Renting a hanbok in Seoul is one of the most unique and memorable ways to experience Korean culture. Just imagine wandering around historic sites, transformed into a Joseon-era princess, and you’ll understand exactly why renting a hanbok in Seoul is so incredibly popular.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- what makes up a traditional Korean hanbok and how to wear one properly
- what to expect when renting a hanbok in Seoul
- the approximate cost of hanbok rental in Seoul
- where to rent a hanbok near Gyeongbokgung Palace and other important tourist sites
- the most captivating spots to have a hanbok photo shoot in Seoul with possible itineraries
Jump to what you want.
- 1 What is a Korean hanbok?
- 2 Renting a Hanbok in Seoul
- 3 What to Expect when Renting a Hanbok in Seoul
- 4 Where to Rent a Hanbok in Seoul
- 5 Hanbok Rental in Seoul | Stores
- 6 Best Places for a Korean Hanbok Photo Shoot
- 7 How much time do I need?
What is a Korean hanbok?
If you’re planning on renting a hanbok in Seoul, you should know exactly what a Korean hanbok actually is, right?
Well, simply put, a Korean hanbok is literally just translated as “Korean clothing.” It’s most typically associated with the Joseon Dynasty period from 1392 to 1910.
Historically, there was a huge collection of hanbok, ranging from informal to formal. The style, colour and accessories worn with the hanbok would denote rank, marital status, and profession. And most Koreans wore them in their daily life, until just 100 years ago.
These days, you’ll likely only see Koreans wearing hanbok for special occasions or holidays like Chuseok, Lunar New Year, weddings, and birthdays. For me, a sighting is always kind of a special experience, simply because it’s so rare in modern life.
The Modern Hanbok
Hanbok have evolved as much as Korea’s culture and society. Today, modern hanbok are rooted in tradition, but adapted to the needs of living in modern civilization. Now, you can find hanbok with shorter lengths and contemporary design details, which are attracting a whole new class of customers, in Korea and around the world.
Renting a Hanbok in Seoul
Korean hanbok have graceful lines, are vibrantly coloured using natural dyes, and made for expressive motion. When you get your hanbok rental in Seoul, try spinning around while wearing it and you’ll see exactly what I mean. The proportions of the hanbok make the wearer look as if they’re floating on air.
A woman’s hanbok is made up of a wide bell-like skirt called a chima, and a slim-fitting top or jacket called a jeogori. This is typically what you get when renting a hanbok in Seoul.
Traditionally, there’s also an undershirt and pantaloons to wear beneath the jeogori, but these are usually optional add-ons.
TIP | If you’re renting a hanbok in Seoul, it usually includes the chima and jeoguri, with the option of renting the bell-like underskirt for an additional cost. During summer in Korea, it’s best to wear something cool and comfortable underneath your hanbok. Leggings or shorts, and a slim fitting t-shirt would be good options. A Korean winter is very cold, so be sure to wear extra-warm layers underneath your hanbok.
A man’s hanbok consists of a vest, jeogori and loose fitting pair of pants called baji. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is plain or simple though. Men’s hanbok can be just as dramatic and intricate as women’s.
What to Expect when Renting a Hanbok in Seoul
If you’ve never worn a Korean hanbok, it can definitely be a mildly confusing experience… to say the least. Not to worry though. It’s actually a very simple process. I’ve broken it down into 9 easy steps below.
TIP | Visiting during a busy holiday season like Chuseok or Lunar New Year? To avoid disappointment, be sure to reserve your hanbok in advance online. For the best selection of hanbok, arrive at the hanbok rental store in Seoul as early in the morning as possible.
Where to Rent a Hanbok in Seoul
There are literally dozens of places to rent a hanbok in Seoul. Most are concentrated in the Jongno district, near the city’s most important historic attractions and sites for good reason. However, it IS possible to find hanbok rental at other places, like the N Seoul Tower, in Myeongdong and even at the Coex Aquarium.
Keep in mind though that each store has slightly different opening hours and rules for renting a hanbok in Seoul. Be sure to read the fine print when making your booking.
Renting a hanbok in Seoul at the best prices
The best way to rent a hanbok in Seoul is undoubtedly by reserving one online. Prices are discounted and the whole process is easy and convenient. I’m not just saying this – I know from personal experience.
I’ve rented hanbok in Seoul, 4x now for my daughter. What can I say… she loves feeling like a princess! The first time we just walked from store to store, and the whole experience was chaotic, confusing and messy. The other times, I reserved my hanbok rental in Seoul in advance and the whole process was streamlined and peaceful, not to mention cheaper.
Hanbok Rental in Seoul | Stores
The following shops are well-known and popular places for renting a hanbok in Seoul. Most are conveniently located close to the major tourist sites, so you can simply walk out of the store and directly to traditional places like Changdeokgung or Bukchon Hanok Village for photos.
Renting a Hanbok in Seoul near Gyeongbokgung
If you’re planning to take photos mainly around Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, or Jogyesa, I recommend renting your hanbok at the following locations. All are within reasonable walking distance of these historical sites.
Hanboknam near Gyeongbokgung
Address: 133-5 Sajik-ro Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Hanboknam has over 500 different hanbok to choose from, in both traditional and themed styles. There’s also a ton of accessories to borrow, like hairpieces, shoes and purses. Free basic traditional hairstyling is included with every hanbok rental at Hanboknam. Prices start as low as 8,000 won when you book online.
Hanbok That Day
Address: 36, Yulgok-ro 1-gil, Jongno-gu | 서울시 종로구 율곡로1길 36
Located in Anguk-dong near Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Bukchon Hanok Village, Hanbok That Day offers both traditional and fusion hanbok to rent. Choose between a 3 or 4 hour hanbok rental, and commemorate your experience with photos taken by a professional photographer. You can use their indoor studio, or opt for outdoor photos at Seoul’s nearby traditional sites.
Address: 45 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Hanbok 3355 offers hanbok rental in Seoul in several different styles, from Standard to Premium. Their Standard and Modern hanbok styles come in sizes ranging from small to 3XL.
TIP | Get decked out in a Korean hanbok, then take a guided tour of Bukchon Hanok Village, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun Plaza, Cheong Wa Dae, and the N Seoul Tower, with a stop for Ginseng Chicken Soup and a Kimbap making experience on this excellent value day tour. Check availability of the day tour here.
Renting a Hanbok in Seoul near Changdeokgung
It’s best to reserve your hanbok rental in Seoul at a nearby store, if you’ve got your heart set on a Changdeokgung photo shoot. Changdeokgung Palace and its Secret Garden or Huwon are a fair distance from Gyeongbokgung, and you don’t want to waste time walking between locations.
Dorothy Hanbok near Changdeokgung
Address: 23 Yunposun-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Dorothy Hanbok has tradition and themed hanbok for children, men, and women, for 2 to 4 hours. Dorothy Hanbok has been around for over 30 years and has a ton of gorgeous and intricate hanbok designs to choose from.
Best Places for a Korean Hanbok Photo Shoot
After renting a hanbok in Seoul, you need to know where the best locations are for a photo shoot. To really work the whole Joseon-era princess thing, these are the locations I recommend.
Seoul’s Joseon Dynasty Palaces
Seoul has 5 royal palaces from the Joseon Dynasty, each with a different character and unique features. The most popular palaces for a hanbok photo shoot are undoubtedly Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung.
Best of all – if you’re wearing a hanbok, entrance into ALL of Seoul’s palaces is absolutely FREE!
Gyeongbokgung Palace and Gwanghwamun Gate (광화문)
Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)
Gyeongbokgung is the most popular palace to visit because of its grandeur and scale. There’s tons of amazing spots to do a hanbok photo shoot and you’ll end up with truly memorable photos.
Don’t miss Gwanghwamun Gate either! It’s Gyeongbokgung’s main gate, and it’s a huge, intricate and amazing place to get the first photos of your hanbok rental in Seoul. If you time your visit for 10AM or 2PM on any day, except Tuesday, you can catch the Changing of the Royal Guard ceremony in front of the Gate as well.
Bukchon Hanok Village
Address: 37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 계동길 37 (계동)
Bukchon Hanok Village is walking distance from Gyeongbokgung Palace. Try to time your visit for just before sunset for epically gorgeous skies.
Keep in mind that this is a real neighbourhood where people actually live. Stay as quiet as you can while you’re in the area to respect the residents.
Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon
Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99 (와룡동)
Changdeokgung is considered by many to be the most harmonious and lovely of all of Seoul’s palaces. It’s Huwon or Secret Garden is incredibly lush and picturesque.
Choose this for your photo shoot location if you want to avoid busy-ness and crowds. You’ll adore finding secluded spots in the Huwon to snap pics.
TIP | The Huwon at Changdeokgung is quiet because the only way you can enter is via guided tour, which you can book here. Once you’re inside though, you don’t really have to stick with the tour. You can just wander around by yourself to take pictures. Keep in mind that Changdeokgung is closed on Mondays.
Deoksugung Stone-wall Road
Address: Jiha 101, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 중구 세종대로 지하 101
This 1100 metre stone-wall next to Deoksugung Palace is incredibly stunning during autumn in Seoul, when its 130 trees sheds thousands of golden coloured leaves.
Deoksugung is a bit far from both Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, and requires a subway, bus, or taxi to get to. Worth it? Probably.
Address: 55, Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul | 서울특별시 종로구 우정국로 55
Jogyesa Temple is the centre of Buddhism in Korea. There are special events throughout the year, like the always incredible Lotus Lantern Festival in spring.
Jogyesa is south of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village, but still within walking distance.
Other Potential Photo Spots
Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Changdeokgung Palace are definitely the most popular places to take photos when renting a hanbok in Seoul. If you want to get off the beaten path a little, you could also consider the following locations.
- Gwanghwamun Square
- Changgyeonggung Palace
- Cheonggyecheon Stream
How much time do I need?
If you’ve rented your Korean hanbok for a full day, you could visit every location mentioned here and have a truly epic photo shoot. However, if your hanbok rental is just for a few hours, it’s probably wise to concentrate on a few places only.
I’ve created some possible itineraries, based on the length of time you’ve rented your hanbok in Seoul for.
Itineraries for a 1.5 to 2 hour Hanbok Rental in Seoul
If you’re really limited for time, it’s best to visit 1 or 2 locations maximum, provided they’re close to each other. You should also rent your hanbok from the store that’s closest to where you want to take pictures.
Renting a hanbok in Seoul for just 90 minutes is totally possible, but ONLY at the Hanboknam stores (there are multiple locations). 2 hour rentals are available at Hanbok That Day, Dorothy Hanbok, and Hanbok 3355.
Here’s a few potential itineraries to choose from:
- Get your Seoul hanbok rental from Hanboknam’s Gyeongbokgung location, then visit Gyeongbokgung, Gwanghwamun Gate and Gwanghwamun Square.
- Reserve your hanbok at Hanbok That Day, then head to Gyeongbokgung and Bukchon Hanok Village.
- Visit Hanboknam’s Changdeokgung store, then continue onto nearby Changdeokgung Palace and the Secret Garden.
Itineraries for Renting a Hanbok in Seoul for 4 hours
If you’ve rented a hanbok in Seoul for 4 hours, you can range a bit further. Here are a few possible itineraries:
- Get your hanbok in Seoul at Dorothy Hanbok near Changdeokgung, then visit Changdeokgung Palace and Huwon, Bukchon Hanok Village, Gwanghwamun Gate and Square, and end it all at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
- Visit Hanboknam’s location near Gyeongbokgung, then go to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun Gate, Bukchon Hanok Village, Cheonggyecheon Stream, and finish off at the Deoksugung Stone-wall Road.
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Renting a Hanbok in Seoul: Essential Info and FAQs
Renting a hanbok in Seoul is the perfect way to get awesome souvenirs of your trip to Korea. Share your experiences in the comments below.