Also at http://reviewmehappy.blogspot.sg
Because the shops won’t, not before you.
In this area (namely Dongdaemun Market), the tons of malls (Doota, Migliore, Hello aPM, Goodmorning City) with 7-8 floors each packed with fashion stay open till 5am. Yes, AM. And if the retailers aren’t enough for you, there are the wholesalers just down the road who start at 8pm and close at 5am. It’s ridiculous.
Given the spread at Dongdaemun, there really isn’t much reason to go anywhere else for shopping. Unless you’re into shopping for antiques (which I can’t advise where, but I heard Seoul Folk Flea Market‘s good for that).
Insadong‘s great for trinkets and souvenirs. Namdaemun Market for dried goods, stationery (namely Alpha; with 6 floors of stationery, I went crazy and busted the budget), and clothes for your mother/grandmother. You get the idea. Hongdae + Sinchon + Ewha have pretty unique finds, but those are scattered around the area and may not capture your attention as much. Itaewon was utterly disappointing. If you’re running out of time in the city, don’t bother. Unless, of course, your purpose of flying to Seoul was to experience a slice of American culture. Then by all means, go ahead.
Honestly, the clothes there weren’t as great as I expected. Though I guess it would appeal to most people. Pretty colors, flowy material, what’s there not to love. I don’t really know what I was looking for exactly. Shopping was fun, nonetheless 🙂
P.S. For groceries/laver/seaweed/instant noodles, visit Lotte Mart, located right beside Seoul Station. 2 floors of Korean goods. More than enough for anyone, I would think.