Myeongdong Seoul

5 Things You Should Buy When in Korea

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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 them anywhere else. Here are the most important must-buys!

1. K-Beauty Products

Korean beauty products have become my absolute favorite! They are of high quality, yet 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 beauty brands are Skinfood, COSRX, Innisfree and Dr. Jart.

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! 

Where to Buy K-Beauty Products? For those outside of Korea, you can also purchase the best K-beauty products on my two favorite sites: Olive Young and Bemused Korea. Olive Young is a leading drugstore chain in Korea that now also sells its products online worldwide. Bemused Korea is a Seoul-based online curation shop selling cruelty-free Korean skincare with clean formulations – with worldwide shipping available!

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 stationery 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.

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!

Also read: Ultimate Korean Gift List For All Korea Lovers

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 cute.

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

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4. More K-Fashion

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.

Where to Buy K Fashion? 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!

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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.

Kyobo Bookstore (교보문고) and YP Books are two yery big chains for books in Korea. You should be able to find one of these in every bigger city.

Also read: 40 Travel Gift Ideas for EVERY Traveler and ANY Budget

Top Travel Experiences in Seoul

Recommended Hotels in Seoul


Linda has been living in Asia since 2012 and loves sharing her travel and life experiences on her website. She currently works remotely in Online Marketing and also teaches various English classes in South Korea.


  1. CrazyChineseFamily on October 29, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    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!)

    • lindalindsch on October 30, 2014 at 1:05 am

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

  2. RealGunners on October 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    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 😀

    • lindalindsch on October 30, 2014 at 1:05 am

      haha not crazy at all! i totally get it 🙂

  3. Marta on October 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm

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

    • lindalindsch on October 31, 2014 at 2:37 am

      you didn’t get any for yourself? :O

      • Marta on October 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm

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

  4. Mélody Fornay on October 30, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    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 ^^

    • lindalindsch on October 31, 2014 at 2:37 am

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

  5. Ri on October 31, 2014 at 10:25 am

    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!

    • lindalindsch on October 31, 2014 at 10:43 am

      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 on October 31, 2014 at 11:14 am

        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!):

        • lindalindsch on October 31, 2014 at 11:18 am

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

          • Ri on October 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm

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

  6. Gina on November 7, 2014 at 11:16 am

    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.

    • lindalindsch on November 8, 2014 at 2:24 am

      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!

  7. christycee on May 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

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

    • Linda on May 30, 2015 at 8:44 am

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

  8. Red Nomad OZ on September 6, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Books, Stationery, Skincare and Clothes (in that order!) are always on my list! Couple stuff, not so much – but getting togged up while you’re getting loved up looks like a lot of fun! Although I’m having a strange mental image of the couple stuff in Outback Australia where I normally hang out – that would be REALLY weird!

  9. Alaine on July 27, 2021 at 2:58 am

    I really want to get some eyebrow gels from the Korean beauty brands as those seem to have them tinted, well priced, and so convenient!

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