There's so much yummy halal food to savour in Korea, sights to visit and nature to immerse yourself in. But no trip to Korea is complete without shopping!
From someone who's lived in Korea, here are some of the best places you have to shop at in Korea?
This is probably the busiest place in Seoul but it's also the most well known shopping district in the capital. You’ll find all the big name brands when it comes to skincare (The Face Shop, Innisfree, Nature Republic and more) as well as high street fashion (Zara, Uniqlo, 8 seconds), and fashion stalls that sell just about anything currently trending in K-fashion!
If you’re shopping for K-pop merchandise, you can find both official and non-official merch here. For stickers, badges and small gifts, try the underground shopping center (near exit 5 and 6) ?
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As for things like albums and official merchandise, head to Music Korea which is on the third floor of the massive Nature Republic (Myeongdong station, exit 6—you can't miss it!).
Head to Myeongdong for:
- Kpop merchandise
- Street food (some store vendors will advertise food as Halal but double check if unsure and eat there at your own discretion)
My personal favourite - Insadong! This place is full of character and all things traditional. Insadong’s closest subway station is Anguk Station on line 3 (exit 7). Walk straight until you see a giant paintbrush; the main street will be on your left.
#HHWT Tip: While heading to the main Insadong street, stop by the 10,000won bag shop that has a huge selection of bags all for just 10,000won each!
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Insadong is a popular tourist destination. As such, there are a whole host of much-frequented shops where you can find keyrings and magnets! You’ll find these shops almost immediately after turning into the main Insadong Street.
And if you’re a fan of tea, stop off at o’Sulloc for Korea’s much loved luxury tea brand. Although they are not Halal- certified, they have plenty of Muslim-friendly teas and desserts. They also have gift sets as well as matcha chocolate and ice cream. Upstairs you’ll find a café serving delicious desserts!
The staff members here have excellent English and since the desserts may change season to season, do ask before eating the food if you're unsure whether they contain gelatine or alcohol☺️
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Stop off at Ssamzigil (쌈지길), a shopping mall off the main street for personalised and quirky shops. You’ll find this outdoor mall decorated according to the seasons with people dressed in hanboks eating poop bread (chocolate or red bean filled sweet bread, in the shape of cute lil’ poop). This is the perfect place to find souvenirs that are a tad different?
It might feel like you’re walking in circles but the entire complex is designed on a slope, with mostly gift and stationery shops!
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Be sure to try some yummy poop bread on the ground floor - it’s more fresh and made of Vegetarian-friendly ingredients. Plus, you can take a picture of the complex with all it’s lovely décor just like this:
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Head to Insadong for:
- Personalised gifts
- Street food (usually not Halal-certified but plenty more vegetarian options in this area; eat at your own discretion)
3. Express Bus Terminal Shopping center
This place is clothing haven ? The underground Express Bus Terminal underground shopping mall is well known for its plethora of clothing shops! You can find it between the Express Bus Terminal station (line 3, 7 and 9) and Banpo station (line 7).
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You’ll find similar styles at lots of shops so be sure shop around before you buy, or you might find yourself spending more.
#HHWT Tip: The shops here usually have a no-refund policy and one size for the majority of tops, so be sure to think carefully before you buy!
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For those who are well versed in Korean or are feeling a little confident, don’t shy away from haggling?
Head to Express Bus Terminal for:
This is my personal preferred area for clothes shopping because the main shopping areas are outside and it’s a little less crowded compared to the Express Bus Terminal Shopping Center! It's also a lovely area for a lazy day out in Seoul ?
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Shops around Edae have also been cheaper on a number of occasions (compared to Express Bus Terminal)- perhaps because it’s a university area! Just head to Ehwa Women’s University Station (Edae) exit 2 and explore the side streets.
#HHWT Tip: The area only starts to open up after mid-day so plan your time before heading there!
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Head to Edae for:
At the Hongik University Area, take Hongik Univ, exit 5 to reach Hongdae. Though this is known to be an area for hanging out and grabbing a bite to eat, Hongdae still has many clothing shops (most open after mid-day)!
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A plus side of shopping here is that you can enjoy street food between shops and take breaks to enjoy some street performances (usually from afternoon onwards) ?
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Head to Hongdae for:
- Street food (not Halal certified but there are usually seafood and vegetarian options. Eat at your own discretion)
6. Garosu-gil, Sinsadong
Take Exit 8 from Sinsa Station, follow the road signs and you’ll be led to a beautiful street lined with tall trees and gorgeous boutiques for all your skincare and clothing needs! The range here includes more international brands like Chanel to local ones!
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While you’re in the area, Garosugil happens to have an 'A Land' for your skincare needs! This lifestyle brand stocks many of the top names in Korean skincare including Cosrx and Klairs.
To kickstart your skincare shopping spree, here's 9 popular Muslim-friendly Korean beauty essentials you'd regret not trying!
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Head to Garosugil for:
So there you go, a rough guide of the key places to shop when you’re in Seoul. Whether its clothes, skincare or food, there’s always a place you’ll find to splurge your money in Seoul ?