I don’t really shop much whenever I travel, though I’ve met a lot in Seoul whose definition of South Korea trip includes filling up their suitcases not only with Korean cosmetic products but head home with fashionable and yet affordable clothes.
Take for example one of my room mates, who I came to know was travelling solo too, how she got us worried when she failed to return at the hostel one night only to find out the that she was out shopping the whole night as she was heading back home the following day.
No, I am not exaggerating. Shopping in Seoul is a 24/7 affair.
However, there is always an alternative than rummaging each floor of Dongdaemun malls and that is to combine shopping with getting to know the city best university neighborhood.
First stop is Ewha Womans University.
Before any shopping expedition along the surrounding streets of Ewha Womans University station, start with a visit to the university first and walk end to end at its remarkable underground campus complex.
Founded in 1886 by Mary F. Scranton, an American missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Ewha Womans University is Korea’s first educational institute for women.
It is a unique piece of architecture, somewhat refers by the architect himself as the “Hidden Valley of Ewha”. A contemporary contradiction to the Gothic style buildings around campus and cleverly makes use of the space in between to allow natural sunlight and fresh air.
Next stop is Hyehwa or commonly known as Daehangno, the “Broadway of Seoul” or in more common terms it is consider as Seoul’s “play mecca”.
The neighborhood around Hyehwa is not really for shopping though there are decent shops with beautiful storefronts, over-all it is a good place to break away from the crowded streets of other popular district and if you happen to be in the area make sure to check out Miss Lee café for some souvenir photo.
Popular street such as Club Street and Picasso Street is said to be were you can fully experience the “real” Hongdae and a good start if you are looking to check out some street art.
Hongdae in a way has gain quite a popularity particularly due to the Korean Drama- “The First Shop of Coffee Prince”, where few scenes was shot at Hongdae Playground also known as Hongik Children’s Park.
In case you ask, the cat on the feature photo can be found sitting quietly in front of one of the Japanese restaurant in Hongdae. Not sure if he is one of the cats residing at the nearby cat cafe and decided to head outside for some fresh air. Isn’t he cute?