As everyone should know by now, I went to Korea at the end of May 2017, and one of the 'must-do' activities for me was to wear a Hanbok! 'Hanbok' is Korea's traditional costume and if you watch historical Korean dramas, hanboks are no stranger to you. In modern days, Hanboks are still widely available in the country as modern Koreans still wear them during celebrations, new year, thanksgiving, as well as other special occasions.
Hanbok Rental itself is very popular between locals and foreigners, especially at Gyeongbukgong and Anguk, where you will be able to find a ton of Hanbok Rental shops. Prior to my trip, I didn't know that there will be that
many shops renting hanboks at the area. Therefore, I just reserved a slot online at Oneday Hanbok as it was widely advertised on Facebook.
Oneday Hanbok is located at Anguk station, and they have another outlet called Seohwa Hanbok located at Gyeongbukgong. We decided to go for Oneday Hanbok because it is cheaper than the latter. When we arrived, we were a few minutes late and so our reservation was taken off the list. We waited for about 15 minutes before we could go in to pick our Hanbok. The selecting area is separated into male and female, but it's just side by side and so you can still communicate with your boyfriend/girlfriend/friends if you want to. That area was small, cramped and packed with other customers and staff. There are a few different sizes to choose from, the smallest being 4. I am quite sure I'm a 4 but the staff told me to try a 5 or a 6.
Basically how it works is, you get to pick any of the Hanboks on the racks, it already comes in one set (the top part and the skirt) so you're not allowed to mix and match. The size is written at the insides of the shirt and you can hold it in your hand to 'reserve' them, to prevent them from getting 'snatched' by someone else. Once you've decided on one set, you notify their staff who will then help you put it on. You wear the hanbok right on top of whatever you're wearing so make sure you're not wearing any complicated clothes or outerwear. If the hanbok doesn't fit, you get to pick another one and that's it. For a third try, you will have to pay so you only get 2 precious chances!
When I went in, it was chaotic as everyone inside was already snatching the pretty pieces and it doesn't help that there were a lot of size 6 which is definitely too big for me. There are 2 different types of Hanboks available. The more lacey ones and pastel coloured ones that tightens at your waist, as well as the more brightly and bold coloured ones that is loose from the boob area all the way down. I went for the first type because I don't want to look fat in photos. The first pretty piece I found was a size 6, which I was told will be able to fit, and so I went for it since all the smaller sized pretty pieces were all gone. It did fit, but it looked quite big and so I decided to pick something else. My boyfriend and I also decided to go for a stereotypical Blue and Pink couple look so pink was my main deciding factor.
The second piece I got was also a size 6 because as I mentioned, the smaller sized ones were all gone! The top fitted better but the skirt was way too long. The staff told me to pay an additional 2,000won for an underskirt which is a wired skirt which will puff up the skirt, making it shorter. I went for it since it was already my second try and it was too late to change. It helped but the skirt was still too long which was the most irritating thing ever. After you are done with your Hanbok, the girls get to move to another area for hair styling and accessories. And when I say hair styling, I mean styling your own hair by yourself. They provide free rubber bands, head accessories as well as a tacky handbag so you don't have to carry your mismatching, modern-looking bag. For guys, the only free accessory is a rope belt and my boyfriend had to pay an additional 2,000won for his hat. They also provide storage for your bags which I am very grateful about because I cannot imagine my boyfriend carrying his backpack with his costume.
After which, we had to pay a deposit as well as the actual rental fees of 15,000won per Hanbok for 4 hours. We did a rough check on the Hanboks for any existing defects before heading out.
You can get your admission fees to Gyeongbukgong Palace waived if you wear a Hanbok and so that was what we did! It was a 25 minutes walk from Oneday Hanbok to Gyeongbukgong Palace and it was a torturing walk. Because the skirt was too long, I constantly trip over it and because we have to keep it clean, I had to hold it up to prevent it from touching the ground. I was so annoyed because they knew that it was too long but still allowed me to head out with it. The weather was also not in our favour as it was one of the hottest day and we were wearing 2 layers of clothes. Not to mention that the Hanboks are in a thick material.
When we arrived at Gyeongbukgong Palace, it was very crowded with noisy kids on a school trip. We tried our to best to take as many photos as possible at different locations, as quickly as possible, because we were just dying from the heat. We couldn't even last an hour in Gyeonbukgong Palace in the Hanbok and so we took them off while we were inside and carried it all the way back to Oneday Hanbok to return it.
I think what drained most of our energy was the journey to and fro Gyeongbokgong Palace and Oneday Hanbok. There were so many Hanbok rental shops located just across the street from Gyeongbokgong Palace with cheaper rental prices (10,000won~) and so we totally regretted getting ours at Oneday Hanbok. Because of their excessive marketing on Facebook, they are very well-known to foreigners which was why the place was packed. We noticed that many locals just rented from nearby shops and we didn't feel like our Hanboks were of more superior quality than theirs. One good thing about Oneday Hanbok is that the place is managed by Taiwanese and so they speak in fluent Chinese (but not English).
In conclusion, wearing the Hanbok was a good experience and I highly recommend you to try when you are in Korea. However, I do suggest you look around while you are there instead of reserving a slot online, as you will be able to find a variety of Hanbok rental shops there to choose from and from there, you can make the best option.
Labels: korea, lifestyle, review, seoul, tips, travel