7 Best Budget Shopping Places in Seoul with Yes Deals

Seoul Travel Guides / November 28, 2016
7 Best Budget Shopping Places in Seoul with Yes Deals Image credit: Ha Jeong Jeong

Seoul, the new fashion capital of Asia, is a sweet dream of every lady. All women want to be gorgeous in an elegant way. And Korean fashion is there to fulfill that need.

If you think those Korean-style beautiful dresses will cost you a lot of money, you may be wrong. Just like any shopping paradise in the world, Seoul has both the expensive and cheap parts within itself.

The economical side of Seoul is fortunately huge. There are plenty of markets, fashion shopping streets, fashion districts, flea markets and underground shopping arcades across the city that offer great bargains on clothes, shoes, bags, accessories and cosmetics.

You can be pretty from head to toe without burning your budget. All you need to do is visit the wallet-friendly shopping venues recommended below.

1. Ewha Womans University Shopping Street

Ewha Womans University Shopping Street Image credit: Crafty Bitch

Highlights

  • Youthful and sweet fashion for young ladies: Ladies, you will love the lines of street stalls around Ewha Womans University as they have tons of feminine style clothes such as dress, cardigan, sweater, top and skirt for you to choose from. Prices start from KRW 5000 ($4.27) for an item.
  • A wealth of fashion choice that enhances the experience of a sophisticated shopper: The area around Ewha Womans University that forms Ewha Womans University Fashion Street is more than just a venue for cheap clothes. It also incorporates designer shops, boutique stores, shopping malls into its business life to perfect itself. So ladies, you can go there and hunt for good bargains that can please different corners of a lady inside you.
  • Korean beauty products to complete the shopping trip: On the stage are also popular skin care and make up brands such as Etude, Face shop, Holika Holika and Tony Moly.
  • A large number of hair salons for a little makeover: This fashion street is also home to many hair salons, which can help you make the most of your trip to the area – find time between shopping tours to treat yourself to an indulgence of Korean hair cut, perm or rebonding.

2. Hongdae Shopping Area

Hongdae Shopping Area Image credit: therealrealjd

Highlights

  • A place to hunt for indie fashion items: If you love sweet and feminine clothes, shop at Ewha Womans University shopping street. But if you favor indie fashion, then Hongdae Shopping Area is for you. Some compare Hongdae with Harajuku in Japan, so there must be a reason. Freedom of self-expression is the spirit of this youthful area. And indie fashion is a part of the culture there.
  • Saturday Hongdae Free Market (2pm to 6pm) is a weekly event for hand-made products: Don’t miss out on this if you have a weekend in Seoul. Hongik University with its famous arts programmes drenches Hongdae atmosphere in art. Just come there to look for unique handcrafted goodies and enjoy exhibitions introduced by young local artists. Note that this market is only active from March to November.
  • The best bargains in Hongdae can be found on sales racks in front of many shops. The discounted items are mostly available at the price of KRW 10,000 ($11.42) each.

3. Shopping in Dongdaemun

Shopping in Dongdaemun Image credit: Kaizer Rangwala

Highlights

  • A huge shopping paradise with vast shopping options: Imagine an area with 5 shopping districts filled with 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops and a night market. Whether you want to buy just a few items or purchase in bulk, Dongdaemun always welcomes you.
  • Domestic Korean fashion is the main focus of Dongdaemun business life: The place can feed your wardrobe high quality Korean-made clothes. Most fashion items sold there come from the warehouses of 50,000 manufacturers in the area.
  • Dongdaemun night market is where to hunt for the best bargains: The best deals on clothes and shoes are waiting for you at the night market, which is bustling with activity from 10pm to 5am everyday.
  • Fashion shoes are the real star of the show: Among the abundance of products on offer, shoes are the most sought-after items. Shoppers love to buy shoes there because the designs are fashionable, the prices are cheap, and the quality is good. Note that most of the shoes are in average Asian sizes.

4. Myeongdong

Myeongdong Image credit: siraphol

Highlights

  • Beauty and skincare haven: Ladies, your skin will be glowing after a day in Myeong-dong. Frequently known as the mecca of skincare, this district is occupied with a dizzying array of beauty stores, with brands such as Skinfood, MISSHIA, Etude House and many more. Korean skincare products are always available at competitive prices.
  • Free samples of beauty and skincare products everywhere you go: Who doesn’t love free samples?! In Myeong-dong, vendors frequently lure you into their stores with free face masks, sample creams and cosmetics. Expect to accumulate tons of deluxesized samples of make-up and skincare products by the end of the night. Look out for regular store promotions, such as 50% off or one-for-one offers. Thefaceshop generally has many affordable options and frequent promos for skincare products.
  • Diverse street-food stalls for a satisfying shopping break: Escape from the hustle-and-bustle of the populous shopping area, and grab a quick snack from the food stalls lining the streets. Indulge in popular foods such as Hotteok (deep-fried dumplings, 1,000 won each), Tteokbokki (rice cakes, 2,500 – 4,000 Won per plate) or Korean hot-dogs. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, try the squid and octopus for a delightful experience!
  • Rent a luggage locker for a care-free shopping experience: Shopping with tons of luggage can slow you down. There are lockers available to rent at Myeong-dong station, near exit 2 and 8. Fees are charged every four hours. Lockers are also available at the Seoul Cultural Exchanges & Tourism Information Centers.

5. Express Bus Terminal Station (Gangnam Goto Mall)

Express Bus Terminal Station (Gangnam Goto Mall) Image credit: Tommy Sung

Highlights

  • Weather independent shopping experience: Ladies, you can now protect your hair-do and shop in the middle of a rainstorm! The underground Goto mall is completely weather independent, meaning you can shop all year round regardless of the season. Another perk of Goto Mall is that you don’t ever have to set foot outdoors as the mall's location is right at the subway station.
  • Top budget finds in every department: With prices of clothing starting from 5000 won ($6), Goto mall is astonishingly affordable! You will find all the latest clothing trends, with price tags of almost half the price of other shopping districts.
  • Home decor and fashion finds to suit your personal style: The east end of Goto Mall offers a wide selection of house-hold stores, selling lighting, decor, flowers and plants. The west-side boasts a wide variety of stores offering great quality clothing and shoes. The mall is also connected to a luxury department store (Shinsegae) and a Megabox movie theatre.

6. Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market Image credit: Oskar Alexanderson

Highlights

  • Bargain finds for everything under the sun: It is almost impossible to leave this market empty-handed. Haggle your way through the price-tags at over 10,000 stalls, and gawk at the variety of products. Most stalls offer wholesale prices as they produce the goods themselves. Most of the time, the quality is not compromised by the low-price.
  • Affordable clothing for all of your family: The market houses a multitude of retailers that offer clothing items for all age groups at very low prices. With articles starting at only 3,000 won ($2), you can find something for everyone in the family without breaking the bank. Ladies fashion is also highly abundant, with a large focus on modern trends and fashion statements.
  • Street-food to complete the Korean shopping experience: Drool over the lines of food-stalls, offering delicious Korean delicacies to the hungry shoppers. Quench your thirst with fresh fruit juice (2,000 won, 1.7 dollars), or satisfy your hunger with Kalguksu (handmade noodle soup, 4,000 won, 3.4 dollars).

7. Insadong

Insadong Image credit: wwian

Highlights

  • The world of Korean souvenirs: Forget key-chains, your mother will appreciate the local variety of unique gifts available at Insadong. Browse through the multitude of vendors, selling Korean art, porcelain, handicrafts, pottery and traditional stationary. Prices vary from a couple of dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the item.
  • Authentic tea-houses for an enjoyable tea-break shopping experience: Home to many beautiful wooden tea-houses, you cannot leave Insadong without trying a cup! Try Dawon, one of Seoul’s oldest tea-houses for an authentic visit. Sit on the heated floor, and sip on some of Seoul’s finest tea. Prices start at 7,000 won.