Feb 7th, 2020, 07:25 PM

Heading East: Discovering South Korea

By Valeriia Serova
The land of skincare, noodles, and socks

Harmoniously combining modern technology and centuries of Asian traditions, South Korea is a country of many contrasts. This most likely is why people think of many different things when they envision the region. While some may see beautiful landscapes, others think about perfectly preserved antiquities, generations of rich history or maybe even their high performing economy. Regardless of what comes to mind, there is no doubt that South Korea has made huge leaps in development in the past 50 years that have drastically shaped both the countries economy and global position.

As a rising industrial capital, Seoul is the business district of South Korea. Strolling down these streets, you can easily find yourself caught up between massive, glass scrapers full of suited businessmen and women running from one meeting to the next.  Yet, if you dare to walk towards what is known as the "old center" of Seoul, you will find an entirely different experience. Welcoming you to the old city, there is a crowded market full of Korean street food and all kinds of products. Though it may be the go-to spot for locals, it's undoubtedly an overwhelming mess for tourists. But, if you stick to these three market essentials, you are sure to find the perfect souvenirs to bring back home!

Korean Skincare

The world first spoke about Korean cosmetics about three years ago. Now, Korean products are the absolute leader and the main trendsetter of the beauty market. As the vast majority of skincare products originate here, European brands look to South Korea for new products. Adequate prices, high-tech products hiding in the funny packaging, unique textures - all this attracts both the avid Millennial beauty bloggers and elder audience, which laid their eyes first on excellent anti-aging aspects of Korean cosmetics. The leader among these brands is Dr.Jart, established in 2004 by Dr. Jang and a businessmen Chin Wook Lee. They were the first to bring BB creams to the market, which before that were used only by dermatologists for professional medicinal purposes. Dr.Jart has the broadest range of products for all skin types and ages. There are also unusual products, for example, serum from the Cicapair series, which is applied on top of any cream to enhance its effect, alginate mask shakers in cups and leaf masks, the world's first fabric clay cleansing masks. They also have the most complete line of BB creams: nourishing, pore-tightening, anti-aging, with lifting effect, to brighten the skin, compact and so on. Because of its flourishing skincare industry, Korea is often called "New France" because of its high quality and high-performance skincare with relatively low pricing and innovative products.

Noodles

Who doesn't love noodles? The smell of fried chicken in teriyaki sauce, the taste of homemade ramen, freshly cut vegetables and all this only takes you 20 minutes to prepare once you open a rounded box of noodles, mix all contained items and add some water. People all over the world, regardless of age and nationality, consume noodles on a daily basis. The secret behind their success? Their diversity of unique tastes: starting from the well-known chicken teriyaki, and all the way to cheese ramen and coconut chicken. Everyone can find noodles that will suit their taste! And if you don't have a chance to buy noodles before your leave, duty-free also offers a huge range of noodles and ramen!

Last but not least - socks!

When strolling down the center in Seoul you can easily find an enormous amount of socks sold everywhere: street markets, grocery shops and even petrol stations. But the most popular place to buy socks in Korea is a stationery store. Oddly enough, but in a stationary stores, you can find huge selections of unusual socks in every color, size and style. Korean manufacturers decorate a seemingly inconspicuous wardrobe with colorful drawings, cute animals, funny characters, quotes and even the faces of Korean stars. The price of socks is extremely cheap (one pair is no more than 3 Euros) and of high quality.