English isn't spoken at many local shops and restaurants. However, at popular tourist spots, such as Namdaemun Market, basic English and Japanese are spoken. Retailers in Itaewon, which is frequented by foreigners, tend to speak some English.
|2.||Although some retailers may be willing to take U.S. dollars or other foreign currency for purchases, or there might be unofficial currency dealers nearby, expect an exchange rate less favorable than at a bank.|
|3.||Genuine antique items may not be exported without permission. Ask the shop owner for procedures.|
|4.||Be careful about buying imitation brand-name items, as it is illegal to take or send them out of the country. Counterfeit items can be confiscated by customs officers.|
|5.||According to Korean shopping culture, the rest of the day depends on the first customer of the day. They consider it bad luck if the first customer does not buy anything or in some way disturbs the owner's mood. It is a good idea not to try so hard to exchange items or haggle during the morning hours.|
|6.||Major foreign credit cards (VISA, MASTERCARD, etc.) are accepted at department stores, large discount marts, sizable book stores, restaurants and other major establishments. Smaller establishments and local markets typically deal in cash or domestic cards.|
|7.||Refunds and exchanges are usually possible at department stores and large marts. The item purchased should be in its original condition and the receipt should be presented at the time of refund/exchange. Exchanges may be possible at smaller markets, but refunds may be difficult.|
|8.||Most sizes here are measured in centimeters, except for waist size, which goes by inches, and shoe sizes, which are measured in millimeters.|
Sale PeriodsDuty Free Shops: June - August, December - February
Department Stores: January, April, July, October and December
Other large shopping malls also hold sales around the same time as the department stores. Namdaemun Market, Dongdaemun Market, and other major markets usually have sales around early July and mid-January, and the summer and winter sales offer the most discounts, with 20-30% off of the regular items, and more than 50% off items more than 2 or 3 years old.
Business HoursUnlike the U.S. or Europe, Korea's shopping hours are limitless. Most shops open until 10 p.m., and markets like Dongdaemun Market are open 24 hours. Shops are mostly crowded during holidays and weekends and until the wee small hours, giving a taste of Korea's late-night shopping culture.