Myeongdong (명동)

Sunday, 14 February 2016

While there are many other shopping districts like Hongdae (홍대), Itaewon (이태원) and Edae (이대), Myeongdong (명동) turned out to be our most favourite place to shop because of its convenience, atmosphere and the fact there were a lot things to buy and see. (I also loved how it was almost Christmas when we went because the light decorations were just so on-point!) No doubt Myeongdong is the most commercialised shopping district in Seoul, but with the amount of tourists it attracts every year, it's not hard to see why shop owners are putting so much effort into attracting foreigners to spend their time and money there. Even we kept going back!


On one end of Myeongdong near the subway station, you've got your road shops—clothing stores, shoe stores, branches of international brands like Adidas and H&M, and branches of Korean beauty brands like Etude House (에뛰드하우스), Innisfree (이니스프리), and Clio (클리오), etc. (In fact, there are at least 2 branches of every low-end Korean beauty brand in the heart of Myeongdong, and why that is so is beyond me.)

On the other end of Myeongdong, you've got your major department stores like Lotte Department Store (롯데백화점) and Shinsegae Department Store (신세계백화점), where you can find all the high-end Korean beauty brands like Hera (헤라), Sulwhasoo (설화수), The History of Whoo (후), as well as other designer brands.

We spent most of our time walking around the road shops because there was always something we could go back for. But it's funny because even by the end of our 2 weeks in Seoul, I still couldn't navigate my way around Myeongdong. It wasn't like we would get lost or anything, but it just took some time to recognise, for example, which Clio or Innisfree branch we needed to go to (some branches have stock while others don't).

We didn't buy much from the department stores (other than some beauty products) because a lot of stuff they had were very expensive. I mean, even some road shops were pricey! The place we bought the most from was the Myeongdong Underground Shopping Centre because it sold many items, like clothes and accessories, at relatively cheaper prices.


If you walk along the two main roads of Myeongdong from 6:00pm onwards, you'll find many street vendors selling all sorts of yummy Korean street food and sweets. (If you're looking for a bite in the morning/afternoon, it's best to stop by a restaurant instead.) Most items cost about 3,000-5,000 won, so nibbling on some street food is a quick, simple and inexpensive way to dine in Seoul. (Unless you're looking to buy some fruit, that is.)

We tried many of the food stalls, but what I liked the most was the egg bread (gyeranbbang 계란빵), sweet and crispy chicken (dakganjeong 닭강정), sweet potato (goguma 고구마), and pomegranate juice (석류 주스) in a plastic bag.

I usually avoid the street food in China due to hygiene concerns, but if you go to Korea, you must try the street food there. Everything was pretty clean and I didn't feel sick at all for eating any of the street food—not just in Myeongdong, but in Hongdae and Dongdaemun as well. However, if you're not into the whole street food scene (like my sister Annie), you can easily find many good restaurants, cafés and dessert shops in the area. But for me, I think one of the highlights of Myeongdong, food-wise, is the street food.

Honestly, I loved Myeongdong. It was bright, lively and bustling with people. And even when it was crowded, I never felt frustrated like I usually get in Hong Kong. The food was good and the shopping was even better, making the district a really good one-stop place to get most if not all of your shopping needs.

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