Dongdaemun (Great East Gate), Seoul
Dongdaemun is a famous shopping area near the Dongdaemun -- or Great East Gate. It has sporting goods, clothing, used books, carpets, and many other things at great prices.
We spent about three hours here one afternoon and we saw just a quarter of the market or less. We looked at clothes, military surplus items, books, jewelry, kitchen supplies, food, metal products and much more. While here, we purchased some steel rice bowls with matching lids. We also had a great lunch of haemul jjigae, a hearty stew made of the entire fish plus veggies in a thick broth.
Dongdaemun Market opened in July 1905.
There are slight differences between Migliore and Doota Mall.
Items in Migliore are cheaper and you can bargain.
There’s no tax applied in credit card payments in Migliore unlike in Doota Mall which is more convenient since you won't be thinking about your tax refund.
But usually, if you wish to use credit card as payment, you won’t have the discount. You’ll notice the store owners’ serious faces shaking their heads with a firm “NO discount” once you say you’ll be using your credit card. I asked the lady in the jeans shop why they prefer cash; she said that it takes a while to obtain their money in the bank. From what I heard, taxes are applied for credit card users in Doota Mall to maintain its facilities and they say that it's privately owned.
I believe Migliore is more comparable to the Platinum Mall of Bangkok and 168 Mall in Divisoria market in Metro Manila since you can have your bargains here and save more money!
I remembered a funny experience in Migliore, on a boots store… the seller can’t speak English so we really had a hard time understanding each other! But I can say he really did his best to provide any details we need to know before buying through sign language. That’s what I really like about the Koreans; they do their best to provide information. The retailer can just send me away from his shop instead of spending a hard time conversing with me. I'm so grateful to this guy, in the end, I was able to buy 3 different kinds of boots.
What to buy: One of the highly recommended budget shopping mall is the Migliore.
Migliore is located just around Dongdaenum, beside Doota Mall. Like the Doota Mall, Migliore offers a variety of dresses/apparels, boots, accessories, bags, etc.
You can bargain for the items you want to purchase just ask the store owners politely and charmingly… you should do it, if you want to save, haha!
another point for Migliore, no taxes applied on credit cards.
What to pay: Same in Doota Mall, the merchants prefer cash but the use of credit cards are still acceptable
K-Pop sensation is making a big hit in Asia. Aside from the music, the fashion statement from the Korean celebrities is another thing that influences the people.
There's a souvenir shop at the 4th floor (as I can remember) that sells "I love Korea" shirts, keychains, magnets, even some stuffs with the faces of their local celebrities, and many more.
I recommend you to buy your souvenir items here instead in Insadong since the stuffs being sold in Doota Mall are cheaper. In Doota Mall, the "I love Korea" shirts colored white, gray and black has only 1 price- 5000KW while in Insadong, the shirts' prices vary from the color. The whites and grays cost 5000KW while the black 6000KW. A set of refrigerator magnets in Insadong cost 10000KW while in Doota Mall 8000KW. I found out about the price differences after I bought some in Doota Mall then I realized that I had to buy additional souvenir items in Insadong. Good thing is that I have a good memory especially when it comes to prices, haha.
The disadvantage in Doota is that you can't bargain. All items are on fixed price.
When you use credit card as payment, you will have to pay for the tax in using the credit card. But you can have the refund on the 5th floor. You must bring your passport with you so that the lady in the tax refund counter can give you a tax refund envelope. You'll have to write down you complete name in the official receipts. The receipts must be put inside the envelope then outside, you'll have to write down the address you wish to receive the refund. You have to drop the tax refund envelope in the airport before your flight departure. There's a written instructions posted outside the tax refund counter but it's not like what it says. The posted instructions says that you can have the cash refund right away, but when I double checked it with the lady, she said that after the customs confirmed stamps on the receipts, the envelope will be dropped on a box, then wait for about 2-4weeks to receive the cash refund.
Unfortunately, after doing all the steps for the tax refund, I forgot to go to the customs.
(sigh...) It was too late to go in the customs since I slid my tax refund envelope inside my bag which was already checked-in.
(No worries, I already scolded myself)
What to buy: For people who love Korean Fashion, the Doota Mall can provide you with all the things you need.
This mall doesn't look like an ordinary department store because every store has its own touch of style though sometimes only a curtain separate each store from the other.
It offers a variety of dresses/apparels, fancy jewelries, souvenir stuffs, boots/shoes, all available for both genders.
What to pay: All the stores/shops accept credit card.
blouses/dresses cost 35,000KW-80,000KW, the items are a bit expensive but I believe the price wouldn't matter if you really like something.
The Dongdaemun Shopping Complex is one of Korea’s most representative markets and was founded on December 23, 1970 as the largest of its kind in Asia. In December of 1985, the Dongdaemun Shopping Town was established, and now the area encompasses five buildings in total (A, B, C, D, and the Shopping Town). There are over 5,000 shops located in this district, selling various fabrics, materials, accessories, wedding products, and more. The fabric and clothing here are of the latest fashion trends in the world. Inventory is imported and exported in real time, making Dongdaemun a must-visit fashion market for everyone.
What to buy: Fashion Shops / Fabrics, fashion accessories, clothing materials, wedding products, household goods, and more.
Dongdaemun Market covers a large area with many shopping malls with multi-layers of product diversity. You can find everything you need here such as clothing, accessories, bags, shoes, textile and fabrics. Ask the price and bargain before you get anything. If you came to Seoul for shopping, you shouldn't miss here.
What to buy: Clothing
What to pay: Always Bargain !!!
There are many tiny shops in these malls, so you may have to come back again to shop if you are thinking only a few hours would suffice. Best for feminine young women clothes.
At Doota, many of the stores have tax refund, so get the tax refund receipt from them and claim from the tax counter at level 5. However, it's not a full cash refund, only half of the VAT. You'll need your passport, and credit card (as a guarantee they say) for on-the-spot cash refund at the tax counter. And you still need to chop and drop the form in at the customs counter at the airport. If you don't do the latter, they'll charge the VAT right back to your card. (ah, so that's the guarantee they were saying)
At migliore, there's more sizes up to L and XL (doota's almost only s-m sizes)
Cash payment will also give you a better price compared to paying by credit card, like 10,000won cheaper sometimes. Stores in migliore give discounts, so you can bargain. Doota mall is fixed price.
What to buy: Doota mall - everything? It has different floors for mums& babies, career, men, accesories, children, casual.
Migliore - mainly young women's fashion. Think Bangkok's Platinum.
Cute umbrellas at Doota's 5fl! my fave =)
What to pay: Varies. A dress usually ranges from 50,000 - 80,000won. Jackets are slightly more expensive, and can go up to 120,000won. A top is like 15,000 - 40,000won. Bags and shoes around the same - I bought a bag for 53,000 won.
Korea's largest wholesale and retail shopping district has 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops, and 50,000 manufacturers. Within the ten blocks of the market area, you can find silks, clothes, shoes, sporting goods, plumbing and electrical supplies, electronics, office supplies, toys and just about everything else imaginable.
The market was traditionally a night market and wholesalers once operated from 1:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Now, the area is open for 18 ½ hours a day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., with some stores open 24 hours a day, although most stores close on Sundays and holidays.
What to buy: clothing materials, bedding, dishes and silverware' clothing, shoes, bags, colored wigs, CDs, inexpensive jewelry, and other fashion accessories and a whole lot more!
(like in Namdaemun Market, you can find "Super Copy" Luxury Leather Goods like LV, Prada, Bulgari, etc here too!).
for latest fashion trends, you can go to Doosan Tower (Doota) and Migliore, which are today's hottest shopping areas for college students and teens in Korea (and way cheaper stuff than in Myeongdong!)
What to pay: again it depends on your haggling skills and the need of a korean interpreter.
Like Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Market is located near its namesake of Dongdaemun (Great East Gate). Korea's largest wholesale and retail shopping district has 26 shopping malls, 30,000 specialty shops, and 50,000 manufacturers.
We spent a lot of time at the AM/PM and Migliore buildings. On the whole, area stays open from 10am to 5am with most stalls closed on Mondays and public holidays.
Dongdaemun Market is said to be Asia's largest shopping district. There are 30 shopping malls which houses about 27,000 retail and wholesale outlets. Dongdaemun is known to have the largest apparel shopping areas especially targeted for young Korean women. The most popular malls are Migliore (my favorite!), Doosan Tower and Freya Town. Indeed, for fashionistas, this is the place to be!
March-Oct open from 9am -10pm
Nov-Feb open from 9am to 9pm
What to buy: mostly clothes, clothes, clothes in all sizes!
I'm in LOVE with Dongdaemun!! Floors and floors of great fashion buys! lol. Every girls dream! I swear one stop shop for sure. For yourself, for your friends and family. You can spoil yourself in this fabolous shopping place. Wear comfortable shoes and get an early start. Because you really need one day to shop around the entire place! hahaha. I like it how you start from the bottom and work your way up. Ninth and last floor is the food court. So you can eat after your done your shopping madness!
There's like three or more floors of Women's Clothing, there's two to three floors for men's and unisex. Accessories and Shoes. Halleluyah! halleluyah!!
Cheap clothing and I must say you must explore and bargain hard. But its good to do it with a smile and be very polite. Add some "annyohaseyo" and "eol mayayo?" and they mite be very impressed with you, and give you a better price.
What to buy: Dongdaemun has everything to complete a great outfit. Good gifts for friends and family and a great place to spoil yourself rotten!
What to pay: Good to bargain and compare prices. Mostly each stand over the same stuff! You mite get lost and not find that stand anymore. So its best to look hard for it, trace your steps or just buy it! lol
Here is one of the centers of life in Seoul, the bustling market district around the East Gate, or Tongdaemun. Different sections have different merchandise--everything from clothes to electronics to housewares to you-name-it. These stores stay open almost all the time, so something is always going on here.
Also spelled Dongdaemun.
What to buy: Everything under the sun is here.
What to pay: It's been so long, I couldn't say how costly it is.
Right inside the Dongdaemun stadium there's a flea market where you can find: steel chopsticks, sex toys, old records, handicrafts, seconhand clothes and the list goes on.
Also, there are some eateries that may give you a more authentic kind of food.
Across from the stadium you find more Western style shopping malls full of the new Hip Hopish Korean fashion and other more mundane things to buy.
Dongdaemun is a shopper's paradise. During the day, scower department stores such as Migliore, view the amazing selection of clothes for both men and women, and visit the many smaller stores, which house a variety of items. After midnight, Dongdaemun transforms into an anarchic open-air market (with some indoor wholesale areas). Bring as much won as you can afford to blow, and begin a shopping adventure of a lifetime. As far as clothing is concerned, pretty much any shape, style, brand, color, size, and article is available for the lowest price you will ever encounter. Famous brands, clothes, bags, belts, watches, and shoes are replicated freely; however, the quality of these replicas is stunning. Dongdaemun stretches on, seemingly, forever. I would definitely schedule repeat visits to cover more ground. Dongdaemun was truly an unforgettable shopping experience.
IMPORTANT NOTE- I have noticed many people on Virtual Tourist noting that Asian sizes are "different," but I have often found this untrue. Sometimes I bought Mediums, and they are were too big. You may encounter the problem, however, with shoes.
I have never seen better prices and selection. I found the main items of interest to be clothing. For guys, Dongdaemun department stores offer posh, quality clothing you will NEVER see in the US. I would say "metrosexual" is the reigning style, such as tight fitting wool, leather, suede, and velvet jackets, and amazing designer jeans that put Diesel to shame. One advantage of department stores is that you won't freeze during the winter, they are simple to navigate, and they have changing rooms. Of course, if you are a woman, multiply the selection by about 10 times.
What to buy: As far as street clothes, pick a designer label, and whatever you are after is there. Burberry polo shirts, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, pants, jackets (hard to find), scarves, cigarette cases, cell phone cases, hats, watches, shoes.... and that is just one brand. The quality of the clothing is amazing, and easily matches that of the original (even though there are cheaper knock-offs around that are, granted, ugly, and many of these knock-off items don't exist as originals). Also, don't be surprised if what you are buying is authentic, as lots of brand name clothing is made in Korea, and are just surplus or black marketed goods.
Other items of interest are designer bags and wallets (Coach, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, &c), designer watches (Rolex, Cartier, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, &c) and Burberry scarfs; also, designer shoes (Puma, Dr. Martens, DSquared, Nike, Adidas, Gucci, Burberry, &c), designer lighters, Adidas jumpsuits and jackets, leather belts of all brands (Gucci, Cartier, Hermes), designer socks (Hermes, Polo, Armani, CK, &c) and an endless supply of pretty much any other brand name item I forgot to mention.
I found the department stores to be a much more vicious atmosphere. Almost nothing is priced. If you are an American, this is a huge disadvantage, because it is difficult to value the items, and Korean salesman are very smooth.
What to pay: One disadvantage is, as a rule, a lack of price tags. Generally, try to see what Koreans are spending; you should definitely learn Korean numbers for buying, as well as "ulma yeyo" to ask prices; rather than say "pissayo" for "too expensive," I would recommend instead just displaying a somber face for a few moments, and you will usually get a discount. Don't worry too much- everything is half as much as it is elsewhere in Seoul. If you can, bring a Korean speaker with you. OVERALL, BE POLITE.
In department stores, jackets are $50-$150 depending on length and quality; shirts go from $18-35 here. A NICE pair of designer jeans should go for $40. Burberry scarves, $10 ($5 in Myeongdong, $15 in Itaewon). Designer bags, as low as $15-20 each, avg. $30, and go up to $90. Shoes start $5-10 a pair; designer shoes are usually $25-35 for Nike, Adidas, Puma. Belts, $10. Socks, $1. Chanel wallets, $8-15. Jeans, $20. Shirts/ turtle-necks, $5-15. Watches- $15 for cheap, $50 for quality knock-offs.
The Market that never sleeps! Don't really feel like partying tonight? Head over to Dongdaemoon! There are endless neon malls towering over you (Doota's the best-B1) and get your fakes in the stalls surrounding the two stadiums. Make sure to wonder around and find shoe alley! On Sundays the stadium is used for a Flea Market which has some interesting old stuff. You can even catch a movie if you're getting tired, but it's hard to tell what time it is with all the people, bright lights and even concerts before 12.
What to buy: Some cutting edge Korean designer fashion at cheaper prices. (ie) copies or knock- off adidias bags or Puma running shoes. You can get any kind of clothing, sometimes back home brands too. Although I've often gone and bought nothing, it's still fun to go. During the day you can also buy cheap fabric and I've heard rumors about beads and jewlery materials in the Fabric Mall
What to pay: prices range from 2$ t-shirt stands to $50 winter jackets to $100 purses.
Dong means East, Dae means big, Mun/Moon means gate--so you've got a Great East Gate. Dongdaynum has department-type stores (Hello apm and Galleria are big ones) that are more like indoor bazaars. Each of the 9-10 floors are made up of about 80 sellers of basically whatever you like (mostly clothes). There are other buildings housing home furnishings and other specialty shops (nice thing, they are all concentrated in one place, making shopping easier).
Outside there are many others hawking accessories, socks, toiletries (cheapest razors in Seoul, 1,000 won for 10...yes, less than US$0.10 each!), toys and food.
What to buy: Everything is here.
What to pay: Bargain everywhere. Never pay full price, always 10%-20% should come off. Never take your wallet out until you have the price firm. Never get too excited about an item. Always show flaws or make up some option or color you would prefer (one that they cannot give, thus should give you a discount for not having it). Always buy 2 or more items...should get a 20% discount at least for that. If you get 30%-35% off consider yourself a local.