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HOME > Useful Information > Travel Tips > Shopping

Korea is known as a Mecca for shoppers, offering a great variety of items at reasonable prices. Tourists may purchase many necessities and souvenir items of both domestic and foreign origin tax-free at any of the hundreds of shops in department stores and shopping arcades in Seoul as well as major cities throughout the country.

Popular shopping items include jewelry, furs, silk, antique chests, ceramics, lacquerware, brassware, embroidery, personal computers, video and cassette tapes, sportswear, down winter coats, eel skin and leather products, ginseng and dolls. Major department stores located in the heart of Seoul and include Shinsegae, Lotte, Galleria, Samsung Plaza and Hyundai. Also branch department stores can be found in many other areas, often located nearby a subway station.

Myeong-dong
shopping district in
downtown Seoul
Gyeongdong market
attracts visitors with
its Oriental medicine
and health
supplements.

A network of underground arcades branch out from Myeong-dong, Seoul's most popular shopping and entertainment area. Many subway entrances and underpasses also lead to a maze of tunnels with shops aimed at bargain hunters. Of all commercial areas in Seoul, however, Itaewon, which is located adjacent to the major U.S. military compound, bustles with the greatest number of overseas visitors. Insa-dong, or Mary's Alley, is clustered with many fabulous antique and art stores.

With thousands of shops and stalls, divided section by section according to category of item, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun Markets are the largest general wholesale markets in Korea. They are renowned for offering an inexpensive, wide variety of everyday items. Tourists will easily find any number of things to buy in these markets, which will accommodate all tastes and budgets. Between midnight and 4 a.m., retail merchants from all over the country come to restock their stores, presenting the bustling spectacle of a nighttime wholesale market.
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