There’s something about Myeong-dong that can fill anyone with excitement as you walk down the crowded streets loaded with bright lights and commercial stores. When I think about Asian cities, an image very much like Myeong-dong is the first thing that comes to my western mind.
The entire area is bustling. Women selling makeup line the street yelling about their products. The smell of street food fills the air. Girls freshly recovering from plastic surgery wander the streets, still swollen but eager to get new pieces for their new look. High end and small boutiques alike glow as their neon signs light up the alley. It’s a place in Seoul you just have to check out!
Myeong-dong, translated from Korean, literally means“bright town.” It is a district in Jung-gu, Seoul that spans over a square kilometer. Almost the entire area houses commercial space. The two main streets meet one another in the center of the district. One main street begins at Lotte Department Store at Euljiro and the other at Myeongdong Subway station (line number 4).
|Take advantage of the “Red Tourism Angels” walking around popular tourist areas in Seoul. They are full of information and often carry maps and pamphlets of the area|
The shopping area sells almost everything imaginable especially a large selection of clothes, shoes and accessories. It differs from Namdaemun and Dongdaemun market because here you can find many authentic designer brands and large department stores. Stores include Forever 21, H & M and Lotte Department Store. Here you can find some great bargains on name brand items. There are also many souvenir shops throughout the streets.
|The little dolls and vases are actually umbrellas! You never know what you’ll find shopping in Seoul!|
When coming to Myeondong it is important to bring your appetite. There is a huge variety of western, chain and fast food restaurants to choose from along with street food vendors. Chefs here serve food from around the world. When eating dinner here, it was nearly impossible to decide what to have. We settled upon a funky restaurant called Friends, on the second floor of a building. For dinner we ate a ramen soup cooked in a dark bean sauce complete with spring rolls, vegetables and rice cakes. The soup was cooked on a burner in front of our very own eyes. Following this, we were served delicious house made fried rice hot from the pan. The entire meal cost about $12.00 for two people.
|One of our dinner courses at “Friends” restaurant.|
Beyond shopping, Myeongdong also houses Myeongdong Cathedral. It is an impressive piece of architecture that was built in 1898 as a showpiece of Korean Catholicism. It is the first cathedral in Korea built of brick. Visitors to the Cathedral can enjoy the back garden as a place to relax.
After shopping and eating you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city by taking a cable car up the north slope of Namsan to North Seoul tower. The beautiful tower is visible from many of the streets in Myeongdong.
If you would like to take a ride up the cable car go to Myeondgong Station Exit 3. From there go south along Toegye-ro 18 gil street to the Pacific Hotel and turn left. Walk along Toegye-ro 20 gil street until you see the Ministop conveinece store. There turn right to walk alog Toegye-ro 20 na-gil street. At the end of the street you will see a set of stairs that leads to the cable car. The walk from Myeongdong Station is about 10 minutes. A round trip adult ticket up the mountain is about $8.00.
If you would like to make a day out of shopping, Namdaemun market and several underground shopping areas are also located within walking distance.