Myeongdong is the shopping destination in Seoul. Attracting more than 1 million visitors every day, Myeongdong offers a huge variety of products, ranging from brand stores to affordable street stalls. With countless options and stores, you can feel overwhelmed in this shopping paradise; this guide highlights the must-go Korean beauty shops, food places, and attractions in Myeongdong!
Most beauty brands have one or more stores in Myeongdong. The Korean beauty industry has taken the world by storm, introducing the newest beauty trends and most innovative makeup techniques. In this primary shopping district, you can find discounts on these beauty products, compared to oversea prices. Here are a few popular Korean beauty brands and their most well-received or special products.
1. Holika Holika
Created in 2010, Holika Holika appeals to young trendy consumers with fun and adorable beauty products. The brand name came from the English suffix “-holic,” meaning addiction. Holika Holika’s products are affordable and targets realistic beauty problems for young people.
Golden Monkey Glamour Lip 3-Step Kit (₩3,000)
Who knows that lips can get a gel mask too? This product hydrates your lips with 3 steps: an exfoliating pad to clean and nourish dry skin, a hydro-gel mask with ultra-hydrating serum, and a honey lip oil to provide that glamorous look. With this lip kit, your lips can maintain its fullness and lusciousness.
Aqua Petit Jelly Ice Cooling BB (₩18,900)
BB (beauty balms) cream’s popularity soared a few years ago. Holika Holika’s aqua petit jelly BB continues to be one of the best selling product because of its unique jelly texture, which easily spreads on your skin and keeps it fully bouncy.
This newest version has a cooling effect that cools down temperature of skin by 5 degrees Celsius. Made to combat the summer heat, it effectively protects against the sun (SPF50+ PA+++).
Address: 22-10 Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
2. Nature Republic
Founded in 2009, Nature Republic promotes a healthy lifestyle through beauty products inspired by natural ingredients. The brand embraces joyful naturalism and brings customers on a journey to nature.
Soothing and Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel (₩4,400)
Photo Credit: Nature Republic
30 million sold, this soothing gel won multiple award and is the brand’s signature product. Nature Republic sourced the organic aloe vera from California, guaranteeing freshness and high nutrients. Extremely fast absorbing, this product can be applied to your face, body, and even hair.
Argan Essential Deep Care Hair Pack (₩8,800)
Photo Credit: Nature Republic
For an added bonus, Nature Republic specializes in hair products as well. Argan, a golden nut from Morocco, grows in the desert and absorbs moistures. This hair pack repair damaged hair by blow drying and hair treatments. You can apply this product to your hair once a week to create healthy and sleek hair.
Address: 24-2 Chungmuro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
3. Tony Moly
Tony Moly started in 2006 as a cosmetic brands that advocates street culture and urban beauty lifestyle. Its motto, “creating witty beauty with customers,” showcases its concept to refine beauty.
Egg Blackhead Steam Balm (₩8,800)
The egg pore line from Tony Moly is famous for its power to eradicate blackheads. This product increases temperature of your skin and open up the pores. Then, the salt scrub, charcoal scrub, and yolk capsule cleanse and care for your pores.
Magic Food Golden Mushroom Sleeping Pack (₩9,900)
Not only does this product have extremely cute packaging, this sleeping pack contains mushroom extract! This sleep pack is one of the three mushroom products in the magic food mushroom group. To be applied as the last step of your beauty routine, this night mask adds radiance and elasticity for your skin. Its lovable appearance also makes it a great gift for girl friends.
Address: 66-23 Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
As the first natural cosmetic store in Korea, Innisfree opened in 2000. Innisfree’s philosophy is dedicated to eco-friendly products and ethical consumption. “Innis” stands for “island,” indicating the brand’s roots in Jeju Island.
Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam (₩12,000)
Your daily cleanser plays a monumental role in keeping your skin healthy. Innisfree’s volcanic cleansing foam gently remove impurities from your skin. The main ingredient, volcanic scoria from Jeju Island, is a purely natural component which controls sebum. With a pH level similar to your body, the alkaline substance suits all skin types and pleases each beauty queen.
Green Tea Seed Serum (₩22,000)
Winning multiple beauty awards, the green tea seed serum is beloved by the public. High in antioxidants, the organic green tea seeds from Jeju Island moistures effectively. This serum keeps your skin fresh and not sticky, improving your skin’s suppleness.
Address: 64-2 Myeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
5. Etude House
The oldest brand on this list, Etude House was established in 1985. Etude House believes that every woman is a princess and hopes to transform the makeup process as a playful event for young perky women. Designed as a play house, the stores invite customers to fulfill their fanciful pink dreams.
Precious Mineral Magic Any Cushion (₩18,000)
Cushion compacts revolutionized the makeup process, making foundation application easier than ever. Etude House’s cushion compact combines six effects – moisturizing, whitening, anti aging, sunscreen, foundation, cooling. Created for your convenience, each cushion compact combines with a puff for application. It comes in pink, mint, and peach for pale, ruddy, and dark skin tones respectively.
0.2 Therapy Air Mask (₩1,000)
Bored of your facial masks? Etude House offers 15 types of therapy masks in this product line, each made with a special ingredient and for a specific purpose. These masks are only 0.2mm thick, providing remarkable air penetration and comfort. Some exotic hypo-allergenic masks include the lotus mask for stress relieving effect, the snail mask for firming effect, and the lemon mask for skin-lightening effect.
Address: 53-9 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Shopping takes a lot of energy! With plenty of food places, Myeongdong takes care of your stomach as you scout out the best deals. Here are three recommendations for food in Myeongdong.
1. Myeongdong Kyoja
If you visit Kyoja, you must eat at Myeongdong Kyoja. The store specializes in traditional Korean noodles and dumpling. Kalguksu are hand-chopped noodle with an incredibly soft texture, made perfect in a delicious boiled chicken broth.
Wrapped in a crystal clear thin skin, the delicate dumplings called mandus became a signature dish for this well-known store. Each juicy dumpling holds top quality pork, fresh leak, and homemade sesame oil. Praised by countless magazines and food review, this store is not one to miss when you are in Myeong dong.
Address: 25-2 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
2. Cat Playground
Do you like cats? Even if you do not consider yourself a cat lover, cat cafes put forth a memorable dining option. The origin of the cat cafe craze, many cat cafes operate around Seoul.
Located in Myeongdong, Cat Playground is a cat cafe frequently visited by travellers around the world. After paying an entry fee of 8000 per person, can enjoy a complimentary beverage and play with these furry cats. The cats at Cat Playground will not shy away from interacting with customers and welcome guests with gladness.
Address: 66-4 Jung-gu, Myeongdong, Seoul, South Korea
3. Street Food
On the streets of Myeongdong, you will find one food stall after another. Street food give insights into the local culture and is super affordable.
For more traditional street food, you can try snacks such as Tteokbokki, Korean soft rice cake in red chili sauce, and grilled squid.
For newer and instagram worthy treats, you can buy the rose-shaped ice cream cones at Milky Bee and the rainbow-colored cotton candy.
Before you leave Myeongdong, make a stop at the Myeongdong Cathedral. With high historical value, this parish was consecrated in 1898 and has symbolized catholicism in South Korea. Myeongdong also houses another iconic attraction — the NANTA show.
This kitchen-based show blends together acrobatics, martial arts, music and culinary performances to entertain the audience. The show’s A zone ticket costs ₩40,000.
Visitors to South Korea for less than 6 months are eligible for tax refund at participating stores. When you are shopping, you can look for stores with a “tax refund” sign. Your purchase must be greater than ₩30,000 at a single store in order to receive the refund.
When you pay at the cashier, remember to ask for a tax refund slip.
At the airport, first get your boarding pass without checking your luggage.
Then, bring your luggage to the tax refund counter, presenting your receipt and your passport to finish the process!
How to Get There
Myeongdong is easily reached by public transportation. By bus, you can get off Myeongdong Station Bus Stop, which serves many buses. By subway, you can walk around the area from Myeongdong Station is on the Seoul Subway Line 4.
From Incheon Airport
Besides catching a cab, you can ride the Airport Railroad Express (AREX) from Incheon Airport to Seoul City Center. Then, transfer at Seoul Station to ride the subway to Myeongdong Station. You can book your tickets online.
Alternatively, the Airport Limousine Bus 6015 arrives right at the Ibis Ambassador Myeongdong Hotel. This bus costs ₩10,000 per person and allows passengers to bring their luggages.
To Nami Island
The fastest way to reach Nami Island is to take the shuttle bus which takes you from Jamsil Station. directly to the scenic island on the outskirt of Seoul. From Myeongdong Station, ride three stops to Dongdaemun then transfer to the line 2. You will find the bus stop at exit 4 of Jamsil Station.
You can easily reach Hongdae, the hippest neighborhood in Seoul. From Myeongdong, you can take a 10-minutes walk to Euljiro 1-ga Station on line 2. After five stops, you will get to Hongik University Station, which brings you to the heart of Hongdae.