The Sea of Shoes blogger Jane Aldridge has been raving about Seoul as a shopping destination on her blog. Speaking from my personal experience, Aldridge does not exaggerate one bit when she described shopping in Seoul to be “overwhelming”. As for me, I can’t think of a shopping excursion more overwhelming than my encounter with the late night purse market at Dongdaemun. There I was in the middle of the night (at 2 am on a weekday), standing before the unbelievable abundance of purses of every kind and at a loss for words. There were endless rows of stalls selling nothing but purses, in several buildings, all several stories high. It was – to put mildly – utterly insane.
I found the energy at Dongdaemun generally incredible. The first time I was there, I walked out of the metro station and walked into an outdoor fashion show in the middle of the Cheonggye Stream.
Aldridge has been showing off many of her shopping finds lately. In particular, she has mentioned the Doota shopping mall a number of times. Doota is a mall right at the entrance of Dongdaemun and it is known for promoting new young designers. With 600+ shops on 8 floors devoted only to clothing, accessories, shoes and bags, one-of-a-kind fashion goods are everywhere here. The mall accommodates even the busiest shoppers by staying open till 5 am the next morning every day except for Sundays. It boasts 60, 000 daily visitors, and 20 million annual visitors.
It was probably a good thing that I wasn’t travelling by myself, as I likely would have spent too many days just shopping at Dongdaemun. But even when I was admitting this, the pain of not being able to shop more was acute, as my husband – AKA the voice of reason – quite literally put his foot down to my coming back to the market. I was going through withdrawal even before the experience had ended. Dongdaemun was bringing out the raging shopaholic in me. But I’ve also learned my lesson – I’m only taking my girlfriends with me the next time.