap and cheerful women’s shopping paradise. There are even lockers available to store your shopping if it’s getting heavy. Korean made stuff is good quality, but there’s not much leeway on the price, so haggling won’t get you much of a discount. You can’t try on here either, so make sure to buy carefully. If you leave at exit 9 you will be near the major international brands like Zara, UNIQLO, Spao and Muji.

Subway Gangnam Station of Seoul Subway Line 2.

5. Truely Korean

Head for Namdaemun Market for a taste of true Korean culture – traditional Korean objects, kimchi, seaweeds, fresh fish, ginseng and, of course, masses of clothes and accessories. Great atmosphere with good coffee shops for hanging out. First head to the tourist booth for a map.

Subway Heoyeon Station, Line 4. Take exit 4, 5 or 6.

For more tips on shopping overseas, look out for earlier posts in this series.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember it’s vital to have good travel cover.
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