I love shopping, and at home in the U.S., if I ever need a mood boost I know where to go to find the perfect uplifting outfit. Buying new clothes always makes me feel like a brand new version of myself, ready to tackle the new week. So, I was a little bit worried about what shopping in Korea would be like. Would it be an open market? Would I have to haggle for things? I was definitely thinking of a different country. South Korea is full of malls and superstores that carry tons of items that can fit your style from head (hats) to toe (shoes).
A shot of one of the brand new shopping malls that just sprouted up in Busan.
There are several different types of shopping malls. The newer or bigger ones boast food courts and movie theaters, while some of the smaller ones are typically only department stores with solely items to sell, and not too many separate stores. First we decided to check out one of the newer malls, and I ran into one of my favorite stores!
Zara, a European chain, has a bunch of stores in the U.S. too.
I was very happy to see Zara, as there was one in Boston near my old college that I used to stop by all the time. Although sometimes Zara can be a little pricey, when there's a sale, there is a SALE. I scored a couple sweater dresses for 15,000 won ($14) each, and now I cannot wait for fall/winter to really arrive.
A lot of the newer malls have really cool architecture.
This newer mall had a lot of space to relax in. It had cool architecture and was really just a great place to hang out and people watch. A lot of the newer malls have the same kind of open spaces to chill out, so it's perfect for a rainy day, or an overly hot one!
If you are having a hard time finding clothes, there's always something else you can find at the mall! This store is a bit like Daiso, in the way that there are many little kitchy things to look through. They had stationary, umbrellas, toys, and also these weird horse masks that were a little scary, but really fun!
Some cheaper shopping sites can be found as well, with sales galore!
After the new mall we decided to try some cheaper shopping, and so stopped at SaveZone. This department store had a wide selection, but we found the fashion to be more adjuma (older lady) style, so we pushed on to the largest department store in the world, Shinsegae!
A vacuum showcase drew many observers.
There is always something to see at the mall, especially at Shinsegae. Right outside the doors they were hosting a showcase about a new kind of vacuum. The music was pumping, the crowd was into it, and then they pumped up the volume by creating a vacuum racing course! Adjumas were chosen from the crowd to race the vacuums over both tile and carpet. It was really fun to watch.
Look, the Trevi Fountain!
Right next to Shinsegae is the Lotte Department Store. This is a chain found all over Korea, but next to Shinsegae, they had to add a little extra, and that's where the imitation Trevi Fountain comes in. Inside the Lotte store itself are a ton of things, it's also huge, and there's a Uniqlo and a Zara on the 7th and 8th floors.
The best part about Shinsegae though, apart from the amazing basement level food court, skating rink, movie theaters, and Spaland; is the H&M! This H&M is just like the ones from home, and they carry really large sizes along with the Korean small ones, plus they sometimes have super sales. It's on the 7th floor of Shinsegae, and has two floors itself. The lower level is for men, and the upper level is for women. Next time you're feeling the urge to shop, step outside, and then inside into the cool air conditioning of a shopping mall in Korea!
After graduating from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, Ariel Rosen looked back on the semester she spent traveling around Europe and decided she must explore Asia. Her teaching job with ChungDahm April in Busan allows her to experience South Korea firsthand and with the bright enthusiasm of all the children she teaches. She is overjoyed to share a class with them and finds herself learning more from them and the beach city around her everyday.
Read Ariel’s blog here: http://arieldrosen.wordpress.com/