Day 1: Myeongdong and HongdaeWhat we like most about Seoul is that each neighbourhood has its own unique, fascinating style that can't be found in any of the other neighbourhoods. The only thing all the neighbourhoods have in common are the beauty product shops. They are as common as convenience stores - there's one at every corner.Seoul is very cold in winter, but this trip wasn't as cold as we expected. Most days, the temperature was between zero and 5°C, and we only had a couple of days that were between - 10°C and zero.
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Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market
They have a large variety of live seafood! Ranging from stingrays to octopus and other crustaceans. You name it they have it! The fish market is similar to that of Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, other than it being slightly smellier and lacking in the hygiene area as compared to that of Japan. You can purchase the seafood on the spot and bring it up to any restaurants at level 2, where you can have it cooked or not cooked in any ways you desire!
This place has fabulous shopping; I’d recommend you pick up your beauty products and maybe some hair bedazzles here. It has a wonderful bookstore if you want some books to pass the time back home. However, the aquarium is an absolute must. Coex Mall also has about any food you could possible desire: America (Pizza Hut & Cold Stone Creamery!), Japanese, Korean, etc. Tips • Grab some ice cream while you’re here; it’ll help cool you off for the adventures ahead. • Cost: Mall Free; Aquarium cost below: Adults: 19,500 KRW Teen: 16, 500 KRW Child: 14,000 KRW • Hours: o Store: 10:30 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. (varies by store) o Aquarium: 10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., 365 days a year (last entry is at 7:00 p.m.) Directions • Give the address to a taxi (but take the orange or silver taxis, black ones are more expensive). • Subway Line 2, Samseong Station, Exit 5 or 6–> Samseong has an exit that goes straight into Coex Mall, so look for the signs. The exit should be on your left when coming off the trains. See Seoul subway map here.
The best shopping ever!! Okay, so this isn’t really where you’ll find purses (as I discovered the hard way–head for Itaewon), but it is the place to get clothes. And jewelry. And great snacks. And shoes, yes most definitely shoes. Okay, so if you are a clothes shopper, here is the place to go. You’re going to have your nice stores on one hand (more like Myeongdong) and then you’ll have the bargain stores. The bargain stores are the absolute best. They are filled with stall after stall of dresses, scarves, jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, coats, jewelry, hats, headbands, etc. This is technically one of the largest Korean shopping ares. It has 26 shopping malls, 30,000+ specialty stores, and boasts more than 50,000 manufacturers. This means that in the 10 blocks that make up Dongdaemun, you can find just about anything you want. You will even find silk fabrics, office supplies, toys, books stores, food, etc. So you will definitely want to save some money for your visit to this area!! Popular stores include: Doosan Tower/Doota, Migliore, APM • You can tell whether or not it’s a bargain store by looking at the product arrangement and the number of clothes. It looks like a flea market threw up clothing in the cheap stores, the others are more nicely laid out. Tips Bargain!! o I cannot emphasize this enough. Just like Itaewon, this is a bargaining locale. The really nice places no, but any of the mass/wholesale stores are really bargaining locations. If they don’t have prices on the clothes, you’re meant to bargain. o Once again, try to get them to make the first move. When they state a price, you just state what you think it’s really worth. Don’t try to cheat them, but don’t go above what you think is reasonable. If it looks like a $10 shirt and they are asking $60, don’t budge. You may pay $12, but that’s a far cry from $60. My friend and I were looking at a cute overshirt that I would expect to pay maybe $12-$15 max in the US for. The Saleswoman
Namdaemun is the south gate of Seoul. It is also called Sungyemun gate. It is located at Exit A of Namdaemun market. Took us quite some time to navigate and ask around before managing to find our way out of the humongous market and reach Namdaemun! It’s a piece of history buried in the city and modern landscape. A constant reminder to Korean and tourists alike that Korea has a lot of history and been through a lot over the years to be at where it is now.