가자 Korea Diary 15: A Day At Myeongdong 명동에서의 하루 - Stylenanda Flagship Store, FNC Wow!, Line Friends Store, Lotte Young Plaza

Myeongdong 명동 (明洞) is a place that you will never want to miss out on when you're in Seoul. It is a consumerist heaven that's crowned the 9th most expensive shopping places in the world. Loaded with massive department stores, fashion boutiques, cosmetic shops and street vendors as well as Instagram worthy cafes, you could easily get lost in this shopping labyrinth for the entire day. 

The name "Myeongdong" got ingrained in my brain when I was watching this K-drama back in 2011. I should've rewatched it before going there because now looking back, I realised that I totally missed out on eating knife-cut noodles - which was mentioned in that drama. Damn it! 

So to prevent you, yes you who's reading this blog post, from doing the same mistake as me, do visit Myeongdong Kyoja 명동교자 at 29 Myeongdong 10-gil for their knife-cut noodles (kalguksu 칼국수).

To get there: Take exit 8 at Myeongdong station, turn left, walk for 2.5 blocks and you will arrive at Myeongdong 10-gil. The restaurant will be on your right.

I started my day by moving out from Hapjeong 합정 to a hanok (traditional Korean house) in Gyeongbokgung 경복궁.

If you are interested in staying in a traditional Korean house for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you can click here AND you can get $50 off Airbnb by clicking here.

From Gyeongbokgung station, I took the orange line to Chungmuro. Then, I changed to the blue line to get to Myeongdong. Do download the Seoul Subway app to plan your subway journey with ease - you can check out my blog post here for the instructions to use it.

Stumbled upon a mini toilet bowl at the Gyeongbokgung subway station...that's very interesting!

Years ago, when I was still in college, I used to have a picture of this exact street on my vision board and now I'm standing here! 

How to get to Myeongdong?
At Myeongdong station 명동역, take exit 6 to get to street level. And you will arrive at this Myeongdong 8-gil where all the magic happens.

I arrived relatively early and there weren't a lot of people yet. 

The streets were so quiet. This whole district will get pretty packed and busy later in the day, so if you prefer a peaceful shopping experience, do try to get there earlier. 

PS: Prepare a big bag for yourself too in case you did too much damage. It's not alienating to see people walking around with big luggage bags that are filled to the brink with their shopping haul. Alternatively, you could always buy one when you're there too. 

Spotted Park Shin Hye who's the ambassador of Roem. I really like the clothes from this brand but it's more on the pricier side so I walked out empty-handed. 

Went to everyone's favourite Line Friends store. Don't miss out on the chance to snap a photo with their signature character Brown. Perks of getting here early is to not having to wait in a long line for your turn.

Though Line Friends are cute as well, I'm Team Kakao Friends. I could spend the whole day at Kakao Friends store but I only spent 10 minutes in Line Friends Store. 

You can find dirt cheap shopping to luxury brands in Myeongdong. Don't worry, you'll be able to afford shopping at Myeongdong because there's always something there that'll suit your budget.

Myeongdong has you covered for various types of food too. 

One of the biggest "attractions" of Myeongdong is Stylenanda's Pink Hotel & Pink Pool Cafe (click here for more). Everything in here is so aesthetically pleasing ♥

My highlight of the day was definitely this FNC WOW! Celebrity Space (click here for more). Unfortunately, this place is now permanently closed so these photos are the only things left for me 

I mentioned in my previous 가자 Korea Diary entry (here) that I met up with Soomin 언니 for the first time at Myeongdong so she brought me around for a short while. 

We went over to the Lotte Department Store to escape the cold after our coffee session. One tip that Soomin 언니 shared with me was that the food vendors who sell the local delicacies of Korean by the roadside tend to be pricier. Hence, she brought me to the food court of Lotte Department Store. Indeed, the prices were lower and we could eat more comfortably too.

We both love fish cakes a lot, so we got various types of fishcakes (어묵) as snacks. Argh, I am craving for them so bad now! 

You could find more expensive shopping in the malls if you prefer luxury brands. 

PlayNoMore is a famous Korean fashion brand which I used to love a lot when I was younger because of its cute designs and eye-catching colours. 

See what I meant by the streets would get a hell lot crowded later in the day! I came back out to the streets because I had to bid Soomin 언니 goodbye for the day. 

Grabbed a 30cm ice cream for myself - not sure what I was thinking because I was already freezing. Surprisingly, I didn't do as much damage as Myeongdong as I expected. In fact, all I did was spend on food. I didn't even buy a single piece of face mask! It's so funny because everyone around me in Myeongdong was carrying at least 1 shopping bag but not me. 

My phone case found its friend!

I went into SPAO to escape the cold because I did not wear a jacket out. Also, because I really like this brand ever since I discovered it in Sinchon

Myeongdong Theatre was renovated from the building of the National Theatre of Korea which was established in the 1930s. Now, Myeongdong Theatre houses one of South Korea's top performances, named NANTA. If you get tired from shopping, sitting down to enjoy a show isn't that bad of an idea. 

My last stop of the day at Myeongdong was Lotte Young Plaza which carries brands that are targeted towards the youngsters, with more affordable price tags.

YG, JYP and SM Entertainment Agencies have their pop-ups in Lotte Young Plaza too. If you are a fan of any of the bands from these companies, you'll be able to find some official merch to add to your collection. 

How cute is Esther the bunny! 

Chuu is another clothing brand which I discovered when I was in South Korea. Similar to Stylenanda, but it's more towards the cutesy side. 

After one whole day walking around Myeongdong, I finally found what I truly wanted. Before I came to South Korea, I knew I wanted to find a really long and oversized burgundy coat. The ones that I saw throughout my trip were either not my cup of tea or they were nice but too expensive. 

Guess what, I found this one at Lotte Young Plaza and it was only about 33,000 won (that's approx 33 dollars)! What a steal!

I was really surprised when I saw the price tag of it because there's a street vendor who quoted me 70,000 won (about 70 dollars) for something similar. Who would've thought I could find something at Lotte Young Plaza that's 50% cheaper than on the streets of Myeongdong.

And this coat was the only thing that I bought from Myeongdong and I wore it right away because it was freezing cold by the time I headed back to my Airbnb at Gyeongbokgung

A few tips to note when shopping in Myeongdong:

1. Many shops in Myeongdong offer immediate tax refund service if you spend more than 30,000 won and less than 300,000 won, tax included. So, do look around first before deciding. If the shop that you make your purchases from do not offer immediate tax refund service, remember to keep the receipt so you could get your tax refund at the airport. 

2. For foreigners, do carry your passport when shopping at Myeongdong. Many shops do offer special promotions for foreigners (when you show them your passport), so don't miss out on that. 

3. Many skincare/beauty shops will have over-enthusiastic promoters offering you free samples while half-pulling you into their shop. You could politely reject them yet still keep the free samples - it's a social norm in that area, so there's no need to feel guilty about it. 
Do check out my previous entries related to my Korea Trip:

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