Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Seoul-searching Day 5: Paju Outlet Shop

Trip to Seoul wouldn't be complete without a visit to the many outlet shops in nearby areas. I've chosen Paju Premium Outlet as it was the second largest premium outlet in Korea with 220 stores (now that's a lot of walking and window shopping to look forward to).

We took the train to Hapjeong Station (subway Line 2 or 6) and from exit 2 walked to the bus stop in front of 7 eleven. We didn't have any idea if we were in the right bus stop so I had to ask. An old lady sort of said that the bus (number 2200) I was asking about was actually not in that bus stop. She pointed behind me telling me (in the best possible way she could in Korean!) that it's stopping in a few bus stops away. It was drizzling then and I wouldn't want to make the whole gang walk to a bus stop I wasn't sure about. So I asked another person and he said it in fact the right bus stop (in front of 7 eleven, as what I've read in my research). We waited for some time before our bus finally came. We used our T-money cards to pay for our bus fares and found comfortable seats for the duration of the trip. 

It was a long bus ride which took us about an hour via the main highway, going out to rural areas a few times then coming back to the main highway again. We even passed by Lotte Outlet before reaching Paju Premium Outlet. It occurred to us that we could actually stop by Lotte Outlet on the way back (if we were not satisfied with the stores at Paju). I've noticed that the bus stops had Korean signage except for when it was a tourist area (eg. Lotte Outlet and Paju Premium Outlet, to name some). The bus announcement also changes to English so we were not that worried we'd get lost.

When we arrived at Paju Premium Outlet it was drizzling and we had to cross the street to get to the outlet complex. We were all looking forward to what great bargains we could find and what better way to do it efficiently that to get a map of the shops (this is always a must for me). There were shops that catered to everyone's interest - ladies bags, fashion, men's bags, clothes, children's clothes, etc. There's even a Lego shop which the kids insisted they visit but not before having lunch first.

We had lunch at the food centre which offered a variety of food items - Japanese, Korean, Western. Some settled for Korean, others preferred Western. Everyone was full and raring to explore. After lunch, we went our separate ways - ladies (me and my sis-in-law) went window-shopping while the guys and kids head to the Lego shop. There were so many shops to go to and not much crowd around at that time so it was a breeze walking in and out the shops. Kelvin found a shop selling his most wanted snapbacks and feasted his eyes on several designs. Few hours later, we regrouped at the food centre for some snacks. Then he went back to the shop with my sis-in-law (his very generous godmother) and brought back a snapback. It was a belated birthday present. He couldn't be happier. The two younger boys also had their Lego loots and couldn't wait to open them.
guess who got himself a souvenir?
As for me, I wasn't convinced with the sale prices. I thought they could go much lower. But if I compare the prices back in Singapore there was about 30-50% difference, not bad actually. Some can be considered good buys, unfortunately, I was comparing prices to US outlet shops so it was hard for me to take my pick. The designs I was looking for weren't there, too. I went home empty-handed but not completely disappointed. I still had several other outlet malls and duty free shops in mind for when we visit Jeju Island and Busan. My sis-in-law, on the other hand, had a good bargain with a wallet which was in her favorite color. That's what I call shopper's luck!

Travel tip of the day:
  1. If you leave Seoul early enough you can actually visit both outlet shops in a day (Paju and Lotte). It's a very long trip anyway so make the most of your day out of Seoul.
  2. There are also other tourist attractions close to Paju. Imjingak has various monuments relating to the Korean War in 1950. Dorasan Station, the northernmost station of South Korea, is just 700m from DMZ if you want to have a glimpse of it. Alternatively, you can arrange for a DMZ Tour for a more in-depth experience (reservations a must).

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