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Closer look at Korea's unique shopping culture Updated: 2019-06-05 08:45:36 KST

Time now for our "Life & Info" segment, where we focus on information useful for your everyday life.
One of the favorite things for foreign tourists to do in Korea is shopping.
Today we take a look at the different types of shopping areas South Korea has to offer.
For that we have our Kim Mok-yeon in the studio with us.
So Mok-yeon, what have you got for us?

Hi Mark
Well today, we are going to talk about the unique markets and shopping districts in South Korea.
Before we get to that, do you enjoy shopping?

but I've seen a lot of people, especially tourists in the streets.

I have too We may not have realized because we're so used to it, but it seems like Korea's shopping culture is quite interesting for many others around the globe.

In fact, according to a survey held by the Culture Ministry and Korea Tourism Organization on some 16,000 tourists last year, around 92.5 percent said that they came to Korea to shop, while 71.3 percent said that they came to taste the local food.

now even when shopping we have a lot of different types of places where we look for goods, where do we start off today?

Well, today we will take a look at some unique shopping areas in Korea, starting off with Korea's traditional markets.
One famous traditional market is Tongin market in Jong-no district.
Though the market is relatively small compared to other markets, with a length of just 300 meters, it sells a wide variety of goods. But what's special about this market is that it offers a unique experience using brass coins called Yeopjeon.
As you can see on the video, these Yeopjeon are coins that were used until the 1900s, the final years of the Joseon dynasty.
Unlike other markets, where you just use cash, Tongin market allows customers to buy the Yeopjeon coins and create their own customized lunch box by shopping for side dishes around the market.
One token costs 500 won, which is 0.4 U.S. dollars, and an average lunch box will cost you around 10 tokens.

So it's like the entire market is one big buffet? (exactly ) How did they come up with this great idea?

The manager of the Yeopjeon cafe told me the reasoning behind it. Let's take a listen.

"We were thinking of how to make the most out of the good infrastructure of the marketplace, and decided to promote market food.
Then we thought of a special idea that has historical significance and that could be recyclable and that's how we started using these brass coins."

So like what she said, it definitely will be a unique experience for foreign tourists. Were you able to meet them?

Yes, in fact I was able to speak with some of them and they said it was a good opportunity to learn more about Korea.

"It's amazing we can find a lot of traditional food and everything is delicious."

"Today we had an experience to visit a new place here and to have a Korean meal to better experience Korean life and it was fantastic for us."

Now aside from traditional markets, Korea is also known for its underground shopping areas. Have you been to some Mark?


Definitely, almost every weekend I like to drop by when I have time because of their accessible locations.
These areas are often connected to subway stations, making them convenient places for citizens and tourists to shop for a range of goods at very reasonable prices.

where are you taking us today?

Today, I'll show you one of the biggest underground shopping areas in Seoul, named Goto mall, which is connected to Seoul's subway lines 3, 7 and 9.
The mall is made up of more than 600 shops that are lined up on both sides of two long, parallel corridors.
The stores are mostly some 20-square meters in size, and customers can find clothing, fashion accessories, interior products and also flowers along the two corridors.
Many Seoul residents visit these shops, but I found out that the place is getting popular even among foreign tourists.

"Today is my last day in Korea and I came here to shop. The products are very cute and good quality."

"Hi, I'm from Japan, I'm on a holiday. Its very cheap and pretty here."

"I knew this place since long time ago and I'm coming regularly because there is a huge choice and you can find many things and the price is good."

now, Mok-yeon, I heard that the night markets form another exciting shopping experience in Korea?

Indeed Mark One famous night market that's open these days is called the Bamdokkaebi night market, which is being held every weekend until late October.
The market features a wide range of handmade goods and food trucks in 6 different areas such as the Banpo Hangang Park, Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Cheonggye stream.
The market not only allows visitors to shop for goods, but also offers experience programs including art classes for children and movie picnics.
Some 190 food trucks and 360 handicraft merchandisers participate in the night market.
But one thing to note is that since it's an outdoor market, weather conditions could affect the operations, so those of you who are interested in visiting, be sure to check out the schedule at the website.

Thanks for coming in today, Mok-yeon.

Thanks for having me Mark.
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