During the day, my children and I visited Seoul’s parks, gardens, and museums, immersing ourselves in Korea’s culture. We acquainted ourselves with the principles and philosophy that make Korea such an interesting country.

But at night, after we’ve had our bowls of kimchi, we acquainted ourselves with the aggressive ingenuity that made Korea such an economic power horse: We went shopping!

Whoever came up with the idea for Seoul’s almost gargantuan night markets is a genius. It thoroughly satisfies the tourist’s unsatiable desire to bring something back of the country he’s visited.

The Dongdaemun district alone has about 30,000 shops selling everything from bags and fabrics to socks and gloves. Some shopping centers are ten stories high! Before we stepped out, I advised my children to dress fashionably knowing how trendy Koreans are. And so the kids and I walked through the streets with almost dazed amusement. There were just so many, many things to buy! Unfortunately, it seemed like we always had so little time. That’s because we wanted to see everything.

At night is when the younger generation of hip Koreans go out to meet their friends. Everybody looked cool.

Myeongdong is another shopping destination we visited. The vibe is different here. There are more designer brands and more department stores carrying luxe labels.

We found our best buys, however, at the Yongsan Electronics Market.

My kids and I are gadget geeks, and we almost went crazy with all the electronic games and computer stuff that we found at Yongsan’s 20 or so buildings. And the prices! Incredibly cheap! We were able to snag the newest version of PsP for only 200,000 won (P9,000). We also bought a couple of Ps3s for only 320,000 won each (P15,000).

Of course, we did get to buy stuff other than electronics. The girls got a couple of bags, some socks, and stickers. Meg got a Ddung doll, so cute! For pasalubong, I bought beauty stuff and chocolates.

Oh, and we were also able to visit Lotte World. Most Pinoys would be familiar with this amusement park as it was one of the locations of the popular Koreanovela  Stairway to Heaven.

I enjoyed our trip to Korea immensely. After many months of work, work, work, it was like a breath of fresh air, bringing me joy and inspiration.