I know it has been a while since I last posted anything, but moving apartments and getting all the bits and pieces that make a house a home have taken quite a while. There is only so much I can carry in one go and quite honestly, sometimes, I just need a day to stay in the flat and catch up on some ‘me-time.’
Anyhows, on with the point of this post. At Gwangmyeong Station you can find both Costco and Ikea (the world’s largest Ikea, no less). Now here is where I admit failure. I tried to take the subway to Costco but what should have been a 1.5 hour journey ended up as a 3 hour journey and I was still half an hour away from my intended location. It might have been something to do with the fact that it was a national holiday but none of the connections I wanted seemed to be arriving and after 45 minutes sat on a very cold platform, I gave up and got a taxi.
One thing to note if you are getting a taxi from Songdo is that often, the taxi drivers won’t use the meter but fix a price in advance. I’ve paid anything between 25,000 KRW and 35,000KRW. If you book a taxi using Kakao however, they will usually stick to the meter.
Membership at Costco costs 35,000KRW for two and unless you have Samsung Credit Card, everything has to be paid in cash. They do have cash machines at Costco but these charge a small fee, so you are better off having plenty of cash on you.
Whilst you won’t find everything that you are used to in Costco, there are a lot of home comforts and, total win, you can order online. Oh, and you should always plan to have lunch at Costco – the pizza is amazing.
Update: As of January 2017 Costco opened in Songdo. Located behind the Posco Towers, it is the closest supermarket for people who live in the ArtWin building and I find that there is a better selection of goods here in Songdo than in Gwangmyeong. Yay yippee and Yay -the proximity of Costco and having a car to get my shopping home makes me most happy indeed.
Across the way from Costco (Gwangmyeong) is IKEA. Make sure you get there early and do your homework online in advance.
Being so new, IKEA is a huge novelty here and as such, on the weekends, it is a very popular date place. You’ll see couples all dressed up and taking selfies in all the show rooms and it is very cute, but also quite frustrating when you are trying to test out a sofa or find product codes for something you want to order. Be a bit bolshy and push your way towards what you want to check though otherwise you will be standing around forever.
Our first visit to IKEA took several hours – having a look at the various things we had seen online and figuring out the processes of ordering and getting things delivered. However after the first trip, (as you can’t place online orders here) I went to the store armed with all the product codes that I needed, made a beeline for the assistants to place the order and was out within an hour. There is also free Wifi in the store, so you can write down all the codes when you get in if you need to.
They have all the usual market place goods however, the kitchen goods area is very limited and even when I did find things on display, I couldn’t see an obvious way to gather and buy.
Re: delivery – you can get everything delivered and you can pay an extra 10,000KRW for staff to collect the items from the racks for you, which makes it much more back friendly. If you buy small things in the market place, you pay for them as normal at the tills and if you don’t want to lug things home, then you can add them to your delivery at the counters after the tills.
Between Costco and Ikea, furnishing your home in a hurry is entirely feasible… now for the fun shopping to begin!