Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Korea 2011: Myeongdong

Why visit: Shopping paradise for hip, trendy & make-up lovers
Recommended time to spend: Half to one day
Nearest train station: Myeongdong {Line 4}

We met up with one my Korean friends, Jaye, who brought us around Myeongdong. Just like Dongdaemun, this is another shopping paradise in Seoul. However, the things sold in Myeongdong are slightly more expensive because they are at retail prices {but you can still haggle over prices in some stalls}. I do find that Myeongdong is like Shinjuku in Tokyo, whereby there are more international brands like Forever 21, Zara, H&M and Gap in the area. You can find popular Korean brands like SPAO and Codes Combine there too.

Korea is famous for its beauty products, and Myeongdong is one area whereby you can find ALL of the Korean big cosmetic names like The Face Shop, Etude, Missha, Holika Holika, SkinFood and Innisfree. Just to name a few :P And it's not just one shop for each of the brands, but maybe 2-3?? You don't have to worry about walking past one and having to trace back your steps to find it, because you are more than likely to walk past another branch round the corner!

We do have most of the Korean cosmetics brands in Singapore. However, I went to recce today and found that the prices in Korea are definitely much cheaper! I bought a B.B. cream from The Face Shop in Korea for my sister, and the exact model costs about twice as much here in Singapore! The masks, eye shadows, blushers, and of course the much-talked about B.B creams are definitely worth getting for yourself, or as souvenirs for families and friends. The various shops have sale packages like Buy 1 Get 1 Free kinda thing, so look out for them. And oh, even if you aren't sure what to get, just feel free to pop into the stores as they give you a free gift just for entering ;p Do drop by TODA COSA or Olive Young if you aren't looking for a specific cosmetic brand. Both stock a wide range of the various brands so it's a one-stop place to sample all the brands before making a purchase.

Come night time, Myeongdong's street stalls steal the limelight from the retail stores and they sell all kinds of things like T-shirts, hair accessories, mobile covers, belts, watches and yes, even fake luxury goods. I'm surprised to see so many stores blatantly selling fake LVs, Chanels, Hermes, Gucci, Tory Burch etc towels, keychains, phone straps, shoes and scarfs! Counterfeit laws, anybody?? Of course, local food delights like deokbokki {cylindrical rice cakes in chilli sauce} and soondae {stuffed pig's intestines} are sold too.

BAPE fans will be interested to know that the only BAPE store in Seoul is located at Level 5 of Shinsegae Department store, which stands where Korea's first department store - the Japanese Misreukkosi Department Store, used to be. I know that BAPE magazine states that there's another store at 10 Corso Como, but THAT just sells a selection of BAPE products, it is not a stand alone store. We did go all the way to 10 Corso Como {in Apujeong} and got disappointed :/

Other major department stores in Myeongdong include Lotte, Lotte Young, Avatar, Uiryu, Migliore, M Plaza and Noon Square. There are also multilingual volunteer guides and tourist information centres {one next to Woori Bank & another at Avatar} to provide brochures and maps.

P.S. If you want to take a break from all the shopping, I recommend visiting Myeongdong Cathedral, Korea's first Catholic Church {free admission}. It's beautiful!

More posts on my Korean travels here.

What cosmetics brand do you use? Are you into the {Korean} B.B cream craze too?


Gemma @ My Big Nutshell said...

That is soooooo cool, reckon you could spend even longer there? That just looks like so much fun to do that with an equally enthusiastic friend!

Oh I have visited Shinjuku, all I remember was that it was pretty darn cool, I was there when I was 16.

Ames said...

Wow that looks and sounds amazing! What an excellent post and insight.

I'm so into the BB cream craze, that stuff is just amazing!!

SheiLove said...

Im your newest follower, Hope you can come by my site and follow me back


Daisy, Roo and Two said...

I love those pictures - it all looks so colourful and busy!! What a great little outtake from your trip!

Lee said...

Being old, well 40 I had not heard of BB cream. I have now googled it a desperately need some! Sounds like a fantastic product.

EssentiallyJess said...

I can honestly say I am not into the Korean face cream craze! I use dove tinted moisturizer during the day and that's about it.

And honestly, can you ever need a break from shopping? ;)

Unknown said...

Oohh, I wanna go! Sounds like absolute heaven to me.

What a great guide too, if I ever got the chance to get over there I would most certainly reference this post!

Javid Suleymanli said...

That's the exact place I was on last Saturday. Cool place for shopping. I went with my two shopaholic friends so, I was exhausted!

Ai Sakura said...

Gemma: yeah, definitely a place to go bk more than once if you have time :) Shinjuku is awesome, isn't it!

Ames: Actually I haven't tried any yet haha.. but I bought a few and wanna try. look out for my review posts on the bb cream! :)

Daisy: thanks love! And thanks for being a new FB friend!

Lee: I have heard amazing stuff of BB cream.. I got some and will review. let u know how it goes ;p

Jess: heehee shopping is pretty addictive, right? :P thanks for joining my GFC!

Erin: thanks! hope you get a chance to in the future!

Javid: my, you were just asking for trouble going down with 2 shopaholic friends, eh? haha.. I'll be postins on other non-shopping places too. Let me know what YOU think about them! :)

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

Oh how fun! I'm totally jealous that you have all these fabulous shopping excursions and places!

ashley said...

new follower ~ enjoy your posts!

Susan said...

I just got back from my Korea trip and have to agree that Myeongdong is not to be missed. And of course without saying, most of my cosmetics were purchased from there as well. I couldn't resist stepping into one particular cosmetics brand called too cool for school.