Seoul day 5- Dongdaemun, Anguk Underground Mall, Sticker Photos, Bandi & Lundis and Lotte Mart!

Posted on February 22, 2011

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You can read about my other days in Seoul HERE:

Our fifth day in Seoul seemed hopeful both weather and potentially, shopping wise; my inside info on the weather (my Snaptu app) said to expect a few clouds and humidity- much better then the endless rain we had been experiencing thus far I thought!

Dongdaemun

Today’s mission was to go clothes shopping whilst checking out a few sights along the way; first stop was the Dongdaemun area, just a few tube stops away from our fabulously located hotel. Online, Dongdaemun seemed to fit the bill because there would be (at least) four good-sized malls to look around. You can read a full, detailed account of how it was to shop in Dongdaemun HERE.

Suffice to say, the area did indeed have a lot of malls crammed into one place, but (unluckily for me) they were of the variety where you’d have to bargain hard for a good price- something I just wasn’t linguistically skilled enough to successfully attempt. Nonetheless, the whole area was a great way to kill time; I should point out that the whole area might’ve been more buzzing if I had visited later in the afternoon (an 11am visit was still too early) or on the weekend, when I expect (like Myeongdong), the area would feel more alive!

Our visit to Dongdaemun ended at 4p.m, when my sister and I were too tired to fight the fierce rain (Snaptu was wrong). We quickly headed back to the safety of our hotel’s vacinity instead.

Language barriers over a sandwich

We made an ‘interesting’  stop at our local Subway sandwich place before returning to our hotel, which I must write about!

I should point out that during my week in Seoul, I’d only met (honestly no lie here) 4 people who weren’t afraid of me and my sister because a) we couldn’t speak Korean and b) they were too afraid to try and speak English; 2 of them were friendly, old Ahjummas, one was the girl who manned the sticker photo booth (which I’ll write about in a mo) and the other was a nice girl who helped me buy some BBQ chicken.

Seoulites are naturally very shy and afraid to interact with us foreigners, and the servers at this Subway place were no different; the first girl who ‘served’ me, quickly disappeared when I briefly turned away, and the second server literally gave me the first sandwich he could think of- despite me pointing to the ‘meal deal’ photo beneath his nose. I found it amusing to be treated like a leper, it’s a weird memory I have of Seoul hehe.

Exploring Jongno in the rain- Anguk underground shopping

Being in the Jongno 3 area meant that going anywhere was a doddle; my main thoughts for this evening were to find the famous Kyobo bookstore, where I heard you could easily pick up some cool KPop CD’s, and then a quick visit to Lotte Mart near “Seoul Station” to see the famous Korean food court in action.

We totally failed at finding Kyobo bookstore, the rain seriously hampered my map reading skills and thus frustrated and tested my sister’s patience. However, we were able to take shelter in the local underground shopping mall “Anguk,” where I was able to ‘fight’ for an umbrella that a lady had put down and then regretted not buying. They sell so many cheap clothes, accessories and beauty items there, I even managed to pick up a nice top without having to haggle for it. A great place to kill time in the rain!

Photo booths!

 

A photo from our photobooth experience

Funnily enough, rather than finding Kyobo, we ended up at a rival store instead called “Bandi and Lundis,” which is where we (finally) came across some of those famous photo sticker booths you often hear about!

They. Are. AWESOME! No YouTube video can justify seeing the awesomeness of these booths in action! The very helpful sales clerk (one of the people in Seoul who weren’t scared of me), managed to guide us through the multi-step process of it all- for which I paid only 6,000 bargain busting won for!

Firstly, there were about 3 booths but each one has a different set of backgrounds and styles you can choose for your photos (you can see examples of this outside of the booth)- so your first step is to choose which backgrounds and booth catches your eye. Secondly, you can borrow a few free accessories to use for your photos, there were wigs, hats and masks to choose from outside of the booths.

After making these choices here’s the step by step guide of how we took our photos!

  1. Choose 8 backgrounds you want to use for your photos.
  2. Have your photo taken- there is a countdown timer that tells you when the photos will be taken, you usually have a 20 second time limit between photos.
  3. After all the photos are taken, you have to choose 6 that you want to print and the size/style you want it printed- the images are printed on a normal photo sized card, but within this are grids of the different photos you’ve taken.
  4. Walk out of the booth, to the front where there’s a machine you can use to electronically decorate your photos; OMG, the choices are endless- you can add words, borders, stamps, erase your features to superimpose different bodies etc!
  5. Once you’ve finished decorating, you go to the counter and choose the finish you want for your photo (we chose the glittery one) and then you wait for the photo to be printed.

The whole process can take up to 20 minutes, with most of that time being spent on decorating the photos. The best thing about this booth is that you can send a copy of the photo you’ve taken via e-mail, to yourself, so you can print it out once you get home… this means the photos aren’t such a temporary souvenir!

Bandi and Lundis

I must admit that I’ve not been much of a keen book reader recently, but stepping into Bandi and Lundis could turn anybodies head; this 2 storey bookstore is crammed full of eye-catching things- not just books. Shame I can’t read Korean because the book covers look so much more interesting here, and I felt like I could have definitely gotten submerged amongst the books if only I knew the language!

I found my favourite corner of the bookstore nestled amongst the stationary (yes, I like stationary). Korean stationary is superior to UK ones because it is invariably so much cuter! I managed to buy a cute leather iPod case for my brother, a cute bear shaped mousemat and other geeky stuff. I loved this corner of the bookstore because they sold things completely unique to Korea, like a cool passport cover that you could keep your passport, plane ticket et al together, cute photo albums for Polaroid pictures and a small but great corner where you could pick up KPop CD’s and fan paraphernalia.

Lotte Mart

Last stop of the day had to be Lotte Mart- it’s just a supermarket, but it’s where I was able to see the whole Korean food tasting thing in action; in the UK, we rarely see such things but in Korea, you have clerks standing at the ends of food aisles offering free samplings of cooked up food for patrons to try, best of all, you can try as much as you like without having to buy hehe! I didn’t though, my ‘Britishness’ held me back, but I did see one man take full advantage of the offerings and literally had his fill for dinner by running from stand to stand ‘sampling’ things ^^

Most of you are probably wondering what’s so special about visiting a supermarket, why include it in my itinerary? Well, you know I love stationary by now after my blitz around Bandi and Lundis- well my ‘housewife’ like personality also loves all things homeware too, which is how I knew I loved Lotte Mart when I walked in and saw all the homeware items on offer!

Overall, Lotte Mart is a good place to experience this Korean shopping culture; here you can find aisles upon aisles of shelves packed with food, beauty, homeware, electrical and clothing items, and even a mini restaurant selling classic Korean home foods (like Mandu dumplings etc), all within 3 floors. This is an ideal place to pick up souvenirs for parents too LOL. I picked up a box of Red Ginseng tea for my mum here for 6,000 won for a box of 50, cute cushions for my niece/nephew (like you often see on Korean TV programs) and I also filled up on snacks! If only they sold women’s clothes there- then I wouldn’t have had to haggle and would’ve fulfilled my goals for the day!

My Kimbap Ahjumma

The perfect end to our day was picking up 6 Kimbap rolls from our favourite (and only) Kimbap selling Ahjumma, at the end of our hotel’s street in Jongno- she even threw in a ‘service’ (free) roll for us…despite the language barrier, I think she liked us! Ah memories 🙂

 

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Posted in: Seoul