Now let’s talk about items and souvenirs worth buying in South Korea. Tourists can buy souvenirs anywhere but shops in large cities like Seoul and Busan usually have the best and most diverse stock. It is better to buy jewelry in Seoul – visit Dongdaemun Market for this purpose. The market is located in the namesake district. Korean jewelry with nephrite and smoky topaz is always high in demand. Ginseng root in different forms, healing teas, national dolls, ceramics, and embroidery are also popular souvenirs. Kimchi is a widespread food souvenir. As it is spicy, kimchi is delicious and has a long shelf life. South Korea specializes in leather and fur items. Summer is the best time to shop for them as there are usually discounts.
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Korean won is the national currency in South Korea. KRW is the international code. There are banknotes of the following denominations: 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 50,000 won. Coins are available in these denominations: 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 won. 1 and 5 won coins are almost not used in the country because most prices are in thousands of won. Small prices are usually rounded up to 10 won. All banks offer currency exchange services and accept currencies of different countries. International bank cards are widely accepted everywhere too. Some shops might accept U.S. dollars. It is possible to pay with cash only at markets.
Fans of shopping can visit Korean shops like museums. Everything is neatly packed, and items are always tidy and well organized. Shopping centers are large, and so it is easy to spend several hours in them. When you feel tired, you can sit in a café and enjoy a light meal or a drink. It is impossible to get lost because shopping centers around the world look much alike – food, items, and cinema. Such chains of shops as Daiso and Artbox are great for shopping souvenirs. They are available in many districts of the capital. It is worth visiting these shops simply to see their stock and prices. In South Korea, many items can make great souvenirs. There is even a place in Seoul that has a giant range of souvenir goods. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
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If you want to visit a place with the biggest choice of souvenirs in the country, head to Insa-dong. This neighborhood and its main pedestrianized street are the heart of tourist Seoul. The street becomes completely closed for cars on Sundays. Jonggak is the closest metro station. The street isn’t very attractive but it is always crowded. There are many art galleries and modern art shops, souvenir shops and outlets, cafes and restaurants, coffee houses and tea houses, and street food sellers.
In Insa-dong it is easy to find souvenirs for any taste. Hats and caps, headscarves, backpacks, purses, wallets, hairpins, fashion jewelry, fine jewelry, bookmarks in the shape of Korean girls, paintings – tourists can buy all these and many more items. Take a look at wooden Hahoe masks – actors in the ancient Korean theater were using them to play members of different social classes. Fans are also very popular. There are fans shaped like table tennis rackets and classical folded fans. By the way, it is possible to order a custom fan that can be painted in front of the buyer.
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Stamps with different symbols are very popular in South Korea. Tourists can order their personal stamps with their family name, first name, or symbol. The choice of wooden tableware is striking, so it is easy to make a beautiful set of different bowls, chopsticks, plates, spoons, ladles, and many other items. Ceramic tableware is also popular and widespread. Some souvenir shops sell music CDs and t-shirts with images of popular Korean idols. In order not to miss anything interesting, visit a map of the neighborhood with the list of all shops in one of the tourist centers.
To enjoy luxury shopping, visit the Shinsegae department store in Myeongdong. This is a multi-story shopping center, so if you feel tired, you can always go to the roof of the building and breathe fresh air in the rooftop garden or enjoy city views from the observation deck. There are also gardens on some floors of the building. Floors 8 to 12 offer duty-free items. This means that tourists do not need to take the purchased goods with them – all items will be automatically sent to the airport where they will wait for their owner before the boarding. This is very comfortable for foreign guests.
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When entering Shinsegae, visitors get a coupon for a free pack of dried seaweed (a traditional snack in Korea) and a coupon for a 20,000 won discount (roughly 20 U.S. dollars). This coupon can be used when paying for items in this department store. In Shinsegae, visitors can find cosmetics, perfumes, bags, suitcases, clothes, and accessories by many luxury fashion houses. Stalls with Korean items are available separately. Just like in any other large shopping center, Shinsegae has departments with toys, jewelry, electronics, souvenirs, and food. It is hard to count all groups of goods available for sale here. Another shopping center in Myeongdong, Noon, has more affordable items.