Myeong-dong (명동) is the first stop in Seoul and where we stayed while in Seoul during our travel to South Korea in 2017. The reason why I choose to stayed in Myeong-dong is because of the street food, the shopping for skin care and cosmetics and it’s close proximity to other areas such as City Hall (Seoul Train Station), N Seoul Tower, Namdaemun and Dongdaemun areas.
You will never get bored in Myeong-dong with the bustling shops coupled with the numerous street food vendors. Mind you the street food prices are slightly higher here compared to other areas but it’s hard to resist getting a bite here and there while you walk along the streets. Check out this post for more on Myeong-dong street food.
Unless you have never heard of Korean skin care (K-beauty) and cosmetics, one cannot come to South Korea and ignore the variety of Korean skin care products available. Just walking up and down the streets of Myeong-dong will raise your awareness of these shops and K-brands. In order to compete, shops are handing out free face masks to lure you into their shops. If you don’t have a strong will, I suggest you stay away from the free face masks, after all they give away their cheapest product. You will find these shops repeat themselves street after street and some of them will have the same brands repeating itself along the same street. Most shops will give you samples if you do purchase from them and samples are a great way for you to test out more product and have you back shopping again :). As of 2017, shops in Seoul are allowed to perform GST tax return on the spot saving you a lot of time and hassle at the airport. The tax return is exactly the same as what you will get at the airport. Read here for more information about GST tax return.
Myeong-dong is not just about skincare and street food. From Myeong- dong you can walk to the N-Seoul Tower and Namdaemun Market easily and for those of you who prefer to take advantage of duty-free shopping outside the airport, there’s the Lotto Duty Free Shop (Lotto department store) and Shinsegae Department Store within walking distance from the Myeong-dong subway. If you are super keen on walking you can actually walk all the way to the Gyeongbokgung Palace as well!
From the airport, the best way to get to Myeong-dong is by the trains. You can catch the AREX from the International Airport to Seoul Station and change to Subway line 4. It may be confusing at first but if you permit yourself enough time to get your bearings, you will be saving some cost and time for your travel. There are other options if you prefer the bus. This post will explain more.
I hope you love Myeong-dong like I do, and feel free to drop me a message about Myeong-dong!