Tourist Knife/MT/Outdoor gear shopping suggestions in Seoul, Korea
This is an unofficial guide for tourists' knife/MT/Outdoor gear shopping in Seoul, Korea.
It is merely based on my own tourist experience during March, 2014, and by no means an exhaustive list. Do view these as my humble service to those who has a little time to visit, and like to do a little buying on the side.
Seoul is a very vibrant city that literally never sleeps, and it has much to offer in terms of culture, food and shopping. Although it was a very short visit, I was happy to be able sample some of everything. For food, if you are into Chicken soup, BBQ and spicy food, this will be perfect city to find many. Shopping for brand name or Korean style fashion is legendary, there are shops that don't close until 5am in the morning.
For outdoor goods, there are many new local brands offering a good variety in all price ranges. I was blown away by the sheer density of shops in one area. There must be at least a good 20-30 shops within 1km of walk of Jongno 5 ga station!
I like to give thanks to friends whom have inspired and supported this 'tourist' series, and my special thanks go to bren10man whom has given me good direction and tremendous help in finding the Vic shop. The following shop names/addresses should be accurate. But if I have mistaken it, please feel free to correct me.
I visted Seoul for 4 days, and I do recommend the following if you are there for a short trip:
N Seoul Tower (overlook entire Seoul, but very very long line, expect 3-4 hours queue)
Bukchon Hanok Village (Culture park, a lot of DIY workshop for Korean folk arts)
Dongdaemun and various shopping area (Doota almost 24 hours shopping plaza is legendary)
Tosokchon (Ginseng Chicken soup)
Knife gallery (in Jongno-gu, Anguk station)
Jongno 5 ga (for outdoor shopping)
SKnife/MT/Outdoor gear shopping in Seoul
During the short visit, I don't have enough time to go visit many department stores to see whether they have SAK/Knife counters there, and if you are really tight in schedule like me, the safest bet is to either go to the Vic shop in Nandaemun(if you are into SAK collecting, this is a treasure mine) or visit all the outdoor shops in area around "Jongno 5 ga" station.Victorinox retail shop in Nandaemun
Within Nandaemun market, Namchang Dong area
East side of the "Orange" Daedo shopping building
I have tried for a very long time, using many different keywords/word combo/exact address on name card, to pinpoint the exact location of this Victorinox retail shop in Nandaemun. But somehow Google map just couldn't display the exact location, so I figure the best way is to show you by map. If you could find that 'alley', you will find the shop.
If you are taking subway, taking subway line no. 4. The station to get off is 'Hoehyeon' station(#425) in NamChang-Dong area(between Seoul-station and Myeong-Dong), take exit 5 or 6. And the Victorinox retail shop is located within Nandaemun market, on the 'alley' that runs North-to-South(where the white arrow is pointing on map), next to the Daedo Shopping Tower(the orange building in the picture). The shop is located on East side of the orange Daedo building, and it is on the street level.
The easiest way to find it is by asking the 'red jacket' area guide personnel for the "orange-colored Daedo shopping tower". Once you get to the building, just simply walk around the entire building to locate it(should take you no more than 1-2 minute to walk around the building). If you do plan to visit and want the exact address anyway, please feel free to pm me.
The shop owner is decent to dealt with, but speak minimum English. I tried email him to confirm the address, but he didn't reply until I asked the hotel concierge to call him in the morning before my visit. But I was really lucky to find a few shopkeepers around the area to call him, and eventually, a really nice gentleman take me directly to the Vic Shop.
Although the pricing is average retail prices, this Victorinox has an unusually large inventory and they do have many discontinued or harder-to-find items. If you are new into SAK collecting, this will be a great place to hunt. Jongno 5 ga area (for outdoor shopping)
Get off "Jonno 5(o)-ga" station on Subway line no. 1
Take exit 7
It will not be an overstatement if I call this a "little paradise for outdoor products".
I literally loss count after browsing the first 15+ shops. Most of these shops carries a variety of different goods, but mostly wearables and footwares. There are a few larger 'brand' shops where they are mostly the same brand, such as Northface, Soloman, Black Yak, etc. I regretted the fact that I didn't do more research on what Korean brands are good for what, but most Korean new brands wearable are cheaper than its US/European counterparts.
If you are taking subway, get off at "Jonno 5(o)-ga" station(#129) on Subway line no. 1, and take exit 7 onto the ground level. Walk to the T-intersection(where the white pointer is on map), with your back to "Kwang Jang Market', walk east into that T-intersection. Most of the shops are on that main alley, some are also located at the side allies.
Once in a while, I would find a SAK display shelf in these shops, and often find chances to find older SAK models. Most of these shops are Ma and Pa shops, so they always offer a steep discount from the labelled price. However, they are shopkeepers that would flat out gave me the extraordinary tourist prices, which I just politely leave shop and find the exact same thing with ~40% off across street. Knife Gallery
SW of "Anguk" Station(#328)
Most tourist probably will find this shop/gallery upon searching for blade shops in Seoul. It is a neat gallery to display many theatrical 'weapon'(like those we see on LOTR or Barbarian, etc), and some traditional Asian swords/weapons(Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc). It also display some police equipment, but I didn't see much blade on display for sale. And those are on 'sale' are extraordinarily priced. Depending how much time you want to spend browsing, it may take 10-40 min to finish the browsing. The entrance fee is supposed to be "free", but they expect you to pay regardless.(I really much rather they charge a standard fee, instead of stopping you right at entrance and automatically assume you won't 'donate' to get in
) The poker face shopkeepers speak little to no English, and don't seem to be too enthusiastic towards inquiries.
This is about good 15 min walk from Anguk station, so if you are visiting the Bukchon Hanok Village or shopping around the area, it may worth looking into. The gallery is actually underground in a basement, and it is located in a back alley off from the main walking street.
SSSSSTips of finding/buying knife/MT as a tourist in Korea:
--Before you go, it best to find local friends/Conceirge of your hotel to verify the shop address/hours
--Again, name a few well known brands of knives/gears and check with hotel concerige to see whether the shop you are going does carry them.
--Not everything listed on BF/MTO are accurate or up-to-date, I have found some shops relocated or disappeared.
--Use google map and 'street view' to see whether there is an actual shop there on the street, and check to see what's the walking distance to best plan your visits.