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What to buy


Foreign tourists can purchase inexpensive ceramic items at any ceramic shop in Korea, including cups, plates, porcelain, and decorative ceramics. For expensive ceramics with artistic value, tourists must visit specialized ceramic stores or a ceramic village.


Hyunbae are embroidered patches which were worn on the breast and on the back of the official uniforms of the king, the prince, and civil and military officials during the Joseon Dynasty. An image of two tigers was used for military official's uniforms.

Sewing Workboxes

These workboxes have been used by Korean women for a long time. They are used to hold pins, spools of thread, thimbles and other sewing implements.


Korean macrame items are personal ornaments which make great souvenirs. They can be purchased in Insa-dong, at Namdaemun Market, and at specialized hanbok stores

Ornamental Silver Knife

This is an accessory for women which was traditionally kept in a pocket or worn around the neck. It was used for decorative purposes as well as for self-defense.


Embroidery is made up of patterns of letters and drawings which are sewn into silk fabrics. These designs are used as material for clothing, sewing workboxes, wrapping cloths, etc. These traditional items are both popular and inexpensive. They are available in numerous souvenir shops.

Najeon Lacquerware (Lacquerware inlaid with Mother-of-pearl)
Najeon lacquerware refers to items that have been produced by first lacquering a material like wood or bamboo, then attaching bright shells in elaborate patterns before applying a final finishing coat of lacquer. The Tongyeong area is the main producer of Najeon lacquerware in Korea.

Hwagak Crafts (Hornwork)
Hwagak crafts are crafts which were produced for use by the royal family traditionally. They are made from cow horns.


Korean woodcrafts have a long artistic tradition. These woodcrafts vary from small decorative items to large furniture. They can be purchased at antique shops and at tourist souvenir shops.

Folding Fans

Folding fans have long been used to combat the heat of summer. Traditionally they were used by noble men, when they were reading or composing poetry. There are two types of folding fans: the taeguekseon (which is covered with taegeuk patterns) and the hapjukseon (which is covered with oriental paintings). The hapjukseon is especially popular because of its antique looking oriental paintings.


Hanji, a kind of traditional Korean paper made from mulberry bark, is characterized by its durability, luster, and absorption. Papercrafts made from this traditional Korean paper have a splendid color. Papercrafts are considered a valued asset to Korea's arts. They can be bought in ornamental boxes at folk souvenir shops in Insa-dong.

Dolls with traditional costumes are usually found in folk souvenir shops, and are one of Korea's most popular souvenirs. The majority of these dolls are attired in traditional Korean wedding clothing.


Ginseng, which is a specialty of Korea known worldwide, comes in a number of varieties. Hongsam, which is a type of steamed and dried ginseng, is especially popular among visitors to Korea.

Gim, a very popular food item, is dried, seasoned sea weed. It is packed in small containers for convenient carrying. It can be purchased at department stores, souvenir shops, and traditional markets.

Kimchi is one of the most popular kinds of traditional Korean food. Visitors can find it at department stores or duty-free shops. There are also various kinds of vacuum-packed kimchi for carrying convenience.

Leather Goods

Leather products in a multitude of colors and designs are also available. Leather coats and jackets are relatively inexpensive, as are other leather goods, such as shoes, bags, belts, and purses.

Electronic Merchandise
Electronic merchandise is available at department stores, electronic goods stores and electronic markets. Stores have fixed prices, but discounts ranging from 10% to 30% may be obtained by shopping prudent at electronics markets like the one located in Yongsan. Buyers from overseas are advised to check their device's electronic voltage requirements. 220v is the voltage primarily used in Korea.

Hanbok has been the Korean people's unique traditional clothing for centuries. Like much of Korea's art, hanbok is characterized by subtle curves, flowing line and plenty of blank spaces. These clothes can be purchased at hanbok stores.

Visitors can buy handbags that reflect a broad range of refinement and elegance. Both world famous brands and high quality Korean brands are available to shoppers.

Visitors to Korea can buy high quality suits made from a broad range of materials and colors, including beautiful silks, at surprisingly low prices. These items can be found at traditional markets, such as Namdaemun market, Dongdaemun Market and department stores.

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Information provided by Korea National Tourism Organization.


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