In December 2014, South Korea’s first and to this day largest IKEA in the world opened in Gwangmyeong, just outside of Seoul. Shortly after the outlet was opened, IKEA even faced a business suspension because of severe road congestion on the roads leading to the mall. Needless to say that when I went there on a Saturday morning, I was not surprised to find a huge crowd of people hunting for some furniture bargains and queuing up for delicious meatballs.
In a country like South Korea where cheap furniture is hard to find, IKEA’s success was guaranteed from the beginning. Despite the fact that IKEA Korea’s prices are the second most expensive worldwide, Koreans are not discouraged from buying masses of home appliances and food.
Apart from being on the more expensive side, there aren’t many major differences; this outlet just looks like any other IKEA store around the globe.
Same goes for food: In the food court, you’ll find your regular meatballs and salmon, but also kimchi and bulgogi (grilled beef).
Here’s what I ate when I went there (I might have been a little bit overwhelmed by all the yummy snacks…) :
Not to forget the “IKEA Bistro” and the “Swedish Food Market”.
All in all, there’s actually nothing special about this particular IKEA outlet, but it’s always good to know that you can find cheap (well, still cheaper than most Korean furniture) home appliances just around the corner 🙂 .
Even though Gwangmyeong station is only 10 minutes away from IKEA, subways only run a few times a day, so I took the bus from Cheolsan Station (Line 7).
If you get out at exit number 2 of the station, walk around 300 meters, cross the street, turn left and go to the nearest bus stop, you can either take bus number 12, 17 or 22. The bus journey to “IKEA/Lotte Outlet station” takes around 30 minutes. Check out some other ways to get to IKEA Korea on their website.
Till next time,