Korea Shopping Haul

[My last Korea post, I promise!]

Considering my current employment state, I was pretty conservative with my shopping in Korea. Which was difficult, because the second you arrive, you’re inundated with malls and boutiques and underground subway shops and swap meets. EVERYWHERE. It’s kind of ridiculous. And (mostly) so very cheap, as long as you stay away from all the imported goods. Some goodies I brought home (for myself or as gifts!):

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Delicate gold rings and bracelets. I saw this type of jewelry being sold everywhere by street vendors and boutiques at varying prices [the cheapest going down to ~$5/ring or bracelet (!!!) if you bargain], but overall, they were a FRACTION of the price they’d be in the U.S. Aren’t the rings super Catbird-esque? Lurve. I think these were all from Garosugil, a super popular/trendy shopping strip in Sinsadong.

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Cute/kitschy earrings from Hongdae (college town), grosgrain ribbon (triple the yardage of the spools sold at Joann’s for less than $3/spool!) from Namdaemun (a traditional marketplace), kraft paper labels (from Daiso, which has way better stuff than the Daisos in LA -_-), bird book tabs (from Hongdae), and a teal iPhone flip case (from a street vendor in Gangnam).

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Socks. Socks in Korea range from $0.50-$2.00/pair, depending on where you buy (the cheapest being the “shijangs”– street markets). They come in tons of different prints (weird/cute/goofy) and the quality is awesome. The longer socks on the left were from Hongdae, the shorter ones from Namdaemun.

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Prescription sunglasses and glasses from Namdaemun. Also a FRACTION of the prices of glasses in the states. Frames + double-compressed lenses (I’m nearly blind) were about $50-$80 each after bargaining… though if your eyes aren’t as bad (i.e. your lenses don’t need to be compressed) and you choose cheaper frames, they can be even less than that– $30?. Also a few leather wallet/pouches from A-Land in Myeongdong for gifts, and a rad keychain for a friend from a boutique in Hongdae. Fun fact: Myeongdong is listed as the ninth most expensive shopping street in the world!

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Skincare products! It’s a pretty undisputed fact that Korea has some of the best skincare and beauty products in the world. Marie Claire says South Korea is about 12 years ahead of the U.S. in terms of technology (read: innovative products) and the average Korean woman uses 18 (!!!!) skincare products a day. Anyway, I bought a bunch of things from Innisfree, which is a popular brand that boasts all natural ingredients– kind of like the Origins of Korea. What I actually purchased is pictured on the left (along with 3 other products, not pictured), and the picture on the right is all the free samples they gave me for my ‘big’ purchase! Insane, right? Can’t wait to try them all. 

I also bought some clothes and a pair of cute ankle boots, which completed my shopping wish list. I think I did well. And now I have a good idea of where to shop the next time I visit. 😉

Thanks for keeping up with my Korea posts! I’m all done. 🙂

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11 thoughts on “Korea Shopping Haul

  1. I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I just tried to touch my computer screen like I was grabbing for the goods. Sometimes I wonder if I should be allowed to live unsupervised.

    What a haul. I love everything pictured. Please let me know if you especially like any of the skincare products you purchased. I’m always on the lookout for good shiz.

    • HAHA i almost spit out my water just now.

      think it’s time for you to take a trip to korea– how long has it been since you were there last? will let you know about the skincare stuff… i’m gravitating more and more towards asian products as i get older. better and cheaper. win.

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  3. Oo lovely buys, especially the jewelry!

    I’m sorry if I’m asking too many questions but I am going to be in Korea soon and couldn’t find much info on buying eyeglasses or sunglasses in Namdaemun.

    How did you choose the eyeglass shop (assuming there are many at Namdaemun)? I’m mainly interested in getting a pair of prescription sunglasses, but if it’s so affordable I may also get new frames too 😛 How have yours held up?

    Did the place you went to speak English? Is it hard to eye exam (if you got one)? & Would it be difficult to bargain if I don’t speak Korean?

    • hello! yes, there are a TON of glasses stores in namdaemun. as soon as you come out of the subway, there are a million stores. i just walked into several and asked about prices before i settled on a shop, but it was really just a random pick. my glasses have held up fine, i dont have any issues with quality. i spoke korean to all the shop owners, but i’m pretty sure most shops will have at least one person who can get by in english, b/c they get so many tourists. i brought in a prescription from the states, but i don’t think getting an eye exam there is a problem at all. not sure about bargaining, but you can try. 🙂

      fyi, apparently there’s an even cheaper underground(?) area of namdaemun that all the locals go to, where there are tons of glasses shops as well. i heard it’s super confusing though, which is why i didn’t bother trying to go.

      hope that helps!

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