With hanbok gaining attention worldwide, wearing hanbok is earning a reputation as a must-try activity to do in Korea. Several hanbok rental shops as well as tourists walking in gorgeous hanbok are a common sight at Korea’s major attractions, especially within palace grounds. At hanbok rental shops, visitors can also rent hair ribbons, purses, headbands, hats, and other accessories in addition to hanbok. Rental hours are usually available from two hours to two days. Read on for tips on having a great Seoul outing in hanbok!
- Skirt selection comes first
As soon as you set foot inside a hanbok rental shop, you’ll be surprised at the variety of colorful hanbok on display. If you’re not sure where to begin, start off by picking a skirt. You can choose a classic monotone skirt or a fancier skirt, such as those with lace or an embroidered design. The skirt should be long enough to slightly brush the floor for the best look. Once you have decided on the skirt, choose a matching jeogori (upper garment of hanbok).
- Use fashion accessories
Wearing accessories will make your hanbok stand out even more. For a traditional look, either braid your hair down with a ribbon or make a bun and decorate it with flowered hairpins. If your hair isn’t long enough, you can opt for a headband. Complete your style with a purse to carry your personal items. A variety of hats and shoes are also available to step-up your look.
- Petticoat is a must
For an attractively voluminous skirt, a petticoat is a must. Wearing a petticoat will help shape the skirt, adding grace and elegance to your whole appearance. The petticoat should be 2~3 cm shorter than the hanbok skirt for the best result.
A remnant of the Joseon period, Changdeokgung Palace can be largely divided into two areas: the palace and the garden. The palace includes the royal family’s living quarters and the king’s administrative halls, while the garden served as a resting spot for the royal family. The garden at Changdeokgung Palace consists of lush forests with a pond and pavilions, forming an excellent harmony of nature and manmade structures.
Designated as a World Heritage by UNESCO, Changdeokgung Palace holds a profound value in terms of both history and architecture. The beautiful traditional buildings serve as a perfect backdrop for photos in hanbok.
Another must visit attraction while dressed in hanbok is none other than the Bukchon Hanok Village. Consisting entirely of hanok (traditional Korean house) built with roof tiles, this upper-class village from the Joseon period was once resided in by relatives of the royal family. There are over 1,400 hanok remaining in this village that presents a magnificent landscape of Seoul from atop a hill.
When visiting Bukchon Hanok Village, make sure to take in all the Eight Scenic Views of Bukchon. The first view offers an impressive sight of the entire Changdeokgung Palace. Follow the stone wall to be led to the neighborhood alley, the second scenic view. Find your way through the alleyway to the third scenic point, Gahoe-dong museum road. Then, get a glimpse of rooftops of the entire village, the fourth scenic view seen from the hilltop of Gahoe-dong 31-bunji. The fifth and sixth views can be observed from looking down and up the hill, respectively, from Gahoe-dong’s alleyway. Lastly, enjoy the scenery of the peaceful narrow alleyway from the seventh viewpoint at Gahoe-dong 31-bunji and the old stone steps from the eighth viewpoint at Samcheong-dong’s stone stairway.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza, or DDP, is a cultural multi-complex located near Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station. Several events take place here, including exhibitions, fashion shows, and conference forums. DDP is distinguished by its uniquely designed exterior and is known to be the world’s largest three-dimensional atypical building.
Some may be skeptical at the idea of traditional hanbok and modern architecture harmonizing, but the photo results are fascinating. The building’s austere grandeur serves only to draw the viewer’s eyes to the hanbok’s vivid colors and graceful features. DDP becomes even more captivating after dark with the illuminating LED Rose Garden, a not-to-be-missed attraction for enchanting evening photos.
Unlike the other hanok in Bukchon Hanok Village that were formed during the Joseon period, Baek In-je House was built in 1913 during the Japanese administration. Sliding glass windows set this house apart from other hanok buildings that are built with changhoji (traditional Korean paper made from mulberry tree) windows. Consisting of a spacious garden, living room, bedrooms, and an annex, Baek In-je House was considered a large mansion in its time.
Baek In-je House may be familiar to Korean movie fans as it was used as a filming spot for the movie “Assassination (2015).” Whether it’s taking photos or sightseeing that you’re looking forward to, this attraction is perfect for both activities as the whole building is well preserved and managed. You’ll find that the bright yellow forsythias hanging over the stone wall in spring and earthen pots lined against the wall serve as excellent background props for exquisite photos.
* This column was last updated in March 2018, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.