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5 Must Buy Things in Korea

Korea is one of the best countries to shop with the wide variety of quality products from skincare to clothes and food! I did my research before heading to Korea but it was hardly enough, I was still overwhelmed by the stuff available and really regretted not bringing more to spend there. The advice that I have to give is bring more cash and plan your spending well! There are ATMs all around that accepts international cards with MasterCard or Visa logo but the exchange rates are the worse and there will be a charge imposed, will share about this in a separate post!

Let's move on to the main part of this post! I hope it will aid in the planning for your trip to Korea, be it in Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter ;)
1. Beauty Products
This is, without a doubt, at the top on my shopping list and I assume most ladies' shopping lists as Korea produces good quality makeup/skincare products and sells them at affordable prices. Moreover, the prices are at least 20% cheaper than Singapore stores!
Best place to get them: Myeong-dong (명동)
The amount of outlets for each brand there is shocking. You can see at least 2 outlets of the same brand in the same row of shops so if you don't find the item you need in one outlet, you can easily hop over to the other one!

One of the first things that I noticed was the amount of samples given, many blogs that I came across claimed that there were alot of samples each time they made purchases but that wasn't the case when I was there. Apparently, there is a minimum spending of 30,000won for most brands (one of the brands that adhere to this strictly is Etude House) to be able to receive a certain amount of samples and no samples will be given during sales period. I did try asking for more samples in a nice way when I purchased more but many sales assistants would say no and brushed it off.

And also, once the sales assistants noticed that you won't be buying alot (some people do spend like 500k-800k won at one go), the attitude towards you will change and probably the reason why the samples are little as well. I did meet one really sweet sales girl (at The Saem outlet) during my whole trip there and that was the only time I enjoyed shopping in a beauty store without the eyes of sales assistant following my every movement or having to put up with an unpleasant service attitude. I have been doing customer service for the longest time and I know how it feels to be ignored by customers so I always acknowledge the sales staff and ask them questions in a pleasant way or try to engage in a conversation but they don't return the favour :(

2. Spectacles / Glasses
I didn't find alot of blogs featuring this so I decided to add it on my list. This is one of my best buys in Korea, it's just $35! The quality of frames and lenses are definitely there, prices are lower than most optical shops in Singapore or anywhere else in the World and best of all is the processing time taking less than a hour. Read more about how to purchase them by clicking the link above:)
Best place to get them: Myeong-dong (명동) & Namdaemun Market (남대문 시장)

3. Food
I'm sure many already know what are the popular food(Market O Brownie, Instant Noodles, Seaweed etc) to stock up and bring home to your friends and family. As for the ones that I think you should get, it is more for those who will be living there temporarily or looking to get some different food to bring back.

Starting from the top, alcohol, it is surprisingly inexpensive for both Soju and many other Korean brands. You can actually see youngsters and working adults drinking every night at various street side food stores and restaurants! Unlike what we see in Singapore, Soju comes in different packaging, from plastic bottles to packet drinks, making it easy to consume.

For the last few days of our trip, we stayed at a small apartment which allowed cooking so we bought some food to eat there and it included Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup, something random that I wanted to try and it turned out really good! If I had more cash, I would have brought a few packs back. It was even better than what we had at Tosokchon. The mushroom soup, chicken flavoured snack and cheese cake were good choices as well, definitely get them the next time I'm in Korea.

Last but not least, my favourite: ice cream! Their ice creams were so addictive, I had one almost everyday(most of the times I just eat & forgot to take pictures) and on the last day of my trip I tried the watermelon-shaped ice cream and it tasted as good as it looked. Plus, the fake "watermelon seeds" added were actually tiny chocolate bits! Prices ranged from 700won - 1,500won at convenience stores. Certain Korean marts in Singapore do carry limited selection of ice creams but prices start from $2.50 onwards :(
Best place to get them: Lotte Mart - Seoul Station Branch (롯데마트-서울역점)

4. Clothes/Bags/Shoes/Accessories
Shopping in Korea is so addictive! The clothes, shoes and bags are not only made in Korea with quality material but also reasonably priced! Each item here is less than 20,000won, can you believe it? Before the trip, I didn't plan on buying much other than beauty products and I was wrong. Anyway, I adored the sling bag(wished I could buy one in every colour available) and shoes especially but they were also really bulky so I couldn't buy much, afraid that they couldn't fit into the luggage, and not having enough money to spend.
Best place to get them: Express Bus Terminal GOTO Mall

Many of the items sold here can be found in other parts of Seoul at a much higher price. After being to Dongdaemun, Hongdae, Ehwa, I still think that GOTO Mall is my favourite for its variety and competitive prices, definitely a good place for bargain hunters.

5. Cookware/Silverware
Sorry I don't have a clear picture of the ramen pots and mum has already started using them. Anyway it is usually seen in dramas and there are shops that sell them in Singapore but it is 50% cheaper in Korea! It is also lightweight and can be found in places like Lotte Mart and Daiso :)
Best place to get them: Lotte Mart - Seoul Station Branch (롯데마트-서울역점)

That's all for this post! Will be adding more posts about Korea along the way ;)


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