It is very touristy so there's usually a sea of people. The only time I saw it clearing out was at 10pm, closing time. Its being such a popular tourist destination means you will see and hear a lot of foreigners and in some shops (but not all) the sales assistants speak English, Japanese, and Chinese. (Truthfully I'd only encountered two who spoke fluent English; a sales girl in Nature Republic and in Etude House.) Koreans spoke to me in everything...I found it a bit interesting that they had no clue what ethnicity I am. In my mind, I'd thought Asians could distinguish other Asians, especially if they live in Asia, but apparently that wasn't the case, at least in my experience. They seemed to just randomly guess any Asian ethnicity including Thai, Japanese, Filipino and Chinese. (I was very surprised when one asked me if I was Vietnamese!)
Anyways, on with the pics!
I liked to enter from the Myeongdong exit on the subway near Migliore, a Korean department store.
Kpop idols are much loved in Seoul and you can find their ads and endorsements plastered everywhere and anywhere, but I'll have to do a separate post on that. Here's a huge 4minute endorsement for Shoemarker. (I like 4minute a lot, by the way; that is I like listening to their songs but don't know who's who aside from Hyuna.)
Same crossing or intersection, but looking to the left.
On the left side is a large Nature Republic store (where one of the sales assistant spoke fluent English). I don't know too much about Nature Republic but I do know that their products are nature based and they have had a lot of celebrities to endorse their brand, including Rain and JYJ in the past. I believe current celebrities are Jang Geun Suk (you can spot his large ad), and Kara's Goo Hara, Park Gyuri and Kang Jiyoung (yes, all three girls are from Kara). I found the sales assistants in this store to be very nice, patient and professional.
Etude House. This is where I hauled the most beauty products. One confusing thing about Myeongdong is that there are several branches of the same brand. For example, I think I went to four Etude House shops in Myeongdong! If you ever go to Myeongdong, or Seoul or Korea in general, my tip for beauty hauling is to do a one-time haul at each brand. Why? That way you will get more and better samples (or "service" as I've heard that's what they call it, but truthfully, no one called it anything, they just gave it to me). In the case of Etude House, they have gifts with purchases varying by the amount you spend. Since SHINee is their current face and my favorite Kpop group, of course I wanted anything and everything I could get! (Yes, that's Minho's cardboard cutout in front.)
I found SkinFood and Holika Holika not too far across from that particular Etude House shop. And yes, there are other SkinFood and Holika Holika shops in Myeongdong that I also saw.
I personally really enjoyed shopping at night, keke. I think because I like to stay up late, then take a while to get ready the next morning, and also have time to look up things before I head out for the entire day (didn't want to kill my cell phone battery while I was out, especially since I relied on it for subway information). Shopping outside at night felt very invigorating for me.
Here's another SkinFood location. This one is located more towards the back end of Myeongdong but it's a "corner" store so it looks more impressive and larger.
Innisfree. This one is on the "main" stretch of Myeongdong and across from Etude House. There is another one on the smaller, side street if you walk past Spao and Uniqlo.
A different Etude House (I can tell by the windows). Do you see the steady stream of people?!
Here is a yet another Etude House (different windows), next to another Holika Holika, The Face Shop, and Tony Moly.
I checked out Holika Holika, which was having a 30% sale. Unfortunately I didn't find anything I'd liked (there were only two shades of the Heartful Moisture Lipstick available). The brand looks targeted at girls much younger than me, and when I'd tested a face cream it did not feel good on my skin, so I passed.
Dunkin' Donuts is everywhere in Seoul! I mean everywhere. We don't have Dunkin' Donuts in So Cal except at Camp Pendleton, which is a military base near San Diego. I believe Dunkin' Donuts is similar to Mister Donut, since they were created by two brothers-in-law and most Mister Donut locations in the US became Dunkin' Donuts. (Oh dear...now I want a donut!)
Lotte Young Plaza. This is what I consider to be the back entrance to Myeongdong. I did not go inside since I'd heard that it was pricy, and I was all about finding cheap thrills in Seoul.
And lastly, street food. I ate a lot of street food since it's so fast and cheap, and I wanted to spend little time eating and more time shopping! A lot of the street food is fried and not very healthy, but I still thought it was great for a quick bite. Here are some spicy, grilled chicken skewers (my favorite), bacon-wrapped hot dogs (without the buns), and fried fish paste sticks. Yum!
I'm spending a long weekend in San Francisco so I won't post again until after next Monday. I hope you're not getting sick of posts about my Seoul trip since I still have a lot of pictures to share! Next post will be my beauty haul from Myeongdong!