Shopping is half the fun of visiting South Korea. It’s almost impossible to go out without walking into at least one store and end up with an armful of shopping bags hours later.
Yet, when it comes to shopping for souvenirs for your loved ones back home, you might be puzzled to find suitable gift ideas that are representative of Korea and that won’t break your bank or your suitcase. Here are some gift ideas to make all your friends and family happy when you return from your trip.
If you’re shopping for souvenirs for young children or teens, visit Ewha Womans University shopping street and browse the range of fun and affordable accessory shops. Inexpensive accessories can be found in most stores in this area and there are even stores that specifically only sell socks, and street stalls for cute hair accessories. Go to Ewha Womans University station, exit 3, walk straight ahead and you will find a plethora of bustling little shops.
It’s a great keepsake because they are unique, lightweight, and don’t cost too much. Stock up on these fun gifts and make your youngest parents shine when you get home.
Original makeup products
Korean makeup products are slowly invading the world. Treat your friends back home to some of Korea’s unique but much loved beauty products to put a smile on their face. Beauty shops can be found in most of the busy areas, but if you visit shopping areas like Myeongdong, you will likely receive a lot of free samples that can also double as freebies!
Choose quintessentially Korean products such as sheet masks, foundation pads, lip tints and more. If you don’t know what to buy, the staff at beauty stores are always ready to help, so there are plenty of recommendations to choose from.
If you need inspiration, take a look at our 27 Hottest Korean Beauty Products in Korea.
Another great gift idea for young children and teens is stationery. Considering the intensity of Korea’s education system, it’s no surprise that Korean stationery is such a thriving industry. Stop by an Artbox or Daiso and you’ll find plenty of stationery sections that will make fun gifts for your studious parents.
Stationery items are generally reasonably priced and small in size, making them the perfect gift to take home without fear of damage. This is a great last minute gift idea as you can find stationery in most busy areas and they are often open until late.
This gift will be greatly appreciated by parents, older relatives and your health conscious friends. Korea is well known for its range of fresh, healthy and delicious teas which have many health benefits. These teas can be packed compactly in your suitcase, so it’s the perfect gift if you’re traveling light
The most popular teas include daechu, ginseng, barely rice tea, and brown rice tea. Specialty tea sets can be purchased in many tourist areas such as Insadong. Why not pair it with an authentic Korean tea set if you’re buying a souvenir for someone special?
If you are looking for cheaper alternatives, simply visit a food market and browse the selection of interesting but reasonably priced teas – these will be appreciated by your loved ones back home who cannot access Korean products as easily.
authentic artwork and ornaments
Visit Insadong and browse the seemingly endless number of authentic souvenir shops. These stores carry all kinds of traditional Korean gifts, artwork, wall hangings, fans, hanbok ornaments, and fashion items.
Artwork, paintings, and wall hangings are brilliant gift ideas as they can easily be stowed away in your suitcase and will not be damaged on the way home. Small ornaments are also a very popular keepsake, if you can put it safely in your suitcase, that is.
Insadong is a bit more expensive than other shopping districts, but offers a wide range of souvenirs, which means you are likely to find something for everyone in this district. This area is worth a visit if you want to purchase a special gift that has historical significance as well as being appropriate for the recipient!
Although Korean clothing can be purchased online, many of the best pieces can only be found on the rails of a stall in one of Korea’s inexpensive clothing streets. Popular areas include Ewha Women’s University, Hongdae, and Dongdaemun Night Market.
It is perfect for friends and young parents, and will be greatly appreciated as Korean fashion is quirky and fun unlike most of the fashion trends elsewhere in the world. Be careful when shopping, as many pieces are only available in one size.
Some of the best gifts can be purchased at your local convenience store. Korean snack foods may be impossible to find, or sky-high, in other parts of the world, so spoil your friends and family with something from your local 7/11. It is a great gift for your foodie friends, group gifts or anyone interested in Korea as it gives them a special and unconventional taste of the country.
The snacks are small and easy to pack, while generally being very inexpensive, making them an ideal gift for anyone on a budget. If you don’t know what to buy, take a look at our ultimate guide to Korean convenience stores.
If you’re looking to buy something a little more special, take advantage of South Korea’s impressive electronics market. The home of Samsung and LG is the perfect place to buy that new cell phone or laptop that your child, loved one or parent has always dreamed of. The quality is high and the prices are often cheaper than elsewhere in the world.
Places to buy electronics include Yongsan Electronics Market, I’Park Mall, and Gangbyeon Tech Market. It’s worth shopping around a bit before committing to any of these more expensive products, but it will definitely make a great souvenir, as long as you have room in your suitcase.