April 19, 2012

SEOUL-ace in Shopping

Souvenir shopping is always a must when I travel but so is bargaining, so instead of hitting the usual malls, my friends and I went to the Namdaemun Market in Seoul, South Korea.

You hungry?
Namdaemun market is the oldest and largest in Seoul.  Much like Divisoria in Manila, there are stores and stalls in the middle of crowded streets.  Surrounding them are buildings that are limited in that some only sell accessories by the bulk while others only sell clothes.

Walking along Namdaemun was a thrill.  In part because of the lovely cold weather, but also because bargaining was welcome.  And though the sellers didn’t speak any English, calculator-punching and hand signals were enough.  It did help that I memorized this line, “kaka-chuseyo”, which means discount please.  That was all I really said after pointing and before paying.  It mostly worked.
Souvenir items were all over the place side by side with posters, notebooks, pens and other items printed with faces of popular Korean actors.  I nearly bought myself one but I figured, a face on my socks isn’t really my style.
You a fan? Anything and everything with images of popular Korean actors

Chiara and I eating mongo-filled bun  
  I couldn’t identify the foods they were hawking all over Namdaemun so what I did was mostly point and pay.  Good or bad, I wanted to try and experiment. But one thing I didn’t dare try was the bug-looking snack they were selling by the gram.  Fear factor material for sure but not for me.

One of the many Ginseng shops
For users of Korean Ginseng, Namdaemun might as well be paradise.  The popular Medicinal plant is sold in almost every corner and every size.  Toys also abound, including that which I have never seen before, Pororo character toys (Pororo is a cartoon show on Disney Junior created in Korea).

Namdaemun is easily accessible via taxi and subway so don’t miss it.  Also, Don’t forget to bring small bills and extra big bags when you go.  Happy shopping!

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