From traditional hanoks, pagodas and palaces to futuristic skyscrapers and ritzy city lights, Seoul is the complete mélange of east-meets-west. Situated in South Korea, this Korean capital dares you to keep up with its ever-evolving cultural epicentre. What comes to the mind when you ponder over this city? Is it the scrumptious street food, K-pop tunes, rich Korean culture, traditional markets, ancient palaces or vibrant nightlife? No surprises here, it’s the endless choice of shopping districts for us.
With so much to see in this effervescent city, we’ve carefully narrowed down Gangnam, Jongno and Yongsan as the main shopping precincts in Seoul. These precincts are a chockfull of alluring boutiques, offering a widespread of domestic Korean fashion to top fashion brands. It’s no wonder why this city holds a special spot in our 2016 travel bucket list.
If you are seeking an answer to the urban future, you are on the right track.
Gangnam has always been famed as one of the most fashionable and luxurious spots in Seoul – even better that the notorious number #1 hit by PSY put this precinct on the map. The glitzy district is a mecca for everything high fashion and futuristic architecture – with many luxurious boutiques with pretty storefronts along the ginkgo tree-lined streets of Garosugil. A mere 20 minutes away resides Cheongdamdong where you will unearth a bevvy of fashion industry leaders – think avant-garde Korean designers boutiques along the main strip as well as the hidden back streets.
Jongno is best suited for history buffs who do not compromise on their shopping fix. Though situated right in the heart of the ultramodern city, Jongno does not shy away from its palaces and traditional hanoks – the culturally affluent Bukchon Hanok Village brags over 900 as well as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, Changdeokgung. Insa-dong is a great shopping area for collectors as it carries Korean antiques like furniture, old books, ceramics, painting, art and handmade crafts. On the other hand, Samcheongdong is dubbed as the SoHo of Seoul. This charming neighbourhood is miles away from your usual mass-produced suspects. Instead, it offers speciality shops with fashionable womenswear and menswear – alongside chic boutique fronts that’d make your Instagram followers go crazy with the likes – art galleries with noteworthy architecture and quaint teashops.
The “Dragon Hill” Yongsan sits in the centre of Seoul, under the Seoul Tower with notable favourites like the Yongsan Electronics Market – the largest electronics market in Asia and a paradise for tech junkies – Itaewon, and Hannam. Hannam has a classier atmosphere compared to its counterparts like Cheongdamdong and Garosugil, with most celebrities and foreigners residing here. Most shops in Hannam are carefully curated by local designers of ethnically-diverse cultures. With the influx of young creatives bringing their brands over, be prepared to encounter an eclectic mix of design-focused fashion shops, multi-label Korean designer boutiques contemporary art and even a handful of furniture stores.