CONTRIBUTED BY LINDSEY BARROW
I have a confession: I am addicted to IKEA. It is the equivalent of Disney World for me. Couches, tables, and dressers galore. Don’t even get me started on the kids’ area! When we moved to Korea, we ended up needing a LOT of furniture. By a lot, I mean dressers for everyone and two beds for the kids. We also needed a bookshelf and a toy organizer- and when we got inside the store we ended up “needing” a bunch of other things… I did mention I was addicted to IKEA, right?
As we set off on our IKEA journey (our third in as many months), we set the GPS (we actually used the Waze app and it was much better). The trip there is a little tricky; the navigation says it’s about 45-50 min away, but traffic easily bumps that up to 1-2 hrs, so allow some extra travel time. I cannot stress enough the importance of going early if you go on the weekend. They open at 10 am and it is very manageable until around 12:30-1:00. After that, it gets uncomfortable.
On our most successful trip, we left the house around 8:30 and got to IKEA at 9:50. There are parking attendants in the garage and there is ample parking. When you go in, ride the escalator or elevator all the way to the top floor and work your way down. I said escalator, even though there are elevators, because I do not recommend you bring a stroller if you can avoid it. If you have ever been to an IKEA before, you know the set up is not stroller friendly at all in my opinion (at least not with all the people bumping you out of the way).
The top floor is the showroom and the small item section. In the States, the set-up is different; all of the shopping is downstairs. It’s not like that here so you will want to grab a bag or a basket when you see them (after you get through the showroom).
There is also a children’s play area called Smaland. When we went in there was a 10 min wait for the play area so we decided to sign our kids into Smaland. The kids are able to play for an hour while you shop. This is a great option if you have kids that get bored easily or like to wander off (which describes two of my kids, so it was perfect for us).
After shopping, you will head downstairs to pick up any big-ticket items you have picked out. There have flat bed carts for the larger furniture items. Each item will have a number and a stock location on it; when you get down to this area, you just look for the aisle and shelf number and then load your cart up with everything you wrote down upstairs. There are computers located downstairs (there is an English option) in case you forgot a number or want to check stock before you walk around looking for things.
Going through the checkout was very easy. There are quite a few employees that speak English so I didn’t have to bust out my terrible version of Korean – trust me, that is not good for anyone!
If you need delivery, they do deliver for a fee of W57,000 from IKEA to the Osan area. They will not deliver on base (I tried and it was an epic fail) so save yourself a lot of heartache and have them deliver to a friend off base or take a friend with a van if you don’t have one. If you pack like it’s a game of Tetris you will be surprised what you can fit in in a van or SUV…or even a car trunk!
(For any of our readers who’ve ever been to Japan or Okinawa, the above photo may hold a special place in your heart, as it does for your Korea Ye Content Editor: Coco’s Curry, which is attached to this IKEA. Try it: trust me.
Hours: IKEA is open from 10-10 every day except for Korean New Year and Chuosek.
Payment: They take Won and major credit cards.
Address: 17 Iljing-ro, Soha 2(i)-dong, Gwangmyeong-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
GPS Coordinates: 37.4784878, 126.86428879
Directions: Type IKEA into the Waze app. Seriously, it is the easiest way.
Parking is free if you show the parking attendant your receipt from IKEA. There is also a Lotte Mall attached to IKEA; they have a LEGO store, theater, golf store, Auntie Anne’s, and a Coco’s Curry! For the Costco lovers, there is one right across the street!