You have to visit Myeongdong when you're in Seoul! Myeongdong is termed as the heart of Seoul’s shopping district. The area is very popular with tourists as there are branches of all the Korean cosmetic shops, clothes, accessories, restaurants and coffee shops too! Shopkeepers speak English, Chinese, and Japanese for the convenience of the tourists, so you will feel quite at home.
Myeongdong is the heaven for street shopping too! :)
What you must not miss:
1. Shopping for skincare and cosmetics
General rule of thumb - get all your cosmetic and skin care products at Myeongdong as it's a huge tourist attraction which means that you'll be likely to get more free samples! The staff are also familiar with tax refunds should you have to apply for it.
2. More shopping! (This time for the guys too :P)
For the girls, be prepared to shop your hearts out as you can find everything your heart desires at Myeongdong! From your Korean chain clothing stores like SPAO and Bean Pole to international brands such as Uniqlo and MANGO. As for the guys, don't worry! You can do a fair bit of shopping in the Korean clothing stores too ;) If Myeongdong is not enough to satisfy your inner shopaholic, check out a list of other places in Korea where you can shop till you drop!
3. Catch a NANTA performance
Take a break from your shopping and catch NANTA, a fun and comedic non-verbal play set in a kitchen, at the Myeongdong NANTA theatre!
4. For the cat lovers - our favourite cat cafe is also in Myeongdong ;)
5. Street Food (Not halal certified unless otherwise stated)
Get your Korean food fix with the various street food in Myeongdong! As you wander around Myeongdong, you will notice there are vendors with stalls selling goods along the main street. You will be surprised with the variety of food these stalls have to offer, starting from very typical Korean snacks to Turkish Doner Kebab and Shawarma! If you don't have time to sit down for a proper meal, street food will probably be your next best option.
As you walk down the central street of Myeongdong, you will notice a large Forever 21 outlet on your right side. There is a stall selling Doner Kebab sandwiches and Grilled Octopus.
A little further down, you will see a similar stall, which is on the center of the street (you will see a huge ABC shoes store to your left here). The Ajusshi and Ajumma here sell each shawarma for 3,000 Won and it’s the best that I have tasted so far in Korea!!
Made from sugar and flour, this Korean candy stall sells Halal candy, it is just next to Forever 21 too. The candies come in various flavors and make a nice souvenir from Korea!
#HHWT Tip: The street vendors in Myeongdong usually open after 5pm, so if you want to enjoy these delicacies make sure you visit Myeongdong in the evening!
Directions: To get to Myeongdong, take the subway line 4, and get off at Myeongdong Station. Leave the station from Exit 6 or 7 and it will lead you straight to the entrance of Myeongdong shopping area.
Main Entrance: You'll see Uniqlo on the right and Nature Republic cosmetics will be on your left.
Halal/muslim-friendly Eateries in Myeongdong
Time to take a break from your shopping and sit down for a meal? Check out these restaurants in Myeongdong! Unfortunately, you won't be able to find any halal local food places in Myeongdong, as they're mostly located in Itaewon.
1. Potala Restaurant
Potala Restaurant is one of the highly recommended Muslim-friendly restaurants located in Myeongdong. They serve Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. The food is medium spicy but it is quite delicious. You can order individual dishes and there are also set menus available.
Indian Thali includes: Fresh green salad with honey dressing, Tomato chicken curry, Daal, quarter chicken tikka, rice and plain Naan bread.
How to get there: As you walk along the main street of Myeongdong, you will find a huge Zara outlet on your right. Follow the lane just after Zara towards your right. As you come to the end of the lane, go left and you will see this small lane:
As you can see Potala restaurant is on the fourth floor of the building in view.
Contact: 02 -775-8860.
Address: Jung-gu. Myeong-Dong, 32-14 4F, Seoul
Opening Hours: 12PM to 10PM
2. Arabic Cuisine : Saffron Restaurant
If you are looking for some authentic Arabic cuisine, then Saffron Restaurant located in Myeongdong is the place for you to go! Saffron has received great reviews from Arab tourists visiting Seoul. It is located in the first floor of Ibis Hotel (SK Myeongdong Building) opposite Lotte Department store.
Address: 59-5 Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Bonus - Hello Kitty Cafe!
Every little girl who has grown up with Hello Kitty will never want to miss a visit to the Hello Kitty Café in Myeongdong! The soft baby-pink interior might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you love Hello Kitty I’m sure you will love this café too!
How to get there: As you walk through the main street of Myeongdong, you will see Dunkin’ Donuts on you left, Turn left here and take the lane alongside Dunkin Donuts and at the end of it you will find the Hello Kitty Café.
Address: 28 Myeongdong 4-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul Korea
Contact: 02 318 6570
Opening Hours: 10 AM to 10 PM
If you visit Myeongdong and spend the whole day there, I think you will be able to cover all the places I mentioned here today. But then, you will have to go back there again to discover more places on your own! You can never just go to Myeongdong once!! :D
*The street food listed in this post are not halal-certified. Do purchase at your own discretion.