★ HOW TO BARTER IN DONGDAEMUN ★ トンデムンで値切って買い物を楽しむ方法★

★ HOW TO BARTER IN DONGDAEMUN ★ トンデムンで値切って買い物を楽しむ方法★

(Note: I am transferring three or four articles from Facebook over to WordPress tonight to prepare for my video.
Sorry for all the updates.)


Dongdaemun is a large commercial district comprising of many traditional marketplaces. The markets are usually open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., with some stores open 24 hours a day. You can find a lot of really interesting things in the markets, notably silks and fabric, and leather goods, sporting goods, plumbing and electronics, office supplies, et cetera…

But the thing that brings most young tourists to Dongdaemun is the clothes shopping. There are many malls and markets here that sell very cheap clothing, mainly print t-shirts and interesting styles and designs that you won’t find in a lot of mainstream clothing stores.

One of the fun challenges of shopping in Dongdaemun is negotiating the price of the clothing. When I first visited Korea I was too shy to haggle and ended up spending the quoted price on items–but this time was my fourth visit to Dongdaemun, so I was more prepared, more familiar with the pricing, and a little more assertive. In many cases I was able to get the things I wanted for more than 50% off the original price.

Here are some tips for bartering with market merchants:

1) Make sure they know you are paying in cash. Merchants are less likely to discount if you’re paying with credit card.

2) Don’t flash any large bills. Try to keep your money in 10,000 won bills ($10), when bartering, with a language barrier, it helps to take out the amount you want to pay, show it to them, and try to imply that, “this is all I have. I can’t pay any more.” If you’re trying to pay for a 10,000 won item with a 50,000 won bill they will know you can afford to pay more.

3) Shop around first before choosing what to buy: A lot of the markets in Dongdaemun will sell similar items. Make sure you are familiar with what other merchants are charging for similar items. You might see something you like for 25,000 won at one place, and then find nearly the same item being sold at another for only 15,000 won.

4) When bartering for a certain item seems difficult, offer to buy one more item on the condition that it is discounted. This often works when you’re shopping with a friend. Some merchants will be happier to give a larger discount when you buy multiple items from them.

5) Don’t be an asshole… on the outside. When bartering it does help if you smile, laugh, talk to the merchants as if you are buddies. You can be honest and say you don’t like the price of something, but if you are cold, rude, or have a bad attitude, they will be less likely to want to go through the song and dance of price negotiation with you. There are plenty of other tourists they can sell to, and, in personal experience, Korean people can be pretty scary when they don’t like you.

I ended up buying way too many things in Dongdaemun. I had to go and exchange more yen to won to keep going. Because it was easy to get so many things for cheap, I ended up buying clothes for friends as well.


A final tip: It can be a pretty exhausting experience to shop in the markets, so if you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break and enjoy a coffee or lunch in a nearby cafe and regroup. Good luck!









4) どうしても欲しいものがあるけど、交渉がうまく行かないと思ったら、「もう一品買うから安くしてください!」と言ったら、まとめて買ったものに大きな割引貰える場合があります。お友達と一緒にトンデムンで買い物すれば、「お友達も買うから、二人とも安くして!」と言うのも効果的です!

5) 交渉は笑顔で!確かに一日中トンデムン回って交渉し続くと疲れちゃいます。だけど、向こうも一日中たくさんの観光客と値段の交渉をしているわけです。機嫌悪くなると、向こうも相手にしないです。笑顔で、笑いながら、楽しく交渉すれば、向こうも楽しくなります。二人とも気分よくやりとりすれば、きっと二人が納得できるセールが出来ると思います。




7 thoughts on “★ HOW TO BARTER IN DONGDAEMUN ★ トンデムンで値切って買い物を楽しむ方法★

  1. I love the dog t-shirt in the last photo, so cute.
    Thanks for the great tips on haggling, if I ever go to Korea, I’ll try to give it a go :D.

  2. Hey there!!
    I’ll be flying to Seoul for the first time this summer and I just wanna ask, when you bartered did you speak in Korean with them or in English??
    Thank you!

  3. I am looking forward to using my negotiating skills my grandmother taught me. It should prove to be quite fun. I learned to negotiate in Spanish, I am fluent in English and picked up a few Korean vocabulary words watching K-Dramas. I am sure it will be fun for myself and the merchant…. maybe even funny!

    1. The whole thing is like a game, and if you’re a good sport about it they’ll be good to you in return 🙂

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