Dongdaemun is, quite frankly, HUGE and overwhelming. In my life, I have never seen so many shopping places all in one area. Infact – considering Australia’s severely lacking shopping industry – I bet Dongdaemun alone has more clothing and larger amounts of shopping malls than all the shopping centres combined in Australia. I mean magine 5-6 Westfields in one spot, with some DFOs chucked in as well. That is what Dongdaemun is, the Armageddon of SHOPPING MALLS!!!
I don’t know if it is because we live in Australia and shopping here is somewhat unobtrusive, but we found shopping in Dongdaemun (or anywhere in Korea) extremely straining – mentally and emotionally. Shopping in Dongdaemun is this mixture of head spinning clothing overload and extreme hyper-giddyness over the sheer amount of clothing available to one person. It was so emotionally draining that Siree and I actually became physically tired – we had so much to cover in such little time! You just didn’t know what to buy in case you found something better elsewhere, but by the time you had looked elsewhere, you had already forgotten about the first item because there were just THAT many clothes. It is completely impossible to compare items and pricing in Dongdaemun. Just don’t even try. If you see something and you really like it, buy it. Chances are you wont find it again if you don’t!!!
Don’t get me wrong, we still loved shopping here and always will.
One of my favourite highlights of Dongdaemun was the abundance of street food. So being the foodies we are, this was naturally our first Dongdaemun pittstop. We decided to stop at this little stall that sold fish shaped “pastries” filled with all different kinds of fillings.
Street food vendors literally line the streets in Dongdaemun. The smell is so good, and trust me after a long day of shopping some Korean street food goodness is just what you need.
If you think Dongdaemun is awesome by day, it completely comes alive at night with entertainment, influxes of people and amazingly lit shopfront displays. One thing I got to love about Korea is they seem to really enjoy their Christmas decorations, so even though almost a month had passed since Christmas, everywhere was still filled with Christmas lights and decorations, which was super pretty!
Something you might want to be wary of when shopping in Dongdaemun, or anywhere in Korea for that matter, is the amount of shopping bags you are holding. Because there will be a point somewhere in your trip, where you are holding way too many bags that…you accidentally leave one of your shopping bags behind…and don’t realise until it’s too late… That is exactly what happened to me *cries*!!!! I know right how could I?!!?
The entire trip my brain was mush, but this seriously was the icing on the cake. I was so pissed off I resorted to modes of self punishment, which included retreating into quiet bouts of internal self reflection on how I could be so freaking reckless. I was so upset as my really nice (and cheap) double collared blouse was in the bag I had left behind. If theres one positive thing about Korean shopping its the fact that usually when it comes to the clothing and shoes there is usually only one piece of each item available to purchase, making your outfits more unique…however this obviously becomes a negative when you lose your shopping bags and now fear that you will never be able to find and buy that particular item again. Luckily for me though, I was reunited with my beautiful blouse the second time I went to Dongdaemun, although overall this meant it cost me 50000 won instead of 25000 won. sigh.
How to get to Dongdaemun:
Exit Dongdaemun Station exit 7 or 8. Dongdaemun has numerous shopping places, but for the “main” tourist area, you will need to pass Dongdaemun gate and cross the bridge that passes over the Cheonggyecheon river (see first image in post). 5 minute walk..not even.
How long to spend in Dongdaemun:
Siree and I spent 1.5 – 2 days of our schedule at Dongdaemun…and we only explored apM, Migliore and Doota..which is roughly (hardly) one side of Dongdaemun…soooo dissappointed at our efforts right now.
- If you are planning on shopping hardcore in Korea, go here first!!! Clothes are much cheaper here than items sold in Myeongdong and Hongdae – and often all 3 areas sell the same clothes.
- Take a map with you so you dont miss any shopping areas. We didn’t take a map and therefore didn’t realise how many areas we didn’t explore!!!
- Bargain wherever possible in stores like apM and Migliore…and use “aegyo”. It seriously works wonders – I got shoes down from 50000 won to 40000 won..and even ended up saving $160 on a leather jacket! Bargaining doesn’t really work in Department stores though.