Shop till you drop in Seoul 2: Dongdaemun & Doota

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.


The Dongdaemun gate

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.

fashion_show2 fashion_show

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.


Doota Mall

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.

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