Happy Market Monday. This week we are looking at a ‘Market’ aka Bazaar that is only in Seoul for ONE DAY A YEAR! So make sure to mark your calendar and don’t miss the 2014 SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar.
Tis the season to start thinking about Holiday Shopping and MY FAVORITE place to shop for Christmas presents in Seoul, is at the SIWA and Diplomatic Community Bazaar. The bazaar features items from over 40 embassies, welfare organizations, clubs and international vendors. With so many countries being represented there is no telling what you can find!
What’s even better then buying treasures from around the world? Doing it for charity! The event is the largest international fundraiser in Seoul. Since it’s establishment in 1970, it has raised over two billion won of which all profits go directly to Korean Charities! While checking off your Christmas list, your purchases are also helping others!
Photos Courtesy of SIWA Flickr
Last year was my first time attending the Bazaar. I met up with my girlfriends and headed there just in time for lunch. Along with great shopping, there is also an international food court. We walked together browsing all of the international food, wondering exactly what to eat. A cheesy dish from Sweden, sausage from Germany, curry from India? There were even exotic dishes like Afghan style lamb! As we strolled along the food isles, the Turkish Ambassador called us over to his stand and offered us a sample of homemade Turkish delights and coffee. After chatting with him, we all made our selections and then went to sit outside, in the lovely fall air, sampling each others’ dishes.
Once lunch was done it was time to SHOP! There were hundreds of stalls selling gifts, providing activities, and offering information. It really was a one-stop shop to learn about Seoul, buy tons of international products, make new friends, and have a lot of fun! Among the multitude of shoppers, we quickly recognized many familiar faces in the crowd and chatted with the friendly volunteers working the event.
My purchases included many treasures such as an advent calendar filled with European chocolate, some spiced wine from Germany, and pasta from Italy. It isn’t always easy finding these gourmet treats in Seoul so I made sure to take advantage of the opportunity.
After my shopping I visited some of the welfare tables. Some very talented girls were giving manicures in exchange for a donation to their organizations. Some of the orphanages were selling children’s items. An older gentleman had made dozens of hand made stuffed animals. He proudly showed me his craftsmanship as I selected a few to purchase for gifts. My favorite was a silly looking lizard that could also double as a door draft blocker.
We continued around the venue while enjoying a wine tasting. Finally I walked over to my favorite section, the lucky draw! A crowd was gathered around the table and a volunteer explained that you could make a donation and pick tickets out of a bucket. If your ticket had a star or number on it, you won instantly! I decided to donate 20,000 won and take my chances. Even if I didn’t win I figured the money was going to a good cause! After pulling my tickets I walked away with a makeup kit and several gift cards!! Everyone seemed to be winning. It was a blast! I went back a second time and won more prizes! And if you wanted to take a chance at high value prizes, there was a Grand Raffle!
At the end of the day I walked out of the Bazaar juggling handfuls of prizes and gifts. I couldn’t wait to get home and hide them from my family so they could unwrap them for Christmas!
The event is run completely by volunteers. I was so inspired by my time there last year that I had decided to volunteer this year. If you stop by in the afternoon, which I hope you do, visit me at the lucky draw where I will cheer for you to win!
When: Monday, November 10th 10:00am-4:00pm
Where: 63 Convention Center
Subway: Yeoido station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5.
Take the Free Shuttle or bus no.62 in front of St. Mary’s Hospital Platform
More Information: http://siwapage.com/activities/events/fall-bazaar-save-the-date/