Traditional Activities & Programs

Hanbok Programs

Photo: Seoul Global Cultural Center 【 Photo: Seoul Global Cultural Center 】

Indulge in Beautiful Hanbok!

While traveling throughout Korea, there are many ways to get a glimpse of the nation’s traditions and culture; trying the food, visiting the ancient buildings to name a few, but nothing compares to trying on the traditional clothing. Visit cultural centers like the one’s featured in this column for the chance to try on some of the prettiest hanbok, the traditional clothing of Korea!

Hanbok expresses Korea’s true characteristics in terms of culture and history. Just like qipao from China and kimono from Japan, Korea also boasts its own traditional garb, though people nowadays wear them only on special occasions or during national holidays. However, positive changes have been seen as many young couples and foreign nationals have shown increasing interest in the garments. They often pay a visit to hanbok experience centers to enjoy these beautiful garments. You’ll be surprised to see how well the elegant curves suit you! Please note that most of these programs include a rental fee. Find more about these places offering the fun hanbok programs as you read on.

K-Style Hub

  • Photo: Tourists wearing hanbok while exploring K-Style Hub
  • Photo: Tourists wearing hanbok while exploring K-Style Hub
【 Photo: Tourists wearing hanbok while exploring K-Style Hub 】

K-Style Hub is a newly introduced one-stop complex that has the information to meet all tourists' needs, from a tourist information center to various experience zones, exhibition halls and more. The most popular activity is found at level 5 and it is none other than the hanbok fitting experience! Whether it is the typical royal hanbok, or the recent trendy fusion-style hanbok, a diverse selection of hanbok designs is available for you to choose from. The experience is free of charge but limited to 1-hour duration per rental. You may wear the hanbok within the K-Style Hub but an identification card or passport is required for deposit if you would like to wear the hanbok to go out of the building.

  • Address : Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul (KTO Seoul Office, 5F)
  • Directions : Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 5 and walk for about 4-min.
    Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 2 and walk for about 5-min.
    Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5), Exit 5 and walk for about 8-min.
  • Operating hours : 10:00-18:00 (Last participation at 17:00)
    * Closed on Tuesdays
  • Website : www.k-cel.kr (Korean only)

Insa-dong PR Center

  • Photo: Insa-dong PR Center is perfect for taking souvenir photos
  • Photo: Insa-dong PR Center is perfect for taking souvenir photos
【 Photo: Insa-dong PR Center is perfect for taking souvenir photos 】

Opened to the public in October 2006, the Insa-dong PR Center is considered to be a living museum of modern history and Korean culture. The hanok was originally built by Prince Uichin (1877-1955), the fifth son of Emperor Gojong (1852-1919), as a private residence where he often came to enjoy solitude and enjoy its views, which have been maintained to this day. Newly added features include on-site commentated tour guides and tourist assistance in multiple languages (English, Japanese and Chinese) in order to promote the understanding of Korean traditions and history among locals and international visitors alike. In addition, tourism leaflets, diverse cultural events such as trying on traditional clothing and musicals are offered, as well as wireless internet access provided free of charge for all visitors. The center has a particularly wide selection of hanbok designs and materials, including ones that were worn at the royal court, which feature colors favored by high-level officials, as well as lines representing various social classes of Korea’s past.

  • Address : 19, Insadong 11-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Directions : Jonggak Station (Seoul Subway Line 1), Exit 3. Walk approx. 7min.
    Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 6. Walk approx. 5min.
    Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 3, 5), Exit 5. Walk approx. 8min.
  • Operating hours:10:00-17:30
    • ※ Hanbok experience not available during lunch hour (12:00-13:00)
    • ※ Hanbok experience available in first-come, first-served basis, rental time limited to 20 minutes
  • Rental fee : 3,000 won
    • ※ Fee is for one hanbok, only allowed inside the center.
  • Inquiries : +82-2-737-7890 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
    • ※ Chinese assistance may vary according to work schedule of staff
    • ※ Groups (10 people or more) can make a reservation in advance via phone
  • Website : www.hiinsa.com (Korean, English)

Hanok Homestay Information Center

Photo: Seoul Global Cultural Center offers various hanbok designs 【 Photo: Seoul Global Cultural Center offers various hanbok designs 】

The most popular place for foreign visitors to partake in the hanbok fitting experience is the Seoul Global Cultural Center located in the heart of Myeong-dong. The staff members speak English, Chinese, and Japanese, making it easy to enjoy the variety of activities available.

In addition, the walls of the center are adorned with large-scale photographs of traditional buildings, such as palaces and hanok houses with open wooden floors, which serve as backdrops for customers to take realistic-looking snapshots as souvenirs. Before these photos, you can become a great king from the Joseon Dynasty, an ambitious general on duty at the Deoksugung Palace Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony, or a gracious lady of the court. Mix and match traditional accessories such as flower-dotted shoes, bridal crowns, earrings, and more on top of your favorite outfit.

  • Address : 5F, M Plaza, 27, Myeongdong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • Directions : Myeongdong Station (Seoul Subway Line 4), Exit 6. Walk approx. 4min.
    Euljiro 1(il)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 2), Exit 6. Walk approx. 7min.
  • Operating hours(Hanbok experience):Monday-Thursday 10:00-16:00 (Last admission at 15:30)
    • ※ Hanbok experience available in first-come, first-served basis and will close when all time-slots are filled. Rental time is limited to 10 minutes.
  • Inquiries : +82-2-3789-7961~3 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
  • Website : seoulculturalcenter.com (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Deoksugung Palace’s Daehanmun Gate

Photo: Participants in the hanbok experience at Deoksugung Palace's Daehanmun Gate 【 Photo: Participants in the hanbok experience at Deoksugung Palace’s Daehanmun Gate 】

Every day of the week, excluding Mondays, a traditional changing of the guards ceremony takes place in front of Daehanmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace, a palace of the Joseon Dynasty located in Seoul’s Jung-gu. As you take in the fascinating progression of the changing of the guard, visit the hanbok rental booth in front of the main gate, where you can try on traditional guard uniforms and other hanbok for free. Just sign your name on the list and wait your turn, then the staff at the booth will help you try on the item of your choice. Given the opportunity to both witness the changing of the guard ceremony and pretend you’re a guard as well, it’s a popular attraction among foreign visitors.

  • Address : 99, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • Directions : City Hall Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 2), Exit 2, 12. Walk approx. 2min.
  • Operating hours : 10:40-11:30 / 13:40-14:30 / 15:20-16:00 (Closed Mondays)
    • ※ Hanbok experience available in first-come, first-served basis, rental time limited to 10 minutes
    • ※ Hanbok can only be worn in the area in front of Daehanmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace.
    • ※ As the rental is located outdoors, hanbok fitting experience may not be available during bad weather conditions or other circumstances.

Unhyeongung Royal Residence

  • Photo: Unhyeongung Royal Residence buildings【 Photo: Unhyeongung Royal Residence buildings 】
  • Photo: Participants posing in hanbok【 Photo: Participants posing in hanbok 】

Just a short walk from Anguk-dong is Unhyeongung Royal Residence, which functioned as the residence of the Heungseon Daewongun, the noble class of politicians that existed during the end of the Joseon Dynasty (1820-1898). As you enter the palace, you’ll find an exhibit building on the opposite side of the tourism information booth. Step into the building to find the hanbok experience office. You can try on gwanbok, which was worn by officials, dangeui, a formal dress for women, or even hanbok for children. There is a plethora of gorgeous places for photo ops within the grounds of the palace. Customers can choose whatever clothing item they’d like to try, or ask for recommendations from the staff, and get about 20 minutes of wearing the clothes before they need to be returned for the next customer. Check on the center’s website to find more information about seeing performances and reenactments of the traditional wedding ceremony of King Gojong to his queen, Myeongseonghwanghu.

  • Address : 464, Samil-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Directions : Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 4. Walk approx. 2min.
    Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 3, 5), Exit 5. Walk approx. 7min.
  • Operating hours (Hanbok experience) : Summer (early April – late October) 10:00-18:00
    Winter (early November – late March) 10:00-17:00
    • ※ Hanbok experience not available during lunch hour (12:00-13:00), closed Mondays (In the case of a public holiday falling on a Monday, experience will operate as normal)
    • ※ Hanbok experience available in first-come, first-served basis, rental time limited to 20 minutes
  • Rental fee : 3,300 won
    • ※ Fee is for one hanbok, only allowed inside the residence.
  • Website : www.unhyeongung.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Hanok Homestay Information Center

  • Photo: Hanbok fitting experience【 Photo: Hanbok fitting experience 】
  • Photo: Building of Hanok Homestay Information Center【 Photo: Building of Hanok
    Homestay Information Center 】

If you wander up the road a little from Anguk Station, you’ll come to Bukchon Hanok Village, a peaceful little neighborhood of traditional Korea houses. It’s here that you will find Hanok Homestay Information Center. The neighborhood surrounding the center is one of the best places to experience the real traditional culture of Korea through the warm and cozy hanok architecture. Just opening the door and setting foot into the cozy entryway, beautiful flowers and pots greet visitors into the classically decorated front courtyard. At the center, sign your name on the register and when it’s your turn, you can pick the style of hanbok you’d like to wear from a special scrapbook. Don’t worry about the language barrier as there are staffs who can speak English.

  • Address : 20-27, Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Directions : Anguk Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 2. Walk approx. 3min.
  • Operating hours : March-October 10:00-19:00
    November-February 10:00-18:00
    • ※ Hanbok experience available in first-come, first-served basis
  • Rental fee : 8,000 won
    • ※ Fee includes rental of one hanbok and one Polaroid photograph
    • ※ Hanbok rental is limited to inside the center
  • Inquiries : +82-742-9987 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
    • ※ Groups (10 people or more) can make a reservation in advance via phone
  • Website : hanokstay.org (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Namsangol Hanok Village

  • Photo: Buildings at Namsangol Hanok Village【 Photo: Buildings at Namsangol Hanok Village 】
  • Photo: Headbands with a traditional design【 Photo: Headbands with a traditional design 】

Namsangol Hanok Village is home to a variety of experiential programs and events offered to promote traditional Korean culture. One of the more popular programs for taking gorgeous photos of traditional residences is Hanpung Munhwa Masil (meaning “Korean Culture Town”). International visitors may choose the hanbok of their choice and take several memorable photos with the hanok as the backdrop. There are two experience programs to choose from, to rent a hanbok and explore within Lee Seung-eop residence or to rent the hanbok and explore the areas of hanok village. Tickets for either program are available for purchase at the ticket booth near the Lee Seung-eop residence.

  • Address : 28, Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • Directions : Chungmuro Station (Seoul Subway Line 3, 4), Exit 3 or 4. Walk approx. 1-2min.
  • Operating hours (Hanbok experience) : 10:30-17:00
    • ※ Hanbok experience available until November 2016, closed Tuesdays
    • ※ Hanbok experience not available during lunch time (11:30-13:00)
  • Rental fee : Hanbok experience 5,000 won
    Hanbok snap 10,000 won
    • ※ Hanbok experience runs approx. 30min, rental limited to inside the residence, while hanbok snap runs approx. 60 min, and can be worn within the Namsangol Hanok Village compound.
  • Inquiries : +82-2-2261-0517 (Korean, English)
  • Website : hanokmaeul.or.kr (Korean only)

This page was last updated on August 11, 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here.