The good thing about living on the 4 line is that we have so many tourist districts easily accessible. Just two stops after DongDaeMun is what literally translates to “bright town”- MyeongDong (명동).
Despite the slight drizzle, Myeongdong was bustling with tons of tourists eager to shop and experiment with Korean fashion. Similar to New York City’s SoHo, Myeongdong is home to many international brand stores such as Forever 21, Zara, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and many many more. My advice: skip the stores you can find at home. There is no difference in price or fashion—everything is exactly as would you buy it in your local mall or shopping center. Instead aim to be a bit more adventurous and head for the smaller Korean boutiques.
MyeongDong, like most neighborhoods in Seoul, operates in a spider path sense. There is one main road right down the middle that houses all the big brand names and dozens of tiny alleyways that house the better deals. These tiny crowded shops sell everything from briefcase shaped hand bags (for as little as ten dollars!),to trendy chiffon skirts and shirts, as well as tons of adorable accessories to wear and gift.
One thing fascinating about MyeongDong is the amount of makeup and beauty cosmetics stores they have. Every single block has one of each major beauty stores: Faceshop, Innisfree, Missha, Etude House, Holika Holika, Olive Young, Skin Food, Its Skin and even Lush. As its said, the things you will see the most in Korea are coffee shops and cosmetic stores. And trust us, you will go into every single one of them-with or without choice. Employees stand in front of each store, waving free samples and shouting “EYE SHOP, JUST EYE SHOP” to lure in passing, unsuspecting tourists. Its definitely good advertising because 99 percent of the time, you will go in and you probably will end up buying something because the products are just that good.
MyeongDong has its fair share of amazing restaurants like any other neighborhood, but what caught our eye was the peculiar and sense-tingling street food. You have your typical Korean street food like ddeokbukki(떡볶이), a spicy rice cake dish, and then you have the most mind boggling food we’ve ever seen. Hot dogs on a stick with a tater-tot coating, what looks like chips on a stick, freshly squeezed orange juice mixed with soda in a bag-its the definition of fun food.
Although central MyeongDong does get very crowded, it has other streets that are fairly calm as well. Just a few blocks away from the shopping swarm is the beautifully calm MyeongDong Cathedral. Aided by the hilly landscape of Seoul, a flight of steps leads up to the towering cathedral from which dozens of individuals walk up to the daily mass.
MyeongDong is definitely THE place to go for the best shopping deals in Seoul. Filled with a daily crowd of tourists, its the ideal place to be for those looking to score great deals without getting lost in translation. There are tourist information centers as well as currency exchange stations at every corner so bring along your rainy day fund because spending is inevitable in MyeongDong.
Next Stop: Lotte World (롯데월드)