10th June 2024

17 Best Souvenirs from South Korea: From K-Pop to Kimchi

Looking for the ultimate guide to the best souvenirs from South Korea? You’ve come to the right place!

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through the hidden gems and cultural treasures of this captivating country.

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we’ve learned that South Korea is a haven for souvenir enthusiasts.

From intricate celadon burners to adorable Hanbok dolls, we’ve scoured every corner to bring you the most unique and meaningful souvenirs that South Korea has to offer.

With our local insights and expert recommendations, we’ll guide you to the finest markets, boutiques, and cultural centers where you can find these extraordinary keepsakes.

Best Souvenirs from South Korea

1. Korean Celadon Buddhist Incense Burner

Immerse yourself in the serene world of Korean celadon, a pottery style admired for its rich history and association with Buddhism. The Korean Celadon Buddhist Incense Burner stands as a symbol of spiritual devotion and artistic elegance.

Explore craft stores in Seoul’s Insadong district or Gyeongju’s traditional markets to find your perfect piece.

  • Where To Get: Insadong, Seoul; Gyeongju Traditional Markets
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by store

2. Traditional Korean Masks

Unveil the mystique of traditional Korean masks, a window into the country’s age-old performing arts. These masks, ranging from the comical to the divine, portray captivating characters from folktales and rituals.

Stroll through Insa-dong’s antique shops in Seoul or catch a mask dance performance at Andong Hahoe Village.

  • Where To Get: Insa-dong, Seoul; Andong Hahoe Village
  • Opening Hours:  Shops – Varies; Performances – Check schedules

3. Korean Hanbok Dolls/Teddies

Celebrate the essence of Korean culture with adorable Hanbok dolls and teddies, lovingly dressed in traditional attire. Whether for the young or young at heart, these charming souvenirs make for delightful gifts.

Visit the National Folk Museum in Seoul or Insadong’s specialty boutiques to find your delightful Hanbok companion.

  • Where To Get: National Folk Museum, Seoul; Insadong, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Museum – 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM; Shops – Varies

4. Korean Celadon Chinaware

Indulge in the allure of Korean celadon chinaware, renowned for its lustrous glaze and intricate patterns. Each piece tells a tale of artistry passed down through generations.

Wander through the pottery villages of Gangjin or head to Gwangju’s cultural centers to discover your perfect celadon masterpiece.

  • Where To Get: Gangjin Pottery Village; Gwangju Cultural Centers
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by location

5. Specialty Organic Korean Jakseol Green Tea (Jakseolcha)

Savor the refreshing flavor of specialty organic Korean Jakseol green tea, a prized elixir renowned for its health benefits. Grown in the lush fields of Boseong, this tea embodies the essence of Korea’s tea culture.

Visit Boseong’s tea plantations or exclusive tea houses in Seoul to relish this invigorating brew.

  • Where To Get: Boseong Tea Plantations; Exclusive Tea Houses in Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Tea Plantations – 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM; Tea Houses – Varies

6. Korean Paper (Hanji)

Immerse yourself in the elegance of Hanji, Korean traditional paper with a history spanning centuries. Discover its versatility through calligraphy sets, notebooks, and more.

Uncover Hanji treasures at Andong’s Hanji Theme Park or venture into Seoul’s craft markets to find a keepsake that resonates.

  • Where To Get: Andong Hanji Theme Park; Seoul Craft Markets
  • Opening Hours:  Theme Park – 09:00 AM to 05:30 PM; Markets – Varies

7. Traditional Korean Silk (or Hanji) Folding Fan

Embrace the grace of traditional Korean silk folding fans, exquisite pieces of functional art. Whether adorned with delicate silk or Hanji paper, these fans epitomize refinement.

Explore Myeong-dong’s shopping alleys in Seoul or Dongseong-ro’s specialty stores in Daegu for the perfect cooling companion.

  • Where To Get: Myeong-dong Shopping District, Seoul; Dongseong-ro, Daegu
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by location

8. Traditional Korean Ornate (Mother of Pearl) Jewelry Box

Encounter the opulence of traditional Korean jewelry boxes adorned with luminous mother-of-pearl inlay. These exquisite creations serve as both functional and decorative treasures.

Traverse the shops of Insa-dong in Seoul or Jeonju’s Hanok Village to uncover your radiant keepsake.

  • Where To Get: Insa-dong, Seoul; Jeonju Hanok Village
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by store

9. Traditional Korean Silk Coin Purse

Embark on a journey to the past with traditional Korean silk coin purses, delicately embellished with embroidery or paintings. These small yet captivating souvenirs evoke nostalgia and charm.

Browse through the markets of Busan’s Gamcheon Cultural Village or Seoul’s Namdaemun Market for your cherished purse.

  • Where To Get: Gamcheon Cultural Village, Busan; Namdaemun Market, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Markets – Varies; Cultural Village – 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM

10. Korean Rice Cakes (Tteok)

Delight your taste buds with a delectable array of Korean rice cakes (tteok), a delectable treat enjoyed during celebrations and everyday life. These chewy and sweet delicacies come in various flavors and shapes.

Wander through Gwangjang Market in Seoul or Namdaemun Market to savor the best tteok selections.

  • Where To Get: Gwangjang Market, Seoul; Namdaemun Market, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Markets – Varies

11. Hair Barrettes for Girls

Unleash your inner trendsetter with Korean hair barrettes, fashioned to add a touch of elegance to any hairstyle. From traditional to modern designs, these accessories elevate your look.

Explore the boutiques of Insadong in Seoul or Itaewon’s trendy shops for your stylish hair adornment.

  • Where To Get: Insadong, Seoul; Itaewon, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by store

12. Premium Soju

Raise a toast to Korean culture with premium Soju, the nation’s beloved distilled spirit. Sip on the smoothness of top-quality Soju, perfect for memorable evenings.

Discover a rich selection at local liquor stores or Daehangno’s lively pubs in Seoul.

  • Where To Get: Local Liquor Stores; Daehangno, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by location

13. Wooden Spoon and Chopsticks Set

Embrace the art of traditional Korean dining with a wooden spoon and chopsticks set, reflective of the country’s unique table manners. These intricately crafted utensils make for meaningful gifts.

Explore Gwangjang Market in Seoul or local markets in Busan for your authentic set.

  • Where To Get: Gwangjang Market, Seoul; Local Markets, Busan
  • Opening Hours:  Markets – Varies

14. Traditional Korean Bamboo Flute

Embark on a musical journey with a traditional Korean bamboo flute, a symbol of the nation’s enchanting melodies. Crafted with precision, these flutes carry the soulful essence of Korea’s musical heritage.

Unearth your melodious treasure in Seoul’s Itaewon or Insadong’s artisanal shops.

  • Where To Get: Itaewon, Seoul; Insadong, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by store

15. Korean Paintings

Immerse yourself in the realm of Korean art with captivating paintings that blend tradition and innovation. Each stroke narrates a tale of artistic brilliance.

Wander through the galleries of Bukchon Hanok Village or Seoul’s National Museum to find your masterpiece.

  • Where To Get: Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul; National Museum, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by location

16. Traditional Korean Tobacco Smoking Pipe

Embrace the time-honored ritual of traditional Korean tobacco smoking with artisan-crafted pipes, celebrated for their intricate designs.

These pipes embody a blend of art and culture. Visit specialty stores in Seoul’s Jongno District or Insadong for your cherished smoking companion.

  • Where To Get: Jongno District, Seoul; Insadong, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by store

17. Korean Ginseng

Replenish your vitality with premium Korean ginseng, renowned for its health-enhancing properties. Sourced from the country’s fertile lands, ginseng serves as a cherished wellness gift. Discover a vast selection at Insadong’s herbal shops or health markets in Seoul.

  • Where To Get: Insadong, Seoul; Health Markets, Seoul
  • Opening Hours:  Varies by location

Conclusion – Best Souvenirs from South Korea

As we conclude this whirlwind journey through the best souvenirs from South Korea, we hope you’re filled with excitement and inspiration. From the delicate celadon burners to the charming Hanbok dolls, each treasure carries the essence of Korean culture and craftsmanship.

So, whether you’re strolling through Insadong’s bustling streets or exploring the hidden markets of Gyeongju, let these souvenirs be your connection to the vibrant tapestry of South Korea’s heritage.

Embrace the stories they hold and cherish them as reminders of your unforgettable adventure in this captivating land. Now, it’s time to pack your bags, armed with the knowledge of the best souvenirs to seek out.

Until we meet again, may your travels be filled with joy, discovery, and the quest for the most extraordinary souvenirs. Safe journey!

FAQs – Best Souvenirs from South Korea

What are the must-buy souvenirs from South Korea?

When it comes to the best souvenirs from South Korea, you can’t go wrong with celadon burners, Hanbok dolls, and Korean ginseng. These treasures capture the essence of Korean culture and make for meaningful gifts to cherish or share with loved ones back home.

Where can I find authentic Korean celadon burners?

To get your hands on genuine Korean celadon burners, head to Insadong in Seoul or explore the traditional markets of Gyeongju. These places are renowned for their exquisite celadon works, reflecting the artistry and history of this beautiful pottery style.

Which cities offer the best selection of Hanbok dolls?

If you’re on the hunt for charming Hanbok dolls, visit the National Folk Museum in Seoul or explore the specialty boutiques in Insadong. These locations offer a wide range of dolls, each adorning traditional Korean attire with an adorable touch.

Where can I purchase premium Korean Jakseol green tea?

To indulge in the finest organic Korean Jakseol green tea, visit Boseong’s picturesque tea plantations or explore exclusive tea houses in Seoul. Savor the refreshing flavor of this specialty tea, known for its health benefits and invigorating taste.

What are some recommended places to buy Korean paper (Hanji)?

To discover the beauty of Hanji, the traditional Korean paper, explore the Hanji Theme Park in Andong or venture into Seoul’s craft markets. Here, you’ll find a variety of Hanji products like calligraphy sets and notebooks.

Where can I find traditional Korean silk folding fans?

Immerse yourself in the world of traditional Korean silk folding fans by visiting Myeong-dong in Seoul or the specialty stores of Daegu’s Dongseong-ro. These fans, adorned with silk or Hanji paper, add an elegant touch to your style.

What are the best places to buy Korean paintings?

For art enthusiasts, Bukchon Hanok Village in Seoul and the National Museum in Seoul are perfect spots to explore captivating Korean paintings. Witness the blend of tradition and innovation in these artistic masterpieces, and find the perfect painting to bring home a piece of Korean culture.

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