I’ve read so many blogs and posts about wearing Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) and people taking amazing photos in them, I just never had the chance. Most of the time I’m in Seoul for business on my own, and would be a bit weird if I’m doing the experience by myself, plus no one will be able to take photos for me… Finally, this time round I managed to squeeze in half a day of free time during my business trip, and got my pretty Korean friend to do the experience together with me!
There are lots of places where you can rent Hanbok in Seoul, and Insadong is quite a popular destination for such activity. Not only because there are more than 10 Hanbok rental stores just along the main street, but also it is so close to all the attractions, such as the Gyeongbokgung Palace. My friend and I randomly chose one when we arrived in the afternoon. A popular store is the Oneday Hanbok store which you can make advance booking online. Oneday Hanbok is slightly more expensive than those along the main street, but they provide multilingual service, which is great if no one in your group can speak Korean to avoid any un-necessary confusion.
The Hanbok store we chose is not big, but it’s very clean and organized, with hundreds of styles to choose from. You will be asked to put all your personal belonging into the locker provided before you choose your Hanbok. The Habok consist of 3 pieces of garments – the white underdress (you can choose the pomp om style with the metal frame for an extra 1000won, or just a normal one), the one piece sleeveless dress, and the outer top. The cost of rental also includes a handbag, hair piece, and simple hair styling.
Once you are dressed, you are ready to go out and explore the area wearing Hanbok! My friend and I chose the lighter color ones, which later I regret, as when the photo came out, the colors and the patterns didn’t really show, and it looked more like a wedding gown…
As we were on a tight schedule with only about 2 hours to spare, we have decided just to walk around the Insadong area. Below are the places we end up visiting, some are great, some are just okay.
This is a beautiful walk, a very popular spot amongst Koreans. You can see lots of couples or friends just chilling along the path. Be sure to take photos with the amazing graffiti wall!
B. Tapgol Park
This park is quite interesting with all the olden day’s Korean architecture, and will make a great background for your Hanbok photos! A great spot for those with a tight time schedule, as it is literally just a 5 mins walk from the Habok rental shop.
Organic tea from Jeju island since 1979 – a great place to shop for tea leaves, and it’s an absolute MUST to try their tea desserts. My friend and I had the shaved ice, they are not too sweet, and is rich in flavour. It is a great way to cool down the heat. They also serve tea and other drinks/desserts. The feature wall on the ground floor is another great backdrop for your Hanbok photo.
A one-stop solution for all your shopping needs. During the weekend, they will also have a flea market in the centre of the mall. Be sure to check out the Sky Garden on the top level too!
E. Anguk Area
This is a very interesting area, you will see street artist, souvenir stalls, little boutiques, olden days’ architecture etc. This is also the area to the famous Bukchon Hanok Village (which I didn’t have time to go). During the Spring/Summer months, you will see many pretty flowers along the street here, and in Winter time, the scene is changed with the rows of yellow Ginkgo trees.
Make sure you have enough memory and battery left on your phone and camera, because you will be taking all kinds of photos! Sometimes if you are lucky, you will even bump into interesting people like we did! (Or unlucky… haha)
If you ever visit Seoul, even if you only have half a day to spare, I would highly recommend you to do this Hanbok experience, which I’m sure you will enjoy very much!
MAP (Insadong Main Street):