Shop smart to shop more!
Korea is the heaven to shop for skin care, cosmetics products, sports brands and yummy Korean snacks! I was pretty clueless when I visited and wanted to shop in Korea, so in this article, I would like to share how to shop effectively and smartly in Korea based on my personal experience!
Firstly, let’s talk about Where to Shop.
- Lotte Department Store’s Main Branch
Lotte Department Store is the heaven for shoppers!! Their amount of skincare and cosmetic brands will blow your mind. Don’t worry if you can’t make choices out of them, because the crazy sales going on will allow you to bring more of your favorite products home!
Big brands like Laneige, Missha and Sulwhasoo can definitely be found here, while recent viral brands like Klavuu, I’m meme and Pony are also available here. This department is specially designed to be tourist-friendly, where tax refund and currency exchange are conveniently available in the department too.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: You can pick up your items at Incheon airport instead of carrying the big bags around in Seoul. Simply show your passport and boarding pass to the staff at the billing counter. Your items will come in sealed bags at the airport and you can bring them onboard even if they are more than 100ml!
Opening Hours: 10:30am to 8pm, Daily
Address: 30, Eulji-ro 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest station: Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station
- Lotte mart
Lotte Mart is the top discount store in Korea, where daily essentials and clothes can be found here. And of course SNACKS too!
The most popular and easily accessible outlet for most tourists is the Seoul Station Branch. They even provide tax refunds! You can find most of the Korean snacks you want and most probably bringing back a lot more than what you wanted.
Opening hours: 9am to midnight, Daily
Closed every second and fourth Sunday of the month
Address: 432, Cheongpa-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Seoul Station, Exit 1
- Myeong dong
If you would like to look into more brands or more selections, visit Myeong Dong will be a good choice. This is where all the stores will give you free mask on the street to pull crowd into their stores. Most of the time shoppers can hardly survive coming out without buying a thing.
Shop for skin care and cosmetics
- All mask story
They offer a wide range of selection of mask and skin care products. The products in their stores are mostly the popular and highly reviewed items. Tax deduction will be applied on the spot upon purchase.
- Olive Young
Olive Young is a drug store that provides various items from health supplements to drugs, cosmetics and cosmetic accessories. Technically most of the skin care and cosmetics products can be found here too. This store in Myeong Dong is the biggest Olive Young in Korea.
Opening hours: 10AM – 10:30PM
Address: 53 Myeongdong-gil, Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest station: Myeong Dong Station
Shop for Shoes and clothing
All the big brands’ outlets can easily found here, like Adidas, Fila, Nike, Puma, Guess and etc. A lot of local small businesses selling clothing are available in this area as well.
JD and ABC mart will be my recommendations to shop for shoes. They always have the latest design from all the popular brands and normally sales are going on!
Shop for snacks
The best option is still Lotte Mart, but it is also possible to shop for snacks without leaving myeong dong. GS25 and E mart sell a lot of popular Korean snacks, and these stores can be found in almost every corner on the Myeong Dong streets.
Shop for traditional craft
Looking for traditional craft as souvenir? Insadong is the most suitable place to look for one. It is just a few stations away from Myeong Dong, and the ambience of Insadong is one of the greatest in Korea. Highly recommend to spend some time in Insadong at night, after a busy shopping day!
Shop for Starbucks products
Hot items are normally sold out at the places tourists would visit. 1 tip to find your desire starbucks product: choose a station which is not a hot tourism spot (few station away from where you are), google “Starbucks near ___ station”, and go visit that shop!
Smart shopping tips
- Tax refund is only available when purchase above 30,000 won of items. Korean taxes can be as high as 10% of the total price. Therefore, buying all the desire items at one shot, for example skin care and cosmetics products in Olive Young, or all different brands type of shoes in JD would be a good move.
- Cash Back Tax Refund is available at the Incheon airport, AFTER immigration check. Which means it is safer to enter the immigration gate earlier.
- Enter the immigration gate earlier to purchase more duty free items in the duty free zone. A lot of skin care and cosmetic products are selling in the duty free zone.
- You can check for the sale season on Korea Tourism Organisation’s website regarding the sale dates and participating outlets.
- Good news for Malaysian. Now you can also earn money while shopping in Korea. By downloading an App “Grabean” from playstore/ appstore, register as user and offer help to purchase items from the country that you are traveling to, you can earn money! It’s legit! Don’t believe? Read my experience and review of Grabean app. I’ve made RM400+ in a day!
You can also use this referral code when you register the account to get RM10 credit:
Shop Smart to Shop More. Share this post if you like the tips! Have fun shopping in Korea ♥