“Are we done yet?” my boyfriend asks with his eyes trying to conceal his impatience.
“Malapit na talaga (It’s nearly over),” I say as convincingly as I can.
This post is long overdue but I simply cannot let go of my Myeongdong experience. Myeongdong is unofficially hailed as Korea's cosmetics haven. The district is teeming with eager shoppers because the rows of beauty stores seem endless.
In Myeongdong, it isn't unusual to see more than one branch of a particular beauty brand. If you have forgotten something from Tony Moly, don't worry because the next block would probably have another branch. Some stores are open until midnight and it's usually nice to go there after visiting Namsan Tower.
Are the prices really cheaper?
It's a common notion that Korean beauty stores here in the Philippines have astronomical product mark-ups, but it isn't true for all brands. The Korean prices of Etude House products are almost the same with the ones here although Skin Food items are indeed cheaper there.
Shopping in Myeongdong is still remarkable because of the freebies. Even if I only bought two items from Too Cool for School, I got a bagful of samples. The same thing happened at The Face Shop, Nature Republic, and so on. Some products are not distributed in other countries too. I fell in love with The Face Shop's Ice Air Puff Sunblock and it's not available here. :(
When in Myeongdong, watch out for special sales. When we went there, it was Missha's annual summer sale and everything was marked down for as low as 70 percent. Don't neglect obscure beauty shops. There's a shop (see, I cannot remember its name) that's not as flashy as its sisters, but inside was an assortment of affordable items. For 20,000 KRW, I got fifty assorted face masks.
Apart from beauty shops, sidewalk stalls are also filled with cheap yet treasure-worthy finds. Quirky socks are everywhere. The fabric's thick and each pair only retails for 1,000 KRW. You will find shoes and dresses too but the ones in Hongdae are cheaper. I loved the stalls selling all types of purses and backpacks for 10,000 KRW. Here's my first night's haul:
I'm never coming back to Myeongdong…with my boyfriend. Haha. He thought my cousins and I were crazy for shopping there for two consecutive nights. The only thing he enjoyed in Myeongdong was the array of street food stalls. My favorite was this fish-shaped cake with green tea ice cream and honey chip.
If your purchase in a shop reaches 30,000 KRW, don't forget to ask for a tax refund envelope. Wear comfortable shoes and bring muscle patches if you get tired from walking.