Traditional Markets

Shopping Districts

[Enjoy Shopping in Seoul]
There are several phrases that describe Korea's capital, Seoul a harmony of the traditional and modern, a center of the IT industry, and a shopper¡¯s heaven. Seoul offers a satisfying shopping experience for all shoppers, from traditional souvenirs, arts, luxury brands, and fashion trends. The products also vary according to the interests of visitors from various parts of the world. Japanese tourists usually shop for kimchi and kim (dried seaweed lavers), which are two of Korea¡¯s major food products. Visitors from Southeast Asia generally visit Dongdaemun Market area to shop for trendy clothes and accessories at bargain prices. European tourists are interested mostly in Asia and Korea¡¯s unique cultural products and souvenirs.

[Shopping Tips]
1. Korean Sizes
Most sizes are measured in centimeters except for the waist size, which goes by inches. Shoe sizes are measured in millimeters.

Table of Size Measurements

<Men's clothes
>
Size Measurements
S
M
L
XL
XXL
Chest (cm)
90~95
95~100
100~105
105~110
110~
Waist (inch)
30/32
33/34
34/36
36/38
38/40

<Women's clothes>

Size Measurements
S
M
L
XL
XXL
Korea-Chest (cm)
85
90
95
100
105
Korea
44
55
66
77
88
U.S.A.
0/1
3/5
7/9
11/13
15/17
Italy
36
38~40
42~44
46~48
50~52

<Men's shoe sizes>
Korea (mm)
250
255
260
265
270
275
280
285
290
295
U.S.A.
7.5
8
8.5
9
9.5
10
10.5
11
11.5
12

<Women's shoe sizes>

Korea (mm)
220
225
230
235
240
245
250
255
260
265
270
U.S.A.
5
5.5
6
6.5
7
7.5
8
8.5
9
9.5
10
Italy
35.5
36
36.5
37
37.5
38
38.5
39
39.5
40
40.5

2. Payment Methods
Except for street vendors, most shops follow a fixed price system, and these shops accept international credit cards (VISA, MASTER, etc). If you wish to shop at markets and street vendors, be sure to have cash ready.

3. Currency Exchange
Most banks have separate booths to exchange foreign currency. The banks are the most convenient places to exchange currencies, and business hours are usually 9:30 a.m. 16:30 p.m., Mon Fri. Also, the ¡®356 Days Corner¡¯ ATM (English) is usually located next to the banks, which are open from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Most convenience stores also provide 24-hour ATM services. However, using the banks during normal business hours will offer you the cheapest service charge. Note that service charges may vary according to each bank.
Namdaemun Market and Itaewon districts provide their own foreign currency exchange services, and you can find them through the tourist information centers located in the area.

4. Tax Refund
Shops with ¡°Tax Free Shopping¡± signs will provide you with duty free shopping and information for your tax refunds.

5. Refunds
Except department stores and large malls, some stores may not offer refunds for purchased products (especially for sale items), although they do allow customers to exchange items that they bought.

6. Sale Periods
Duty Free Shops: June August, December February
Department Stores: January, April, July, October, and December
Other large shopping malls also go on sale around the same time as the department stores do. Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Market, and other major markets usually go on sale around early July and mid-January, and the summer and winter sales offer the most discounts with 20-30% off of the regular items, and more than 50% off of items more than 2 or 3 years old.

7. Business Hours
Unlike the U.S. or Europe, Korea¡¯s shopping hours are limitless. Most shops open until 10 p.m., and markets like Dongdaemun Market are open 24 hours. Shops are mostly crowded during holidays and weekends except during the New Year holidays and Chuseok during which most shops close to celebrate Korea¡¯s major holidays. Shops in Myeong-dong and Insa-dong are usually open until 10 p.m., whereas Namdaemun Market and Dongdaemun Market are still open after midnight with shoppers and retailers, giving you a taste of Korea¡¯s late-night shopping culture.