When you are planning to travel to Seoul, South Korea for a long trip, you must have been told by your friends and relatives that you have to look for some gifts to bring back to them, right? This sounds simple at first, but when it comes to shopping paradise in Seoul, many people wonder about choosing the most meaningful gifts or souvenirs. So, what to buy in Seoul (Seoul what to buy), what should i buy in Seoul, what to get in Seoul, what souvenirs to buy in Seoul and where to buy cheap souvenirs in Seoul? Let’s check out our Seoul shopping guide (best shopping Seoul) with the suggested of +33 best things to buy from Seoul (best things to buy in Seoul) including best souvenirs from Seoul, must buy in Seoul, things must buy in Seoul as well as (where to buy souvenirs in Seoul) to help you find most meaningful Seoul gifts, Seoul souvenirs for your loved ones below!
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Referring to the modern and beautiful capital city of Seoul, what will people think of first? Cosmetics, fashion clothes, food, cute souvenirs… there are so many wonderful and meaningful things to choose from as souvenirs in the shopping paradise in the “Land of Kimchi”. If your friends or loved ones suggests to you that they want a gift when you return, it’s hard to imagine what they want and what will satisfy them, isn’t it? Instead of taking time to think and choose, why don’t you immediately refer to the traditional gifts, souvenirs and other great things of Seoul that we are about to suggest below!
What to buy in Seoul: Korean tea
Most Koreans love it and drink at least one cup of tea a day. Although Korean cuisine is rich and diverse, characteristic and widely developed, few people know that the land of Kim Chi also has a traditional tea-enjoying culture. If you take a closer look, visitors can see that from the ingredients, the tea-making method to the art of tea brewing, are very impressive and wonderful.
Traditional tea holds the leading position for Korean society to mention Green Tea (Nokcha) with a long history up to hundreds of years and great uses. There are also many popular teas that are both delicious and nutritious such as Plum Tea (Maesil-cha), Lemon Tea (Yujacha), Ottogi Honey Quince Tea (Mogwacha), Ginger Tea (Saenggangcha)… In Seoul, you can easily find shops selling these types of tea. They pack very carefully in lovely, compact and convenient boxes for you to bring back as souvenirs.
Best things to buy in Seoul: Soju and Makgeolli
The most famous Korean specialty drinks are soju (the national drink) and makgeolli (Korean rice wine). Overall, the prices of these items are quite cheap. So take the time to try delicious flavors like: Pineapple, apple, raspberry and grapefruit. There’s even a cheese-flavoured makgeolli for visitors.
Soju is the name for a clear and colorless Korean distilled alcoholic beverage made from rice or grain, used in daily meals and other important holidays. Due to its low alcohol content, Soju is very popular in small and intimate gatherings. Bring back a few bottles of Soju or Makgeolli for friends or family and enjoy a meal like a Korean when you get back is also a great experience to remember the country you once to visit.
Where to buy: Supermarkets, grocery stores and convenience stores in Seoul.
Best things to buy in Seoul: Tteok
Koreans have a saying like this: “From birth to death in Korean life, there is always tteok cake”. Tteok is a traditional Korean rice cake, mainly divided into four types based on how it is made: Steamed tteok, mixed tteok, pan-fried tteok, and molded tteok. The most prominent one is the type made from dried fruits, red beans, sugar and sesame. There are also many other ways to prepare and enjoy depending on each holiday. Koreans call tteok as the “soul” on the banquet table every holiday, traditional New Year.
If you have the opportunity to come to Seoul, visit the supermarkets, convenience stores, traditional markets here to try and buy delicious and luxurious boxes of tteok cakes as gifts for friends and relatives. And you should carefully research each type of cake to see the essence and meaning of it.
Best things to buy from Seoul: Dried seaweed
Koreans eat seaweed so much, they not only cook it in soup as an ingredient, but also chew it in its dried form as a snack flavored with salt and sesame oil. According to old Korean tradition, during Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) and Lunar New Year, dried seaweed is given as a gift along with fresh fruit. These days, it’s also a popular souvenir that most visitors tend to take home.
Seaweed provides a full range of essential nutrients for the body such as complete protein (containing many essential amino acids), minerals, especially trace elements, vitamins (A, B, C, E), and some biological activities are beneficial to the body… From a medical perspective, seaweed is considered a food with high nutritional value, bringing many effects to human health. Therefore, buying seaweed for use or as a gift is a great suggestion that you can choose when visiting the Korean capital.
Korean seaweed also can be used to make Korean rice rolls, make soups and even to eat as a delicious snack. Besides the usual salted dried seaweed, this snack also comes in flavors such as: Habanero, teriyaki, wasabi and spicy pepper.
Where to buy
According to many researches, dried seaweed contains many healthy antioxidants. There are many types of seaweed for sale at Gwangjang Market with a variety of designs. Or you can also find them in supermarkets and grocery stores. Because dried seaweed is easier to store and more convenient to give as a gift, this is a great suggestion for you, especially when you are limited in time.
You also can easily find Korean seaweed at supermarkets in Seoul. In fact, Lotte Mart at Seoul Station has all the delicious seaweed products you need!
Note: Although it is not too heavy and takes up a lot of weight in the luggage, it can take up quite a bit of space.
Best things to buy from Seoul: Ginseng
Korea is also nicknamed the “land of ginseng” because this country is blessed by nature in terms of geography, climate as well as soil that is very suitable for growing ginseng. Hit the market with the world’s highest ginseng quality and is believed by experts in ginseng research: “The shape and quality characteristics of Korean ginseng are unique”. Well-known for that, ginseng has great effects and extremely powerful health benefits such as tonic, increase vitality, lower blood sugar, beautify skin, strengthen the immune system… While certainly on the more expensive side, it’s the perfect gift to bring home or give as a gift.
You can choose a variety of ginseng from: Susan (natural ginseng), baeksang (dried ginseng) and red ginseng (steamed then dried). You can also find all kinds of ginseng products in Seoul such as candy, tea and health supplements…
Depending on your budget and condition, you can purchase ginseng-containing products such as ginseng tea, ginseng liquor, ginseng candy, and ginseng supplements, ginseng extract instead of pure ginseng. Because the Korean ginseng market is so large, there are many ways to categorize all the different ginseng products that reach the consumer.
Where to buy
Visitors should research carefully to choose the most suitable ginseng and you can visit Seoul Medicine Market to buy. You can also find it in any supermarket or duty-free shop. In addition, local markets such as: Gwangjang Market, Namdaemun Market and Gyeongdong Yaknyeong Market are places that sell quite a lot of ginseng.
What to buy in Seoul: Lingzhi
Not only ginseng, Korean Lingzhi is equally famous. Lingzhi can effectively support the treatment of diseases such as gout, cerebral circulatory insufficiency, blood pressure, blood fat, neurasthenia, liver, kidney, reduce the body aging process, joint diseases. in the elderly, arteriosclerosis, diabetes. In addition, Ganoderma also helps strengthen the immune system, used to prevent cancer…
You can buy whole dried Lingzhi mushrooms or cut into pieces, Lingzhi tea or concentrated Lingzhi extract… Lingzhi can be used for all ages including children and pregnant women, even using any time even when not sick. You can find Lingzhi products at supermarkets, department stores, convenience stores or local markets in Seoul.
Best souvenirs from Seoul: Hanbok
Hanbok is a traditional Korean costume, appeared in the Joseon era, once worn by both men and women, before Westernization. Full dress can be divided into tops, pants and skirts. Currently, Hanbok is often worn on holidays, important days… of Koreans.
In addition, tourists are also very interested in this traditional costume. Along the roads, especially the old streets, you will easily see Hanbok rental shops and a lot of tourists also go there. This is definitely a very meaningful gift because Hanbok also contains a deep Korean culture, but you can choose to buy dolls or hanbok t-shirts instead. These can be the perfect decorations to keep at home and show off to your guests. Young girls will especially love these dolls!
Traditional paper (Hanji)
Are you looking to buy a typical culture product of Korean? This is exactly what you’re looking for. Hanji is a Korean paper making tradition that is over a thousand years old. This traditional craft paper made from mulberry was once considered one of the finest in East Asia, known for its durable, aesthetics and light. Due to its strength and insulating ability, hanji has been used to cover most walls (wallpapers), doors and windows in traditional Korean homes. You can also easily find lamps, fans, calligraphy scrolls, cards, umbrellas and even clothes made from hanji.
What could be better than a souvenir that is both usable and has a culture in it? That’s what we recommend. The best place to buy hanji items in Seoul is the Gyeongil Hanji Department Store, or if you want to try making this traditional paper on your own way and take home your finished craft for a loved one, go to Hanji Chueok craft shop.
What to buy in Seoul: Goryeo celadon-glazed ceramics (Cheongja)
Korea has been an exporter of crockery for centuries, and the celadon-glazed technique is iconic and considered a national treasure. Cheongja are porcelain that has undergone development in the hands of Goryeo potters between 400 and 1,000 years ago. Korean pottery differs from China in the sense that it favors simplicity in design, rather than ostentation. Speaking of Cheongja, one must pay attention to the appealing of celadon glaze commonly found in Korean pottery.
A sophisticated celadon-glazed set is definitely a smart and delicate choice for your loved ones. Visitors can go to the National Souvenir Center (14, Insadong 5-gil Jongno-gu, Seoul 03149 South Korea) in Insadong to choose the best gift for themselves.
Best souvenirs from Seoul: Korean cosmetics
Korean cosmetics are definitely on the list of beauty items of many women around the world. This is definitely the first choice of beauty believers, from skincare to makeup, the simplest and easiest to buy. When traveling to Korea, many people will immediately remember the gift they need, which is cosmetics.
Some cosmetic items from high-end brands you can buy in Seoul such as Ohui, Missha, 3CE, Laneige, Hera… In addition, you can still buy cosmetics at a more affordable price but still ensure the quality like Innisfree, The Face Shop, Apieu, Karadium, Etude House, Karadium, Peripera, Eglips… You can choose from lipstick, lip gloss, luxury makeup, foundation, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow… to cleanser, water roses, serums, moisturizers, etc. All are available at department stores, malls or shops in the Myeong-dong district. If you want to buy more at the right price, it is best to go to the showrooms.
Like face masks, flagship stores of Korean beauty brands can be found in most shopping districts in Seoul. Among them, there are at least three Etude House stores in Hongdae!
You can find cosmetics such as BB and CC primers, lipsticks and balms, hand and body lotions, nail polish and eyebrow pencils. Some famous brands such as: Clio, 3CE Stylenanda and Banila Co. Korean cosmetics can be much cheaper than in Malaysia, especially if you buy them at duty-free shops.
Where to buy: Shopping areas in Seoul, Hongdae and Gangnam areas and stores such as: Olive Young and GS ERICons.
Seoul what to buy: Face masks
Face masks are almost everywhere and are sold in bulk in various forms (gel, paper, cloth) at very low prices in Seoul. On average, a pack of 50 Saem masks costs about 20,000 won. In addition to typical scents such as rice, aloe, you also do not be afraid to try snail masks…
Where to buy: Shopping areas and malls in the Seoul, Hongdae and Gangnam areas, especially in beauty stores (Innisfree, TonyMoly, etc.) as well as stores like Olive Young and GS ERICons.
Best shopping Seoul: Fashion
Surely you know how much young people are crazy about Korean fashion, right? Korean-style fashion items that are popular with young people can be mentioned as men’s and women’s shirts, sweaters, t-shirts, jackets, etc. No need to be too fussy or buy at sky high prices, you just need to buy a simple shirt at an affordable price as a gift to make your loved ones excited.
If you have a rich wallet, you can visit famous shopping centers in Seoul to hunt for branded goods. On the contrary, you can save money by choosing to buy clothes at smaller supermarkets or famous shopping areas such as Dongdaemun Market, Myeongdong Street, Itaewon Street, Namdaemun Market, Chungjangno Street…
Best shopping Seoul: Electronics
South Korea is home to a number of globally renowned electronic products with familiar companies like Samsung and LG. Buying electronics in Korea in general or Seoul in particular, you won’t need to worry much about quality as well as price. Products that you can choose to buy such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, mp3 players, cameras, electronic accessories…
In Seoul, there is a famous electronics market called Yongsan (Address: 15-2 Hangangno 2(i)-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea/Hours: 10AM–7:30PM; Sunday: Closed), where you can buy any high-quality tech items at a very affordable price. In addition, Namdaemun market also has many reputable electronics stores that you can visit.
Souvenirs and handmade items
Souvenirs in Seoul are countless, because this is a tourist paradise. With affordable prices and sold everywhere, small and pretty souvenirs are also a great choice. Some lovely souvenirs are loved like keychains, hand mirrors, decorative statues, etc. You can buy many things and still easily fit in your suitcase.
You should buy at least a few traditional Korean crafts to take home. From plates and spoons to chopsticks, crockery, tea cups or folk masks, there are billions of traditional items in Insadong and Bukchon Hanok Village.