Designated a special Tourism Promotion Area, Myeongdong is one of Seoul’s busiest shopping districts with an estimated 2 million people visiting the commercial hub everyday. Myeongdong has something for every shopper, from street stalls selling souvenirs, to bargain stores, boutiques, and major department stores.
Korean skincare and beauty mecca
The area hosts major Korean skincare and cosmetic brands such as Etude House, Missha, Nature Republic, Skin Food, Innisfree, and The Face Shop, as well as mid-to-high end stores and international retail brands such as Zara, Nike, Guess, Forever 21, G-star Raw, H&M, and Uniqlo. Several major department stores are in this area including Lotte Department, Migliore, and Shinsegae Department Store.
Pedestrian shopping street
At the heart of the bustling neighbourhood is the popular Myeongdong Shopping Street. Here you will find food stalls popping up in the middle of the street and shop assistants handing out free samples (usually of face masks), to entice customers to enter their store. This pedestrian street is a one-stop shopping paradise for all your skin and beauty needs. The district is also teeming with youths as clothing stores mainly cater towards a younger demographic. Myeongdong is easily accessible by subway metro line 4 (light blue). The prime location of this neighbourhood makes it a tourist hot spot with Namsam Tower, another popular tourist attraction, situated nearby.
Look for tax free tourist shops
Handy tip, there are heaps of shops in Myeongdong that are actually tax free for tourists! Just make sure to look out for tax free logos or ask one of the shop assistants. Some stores, are ‘Duty Free’, meaning that no tax is applied to the price of the items. These stores are usually run by large department stores, including Shinsegae and Lotte among others. ‘Tax Free’ stores will provide you with a tax refund slip along with your receipt to claim when you return to the airport. Eligible shoppers will need to spend over 30 000 KRW. You will also need to show your passport and/or flight number to the shop assistant.