We arrived at Gyeongbokgung palace around 10:30 am and watched the changing of gate guards ceremony at Gwanghwamun Gate. After the ceremony, we went inside and tried the gate guard costume for free. You can avail this at the Guard Costume Experience Service near the Gwanghwamun Gate and just queue on the designated tourist area. Aside from gate guard costume, we were also able to try strolling inside the palace grounds wearing their traditional Hanbok dress.
Gyeongbokgung Palace was crowded and busy with local and foreign tourists on the day of our visit. What we found amusing and interesting is that most of the them were wearing traditional Korean Hanbok dress. The sight is so much fun; it’s like the palace is being transformed to the old era where all people were already used at wearing this colorful attires.
Hanbok is a traditional clothing and was normally worn daily on the earlier years in South Korea but these days it is only worn during festivities or just when there’s a special celebration. The clothing is distinctive by its vibrant colors and simple prints without pockets.
There are a lot of shops around the palace where you can rent Hanbok dress on a per hour or daily basis. While walking towards the palace and before we reached the Gwanghwamun Gate, we passed through a building with mannequin displays wearing Hanbok. The shop is just a few walk from the palace so since we are already there we might just try it out and blend with the rest of the people.
The Hanbok shop – Gungnadri – is located at the 3rd floor of the ran.co building and just beside the Christmas Jamong restaurant. The building is just opposite of the palace parking area. Upon entrance in the shop is an array of colorful Hanbok dresses for men, women and kids. The staffs are attentive and friendly. Some employee knows how to speak English so you can ask things about types and the rules of the rental.
How to get TO GUNGNADRI (HANBOK SHOP)
From Gwanghwamun gate, walk towards the entrance and to the ticketing office (right side upon entrance). Exit to the nearest palace gate just beside the ticketing office (1-Picture). Pass through the parking space until you reached the highway (2-Picture). Cross the street and walk towards the opposite building (ran.co building) until you reached the building entrance (3-Picture). The ground floor of the building has mannequin displays wearing Hanbok dresses, so if you see one it means you’re in the right place.
Once inside the shop, staffs will assist you and will instruct you to pick your preferred parts of the Hanbok. If you are overwhelmed and can’t chose matchy patterns, you can always seek for their help. For women, the Hanbok parts includes the jeogori or the basic upper shirt. FNext, is the lower skirt called chima or wrap around skirt. It has an underskirt/petticoat layer called sokchima which makes the skirt balloon-y. A few pieces of clothes will be worn as the base layer before they put the wrap around skirt. Prices may range based on the clothing type, material and design.
For men, the hanbok are consists of jeogori or the basic upper shirt. Another part is the loose-fitting baji or pants. The pants are usually made of silk or cotton material and are ideally designed for comfortable sitting on the floor. And lastly is the po or the outer robe or overcoat. For more details about Hanbok, you can check it here.
After picking the Hanbok of your choice, the personnels will help you out on how to wear it. Having visited during winter, the staffs recommend that we should still wear our base thermal clothes. And finally, if you are done changing, you can leave your clothes and baggage items on their public locker shelves.
To complete the Hanbok experience, women can avail a separate hair styling service. This includes the hair braiding and hair accessories. For men, hat accessory is also available.
How MUCH IS THE RENTAL?
We availed the traditional women dress for WON 20,000 (around PHP 900.00 to 1,000) and a separate hair-styling for WON 4,000 (PHP 200.00). For men, we availed the premium dress for WON 30,000 (PHP 1,500) and added WON 5,000 (PHP 250.00) for the long hat (normally used by king and crown prince).
We opted for the 2 hour Hanbok rental since we only planned to wear it inside Gyeongbokgung and returned before going to other locations.
There are other shops that offer Hanbok dress rental, you can book ahead here – Hanbok Experience.
Bonus: The entrance to the palace is free as long are you are wearing traditional Hanbok. Get the free entrance ticket at palace ticketing booth. A ticket must be presented before you can pass the Heungnyemun gate entrance.
We went inside the Heungnyemun gate but unable to continue our tour to the further parts of the palace due to the sudden start of snow. After a few hours, the snow started to pour hard so we’ve decided to return our costume to the shop before we completely drench it out.
Related posts about our 5days-4nights South Korea DIY travel:
- SOUTH KOREA: DIY Summary and Itinerary for 5Days/4Nights
- First time guide on applying for South Korea tourist visa for Pinoys
- 5 ways on getting a Cheap Plane ticket
- What to Wear on an Autumn-Winter trip in South Korea
- Winter Clothes and Where to Find Them | Ukay Ukay Guide in Guadalupe
- Where to exchange Philippine peso to Korean Won
- SEOUL DAY 1
- SEOUL DAY 2
- SEOUL DAY 3
- SEOUL DAY 4
- SEOUL DAY 5