The cobble-stoned Insa-dong neighbourhood is a must for visitors. Located in the downtown area the main street is reserved for pedestrians only on Sundays. Covering the main street from one end to the other will only take you about 15 minutes, but it’s very worthwhile exploring the numerous side streets and alleyways. Insa-dong shops sell souvenirs, handmade paper and gifts, exquisitely patterned celadon (traditional Korean ceramics) as well as the classic white porcelain of the Chosun Dynasty. You’ll also find art works, jewellery, wooden artefacts, traditional masks, earthenware, lacquer ware and art supplies in this neighbourhood. The local boutiques offer beautiful clothing made from Korean silks, linens and cottons – both traditional and modern in style. Insa-dong also boasts many art galleries, traditional teahouses, coffeehouses and restaurants – not to be missed!
Seoul’s youth heads to Myeong-dong for clothes, shoes, make-up, accessories and so on. Located in central Seoul, you’ll enjoy the narrow alleyways which lead off the main street and are for pedestrians only.
Apgujeondong-dong, the neighbourhood lying south of the Han River, is known as Seoul’s smartest shopping district and has been given the nickname of ‘Seoul’s Rodeo Drive’. Luxurious fashion stores, spas and salons, as well as many trendy restaurants and night spots, are located in this area. Young Koreans driving luxury foreign sports cars and wearing designer clothes frequent this part of town.
Traditionally the first stop for many tourists, souvenir, clothing and shoe shops line the main street of the Itaewon-dong neighbourhood. Street vendors are also to be found here, as well as antique shops and tailors in great number. Head to Itaewon if you’re looking for handbags and luggage. A big variety of restaurants - both on and off the main street - offer a wide range of cuisines to cater for even the most adventurous. Itaewon is also the centre for Seoul’s Muslim community - indeed the city’s only mosque is to be found here.