I’ve been to Myeongdong more times than I can count but it’s a unique experience every time. I have found that if one doesn’t know the area well, navigating it can be tricky and you could easily miss out on a load of specials, stores and of course the food. There’s a lot to see and do, which makes Myeongdong an absolute shoppers feast.


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Though it is a really touristy area, one can still shop till you drop. So here are some of the best insider tips for a magical shopping fiesta.

[P.S. Travelling to Seoul? Make sure you check out our 5D4N Muslim-friendly itinerary of the city!]

1. The early bird catches the worm

Credit: @artjohnguerra on Instagram

As Myeongdong is the heart of the Seoul shopping district, it will get pretty busy. So if you want to enjoy your shopping and avoid the crowds, I can’t stress enough to go early! For the peace and quiet and no shoving, the earlier you go, the better. Most stores and department stores open around 10-11 am.


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It can get really crowded from late afternoon and on weekends from as early as 12 pm. At night Myeongdong is crazy busy and has its own charm of course, but for shopping, it’s manic and way too crowded. Unless you are into that kind of madness, then I recommend you to go early. But that said, I do enjoy Myeongdong at night for its international feel and vibe 😊


Credit: @najiafatima5 on Instagram

So I suggest go early, get the shopping done and then enjoy the ample street food on offer. Most food vendors open in the afternoon, so you can have a good shopping time before going crazy on all the street food.

2. Get a locker

Getting a locker may be one of the smartest things to do when in Myeongdong because let’s be honest – no one likes to carry around loads of packets or a heavy backpack all day 😅

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Go early to get a locker, unless you get lucky later on in the day. It doesn’t cost too much and it’s in the Myeongdong subway station. Please note that each time you open the locker you have to pay to have it closed again, so do loads of shopping and then put your shopping steals in the locker. 

Credit:  @pennedplaces on Instagram

The only issue with Myeongdong lockers is that they are behind the turnstiles, which means you have to either get it straight away when you get off the subway. That being said, I think it’s still worth it! 

3. It’s all about the 1+1

Korea is known for its 1+1 deals and in Myeongdong, it can get really crazy. If you are as obsessed as the locals are about skin care and makeup, then this is for you 🤗

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

Most, if not all of the beauty care stores will have some sort of 1+1 (or even better!) deals on offer. It’s best to find the brand you like most and check if they have any deals. 

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

If you are lucky, which will be the case when it comes to shopping in Korea – you will definitely find what you are looking for. I always get my eye cream and face serums from Missha but there are loads of stores to choose from too. 

4. Window shopping is key

This is something I’ve learned from my beautiful and shopping savvy wife, Fatima. She always stresses the importance of never buying the first thing you see and don’t, I repeat, don’t spend all of your money in the first store you see 😂

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

There are loads of the same clothes or beauty brand stores in the area and they all have their own sales and stock. So shop around, be prepared to wait on the best deal and above all, be prepared to walk. They have it all from huge clothing brands, cosmetic stores and of course, local brands and bargain stores.

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

Wear the comfiest shoes you own and be prepared to walk all day and a lot. This is shopping at its best, so get ready and go! Myeongdong is huge and finding deals are pretty easy. All you have to do is just go from store to store and remember to compare prices.

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

I love sneakers and they have all the best brands, with multiple stores – Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and Converse and more! Of course, they have local stores such as ABC mart and Les More that stock all of the above brands. If you’re into clothes, they have H&M, Zara, Forever21, and Uniqlo – you will be spoilt for choice. Window shop first and then decide on the best deals.

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

Down the side alleys, you will find market vendors as shown in the picture above. They have awesome deals and you can haggle if you are paying in cash and buying a lot. Remember, don’t be shy to walk away if you feel that you haven’t gotten the deal you want.

Missha is my favorite store for men’s face creams and eye serums, but as you can tell by now they have so many stores, it’s hard to imagine not finding the store you want. Here are just a few that I’d recommend: Laneige, Skinfood, IOPE, Innisfree, Stylenanda 3CE, Olive Young, Boots, Aritaum, Nature Republic, Primera, and Etude House.

For luxury brands such as Sulwhasoo, History of Whoo, Hera, Amore Pacific, Clinique, MAC and of course Bobbi brown – your best bet is the Lotte Department Store.

Once you have checked out the area and know what’s on offer – it’s time to go crazy and shop!

5. Don’t miss the underground shopping center

Whether you like malls, department stores or Kpop, Myeongdong has it all. This is why one needs loads of time and patience. For the most part, Myeongdong is, in essence, an outdoor mall or shopping area.

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

That being said, there is an entire underground shopping mall, filled with little boutiques and stores, where one can bargain and haggle away. Not all stores will allow this, but many are more than willing and deals are plentiful.

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

The underground is directly connected to Myeongdong Station, so head there and see if you’ve got what it takes to strike a deal. It’s important to know the phrase for a discount: “Kaa Kaa Ju Say Yo”(깎아주세요). It’s not exactly spelt like this but works for saying it 😉

6. Socks, we love socks!

Korea is well known for its cute socks and here in Myeongdong one can find socks to suit everyone’s fashion style. 

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

They have loads of Disney characters, superheroes, and Kpop idols, yes Kpop idols. I would suggest going for the 10+1 deal (buy 10, get 1 free).

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

As you won’t know which socks to take or leave, a nice round 11 should work 😉 They make cute gifts for family and friends.

7. Know the best periods to shop

Whether it’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday, knowing when to shop is something every great shopper knows and looks out for. Getting the best deal is as addictive as shopping itself.

Credit: Visit Korea Committee(Korea Grand Sale Organizing Committee)

Though Korea is a great place to shop, it doesn’t get any better than the Korea Grand Sale. Loads of companies and almost every store will take part! They include airlines, national theater productions such as NANTA and major department stores such as Hyundai and Lotte.

Credit: Visit Korea Committee(Korea Grand Sale Organizing Committee)

The summer sale is normally around July and lasts for a month and the winter sale is held normally during mid-January to the end of February. They run across Korea and Myeongdong is at the heart of it all. Head to the website for more information. 

8. Halal restaurants galore

Yes, I know I have mentioned food before, but these aren’t convenience store snacks or street foods! They are restaurants. I’m sure if you’re out on a date or with the parentals (a South African slang for parents😉), a restaurant is by far the better option. Having lived here for almost 8 years, I have seen much changes on the halal front and these places help so so much. 

Kampungku 


Credit: @utterlysaby on Instagram

Kampungku is an authentic Malaysian restaurant, serving both Malaysian and Korean food. The menu options are mouthwatering and include some of the best both countries have to offer.


Credit: @muna_miny on Instagram

I have always wanted to try Korean-style fried chicken and at last, I could, and it’s delicious 😋 It didn’t disappoint at all. 

 Credit: @Kampungkuseoul  on Instagram

From nasi lemak, fried rice, tom yam and chicken satay to local dishes such as Bulgogi, Sweet Crispy Chicken, Korean Fried Chicken, and Kimchi Fried Rice – they definitely have something for everyone.

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Address: Jong-ro 20-gil, Namsandong 2(i)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating hours: From 11 am to 9 pm
Contact: (+82) 02-310-9249
Price: about KRW 6,500-10,000
Nearest subway station: Myeongdong Station (Line 4), Exit 3

Busan Jib

In true Korean fashion, this little restaurant is hidden away in a side street of Myeongdong and seemingly out of sight, but you will definitely regret it if you miss it. 

Credit: @amelda_nira on Instagram

Busan Jib serves halal-certified meat in all their delicious authentic Korean dishes. The quality of the meat is really good and so is the chicken. So bring some extra won to have a feast.


Credit: @nasihataru on Instagram

Their Korean spicy chicken stew, ginseng chicken and bulgogi are a must 😋 As it’s hard to find Korean halal food, I’d recommend enjoying all they have to offer. If you’ve always wanted to try Korean BBQ, this is the place for you. You can barbecue your very own Bulgogi and make the meaty lettuce wrap!

Halal status: Halal meat available
Address: 11-4 Myeongdong 8-gil, Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating hours: 11am – 10pm daily
Contact No: +82 2-777-8660
Website

Gurkha Restaurant

I love Indian Food and Gurkha is one of the best places in Seoul for that. That being said, expect to pay a premium. This is the case with most foreign cuisine in Korea. 

Credit: Gurkha Restaurant Page

The fact that they are halal means having halal meat and chicken, which in turn means no limits to what we can eat. The food is delicious and the set menus are a good idea if you are on a budget. They can feed 1 to 4 people. Remember that food isn’t cheap at these kinds of restaurants but works well for dates, family or a business lunch or dinner.

 Credit: Gurkha Restaurant Page

Halal status: Halal meat available
Address: 4F, 16-1 Myeongdong 10-Gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea
Operating hours: 10.30am – 10.30pm daily
Contact No: +02-775-8860
Website

#HHWT Tip: Don’t just stop at Myeongdong. Fill your tummy at these halal places when in Seoul!

9. Get your caricature drawn

One of the coolest things to do in Myeongdong is to have your caricature drawn as there are many artists in the area. 

Credit: Wanderlust_By_Hashim

But remember to look around and choose the artist you prefer. Make sure to tell them you want it to be cute 😂 Or you could end up with a weird and unflattering caricature, which will not impress you or your friends back home.

10. Feed your inner K-pop fangirl/boy

It’s no secret that K-pop has taken over the world and for K-pop fans, finding merchandise is high on the list of shopping items when in Korea. 

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

One of the best places to shop for K-pop merchandise is undoubtedly in Myeongdong, especially the underground shopping center. There are so many stores for you to choose from and you can spend the entire day just feeding the K-pop fan in you.

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

Don’t worry too much about the price of items as they are affordable (less than KRW 15,000). The target market is mostly teenagers but that being said, the more popular your favourite star is, the more expensive it is! 

11. Tax refund – Korea’s gift to tourists

Tourists can apply for a refund on the taxes paid before leaving the country or effortlessly receive an immediate tax refund below a certain limit when shopping at certified Tax-Free stores. Just look for the logos and signs!

Credit: @pennedplaces  on Instagram

To receive an immediate tax refund on purchases at Tax-Free stores, you must present your passport and flight details. To receive a tax refund before leaving the country, you can submit the applicable receipts at the proper tax refund booth at the airport or at some stores.

Credit: @pennedplaces on Instagram

To qualify as a tax refund shopper

You must spend over KRW 30,000 in purchases and less than KRW 300,000, tax included. The immediate tax refund is however limited to a total purchase amount of less than KRW 1,000,000 for the entire duration of your trip to Korea.

You must also fulfil the following conditions:

  • Foreigner (Less than six months in Korea)
  • Overseas Korean (Living over two years in a foreign country / less than three months in Korea)
  • Not paying Korean taxes
  • Leave the country within three months from the purchase date

So there you go, some of our best insider tips for shopping, eating and saving in Myeongdong. What’s your favorite product? What are you looking forward to buying? Do you have a favorite store? Let us know in the comments or DMs if we missed out on any of the secret tips and tricks that you may know of. Don’t forget to check out our other articles about Korea, Seoul and everything halal!

#HHWT Tip: If you love shopping, make sure you check out these shopping districts in Seoul too!

P.S. Special thanks to my good friend pennedplaces for most of the wonderful pictures. Do check out his work on Instagram. He has really helped me to get my vision across!

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