The area around Dongdaemun, the East Gate of old Seoul, has been a popular shopping location for nearly a century. Mainly the heart of a traditional market, the area has developed over the years and is currently known for its all-night fashion shopping. It was designated as a Special Tourism District in 2002 and is one of the must-see places when visiting Seoul. This is the third post of the Shopping in Dongdaemun series posted here on the Korea Blog.
Along with Migliore and Doota, many shopping malls have set up shop in this area, many have also closed or changed ownership; the rise and fall of commerce is very visible in Dongdaemun. If you browse through an old tour guide of the area you might be surprised to see that some buildings aren’t there any more, with new buildings taking their place.
The newer shopping malls are trying to find their footing in this highly competitive district. Here are some to check out:
Hello apM isn’t exactly new. The shopping mall has been in Dongdaemun for nearly 10 years, but it’s still considered the runner-up compared to the two larger shopping malls. The mall is open on Mondays when the other two are closed, which was a brilliant marketing strategy on their part.
The mall has 10 floors total (including B1) for everything from womenswear and menswear to a food court and a fitness center. Although they do not have special designer zones or a certain style, it is easy to find affordable casual items and some tailored items as well.
- Opening hours : 10:20 am ~ 5:00 am (open all night), closed on Tuesday
- Official site : http://www.helloapm.com (English available)
Good Morning City opened in 2008 but hasn’t quite made its mark yet. The shopping mall is most noted for having a Cineplex and sauna facilities. Lockers, baby carriages are available for rent; there is an alterations shop, and also a currency exchange.
The mall has 9 shopping floors in total but two floors are currently closed for renovations. The 5th floor is a specialty floor for honsoo (혼수), i.e. everything needed in order to get married, especially home furnishings such as quilts and pillows and the traditional costume hanbok.
There is no distinctive style to their merchandise mix, but as it is linked directly to the metro station, it is quite easy to stroll through as you enter the district and take a look.
- Opening hours : 10:30 am ~ 4:30 am (open all night), closed on Tuesday
- Official site : http://www.goodct.co.kr/
Maxtyle opened just last year and still hasn’t been filled to full capacity. The building is shiny and new, the architectural details are pleasantly noticeable, and there is a convenient coffee shop on the 1st floor which is less crowded than those of the other shopping malls.
The shops on the 1st floor have a nice selection of merchandise and if that is the indication of the styles to expect from future shops to open, the mall has promise. It’s still too early and a bit empty but that should change shortly.
The biggest characteristic of the mall is that the entire 6th floor specializes in cell phones – you’ll find every single model available on the current market!
What’s interesting is that while the mall remains a bit empty, their online mall is flourishing. Easy navigation, various styling and clear presentation, solid merchandise selection all make shopping quite easy. I’m hoping that this will translate into their offline business soon.
- Opening hours :
11:00 am ~ 5:00 am (open all night), Monday to Friday
11:00 am ~ 2:00 am (open all night), Saturday
Closed on Sunday
- Official site : http://www.maxtyle.co.kr/ (under construction)
Transportation for all shopping malls:
- Metro station Dongdaemun History & Culture Park (recommended)
- Line 2, exit #14 : walk straight out of the exit towards Dongdaemun
- Line 4 and Line 5 : take exit #14 of Line 2 (the lines are linked within the station)
- Metro station Dongdaemun
- Line 4, exit #8 : cross the bridge towards the Dongdaemun History & Culture Park on your left