While in Korea I had the opportunity to rent a Hanbok (Korean traditional dress) for the day and travel around Seoul in it. Baring in mind it was around 30 degrees and I wore the dress for 10 hours, I was so tired after it but it was one of the most memorable experiences I had in Korea.
In the morning my boyfriend and I travelled to Insadong where we rented the hanboks. The store is called 오늘 하루 and is really easily accessible from several stations (see map below). Check out their Facebook page!
It was really cheap to rent the hanbok for the day. To rent the hanbok for 4 hours it costs 14,000 won and for 24 hours it’s 28,000 won. A really good deal if you ask me! Since we weren’t staying in Seoul we couldn’t keep the hanbok for 24 hours so we returned them when the shop closed at 8pm but if you can wear them for 24 hours, I would recommend that you do because it’s a nice experience wearing Korean traditional dress.
You get to choose the type of hanbok that you want to wear and the colours which is really nice. The staff members do help with choosing matching colours so if you don’t have any idea what colour you want to wear they are happy to help. I was undecided between a pastel style hanbok and a vibrant style but in the end with the staff’s recommendation I chose the pastel style.
My boyfriend also wanted to wear hanbok so the staff recommended he wore similar colours to mine so we’d match. Some of the older people who stopped to speak to us asked if we had just got married as we were wearing matching hanboks! We did get a lot of stares, especially from older people but all of the comments were kind and positive. Many people said we were pretty when we walked passed which was nice to hear. The benefit of wearing a hanbok in Seoul is that you can visit some of the traditional palaces for free! We took advantage of that and went to Gyeongbokgung Palace which is where you can see many people wearing the Korean traditional dress.
When we were in the Palace we were stopped by a reporter who wanted to interview us. It was a surreal experience being interviewed, especially in Korean. The interview was for a Chinese broadcasting network in New York but the reporter was Korean (strange, I know). He wanted to do an article on why wearing hanbok is so popular these days, especially amongst foreigners. It was really fun and the cameraman took shots of us taking photos of ourselves which was awkward but funny. In the end we only appeared for 3 seconds and I don’t speak but it was an experience that I probably wouldn’t have had if I never wore the hanbok that day so I’m grateful for it. If you can understand Chinese then here’s the link to the article: http://www.ntdtv.com/xtr/gb/2016/06/11/a1270713.html
Before arriving at the Palace we were stopped by a Korean guy who wanted to take a picture of us for his Instagram account. At the same time we were asked by a Chinese mother and daughter where we rented our hanboks so we were slightly confused what to do. We got asked a lot where we got our hanboks by tourists throughout the day so we always just showed them the nearest subway station and explained where to go as neither of us had mobile data to use.
At night we decided to visit Namsan Tower before handing back our hanboks. We wanted to take the cable car but couldn’t find the way from the subway exit. Coincidentally, a couple asked us how to get to the cable car at the subway exit so we decided to walk there together. The woman was a Korean woman who had studied in the UK for her masters a few years ago and the man was Chinese who was visiting Korea for a few days. He had also studied in the UK for his masters which was a surprising coincidence. They had both also been to Scotland! So it was nice talking to them and asking them where they had visited in the UK. Actually, they weren’t a couple at all. They had met through a language exchange type app and the Korean woman was showing the guy around Seoul for the day. We spent a few hours together taking photos and chatting which was a nice way to end the day.
I had such a great day and would definitely do it again! If you have the time you should definitely rent some hanboks and travel around the city for the day with friends. It’ll be an experience you won’t forget!