If you’re traveling to Korea, you might be curious about what the best Korean souvenirs are to get.
Or maybe you’re thinking about getting a present for a friend and need some Korean gift ideas. There are loads of options, from Korean traditional souvenirs to Korean food or your favorite Korean celebrity or K-pop group’s merch.
Well, we’ve got you covered! Check out the list below, and grab the best gifts and souvenirs you can buy from Korea that will bring great joy to Korean Culture enthusiasts!
- 1 Korean Gift Ideas
- 1.1 Where Can I Buy Korean Gifts?
- 1.2 Traditional Korean Gifts
- 1.3 Korean Food Gifts
- 1.4 Cute Korean Gifts
- 1.5 Korean Merchandise
- 1.6 Other Korean Souvenirs
Korean Gift Ideas
We’ll give you our list of top Korean gifts and souvenirs. These can be Korean items you pick up on your next trip through South Korea or something you order as a gift to a friend who is a fan of Korea.
Go through the list, or skip down to the bottom and grab what you need right away!
Where Can I Buy Korean Gifts?
There are several places; it depends on the gift you want. We’ll give you our picks below each of the items above, along with places to buy them. You can go off of our recommendation or just do an internet search for the item and see if you can find a better place to buy it.
Here are our top picks for great Korean gift ideas and where to get them. You’ll surely be able to impart a bit of Korean culture through these gifts!
Traditional Korean Gifts
Here are some Korean gifts that you can find specifically in Korea.
Buchae (부채 | Korean Paper Fan)
If you’ve got a hot season where you live, then you’re going to want to keep cool. Why not do it in style?
While you’re on the hunt for some cool souvenirs over the next couple of weeks, consider the buchae, a fun, foldable Korean fan.
They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and your friends will thank you for getting them something practical instead of a trinket that will gather dust in the back of their closet for the next few years. Pick up one for yourself as well to make exploring Korea more enjoyable this summer!
Where to buy in Korea: Itaewon, Insadong, or Samcheondong in Seoul.
If you’re looking for a suitable gift or souvenir for your underage friends, look no further than the tea aisle in any Korean supermarket. Tea is a big part of day-to-day life in Korea, so there’s a wide variety of interesting flavors, such as green tea, barley tea, or Korean ginseng tea (and beautiful boxes!). This makes it one of the best Korean gift ideas!
Tea is also way easier to transport than other beverages – you can just throw the tea box in your suitcase and forget about it without worrying about leakage. If you really want to go above and beyond, consider picking up a tea set for friends – maybe they’ll host a tea party in your honor as a “thank you”!
Korean Food Gifts
If your friends and family love food, then these are the best options for you.
There’s nothing in the world quite like Korean snacks! There are loads of options for Korean food that you can bring home, from dried squid to fried kimchi or even Korean instant noodles! There is something for everybody!
Bring a little taste of Korea back to your loved ones through this Korean snack box. They’re an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift option – just make sure you don’t bring anything TOO addicting (we’re looking at you, Pepero), or their gratitude will turn to sadness when they can’t find Korean snacks in your home country!
Where to buy in Korea: Any convenience store.
Soju is quintessential Korean alcohol made from rice. There’s a reason it’s as popular as it is – soju has a clean, crisp flavor that means it pairs well with a wide variety of dishes. It’s also relatively inexpensive and available at most Korean supermarkets, so you won’t have a difficult time tracking it down!
Soju is loved by pretty much everybody, so it’s a safe choice for a souvenir that your friends and family members will be thanking you for. Just make sure the bottle doesn’t break in your suitcase! Another similar option would be traditional Korean alcohol called 막걸리 (makgeolli) or Korean rice wine. This usually comes in a plastic bottle container, so it’s easier to transport.
Cute Korean Gifts
Cute gifts are always a good choice! Here’s our pick for a cute Korean gift idea.
Fun Korean Socks
Alright, hear us out – socks? Yes! Korea has taken fun and adorable socks to a whole new level, making them the perfect gift for you to pick up for your friends back home. Not to mention that they’re inexpensive, easy to find, and will take up no space in your suitcase – could they be any more perfect?!
In Korean culture, it is polite to remove your shoes before entering somebody’s home, so Korean designers have extra motivation to design show-stopping socks because they’ll be seen on a regular basis. Take advantage of this trend and pick up some cute socks for you and your friends the next time you’re out and about in Korea!
Where to buy in Korea: Insadong or Samcheondong in Seoul.
Our top picks: Any of these animal characters.
There are different kinds of Korean merchandise, but the most popular ones right now are K-pop-related products. Know more about them below.
If you’re searching for souvenirs for K-pop fan friends that have been swept up in the K-Pop phenomenon, you won’t have to look far! K-Pop posters, t-shirts, and other merchandise of K-pop idols are available pretty much everywhere in Korea. This is due to the rise in popularity of K-pop over the last few years across the globe.
You can also pick up some of your favorite K-Pop song CDs to give your friends a taste of Korean culture. Who knows – maybe it will make them want to join you on your next trip to Korea!
Other Korean Souvenirs
You’ll never run out of gift ideas when you’re in Korea. Here are other options that you can choose from.
Mobile Phone Cases
If you’d like to go the practical route the next time you’re picking up souvenirs in Korea, you should consider picking up one of the cute Korean phone cases that are for sale at most souvenir shops. These cases often depict Korean art, Korean cartoons, and K-Pop stars.
Your friends will thank you for being thoughtful AND for helping them protect their new iPhone from cracking when they inevitably drop it – everybody wins!
Where to buy in Korea: Local shops, Kakao Friends store, or Design Skin.
The Korean cosmetics industry has BOOMED over the past couple of years, and fun new cosmetics shops have been opening up left and right throughout Korea. Picking up brand new Korean beauty products like BB cream or eyeshadow palette for your friends back home is the perfect way to say you care!
Korean products like Korean skincare face masks are also super popular and inexpensive souvenirs – they’re made from all-natural ingredients and have been the talk of the industry because they leave skin feeling soft and taut for days on end after only one application. Be sure to pick up something for yourself, too – you deserve to be looking your best!
Books to Learn Korean
There is so much culture embedded into the Korean language that it’s hard to learn one without the other!
The great thing about learning Korean is that it’s really simple to learn the alphabet (Hangul). Most people can learn the Korean Alphabet in about 1 hour. After that, it’s up to you how far you want to take it. Grab your favorite Korean language textbook, and have fun with it. Or, you can give it as a gift to your friends who are also Korean learners.
Where to buy in Korea: Kyobo bookstore (교보문고 | gyobomungo).
Our top picks: Sogang, Yeonsei, or the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle.
You can get a Korean gift card for learning Korean for your friends and loved ones to learn Korean online with the 90 Day Korean Inner Circle web program here.
Korea is always at the forefront of awesome new electronics. If you can imagine it, they’ve probably already invented it! If you’re considering picking up electronics as souvenirs on your way out of Korea, you’ll be happy to know that Korea is full of inexpensive, high-quality electronics like phones and MP3 players.
You can also try your luck at bargaining – in many of the larger electronic stores in Korean cities, proprietors are open to bartering and will give you the best price they can. Electronics that won’t break the bank? Sign me up!
What is your favorite souvenir to surprise your friends and family when you return home from vacation? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!