Experience the culture of South Korea by literally putting yourself into their shoes. Wear the traditional dress and get a full experience that will make your trip memorable.Traditional clothing is a big part of what makes a culture thrive in the modern times. Seoul may be one of the trendiest capitals in the world, but it still honors the fashion trends of the past. The traditional hanbok dress is both elegant and comfortable to wear that tourists who visit try wearing the hanbok all day.
Much like how Japan has kimono rental shops, South Korea has a lot of hanbok rental shops for tourists. Locals also use these services for special occasions at times, but many already have their own set for themselves. Tourists are the more frequent visitors as they want to have a cultural experience and take wonderful photos during their trip.
Here is a guide to renting a traditional hanbok in Seoul:
1. Choose Your Shop
There naturally are a lot of rental shops in South Korea to choose from. It is best to choose one that is near the area you are staying, or a location central to the tourist destinations. If you find yourself in doubt, check out some of the best reviewed stores like Seolhwa Hanbok. While many shops have a wide array of hanbok available, there are some that stand out more because of the intricate and elegant designs available.
|Image from Funtastic Korea|
Tip: If you don't want to rent one for the day, there is the Dongdaemun Hanbok Cafe that allows you to wear it for a couple of hours and take photos in their themed cafe.
2. Choose Your Rental Options & Book A ReservationAll hanbok rental shops have rental options to choose from depending on how long you want to stay in the clothing. There are specific prices for a certain duration: the shortest available is 4 to 6 hours, 1 day, and 2 days. Additional hours are paid by the hour. Prices can start at ₩ 17,000 up to ₩ 35,000 and above.
The fees already include your complete hanbok ensemble ( inner and outer clothing), staff to assist you ( they speak English and other languages), a tote bag for packing your things, a locker ( for bulky items), and free hair braid styling and access to a prepping area. To complete the outfit they have elaborate traditional hair ornaments to tie in the whole look.
|Image from Dickson Phua|
Tip: Conversion is ₩1,183 = $1.00 = PHP 52
3.Choose Your HanbokThe most fun part of the experience is choosing what to wear. You're free to pick out a color-pairing with a design you like. The easiest option to choose is a light colored top and a brightly colored skirt for more vibrant pictures. You can also ask the staff to help you choose what to wear if you're at a loss.
Take note that you will have 2 fitting chances, more if the shop is generous, so check the sizes before committing to a design. Also, shoes are not provided by the shop, but they won't be visible unless you're male.
|Image from Flickr/Republic of Korea|
4. Style Your Hair & Do Make Up
Shops will have a free hair service where they braid your hair for you, or put it in a bun. However, it is better to come with a hairstyle and make up already. You can have a salon to do it for you or you can do it yourself before heading to the shop.
Once you are done getting dressed, choose from the hair ornaments to match your hanbok. If you're wearing a braid have the staff tie a daenggi to the end of your hair. You can also choose to wear one of their headbands with an ornament that sits on top of your head.
|Image from Flickr/Laruse Junior|
5. Don't Forget Your Passport & Deposit
You should always bring your passport with to serve as your ID. You will have to leave this a cash deposit of ₩50,000 at the shop which will be returned to you after. Only one ID/passport is required when you're in a group.
|Image taken from Flickr/Lilac and Honey|
6. The Hanbok Tour
You've already put the effort in choosing and wearing your choice hanbok, you'll have to make the most out of it. Another part of Korean Tourism is free entrance to certain locations to those who wear a korean hanbok. Not only does this promote their culture, it also makes the tourist spots more colorful as well.
Visit one of the five grand palaces that will transport you back into the old Joseon period. Those who are dressed in the hanbok have free entrance to these cultural tourist spots. There is also the Bukchon Hanok Village, a village that has hundreds of traditional Korean houses that date back to the Joseon Dynasty; and the Namsangol Hanok Village, where there are 5 traditional houses of different social classes in the Joseon time.
|Image from Flickr/Republic of Korea|
7. Return Your Hanbok On Time
For each corresponding rental option there is a certain time allotted to you. Keep this in mind and you can make full use of the time when you go sightseeing. Make sure to return the hanbok on time and make sure it is in good condition or you will have to pay a repair/cleaning fee.
|Image from Flikr/Tung Son Nguyen|
Now you'll be able to amplify your experience by dressing up in a hanbok! Don't miss the opportunity and rent one out for yourself on your Seoul trip.