What to Buy

Leather Goods

Leather products in various colors and designs are also available for visitors. Leather coats and jackets can be bought cheaply, as well as a variety of other leather goods such as belts, shoes and wallets. Delicate eel skin products, especially, are one of Korea's unique buys.



Among Korea's most well known natural resources are semi-precious stones such as amethyst and smoky topaz. These stones are mined in Korea in a variety of sizes and are then fashioned into delicate jewelry. Visitors may choose from a vast range of elegantly designed pins, necklaces, bracelets and rings offered at very low prices. Look for jewelry in hotel boutiques, department stores, duty free shops or even at the factory itself.



A well known medical book of the Chinese Yang Dynasty says that the best quality ginseng is found in Korea. Ginseng, which is a familiar specialty of Korea known worldwide for its elixir-like powers, is very difficult to cultivate. Not only does it grow extremely slowly, but it also requires that a field be left fallow for 15 years between harvesting and replanting.

As many as three thousand other types of herbs are also produced in the mountainous area of Kangwon-do, Ch'ngcho'ng-do and Cholla-do Provinces. Nowadays, processed herbal foodstuffs such as ginseng tea, the popular ginseng powder or ginseng concentrate are a must in the diet of health-conscious visitors.


Where to Buy

Namdaemun open market

The largest general wholesale market in Korea, Namdaemun Market is just a few minutes' walk from Seoul's ancient South Gate. Its proximity to the downtown area and to many deluxe hotels make it popular among foreign visitors. More than 1,250 shops and stalls line the alleyways in a 10 acre area, selling vegetables, clothes, tableware, crafts, fresh-cut flowers and ginseng, among other things. Since each shop has its own small factory, prices ar lower than with any other shopping area.

It begins its day early, with shop owners receiving items from the factories and preparing for their first customers just after midnight. At around 24:00 cars and buses filled with buyers from all over Korea begin arriving, and by 03:00 the market is bustling, filled with retailers from Seoul and beyond. This activity continues until just before dawn, when the market becomes quieter and merchants can take a break and prepare for the arrival of the general public. Seeing this market, which runs from midnight to dawn, will give you a change to experience the vigor and evergy of Seoul.

Transportation : Get off at Hoehyon Station on Subway Line 4


Tongdaemun maket

One of the oldest and largest markets in Seoul, Tongdaemun Market specializes in silk, fabrics, vegetables, sports equipment, bags, and a multitude of general goods. It is composed of several markets; Kwangjang Market, P'yonghwa Market, Hung-in Market, Shinp'yonghwa Market, spread out to the east, west, and south. Recently in this area, wholesale distribution arcades such as Keopung Freya, Designer Club, Uno Core, Doosan Tower, Milliore, have been built, which accommodate a shopping center, business offices and a sports center. These developments are playing a major role in the modernization and revitalization of the local business environment.

Transportation : Get off at Tongdaemun station on Subway Line 4, Chongno 5-ga Station on Subway Line 1 or Tongdaemun Station in Subway Line 2


Itaewon shopping area

The Itaewon district developed around the U.S. Eighth Army Base in Korea and has been well known among tourists since 1970. European and North American visitor to international conferences, and particularly to the '86 Asian Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics, have spread Itaewon's reputation as a shopper's paradise. The more than 1,500 small shops in the district offer custom-made suits, silk dresses, jogging suits, sportswear, sweaters, fur jackets, leather apparel and ski wear at a fraction of the overseas prices. Shoes are a popular buy. Itaewon carries a huge range of sports shoes, jogging shoes, and the latest in leather dress shoes made with both imported and local leathers. But there is more to Itaewon than clothing and shoes. This is a great area to shop for sports equipment, Korea souvenirs, handicrafts and small gifts. Itaewon also has the best collection of eel skin products in Seoul, Along with smoky topaz, amethyst and jade jewelry.

Transportation : City bus No. 81,23,78-3, Seat Bus No. 773, Airport Express bus No. 600, Shuttle buses from most major hotels



The fashion center of Korea. Most major department stores in Seoul are located there and the many small shops offer all the latest fashions including Korean and foreign make clothes, shoes, accessories and cosmetics from world famous designers. One million people a day flock into Myong-dong's 330,000 sq.m. area. The district is always bustling, and so crowded with cafes and restaurants, that it is as mush an entertainment center as it is a shopping area. It is within easy walking distance of most major downtown hotels.

Transportation : Get off at Ulchiro 1-ga Station on Subway Line 2 or Myong-dong Station on Line 4


Shinchon fashion street

This is one of the most famous shopping streets in Seoul. It is a well known university area, located nearby Ewha Womans', Yonsei, Sogang and Hong-ik Universities, and the streets are filled with youths wearing the latest fashions. Radical and conservative styles coexist side by side. Street cafes lend a chic atmosphere, and the taste of the young people are catered to by the many clothes shops, shoe salons, accessory shops, restaurants and discotheques.

Transportation : Get off at Ewha Womans' Univ. Station or Shinchon Station on Subway Line 2




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Tel : 82-2 572-9998 Fax : 82-2 575-9922