So I am in Myeongdong at least once a week doing a Seoul city tour. While I’m there I am always checking out the great street food, the rates on the US dollar as well as the prices of sangpumgwon (상품권). That’s pronounced Sahng-Poom-Guwon. Memorize that word because it will give you an automatic discount when buying stuff in Myeongdong. You don’t need to register for anything and it’s completely legal. It’s one of the great secrets of Myeongdong that really doesn’t need to be one anymore.
So the sangpumgwon are these gift certificates that you can actually buy and sell from kiosks in Myeongdong like this one.
These are real gift certificates issued by the respective company sold at a discount.People pass them up these kiosks without ever knowing they are being sold there because none of them bother to write it in English (nor in Chinese for that matter). But all you have to do is go to one and say that magic word. They will then present you with these gift certificates and you just tell them what kind you want.
There are 2 kinds: One for Lotte and the other for Kumkang Shoes.
Or at least, it’s not the tour attraction in Korea that companies will lead you to believe. It’s called something else. The DMZ is the De-Militarized Zone and it is the border that cuts Korea in half by North and South Korea. It gets a lot of attention in the media, so a lot of people request to go there through tour companies. Just about all tourists going to Korea for the first time will believe that the DMZ tour will take you to see North Korean and South Korean soldiers standing across from each other at the border staring down one another in a game to see who flinches first.
Yet tour companies will lead you astray and show you something else. What people are WANTING to see is actually the JSA Tour. That is where you see the soldiers and go inside the blue MAC building where you are technically in North Korea. JSA stands for Joint Security Area and it is the tour that people are usually thinking in the minds of the depicted standoff between North and South. You should really make sure you clarify that you want the JSA Tour and not the DMZ Tour.