One day in August I was doing my usual travel, shopping, city research on a lazy afternoon. I then noticed an Air China flash sale. Round trip tickets were less than $400 to Seoul, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Long story short, anyone who knows me personally knows exactly what I did next. I decided to take a week getaway to Seoul, Korea this November to experience the culture the best way possible- by throwing myself in it. I practically just landed in this city, but my heart is already racing with excitement and inspiration. Here is a preview of what is to come from the other side of the world.
Myeongdong is a world known as one of the largest beauty hubs on Earth. It is not just the quantity of retailers all congested in one area that makes it famous, but the quality of goods that influence the industry for the rest of the world. Korea is now taking the lead in the beauty market. Large corporations send researchers for ideas and marketing techniques. I spent my first day observing the different selling techniques of the retailers here in this neighborhood. Compared to the states, their tactics were rather intense. Tourists were being persuaded, tricked with free products, or even physically pushed into stores! I did snag some amazing products, I cannot wait to share with my friends back in NYC!
5900 WON is equivalent to $5.30 USD!!!
The subways here in Seoul are truly breathtaking. Ever since my visit to Japan, I did not think I would ever witness a more efficient system. Seoul’s subway may have Tokyo’s beat. For someone who has not a single ounce of the Korean language under their belt, I was more than fine traveling solo through the system. Everything was clearly labeled and the floors were neat enough to eat off of. My favorite part about the subway system were shopping malls that exist at every single stop! I did research on these ahead of time. I had pictured knock-off China Town quality goods in a congested area. But I was wrong. The shopping fronts were boutique style. And the prices were truly breathtaking. On a quality scale, I would put the manufacturing effort of each piece at a 6/10. The clothing was made of quality materials such as angora, wool, and cashmere. I would say these products are the cheapest alternative to all American Apparel, Uniqlo, and Zara lovers. Most things were simple and minimal.
Bukchon Hanok Village
This snowfall in Bukhon Hanok Village was my first of the season. The village was made up of neighborhoods lined with traditional Korean style homes. The flurries added further character to the architecture. It was nice to get a break from the city and go to what I like to call a knock-off suburb (suburb looking surroundings in the heart of a major city). On my walk down from the village, I found tons of unique boutique style shopping. All the stores were affordable! One of my favorite stops was this flea market above where I purchased a coat. Another one of my favorite experiences was a tiny perfume store hidden between homes. I persuaded the shop owner into letting me take a photograph of the shop interior. He even was nice enough to personalize my perfume bottle after purchase! It was truly an unforgettable experience.
Granhand Handmade Scents
I will keep up with blog posts as my trip goes on. I hope to pass my inspiration from this amazing city onto all readers. More to come.