Beauty and the feast: Shopping, culture and food in South Korea

Enjoy the mystical views when hiking in Busan.

By Pan Eu Joe

Dreaming of going to South Korea for its fashion trends, beauty products, and crazily delicious and oftentimes spicy food? Here are our tips on where to go and splurge on the best things to treat yourself on holiday.

Go On A Shopping Spree In Seoul

Seoul, the capital and heart of South Korea, is famous for many things – shopping is one of them. Here you’ll find the hottest styles and beauty trends alongside other interesting items.

When matching your looks with the latest Korean flair, or complementing your face and features with Korean products, here are a few places to watch out for.

Gangnam District, known as the “Beverly Hills of South Korea”,

is famous for high fashion. You’ll find Seoul’s upscale and modern centre packed with all the designer labels you can possess. Merchandise in Gangnam are notorious for their jaw-dropping price tags, too.

But you can compare prices at Myeongdong, a shopping street that homes quite a few luxury department stores, international clothing brands, and homegrown beauty products.

Myeongdong shopping street is where you’ll find an abundance of fashion, beauty and food.

Want to blend your personal style with a Korean fashion sense? Head over to Common Ground, an artsy pop-up container mall packed with local brands like Advisory, Covernat, Hype and Sneaksoul.

If you’re looking for more affordable street-wear, make your way to Namdaemun Market, a huge fashion centre and one of the best places for bargain hunters to find affordable styles and trends, perhaps even gifts for family and friends back home.

You should also visit Dongdaemun (or Goto Mall) for a wide selection of Korean beauty items. Some local products you can try include Peach & Lily, April Skin and Masqueology Face Mask, which are produced with the latest in skincare technology that Korea has to offer.

Frolic in the sand or sit by the pier and be accompanied by seagulls at Haeundae Beach in Busan.

Soak In The Culture Around Busan

Take a train to Busan, and your journey will be a pleasant one as you soak in the beautiful scenery the city has to offer.

In Busan, you must visit Oryukdo Skywalk where you can glimpse the waves crashing against the cliff; Gamcheon Culture Village to learn about Korea’s rich history; and Taejongdae Resort Park which is also set on a cliff – perfect for that Instagram-worthy picture.

Meanwhile, Shinsegae Centum City, known as the world’s largest shopping complex, is where you’ll find the best fashion and beauty items in the area.

South Korea has countless style trends, and the latest on display by celebrities and influencers sees them incorporating ultraviolet into their looks, whether it’s a hint of makeup on the face, or the outfits they’re pulling off, or even colouring their hair with the same shade.

Then, pamper your taste buds with authentic Korean dumplings and signature chewy cold wheat noodles at Choryang Milmyeon.

And when you find yourself at Jagalchi Market, be sure to stop and select your seafood of choice. Have them prepare and cook your meal on the second floor where you can eat like the locals.

Savour and indulge in grilled abalone, a delicacy on Jeju Island.

Eat Your Way Through Jeju

Known as one of the most famous and visited islands in the region, Jeju Island is the place for you to escape your woes. From the picturesque scenery to delicious food, you can be assured of an amazing trip.

To shop in Jeju, you will need to visit Jungang Underground Shopping Centre for a more affordable selection of apparels or go to Chilsung Fashion Street which is a traditional shopping area that has been around for a long time.

While you take a break from the many traditional food Jeju has to offer, you can also opt for trendy eateries or cafes on the island. Situated on the beachside, Café Mani boasts a minimalist vibe with a gorgeous interior and exterior with red bean bags on the patio for you to catch the sunset with your loved ones in a calm and soothing environment.

If you’re more into nature, visit Terra Gallery and Café. The overgrown garden with a cabin-like café is perfect for the nature lover to dine in.

If you’re into pets, then make your way to Bonmal Café as it is not only a place for coffee lovers to sip on their hot beverage while gazing at the ocean but the owner’s pets would also roam around greeting friendly patrons.

So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now and let the good times begin.

AirAsia flies 18X weekly to Seoul, 6X weekly to Busan, and 4X weekly to Jeju Island. Find out more at

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