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>
<Men's shoe sizes>
<Women's shoe sizes>
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
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
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.