16 May 2004

Dongdaemun 1

For the benefit of first-time vacationeers who may be visiting Seoul this summer, let's take a quick trip to the shopping hotspot of Seoul, Dongdaemun (동대문). Dongdaemun means "Big (Great) East Gate".

Dongdaemun is the younger, hippier cousin to Namdaemun ("Great South Gate"), another much-touted wholesale shopping area in Seoul, though not much to my liking. To get here via subway (my preferred mode of transport), you'll need to get off at the Dongdaemun Stadium Station. Take exit no. 2. There's also a Dongdaemun Station nearby, but the Dongdaemun Stadium Station is more convenient to where we want to go.

As you come up the stairs from the subway station, you'll be greeted with this stall that sells all kinds of crispy rice crackers and snacks.

The narrow sidewalk is flanked by various stores and street vendors peddling a wide variety of stuff. This store sells baseball caps, the one next to it mobile phone accesories ....

.... and this one costume jewellery - bracelets, necklaces, earrings etc.

A couple of metres down the road and you'll come to the first of several large departmental stores.

This is the entrance to hello apM. I believe this is the new kid on the block amongst the stalwarts in the neighbourhood.

You'll find that the shopping centres in the Dongdaemun area are typically like this - you get a multi-storey building (typically 8-12 storeys high) which houses 40-60 independant retailers on every floor. Each category of products has its own floor, so you'll find the ladies' wear all on one floor, mens' wear on another, casual wear, shoes, accessories, sports wear, leather goods, etc etc etc. on their respective floors. There's also a food court in all these department stores.

Another street vendor selling colourful caps ....

.... hot-dogs ....

.... and mini pizzas.

A couple of metres down the road ....

.... and you'll come to another large departmental store.

This is Migliore.

(to be continued .... busy busy)