Asia is already well-known for its wide range of cultural and culinary offerings, but many countries in this compelling region are also becoming recognized for their diverse shopping options. In fact, shopping is increasingly the main reason for tourists to visit cities like Seoul, Bangkok, and Taipei. But what kinds of shopping options does each city offer? And how can you choose between these three unique cities?
Shopping in Seoul
The shopping neighborhoods in Seoul, South Korea’s national and political capital, are well-connected and many can be explored on foot.A number of the major shopping centers are open later than you might think, with the city’s sprawling malls open and selling the latest global brands well past midnight. You might already know that Seoul is synonymous with the cosmetic/beauty industry, and virtually every imaginable skincare product can be found here. The city offers a multitude of different shopping districts which cater to various budgets and tastes.
Myeongdong, for example, is the center of shopping for the entire country, home to major brand names like Nike and H&M; while Apgujeong, one of the wealthiest areas in Seoul, is the place to go for high-end fashion. Trend setters can head to the Dongdaemun area, the heart of Korea’s fashion and design industries.
Shopping in Taipei
Taipei is widely regarded as one of the most fashion- forward cities in Asia, in part because of the country’s role as a clothing manufacturer for many international Asian markets.
Some of the main shopping areas include Ximending, which is home to a number of youth-oriented shops; Jhongsiao, which is ideal for shoppers of all ages with its nice balance of trendy shops and elegant boutiques; and Xinyi, where you’ll find many of the city’s major shopping malls.
Taipei’s night markets are ideal places to pick up local products, such as jade jewelry as well as drink their famous bubble tea and eat their famous snacks (such as chicken cutlet!).
Shopping in Bangkok
Bangkok offers the widest array of shopping options, ranging from street stalls where you can shop for cheap name brand knock-offs, to modern, air-conditioned mega malls.
Pratunaum Market, Platinum Mall and MBK Shopping Center are both perfect malls to visit if you’re looking for bargain, while Siam Paragon caters to a more upscale price range.
Of course, no trip to Bangkok would be be complete without a visit to bustling Chatujak (JJ) Market, where you can haggle for the best prices, plus enjoy an experience unique to Bangkok.
Making a Decision
Bangkok is perhaps the cheapest option, although you can also score fantastic bargains in Taipei by planning your trip to coincide with the annual sale season, which usually falls around October or November. Both Bangkok and Taipei offer popular night markets where you can find cheap street food, as well as bargains on clothes, electronics, household items and more. If you’re interested in ancient Chinese ceramics and pottery, then Taipei is definitely the destination for you. Seoul, on the other hand, can be a more pleasant alternative to a relatively polluted city like Bangkok. You can even plan your trip during late October to early November in order to enjoy the city’s famously beautiful autumn colours as a back-drop to your shopping excursions.