After the Mural Village, we made our way to Dongdaemun which was one of the top things to do on my list! If Myeongdong is the best place to splurge on skincare, Dongdaemun is where you go crazy with clothes and my heart was pretty much set on finding lots of interesting styles to add to my closet. Read on to see what it's like to shop in Korea!
The Dongdaemun Gate is just right beside the station. We didn't go in since we were all pretty excited to go shopping.
The Doota Building was the agenda (Photography not allowed inside). After doing a lot of research, I thought at the time it was going to be our best option. The mall was quite nice but finding clothes was a challenge - not because they looked bad, but they were too pricey if you planned on buying other things, and it honestly didn't seem worth it to pay so much for the clothes I saw there. The weird thing though is that many stores there carried almost the same things just with different brand tags and this is weirdly true almost anywhere in Korea. It turns out that most of the clothes they sell come from probably one source and stores just sell it at their price range. Don't get me wrong though, the clothes have excellent quality but you could buy something at the Dongdaemun Market for a fraction of what it costs in fancy places like Doota.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to visit the Dongdaemun Market as my parents always seemed to be in a rush to rest. Will definitely check it out when I go back in June! :)
The Shoe Market in Dongdaemun is also *the* place to shop for locally made shoes at the best prices. We weren't able to check it out but I was able to see a few sneakers I liked! Will try my luck here next time as well.
To get to the Doota Building we had to pass through an underpass which was also an underground mall! It was pretty small but the stuff there was A+. The photo above is a recommended menswear shop! I wish I got to check it out more thoroughly but the prices of the clothes and shoes here are pretty reasonable but I bet it isn't as cheap if you hit the Dongdaemun Market.
The same can actually be said for their shoe stores. They all pretty much carry the same thing, so you don't have to worry about missing out on a pair that you liked because chances are that you will see it again someplace else.
Street food in front of Doota! I love that chicken barbeque is sold almost everywhere here and it is *so* awesome.
Other malls in Dongdaemun - Lotte Plaza, Sunshine City, and Hello APM! Migliore is also a famous mall here and it's right between Hello APM and Doota. (It didn't fit into the frame lol) That's literally 5 malls in a row! Korea takes shopping very seriously. Haha! Will talk about them in the latter part of my travel series because I didn't get to visit them on this particular day.
We were headed to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza designed by the late Zaha Hadid. For an architecture student like me, this is an especially big deal and I can't believe I saw this just right before the news of her passing! :(
We weren't particularly interested in touring the place because the exhibits were quite pricey so we just walked around the compound.
The white flowers below are actually solar-powered LED lamps!
The bulb is right in the very core of the flower.
Despite the super modern look, it didn't quite feel out of place with Dongdaemun's other buildings.
Their Design Lab had this temporary commercial area where you could find the most random things.
SM Entertainment had this huge booth where you could buy tons of merch and even their most recent albums! At the time, it was Red Velvet's comeback so The Velvet was everywhere.
Missed having an iPhone after seeing these Red Velvet Dumb Dumb cases!
Tons of other things to check out that I can barely remember. I didn't get to buy anything but the stuff was pretty cool.
Monami had this really fancy booth! All the colors! *o*
25 To Go also had their own little store where I absolutely went nuts over the origami backpacks! The Black French Bulldog is all sorts of perfection but sensibility kicked in and I couldn't buy a 5000-peso bag if I can't pull it off when I 'm 30. :(
Quirky home decor.
We spent so much time at the Design Lab that it was already the evening when we got out! Just in time to see DDP come to life!
Suddenly what was cold, dark, and grey, started to gather some warmth.
And the flowers became sceneries from fairy tales.
I loved that this part of DDP was just open to the public. You didn't need to give anything to enjoy something so marvelous. Add that to my frustrations about urban planning in Manila. Huhu
We went back to Myeongdong and finally got to walk around it! So many people in one place - it was crazy, but not really overwhelming so don't worry.
And there are even more varieties of street food to choose from. Quite different from the barbeque chicken that was everywhere in Dongdaemun!
2-storey Nature Republic store! Props to their awesome green wall to help the environment. Also, I should note that the 3rd floor of this Nature Republic is a record store so you can buy your albums here, tax-free!
Myeongdong's street food is more focused on bread; food that is easy to carry around and easy to finish and makes minimum mess - perfect for the serious shopper. Haha!
SPAO is sort of like the GU and Giordano of Korea. The prices can be a bit high but I imagine it becomes incredibly affordable once they go on sale. The clothes are mostly classic and basic. Very reminiscent of H&M's classic line and not the Divided line.
It was so nice to see a familiar face - ABC Mart! It brought me back to Japan! Really hoping to go back someday soon! :O
Stay tuned for the rest of my March Korea series! Ending this post with me and the LED flowers aka one of my all-time favorite travel photos. Haha!
'Til next time! :)