A small collection of thoughts about shopping in Korea.
Don’t bring too many socks with you to Korea. There are $1 pairs everywhere and there is every design you can think of!
There are options for the taller and wider foreigners to buy clothes at places like H&M, Zara, Uniqlo and Forever 21. It can be difficult shopping in the smaller Korean stores and you’ll come across a lot of ‘free size’ where I could fit maybe 5% of items. Many shops in Itaewon offer clothing stores that cater to foreigners.
Korea is great for clothes with random translations which provided much amusement for us. There is a lot of clothing made in Korea itself and you would think there would be more clothing with Hangul on it, however, the majority has random English words.
Some of my favourite areas for shopping were Hongdae, EHWA women’s university, Myeongdong and Itaewon.
Two things you do not need to bring too much of is skincare and makeup. There is a whole new world to explore in this realm and you’re going to be in the best place for new and innovative trends.
There are bloggers galore that you can get recommendations from online and quite a range from street brands (TonyMoly, Innisfree, the Face Shop for example) which you will see absolutely everywhere and are quite affordable, to the high-end brands that you’ll find at places like Shinsegae shopping centres and Gangnam.
The best thing about shopping for skincare and makeup in Korea is the free samples! Expect to get little sachets, mini bottles and sheet masks with your purchases and if you’re in the countryside like I was, there’s a good chance you’ll get a heap more than in Seoul.
If you’re a stationary geek like me, Korea is amazing! My two favourites stores were ArtBox and Butter and I could easily spend hours at a time looking (and buying) everything! Daiso is also amazing and in most towns, which was great for getting supplies for different projects at school.
Re: Convenience stores
I could write a whole blog post on how much I love Korean convenience stores (and I probably will) and the range of food you can get! There is close to 1 convenience store for every 10 people (that’s a guess) and I went to one basically every day, usually after and sometimes even before school. The snack and drinks selection is wide and varies between the different brands.
The larger chain stores to look out for are 7-eleven, GS-25, CU, Ministop and Storyway.
Convenience store icecreams are the best thing about summer, with convenience store cocktails & drinks out the front coming in at a close second.
The best guide for what to find in convenience stores in Korea can be found here.
Re: General shopping
Korea also has Emart, Costco and IKEA. Emart is a department store where you can get basically anything, from your groceries, clothes, camping gear and even turtles. Emart and Costco are great to find your Western food fix.
One major change to our diet was the bread! Normal bread loaves are very sweet in Korea so toast and sandwiches became a rarity, however, our trips to the various bakeries still happened very regularly. The desserts and savoury snack were great and there are bakeries everywhere including Paris Baguette, Tous les Jours and Le Pommier.
There are a few actually good bakeries that can be found in Seoul. Our pick was Wood & Brick in Jongno.
Photos are by us. Written by Sarah