Regardless of whether one has been to Seoul, South Korea before, I’m sure Myeongdong is a popular place that one always gets to hear when getting to know about Seoul. ^^ Even from my earlier posts about where I had been to during my recent Seoul holidays, you would have read about the many restaurants and cafes available in Myeongdong.
There’s more to Myeongdong than just restaurants and cafes of course. It’s also a shopping paradise like Dongdaemun, except that it’s not a 24 hours shopping zone. 😛 Besides, it’s very accessible by the Myeongdong subway, line no. 4 (blue line, 명동역 4호선), or even the nearby Eulijo 1-ga subway station green line no. 2 at Lotte Department Store (을지로입구역 2호선, 롯데백화점앞) at the northern end of Myeongdong.
Within the Myeongdong subway station there is an underground shopping arcade. There are several fashion clothing shops, CD/DVD stores, miscellaneous goods shops and eateries. I particularly like to buy K-pop CDs from a store here: CT Record, located at store B-10. Nowadays there are a few more CD stores that have popped up in this underground shopping arcade, but it seems that CT Record still sells its CDs & DVDs at the most competitive prices available. This time round I bought 3 music CDs.:) Sometimes you can get good buys at the clothing shops as well, although they may not have a nice decor to attract you to go in, but they are the friendly neighbourhood type of stores. ^^
As you exit no. 5 & 6 of the subway station, you will see a shopping mall called Migliore. This mall houses many many shops on several levels, and it’s similar to the one you see at Dongdaemun. When you walk further down along this street, you will be welcomed by the numerous Korean skincare/ cosmetics shops such as Holika Holika (홀리카 홀리카), The Saem (더 샘), Missha (미샤), The Face Shop (더페이스샵), The Skin Food (스킨푸드), Etude House (에뛰드 하우스), Tony Moly (토니모리), Innisfree (이니스프리) and Laneige (라네즈). If you like Korean beauty products, you are really spoilt for choice here! Besides, the prices in Korea is at least 40% cheaper than in Singapore! 😉 Nonetheless it’s worthwhile to do some research on the beauty brands you intend to purchase as certain products are not exactly a lot cheaper than if you buy in Singapore (e.g. Laneige price difference varies from product to product).
Each brand has more than 1 outlet in Myeongdong too, so you can buy the same products of a brand if you aren’t satisfied with the service in a particular outlet. That was what I did hehe. Most of these beauty brands also give out free samples/ gifts at the door to attract you to go in, the most common free gift being mask sheets or facial cotton. When you buy products from the shop, you are also usually loaded with many free samples of various products, for example, cleansing foam, toner, moisturiser, mask sheets etc. Don’t forget to ask for the tax-free shopping slip if your total single purchase per shop is at least KRW 30,000 (about S$34.70), so remember to bring your passport along as proof that you are a tourist/foreigner (외국인)! So far all the beauty brands provide a tax-free shopping experience, except The Skin Food. 😦 If you are a die-hard Skin Food fan, then perhaps you can consider buying your “loot” at the Doota outlet instead because Doota lets foreigners enjoy tax-free shopping as long as you have a minimum single purchase of KRW 30,000, regardless of brand. 🙂
I also had a surprise find nearer to the end of Myeongdong (behind Ibis Myeongdong Hotel), see picture below:
Breadtalk has made its way into Seoul! I’m not sure when did it started in Myeongdong but it was quite a good feeling to see a homegrown chain in a foreign land hehe. The outlet was pretty spacious and when I went in to take a look at the prices, there were quite a handful of customers buying its bread. However, I was kind of shocked to see the price of the famous pork-floss bun – at KRW 2,800 (about S$3.20)! 😮 It’s selling at S$1.50 in Singapore and I already think it’s quite expensive… -.-“
There are also many pushcarts selling Korean street food like spicy rice cake, fish cake, cuttlefish etc. I tried the spicy rice cake (떡볶이) and Corn Flavoured Brown Sugar Pancake (옥수수호떡) at 2 different pushcarts along the street near Migliore one of the nights. The rice cake was not so chewy compared to the one we had in Gwangjang Market, and it was slightly more expensive at KRW 3,000. On the other hand the pancake (KRW 1,000) was a bit too sweet and sticky for my liking.
There are also various popular restaurants which I featured in previous posts – Nolboo Army Stew (놀부 부대찌개) and Bonjuk (본죽); cafes such as Cafe Pascucci, Caffe Bene (카페베네), Red Mango (레드망고) and O’sulloc Tea House (오설록). Of course there’s a lot more for you and me to discover. 😀
With so many reasons/ excuses to visit Myeongdong, isn’t it a tourist paradise for everyone? You can shop, eat & chill out at this popular location in downtown Seoul. Plus it’s accessible and not too far to major tourist attractions like Gwanghwamun, Dongdaemun, Insadong etc. Thus don’t forget to put Myeongdong into your itinerary the next time you visit Seoul. 🙂