Shopping Showdown - Taipei versus Seoul


Like many of Asia’s major cities, Taipei and Seoul are a mishmash of traditional and modern. Malls and shopping centers are becoming increasingly popular, but markets are still the place to go for the best bargains and authentically local experiences. So if you’re a shopaholic looking for places to buy unique things to create memories of your visit, here are the best markets to visit in Taipei and Seoul.



Shopping venues in Taipei range from department stores and malls, to night markets and boutiques. Space-saving underground markets and malls are prevalent and popular in this tightly packed city. Taipei is also well-known for its night markets, where you’ll find amazing bargains on both eating and shopping. Here is a list of some good places to shop in Taipei.


This market consists of several blocks of shops in addition to underground malls, all dedicated to electronics. You’ll find hardware, software, peripherals, laptops, mobile phones, and other gadgets here. Although the area largely retains the bustling street-shop atmosphere, there are also many quiet showrooms where you can retreat if things feel a little too chaotic. You’ll find a mixture of good bargains, as well as more expensive, high-end electronics.


The busy night market of Shilin is a carnival of shopping and snacking, filled with everything from clothes to games. This market is relatively calm during the day and comes alive as the sun goes down. Mainly famous for clothes and food, fashion lovers and foodies just cannot miss this unique night market. There are many low price shops, making this market a paradise for budget shoppers.


Shi-Da is primarily known for its stylish boutiques and cheap clothes. Taipei’s young fashion designers often get their start in this trendy market, which means you can support the local community while also getting fantastic discounts on designer clothes. The market also serves some yummy Asian dishes, so there’s always a good reason to stop for a meal before hitting the streets for a second-round of bargain hunting.

Seoul’s shopping scene is gradually seeing a shift away from street side markets, and towards big box stores and megaplex malls. Regardless of where you shop, you’re certain to find some great bargains, particularly on items like eyeglass frames, shoes, cosmetics and non-designer clothes. Let’s focus on some of the best places to shop in Seoul.


One of the busiest markets in Seoul, Myeongdong is visited by about a million shoppers every day. Myeongdong’s shops are home to thousands of brands, including luxury brands as well as local products sold at reasonable prices. If you are looking for inexpensive but good quality products, Myeongdong market is a good place to check out, particularly if you’re interested in cosmetics or skin care products.


COEX is the biggest underground shopping mall in Asia. Be prepared to spend more than a few hours in this massive mall, filled with book stores, restaurants, clothing brands, sports stores and much, much more. Stores range from budget shops to expensive showrooms. In addition to shops, you’ll also find game arcades, museums, and multiplexes.


Insa-dong is one of Seoul’s most important markets, where you’ll find old and precious traditional goods. This market is home to several galleries that hold Korean fine art pieces, including sculptures and paintings. Apart from these galleries, there are several restaurants and teahouses that offer delicious snacks. Each shop in Insa-dong offers something unique, which is why the market is very popular among people of all ages. Although there are many beautiful items here, it’s definitely not one of Seoul’s more budget-friendly markets. However, even if you don’t plan to buy anything, Insa-dong is a great place to take a peek at traditional Korean culture and enjoy the street festivities.

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