Everything you need to know about the Korean Hanbok Experience in Seoul
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If you’re ever traveling through South Korea, I highly recommend renting a hanbok to get the full Korean hanbok experience. It’s a very cultural experience and was definitely the highlight of my two weeks in Korea!
Renting a hanbok in Seoul
Renting a hanbok in Seoul may seem a bit contradictory to us Americans. To start, wearing a hanbok in Korea is cultural experience for locals and tourists alike. No one is going to judge you for not being Korean, and the locals are excited that you want to experience some of their culture. I expected to get a lot of stares but when I walked out of the shop, no one even paid me a second glance. It’s a super fun way to experience the Korean history and culture.
What is a hanbok?
So, what exactly is a hanbok?
A hanbok is the traditional attire of South Korea. These days, people don’t wear it casually, but it is still heavily used for festivals and special occasions. Men and women both wear a jacket called a jeogori. The women wear a long skirt called a chima, and the men wear pants called baji. It may be a bit confusing as to how to put the garments on, but don’t worry– the salesperson will help you.
Where can I rent a hanbok in Seoul and other parts of Korea?
Now, there are a few different areas around Seoul that are fitting for a hanbok promenade. Some of the smaller villages also contain many hanbok shops, as well as an added bonus of a great, historical backdrop. While you can pose in front of gray buildings and skyscrapers all day, the real magic comes to life outside the Korean temples and ancient gardens.
I was staying in Seoul with a friend and, for Korean New Year, we decided to visit the Gyeongbok Palace and rent a hanbok. As you walk through the streets to the west of the palace, there will be several shops with different hanboks and prices. We went into one that charged 10 000 won for girls (about $8.25 USD) and 12 000 for guys (about $9.75) for four hours.
The best part of this whole experience: You get to choose!! The Seoul Hanbok rental places have many different options, with certain options that costing a little extra (special occasion clothes and accessories with more bling). If you’re nice enough though, sometimes the associate will throw in something for free, calling it ‘service’.
After spending ages picking colors and designs, we finally left the shop and headed to the palace. As soon as we stepped outside, we noticed that more than half of the people (Koreans AND tourists) were wearing hanboks as well to celebrate the holiday.
The palace was amazing and massive. The architecture is beautiful, and there are some interesting art galleries inside the palace (such as the Folk museum!) In my opinion though, taking part in such a cultural experience was the best part! We also left with some amazing photos and memories to last a lifetime.
Seoul is an amazing city, so don’t forget to check out the Best Things to Do there!