It may seem strange, but one of my favorite areas to go shopping in Seoul is the Express Bus Terminal (aka Gangnam Bus Terminal).
It's very convenient to Gangnam and, if you're coming from out of town, it is the perfect shopping destination to start your trip off in Seoul.
If you have pictures or more shopping tips, please leave a comment! I will update this post and give you credit! :) :)
Not only is there a Shinsegae Department Store, but also a very large shopping center above and below ground.
The Central City shopping center houses bookstores (Bandi and Luni's), record stores, and a Megabox movie theater.
Megabox Movie Theater - If you've never been to a Korean movie theater, I recommend trying it out one time. It is pretty different compared the experience at American theaters (I've only been to Korean and American movie theaters, but my European and Asian friends have all commented that it's different from what they are used to, too). Unlike at American theaters, you have to reserve seats. It's not a free for all for seats. If you do not have a mobile app to reserve/purchase tickets, you need to go to either the computer kiosk or ticket office to purchase tickets/reserve your seats. You can visualize which seats are available and if you can find seats next to your friends.
You have to choose between 2D, 3D, IMAX, and sometimes (at select theaters) 4D showings of your movie. Compared to the prices of new release movies in the United States, even in small towns, the prices in Korea are very cheap!!
There are also different tiers of seats at some theaters. Sometimes, you can choose to have "table seating" for a premium price. My friend and I were excited because it seemed posh, but it was just one of those random things you pay for and reap barely any additional benefits. The "table" is basically an eight-inch bar upon which you can maybe put your soda, but it doesn't really fit your popcorn. It is at an awkward distance away from you. If you were truly using it as a table, you would likely have to sit at the edge of your seat and still have to lean over to reach your food.
For movie snacks, there is a wide variety of snacks you can try. There are some very Korean snacks (like roasted octopus, for example) and snacks that are more typical of American theaters. There's popcorn! But the popcorn is different here! They have the regular butter popcorn, but there are additional flavors also available. For example, you can get cheese popcorn or caramel popcorn, too! If you want to have two flavors in your popcorn tub, just say "ban ban," which means half-and-half, and your flavors. They will even separate the two flavors in your tub with a cardboard separator for you. The concessions prices are also quite inexpensive compared to the prices you find at theaters in the US. You can purchase soda or beer at Korean theaters, but usually only domestic beers FYI. There are also often other snacks (nachos, fries, hot dogs) and there are often cafes and other chain stores in the theater for you to eat.
After all that, you can finally enter the movie theater area. You have to show your ticket and then look for the corresponding theater number, then find the your reserved seat. You're now ready for the show!
The Shinsegae Department Store is huge and is where you can find designer and foreign goods. In the bottom floor of the Shinsegae, there is a huge food court. If you have never been to a Korean department store food court, this is a great opportunity for you to try it out and have a look!
You can find almost anything you want to eat. There are bakeries selling beautiful and cute cakes, macarons, cupcakes, and baked breads and pastries. There are also places you can eat Korean food, Japanese food, and American food like Johnny Rocket's. It's usually crazy down here with people going crazy trying to find a table.
You can also browse the groceries. I am always slightly amused looking at the crazy fancy fruit. There is a section in the produce section devoted to premium fruit. These fruits are individually wrapped and are often given as gifts. You can also buy wine and specialty cheeses.
|Busy shoppers at the underground shopping arcade!|
My favorite gamjatang (Korean pork bone stew) restaurant is also here.
There is an Aritaum here, too. It usually has much better sales than the locations in more high-profile locations.
There are likely many people who come to shop here, especially if you go on the weekend. I recommend going on a weekday, maybe Thursday, in the mid-morning if you don't want to deal with the crowds.
Here's a Korean blog you can look at for some pictures of the shopping options
Lines 3, 7, 9 to Express Bus Terminal Station
Follow signs to Shinsegae Department Store