One of the most stressful parts of traveling is getting souvenirs for friends, family, and office mates. I've lived in the Seoul area since 2004, and I've been a tour guide for a few years. In my own experience and through talking with tourists over the years, I've decided to put together a handy guide to getting souvenirs that are unique and won't weigh down your luggage.

Myeong-dong Cosmetics

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The K-beauty thing is now becoming a... thing. The world is starting to take the Korean cosmetics industry seriously. I'll admit that I've been sucked into it. Yes, I moisturize. Myeong-dong is the optimal place to shop for cosmetics. I'll warn you, the crowds and the stores are CRA-ZAY! If you're in a hurry or don't know what to buy, go ahead and get a bunch of face packs. You can usually get a good deal for a bunch of them. They come in different--flavors isn't the word I'm looking for. What I suggest is trying one of these face packs after chilling them in the refrigerator, especially if you're recovering from sunburn. It's intense.


If anything, Insa-dong is the best place to get all your souvenir shopping done in one go. After over a decade living here, I still do my Christmas shopping for overseas family in Insa-dong. Stay away from the official souvenir shops, unless you like "Made in China" on your Korean souvenirs. The antiques are kinda iffy, and you may have trouble getting them on the plane. How about these suggestions?


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Korean traditional clothes as well as other traditional styles can eas