On my first full day in Korea I had the opportunity to go visit Myeongdong (명동)!
Myeongdong is one of Seoul’s main shopping and tourism districts – so as you walk around, you’ll see many makeup stores, clothing stores, coffee shops, and restaurants.
Of all the stores there, I think Artbox was my favourite one – it sells hundreds upon hundreds of cute things (ranging from stationary, to household items, to bags, and so on and so on). But Artbox isn’t solely found in Myeongdong – if you visit other places around Seoul, you are for sure going to come across it.
If you listen to Kpop or watch Korean dramas, you will definitely see some familiar faces. Unfortunately, it won’t be the actors/singers themselves in the flesh; however, you’ll see their faces plastered everywhere! From promoting makeup brands to promoting delicious foods. (I think I encountered GD’s face a good thousand times?)
Speaking of delicious foods – THERE ARE SO MANY. I opted for lunch at Myeongdong Kyoja (I ate noodles and dumplings with friends – would highly recommend).
After lunch, three of us decided to go and eat some Bingsu at Sulbing.
For those who are not familiar with Bingsu, it is a Korean dessert that consists of shaved ice and a type of topping – such as fruit or red beans. The one I had had pieces of mango, almond, cheesecake, and a scoop of ice cream on top! Because the shaved ice is not sweetened, having toppings gives the dessert a light and not-too-sweet taste. Just the right amount of sugary goodness!
Now, some quick history for you: During the Joseon Dynasty, this area used to be known as Myeongryebang; however, in 1946, it became officially known as Myeongdong.
As night begins to draw closer, people will begin setting up food stalls, so I highly recommend you stay to experience the food. Although I didn’t eat much, it was great being able to see what the vendors had to offer!
I had my first Korean sweet potato at one of these food stalls! GOOD LORDY LORD WAS IT EVER DELICIOUS! We have sweet potatoes in Canada, but they are definitely not as sugary-sweet as the one I had here.
And finally, be prepared to get lost… because you will. I got lost a good number of times, but it was such a fun adventure! I find that the more you get lost, the more you’re put into situations where you have to get outside of your comfort zone in order to ask for directions (perhaps even try another language!).
More information for visiting
Hours of operation
The hours vary by shop. I would suggest heading there later during the day, especially if you want to make sure you’re there when all of the food/street vendors start showing up. I went at around 11:00am and was there until 6:00/7:00pm.
Can my wallet afford this?
You tell me! It all depends how much you’re planning to spend on food, makeup, clothes, etc.
How do I get there?
I’m sure you can get there by bus, but I took the subway to Myeongdong Station (Exit 5, 6, 7, 8). You could also take the subway to Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Exit 5, 6, 7).
For more detailed information, check out Visit Korea’s information page about Myeongdong!