South Korea 2015 Part 13 – Lotte Department Store

This is part of an ongoing travelogue, to start at the beginning click here.

Friday Day 6 was our last day in Jeju, we flew back to Seoul in mid morning. Our very nice houseowner’s brother booked a taxi to the airport for KRW 35,000. The taxi driver was a chatty guy who kept trying to introduce us to jazz music. The journey from Seogwipo to the hotel took about 40 minutes and outside the cities, the roads are quite deserted.

For once we got to the airport early. We bought some nice souvenirs here including the yummy hallabong chocolates.

And then we sat and waited.

(a yet to be famous K-pop singer entertaining the waiting crowd)

Flight back to Gimpo Airport in Seoul was uneventful. When we reached our hotel in Seoul, there was a huge mess-up with our hotel, I won’t go into the details here but suffice to I will think twice before booking with AirAsiaGo again. End result, we had to look for an alternative hotel. Good thing was Vestin Residences was just around the corner, and they were so kind to make special arrangements for us. So for the first night, we stayed at their affliated hotel across the main road (which they kindly ferried us across via car). For the 2 remaining nights, we were to move back to Vestin here in Myeongdong.

( UI hostel, where we stayed for one night. Probably the smallest 4-bedded room i’ll ever stay in)

By the time we finally unpacked and settled in, we had wasted 2 hours and we still hadn’t had our lunch. The good thing about this UI Hostel was that the street it was on was packed with small restaurants. The hotel guy who ferried us recommended this BBQ place just opposite our hotel. But after a few BBQ meals over the week, we decided to try the Japanese restaurant next door. Imagine that, eating Japanese food in Korea… Anyway, at 4pm in the afternoon, this served as our late lunch / early dinner.

(the cozy little Japanese restaurant)



(Great view of Namsan Tower from our hotel)

Our plan for today was to do some light shopping in Myeongdong and visit Lotte Department Store. From UI Hostel, Myeongdong street wasn’t far, but you had to walk far down the street to cross the main road. Along the way, we say this beautiful old Protestant church.

Lotte Department Store is a huge store in the centre of Myeongdong. There are actually 3 buildings linked underground – Lotte Young Plaza, Lotte Department Store and Lotte Hotel.

We first checked out Lotte Young Plaza. This a rather small plaza catered to young people, akin to Sungei Wang Plaza. Since there wasn’t much to interest us, we went to straight on to Lotte Dept Store.

Now, this place was BIG. 13 floors of high end shopping, just like Isetan. 13 floors!! (Although the 13th floor isn’t shopping, it is a cultural centre). On the ground floor, where they sell perfume, was quite packed due to the passing foot traffic. The other floors were rather quiet. HOWEVER, on the 9th, 10th and 11th floor is where the action really picks up. These are the Duty Free floors, and they SWARMED with China tourists. And I mean SWARMED. In some areas they are pushing you and you can break through the masses. These floors sell mainly cosmetics and ladies accessories, but the tourists mainly buy the cheap cosmetics.


Business is SO GOOD that the cosmetics girls here speak fluent Mandarin (better than most of us). I managed to buy some stuff my colleagues asked for, namely face mask (RM1.70 per piece, super cheap) and Therapy face whitening cream. I asked the sales girl if its like this all the time or just during year end holidays, she replied “everyday of the year”.


After getting our stuff, we went down the department store again (there was only so much jostling and noise i can take) to the basement levels where there was a large foodcourt. The foodcourt was very tempting, but due to the crowds we couldn’t find a place to sit. So we just walked out to Myeongdong again, and finally went into Café Pascucci for some coffee and Tiramisu. It was nice to relax on the comfy sofas sipping hot coffee after so much travelling today.


On the way back to our hotel, we saw this two old ladies spreading the gospel, Korea-style…


Next – Doing the Palace circuit.

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