Renting a Hanbok and Visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

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If you're like me before visiting Korea, you have no idea what a hanbok is, and that's okay! Good news is, Koreans love sharing about their culture, especially through their traditional dress. (Which, by the way, is gorgeous.) Maybe it's because as white Americans we don't have a traditional dress that we can embrace as our own. Both of our families immigrated to America, most of which didn't even get here until the 20th century. While the diversity of countries represented is part of what makes America so special, when it comes to embracing traditions from our family's heritage, it's not the same as what Koreans are able to do.

From their language and food to dress and art, Korea is full of culture and traditions that spans centuries. The hanbok is their traditional dress and it's one of the easiest ways you can experience and appreciate the Korean culture today.

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Man and woman wearing hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) at Geongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

What is a hanbok?

Hanbok is the traditional Korean clothing and it has become increasingly popular with tourists visiting Seoul. Hanboks come in a variety of color, patterns, and materials which make them even fun to pick out and wear when visiting Korea. Today, Koreans wear hanboks only for special occasions and holidays, but you will also likely see some Koreans wearing them around the palaces taking photos with friends. Koreans are incredibly proud of their culture and hanboks are one of their favorite ways to show their love for their traditions.

Are there different hanboks for men and women?

The term "hanbok" refers to the traditional dress for both men and women. There isn't a separate term to differentiate the two. The word hanbok simply translates to "Korean clothing," but yes, the men's and women's handboks are different in appearance.

Is it culturally appropriate for foreigners to rent and wear a hanbok?

Absolutely! In fact, hanbok rentals are a great way for foreigners to express their interest in Korean culture while visiting Seoul. Wearing hanboks are a fun and unique way to immerse yourself in the history of Korea and show respect for its traditions. When we asked Koreans if it offended them if we wore the hanbok, every single one said absolutely not. In fact, on our Youtube video where we wore hanboks, all of the locals who commented on the video were excited to see us enjoying and appreciating their culture in this way.

Girl spins in yellow hanbokin Seoul at Geongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

How much does it cost to rent a hanbok in Seoul?

The cost of hanbok rental typically ranges from 10,000-20,000 won (roughly $9-$18 USD). Sometimes the hanboks include matching accessories such as a bag, shoes, and hat, but be sure to clarify if they're included in the rate quoted before you pick them out, otherwise you might increase your rental price.

Where to rent a hanbok in Seoul

If you are looking to rent hanboks in Seoul, there are many hanbok rental shops near the Gyeongbokgung Palace. These hanbok rentals usually come with a variety of sizes, colors, patterns, and prices so you can find one that fits your style and needs.

We rented our hanboks from 3355 Hanbok and had a wonderful experience! We reserved our hanboks for 9:00am so that we'd be at the palace for the changing of the guard at 10:00am. Our timing worked out wonderfully! We rented the hanboks for two hours which, in our opinion, was plenty of time to watch the changing of the guard, explore the palace, and take a few pictures.

How to get to 3355 Hanbok: 41 Yulgok-ro 1-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea | Google Maps

Are there hanbok rentals near Gyeongbokgung Palace?

Yes, hanbok rentals are available near Gyeongbokgung Palace. Many of the hanbok rental shops are located on Samcheong-dong Street and Insadong Street, which are only a few minutes away from the palace. You can make a hanbok reservation before you visit the palace, but if you happen to want to rent a hanbok on a whim, you'll have plenty of options to rent day of. Some shops will offer a discounted rate if you reserve your hanbok in advance.

Can you wear a hanbok to Gyeongbokgung Palace?

Yes, hanboks are welcome at Gyeongbokgung Palace! Not only is it a great way to represent your interest in Korean culture, but hanboks also look beautiful against the backdrop of the palace. Many tourists choose to wear hanboks when they visit the palace for photos and hanbok because it's free to enter the palace when you are wearing one.

Girl walks towards Geongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

Can you wear a hanbok to Bukchon Hanok Village?

Yes, hanboks are welcomed and encouraged at Bukchon Hanok Village. You can also find hanbok rentals near the village as well. If you want to get a truly authentic experience of wearing hanboks in hanok village, then this is definitely the place to go! The hanok buildings are also great for hanbok photoshoots.

Can you eat in a hanbok?

I never saw any signage about not eating in hanboks, so I don't see why not! I did see lots of people visiting traditional Korean tea houses in the Bukchon Hanok Village in their hanboks which looked so fun. Do note that if there is any damage (such as spilled tea!) on the hanboks, you will be charged a fee. If you choose to eat or drink in your hanbok, be careful.

American man and woman wearing hanbok in Seoul, South Korea

Most Instagrammable spots to wear a hanbok in Seoul

If you're looking for hanbok-ready Instagram spots in Seoul, here are some of the most popular ones:

The Blue House (Cheongwa Dae)

Located in central Seoul, this is a great spot to get hanbok photos with the beautiful blue hues of the building as your backdrop.

N Seoul Tower

One of the most iconic spots in Seoul, you can get hanbok photos with a stunning view of the city from the top of the tower.

Bukchon Hanok Village

You can take hanbok photos surrounded by beautiful hanok buildings and traditional architecture, it's a hanbok-wearer's paradise!

Gyeongbokgung Palace

With its grand and majestic architecture, the palace is a great place to get hanbok photos with a royal backdrop.

Namsangol Hanok Village

Located near Itaewon, this hanok village is perfect for hanbok photoshoots with its picturesque hanok houses and beautiful landscape.

And last but not least, don't forget about hanbok selfies!

You can take hanbok selfies anywhere in Seoul for memories that will last a lifetime. From the vibrant streets of Myeongdong to the stunning hanok villages, hanbok selfies are a great way to document your hanbok journey.

How much does it cost to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace?

The admission price varies depending on the type of ticket you purchase. If you don't plan to wear hanbok, then a regular adult ticket will be 3,000 won (~$2.50 USD). However, if you do plan to wear hanbok, then the admission is free!

Man participating in the changing of the guard in at Geongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

What to know about visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace

The palace is open every day of the week except Tuesdays. The perform the traditional changing of the guard ceremony at 10:00am and 2:00pm daily and we highly recommend visiting when this is happening! We'd recommend standing by the big drum in the middle of the courtyard for the best experience.

Changing of the guard at Geongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea

Final thoughts

I'm not really someone who likes to stand out in a crowd. I prefer blending in and being an observer most of the time when traveling. Dressing in a hanbok and walking around a palace was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I had so much fun anyway! Sure my blonde hair stood out like a sore thumb in a hanbok, but the experience and the additional interactions we had with the locals was worth it. We had so much fun and 100% recommend renting a hanbok when you visit Seoul.

Like this article? Checkout our other articles about South Korea.

Renting a Hanbok and Visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Hi! We're Chris and Sara a husband and wife video making, storytelling, travel loving duo with a passion for sharing travel tips, tricks, and inspiration with others.
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