This will be a rather short post compared to the others.
Comparing the shopping experience in HongDae, MyeongDong, and Ehwa is hard, if not impossible. The three places cater to different markets, but are all popular shopping destinations. That said, this will be just a general overview of what to expect from the three – in case you’re pressed for time and just have one place to visit.
HongDae and Ehwa are both near or around universities so the shopping here is more catered on university students. The market will be different from that in MyeongDong which caters to international tourists and shoppers in general.
In terms of area, MyeongDong is also bigger. There are huge blocks catered only for shopping, totalling to about 0.99km2. Malls can also be found at almost all ends. HongDae and Ehwa are only shopping streets. But, HongDae is much bigger/longer than Ehwa, in my opinion.
It’s hard to determine the price difference in Ehwa and HongDae because the products are also varied. Ehwa is more for the female university students; HongDae has more of the young designer vibe that’s for both male and female. MyeongDong on the other hand are established brands of almost anything and everything. There are, however, lots of sales/”events” in HongDae which I didn’t see much in Ehwa. MyeongDong always has sales especially tourist/tourism sales.
MyeongDong has everything, hands down.
HongDae and Ehwa are similar in terms of clothes. There are lots and lots of trendy, in-the-moment clothes.
Okay, so that’s it. Personally, I prefer going to MyeongDong if I’m buying cosmetics. You don’t need to go back to a particular street if you suddenly change your mind and want to buy that Tony Moly lip balm. Cosmetics stores are seriously on every street. There are also more selection of shoe stores, and more stocks since the stores are bigger there. But if you want to go for clothes or shoes that don’t necessarily have brands or are local, go to HongDae. Just prepare cash because most of the stalls are pop ups and don’t accept credit card. Or you can visit the Express Bus Terminal underground shopping center. I think they have more selections, and people have commented that the items are cheaper. I’ve been there once before but I can’t really say for sure if the clothes are actually cheaper than Ehwa or HongDae. We only bought a hat. HAHA.
Lastly, if you want to buy souvenirs such as bookmarks, keychains, chopstick sets, tea bags, fans, pots, hanbok and all traditional items, go to Insadong (Angguk station, exit 6). There is Ssamzeigil here, but don’t buy there. Insadong has a long stretch of shops, so just buy on the streets. I will try to post an exclusive Insadong review, because that’s one new place I went to last May. 🙂
‘Til next time!