Shopping Tips in Korea

Travels always incorporate shopping – it may be for the reason of wanting to get a souvenir from your trip or bringing home some ‘pasalubong’ for your loved ones! Whatever your reasons are, if you will be doing it Korea, here are some ways to maximize your budget.

1. Tax-Free Shops (Duty-Free)

You can easily get your branded favorites at huge department stores that offer tax-free items. These chains are operated by big Korean companies like Lotte, Shilla, and Shinsegae. You can find them in the busy downtown districts or even at the airport! Once you purchase at a duty-free shop, you just need to keep the receipt and claim your item at the airport (there’s a designated area for the duty-free products) after passing through the immigration. (Process may differ from one location to another so make sure to ask the information desk of the duty-free shop.)


2. Tax Refund Shops

‘Tax refund’ process is actually easier than most people think. There are shops that already indicate they are ‘Tax Refund/ Tax-Free Shop’ and will give you coupons that you need to present once you pay for your items.


Here are the steps:

Make sure that the items you bought accumulate at least 30,000 won (1,500 PHP) and a maximum of 200,000 won (10,000 PHP) on single receipt purchase. Also, the total amount of all your receipts would only reach 1,000,000 won (50,000 PHP) for the entire duration of your Korea trip.
Keep the receipts along with the purchased goods. You must present the VAT refund receipts to the customs officer to get the Customs Export Approval stamp. You may use the kiosk for a total refund of less than 75,000 won (3,750 PHP). There are also tax refund booths that would assist you in the process.


3. Traditional markets or shopping streets

If you are sick of processed goods, then the traditional market is the best place to be. Aside from supporting small businesses, you can also get items at a lower cost. Also, there are items that you can only find in these places so keep an eye to it! The best part is that compared to huge shopping malls and shops, you can ask for discounts here! 좀 갂아주세요. (Chum- Kakkajuseiyo – Please give me a discount!) As for the shopping streets, holidays also mean bigger discounts for shoppers!

4. Souvenir shops in famous landmarks

You are pretty much lucky if you read through until here. Even though there are ‘tax-free and tax refund shops,’ you can notice easily that souvenir and some goodies are still cheaper on local stores located at famous landmarks. I, myself got to experience buying the same item with a doubled or tripled price from the tax refund shop than in a local store. Make sure to check the prices of the items you are eyeing to score the cheapest ones!



Originally posted in KCC Supporters Blog

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