Not everyone likes shopping but if you're traveling to a different country, it can be worthwhile to pick up a few souvenirs! Similar to food, shopping ranges from cheap to high end. If you are looking to purchase a lot of souvenirs or clothing, I would try the underground malls connected to the subway stations. My favorites were the Goto or Gangnam and Myeongdong underground shopping centers. There are others as well like in Dongdaemun and Jonggak. Goto is the biggest one that I visited and definitely the most crowded. I would stop by on the weekdays if possible.
Thinking about a pricier purchase? You can try haggling in some of the shops in the underground malls. Most prices are set but if the item is above $70, it's worth it to try and get them to lower it a bit.
To get to Goto mall, take the subway to the EXPRESS BUS TERMINAL STATION, EXIT 8. Bonus! This is also connected to Famille Station. It's like this fancier area with a variety of international food options. The Banpo Bridge is also nearby if you are interested in seeing the rainbow lights show at night. Within the Goto mall are food courts on either end so feel free to grab a bite while you're browsing.
If a traditional mall seems more appealing, the biggest ones are COEX and Lotte World. COEX is nice since it's attached to the aquarium, so you can kill two birds with one stone. Both have extensive food options as well. COEX is also connected to Parnas Mall, with a lot of higher end brands. I liked that COEX had a mix of expensive and more affordable brands. The aquarium was fun as well, though definitely very pricey. If you are in the area, the Bongeunsa Temple is also nearby so be sure to check that out! To get to the mall, go to SAMSEONG STATION.
Lotte World Mall is divided into two areas so be wary when you first enter the building from the station. When we entered, we thought the mall only had designer brands. After viewing the directory, we realized there's a bridge to another side (also where the food is). I believe it's on the fifth floor but once you cross the bridge, the other building will have more affordable clothing options as well as several restaurants. There's a bubble tea shop right past the bridge, which I recommend! To get here, go to JAMSIL STATION.
As I mentioned in my other posts, university areas also have a lot of shopping. My favorites were Ewha and Hongik.
Here are some other tips you will need to know:
* Some places will charge you extra for a plastic bag. It is worthwhile to carry an extra tote bag if you plan on buying a lot. Same goes for supermarkets!
* If you're buying something cheap, chances are, the quality won't be that great either. However! I have found quite a lot of good sweatshirts for under $10 USD so it's not applicable to everything. Just try not to have high expectations.
* Many shops, particularly the ones on the street or in the underground malls, do not sell clothes with sizes. They are 'free' size. One size fits all. I have also seen this in several clothing stores in traditional malls. I mainly eye-balled and hoped that it would fit (though some places do have fitting rooms).
* Sometimes they will sell you the item on display. I always try asking to see if they have a new one in stock and more often than not, they'll check for you!
* Sales people can be VERY aggressive here. Do not let that deter you from making your own decisions and do not be afraid to say no if you really do not want to buy something. I've had quite the few ladies being pushy as soon as I touch something on the rack. Not all of them are like that but it's something to be aware of.
....And that's a wrap! My next and final post will be general tips that helped me during my trip!