Before I moved to Korea, I visited twice and always left with a second suitcase. Korea truly is a shopper’s paradise, no matter what you are looking for. There are certain things that you should absolutely buy when in Korea since you can’t find it anywhere else. Here are the most important must-buys!


1. Beauty Products

Korean beauty products have become my absolute favorite! They are of high quality and reasonably priced. Korean makeup and skincare is the newest trend on a global scale. “We’re seeing so much innovation come out of Korea and with globalization it’s coming a lot faster,” Erin Flaherty, Marie Claire’s health and beauty director said.

My favorite Korean brands are Skinfood, The Face Shop, Holika Holika, Aritaum and Innisfree.

No matter what Korean city you are in, you can find these store in every pedestrian street! I love the variety in products and the high quality each of these brands offer.

If you are in Korea, make sure you stop by these stores and stock up your beauty inventory! Make sure to check my beauty product video for more information.

2. Stationery

Another big thing in Korea is stationery. You might wonder what might be so special about a bunch of papers and pens but Korean stationary might be the cutest and most fashionable you have seen.

You can buy the cutest birthday and valentine’s cards, paper with envelopes in all shapes, sizes and colors and pens in all variations in Korea.

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Korea’s largest stationery store is ArtBox 아트박스 with over 100 locations all over the country. Stop by and wander around the several floors and I am sure you will not leave empty-handed!

3. Couple Stuff

Being in a relationship and showing it to everybody in public is a very big thing in Korea. I am not talking about PDA but rather signaling being in a relationship through the couple’s appearance. In Korea, this is especially done by wearing couple clothes! Matching T-Shirts, shoes or entire outfits are popular fashion items for Korean couples who want everybody to see who they belong to.

In the beginning, I had to laugh about couple clothes but now that Jeongsu and I also have a set in our closet, I kind of think it’s super cute.

Wander around Seoul’s shopping areas and you can find couple items everywhere! Other popular items are couple socks, rings or cellphone cases.

4. Clothes

If you don’t have a special someone or you don’t want to wear couple clothes all the time, you should still go clothes shopping in Korea. South Korean fashion is famous all over the world and suits everybody.

When I was in Korea this time, I discovered a brand called “8 Seconds” which I really love! Their fashion is really beautiful and the price is reasonable.

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If you are looking for a bargain, the area around Myeongdong and Dongdaemun in Seoul are most suitable for you! Underground shopping offers the most opportunities to catch a good deal! Don’t forget to haggle!

5. Books

Every time I go to Korea, I stock up with books. These are mostly books for studying Korean since you have a lot to choose from here. This time, I got a nice book especially for the TOPIK Korean language exam, called TOPIK MASTER. If you are studying Korean or you are planning to, you should definitely stock up with some books for studying. I recommend getting a basic book to learn the basics, like the one I bought the first time in Korea.

Kyobo Bookstore (교보문고) is a very big chain for books in Korea. You should be able to find one of these in every bigger city.

What are your favorites when in Korea?

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  • Well, as I havent been in Korea yet I cant really say what my favorites are. However, those couple clothes, are they any better/ less ridiculous looking that the Chinese version? I have few couple clothes together with my wife but they are so horrible and in so bad quality that we dont even dare to look at them in our closet!

    About beauty products, I am just happy that I never had to buy anything for my wife as she worked for Christian Dior and got loads for free + from other brands through seminars :p (I must be a very lucky guy I think!)

    • that’s cool! yeah, they do look better but you can get them in all variations 😀

  • My female friends went on their first trip to Korea 5 years ago. From then on, Korea trip is an annual affair for them. Everyone goes with 1 big empty suitcase and returns with the suitcase full of beauty products. It seemed pretty crazy for us guys 😀

  • Last time when I went to Korea I brought stuff from The Face Shop for my colleagues. There were very happy hahaha.

    • you didn’t get any for yourself? :O

      • No… I don’t use many beauty products and I guess at that moment I already had everything I needed at home… 😀

  • So true! I always bring a luggage full of stationery from Artbox and Kyobo; lots of beauty products and phone cases, cover or accessories to pimp up your mobile ^^

    • ahh yes! Artbox and Kyobo are great and I also love Daiso!!! 🙂

  • Ri

    I bought all of those when I went to Korea, plus tons and tons of plum tea. XD
    I’d love to go back for cosmetics and stationeryーyou can buy the former here in Japan, but it’s more expensive, and as for the latter, the designs are pretty different. And I love stationery. It’s almost a sick addiction. 😉

    It’s funny you mention the couple clothingーeven when looking at Japanese site, their products all seem to be from or made in Korea. ^^

    Great post!

    • cool! never tried the plum tea! do you have a link for that? i love the Korean citrus tea and just recently discovered Yunnan buckwheat tea!

      yeah, couple clothes are a big thing in Korea! they really show off that they belong together. I heard in Japan, couples aren’t like that and they keep it much more private.

      • Ri

        I can’t read Korean (although I’m still thinking about studying it one day…) so I can’t find a direct source, but it’s number 11 on this list (with info on where to buy, too!):

        • thanks! wow, there are so many other Korean teas i need to try! thanks for the list!

          • Ri

            Yeah, I didn’t know about most of the ones on this list either, so I’m going to try some of those too. 🙂

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  • OMG! Yes! I love Korean beauty products. There is a store close by me that sells them and they are amazing. Although it’s overpriced, I know what I like and I can’t wait to go to Korea and try them out. Also, I’m a tan girl. Do you know if they sell BB cream or cover up for girls with tanner skin in Korea? I’ve been having this struggle in Japan.

    • I see! I think it is kind of hard to find darker make-up in Asia since they all want to be white but I saw some darker tones in stores like Innisfree, the Face Shop, Holika Holika, Etude House!

  • christycee

    Thanks!! Great blog; I will be going to Seoul and this is very helpful!

    • glad I could help!! Cool maybe we could meet up some time!!