4 Shops I found in Seoul that I wish existed in my city

If you’ve ever heard about Seoul, you probably heard about how big the beauty industry is over there. Being there, you realize that what you’ve heard is not an exaggeration – from more plastic surgery clinics than I’ve ever seen before to make-up stores in abundance in every street -, Seoul will give you plenty to choose from if you’re willing to spend some money.

Yet, what often does not get told is that Seoul has plenty more to offer than just beauty (and all for a way cheaper price than anything in most European countries). I’m talking clothing, stationery, food & beverages, and so much more!

I put together a list of 4 shops in particular that I loved the most. These are the ones I wish existed in my city – the places I’d spend my money on repeatedly if so.

Without further ado, here they are.


STYLENANDA PINK HOTEL


Entrance to Stylenanda pink hotel

Stepping inside Stylenanda is like stepping into a Wes Anderson movie –  all you’re missing is the funny yet intriguing plot around you. Everything else is there: the stylistic choice of limited color palettes, the symmetry, the successful effort to transform every corner of the shop into a work of art. You are made to feel like you’re not merely shopping, but also walking inside a miniature hotel inside Wes’ head.

The store is made up of 5 floors, each one designed to look like you really are inside a very pink hotel.

Depending on the floor, you can buy make-up/beauty products, clothing, and then top it all off (pun intended) with some delicious treats at the Pool Cafe. But until you reach the top floor, have fun just admiring all that the store has to offer to the eyes and imagination!

Neon lights at stylenanda pink hotel in myeongdong

You can also shop at Stylenanda online.

Note for the curious ones: Stylenanda (in hangul 스타일 난다) actually means ‘your style is cool’ in korean.


ARRIATE


Entrance to Arriate flower cafe in gangnam

ARRIATE is a tea house located in a quiet street in Gangnam. It’s an unique place because it’s  full of beautiful flowers inside, giving you a cosy and welcoming feeling – and definitely making it Instagram-worthy.

Since I’m such an admirer of flowers (just looking at them gives me some sense of peace), Arriate was one of my favorite spots. Even before trying any of the coffee or pastries/cakes they had I already knew it would be hard for my friends to get me to leave this place. I was at home.

And to top it off they gave us a rose as a present along with the order!

Inside Arriate flower cafe in gangnam

Overall, Arriate is a great place to go whether you want to take someone on a date, just have a nice chat with your friends or even go by yourself to just work/study.

Just promise you’ll take good care of that red rose.


24/7 CONVENIENCE STORES


Outside a 711 in seoul

Also known as, “one of the main reasons why it was so hard to leave Seoul”. These convenience stores are basically in every corner (there was even one practically inside our building in Busan – the dream!) of every street, they are open 24/7 and they offer you the world.

By the world I mean they have the things you want and the things you didn’t know you wanted. From instant meals that are actually delicious to Doraemon gum, all kinds of snacks, alcohol, transportation tickets… what don’t they have?  

I went to one at least twice every day. Some days even more often. There was just always something that I just needed from there. Even if that was just a pack of Doraemon marshmallow bubblegum. A legitimate need, okay?

I’m not even going to recommend this. If you go to Seoul you will end up going to one anyways. There is no escape.

(Don’t worry, That’s a good thing)


KAKAO FRIENDS STORE


Kakao Friends store in Hongdae

Outside Kakao Friends Store in Hongdae

Over here in the West we like to use apps like Whatsapp and Facebook messenger to talk to our friends. In South Korea, they use another (superior) app called KakaoTalk. Said app has cute stickers, and those stickers are mainly of their own original characters, called Kakao Friends.

This store is a mini wonderland created around these cute characters. In there you can find all kinds of merchandise of your favorite Kakao Friend (I’ve still not been able to pick one). The worst, or perhaps best, part is that everything is so cute you’ll end up leaving with kakao friends’ cutlery and you wont even feel bad about falling into their trap.

On the top floor you can also taste some themed pastries and have some deliciois kakao coffee in the Ryan Cafe. Because Ryan might be a lion but he’s a lion with taste.

Ryan the Lion gif


Are there any shops like this in your city? Let me know in the comments!