10 June, 2019

[TRAVEL] Exploring Historical Seoul in Hanbok @ Korea

Annyeong haseyo! Do I look like a Korean princess? 

It is Seoul's magnificent palaces trippin' day! My first trip to Seoul wouldn't be complete without trying out the Korean traditional costume, Hanbok. The easiest and most convenient place to rent Hanbok is around the Anguk area, where the cluster of palaces is located at.

Travelling Tips:
Ideally, a 4-hour hanbok rental is sufficient if you want to cover 1-2 main palaces and the surrounding neighbourhoods such as Bukchon Hanok Village and Samcheong-dong.

Price wise, the price range is pretty wide, depending on the hanbok theme and rental hours - some are charging an exorbitant amount of 40,000 won per 4-hour rental and that hasn't even included the hair accessories, bag and shoes that complement the outfit. So, be sure to do your research before renting.

How to get there: Anguk Station, Line 3, Exit 2

"Oneday Hanbok" Rental Shop

Mine is the cheapest I can find around Anguk area, from this shop called "Oneday Hanbok" where you can rent ANY set of Hanbok + Hair Accessories + Mini Clutch Bag at only 18,000 won for 4 hours. Walk-ins are welcomed, alternatively you can pre-book your fitting session via Klook.

There are so many options to choose from! The staff are super friendly and able to converse in various languages - Korean, Chinese, Cantonese and English. Their service also includes basic hair-do i.e. traditional braid, accessorised with different hair pins. Storage service is provided but be sure not to leave any valuable belongings there. 

Travelling Tips:
Come early (around 10am), because the crowd is twice as much during lunch hours.

Out of the 5 main royal palaces in Seoul, 2 of them are dubbed as the "must-visit" palaces - Gyeongbokgung Palace and Changdeokgung Palace. Feel free to explore both if you are into history, culture and perhaps architecture. Personally, I am not really a fan so my 4-hour itinerary in hanbok goes like this:

1. Gyeongbokgung Palace
2. Bukchon Hanok Village
3. Samcheong-dong

Gyeongbokgung Palace
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm / 6pm / 6.30pm (Varies by season)

Majority of the tourists are dressed in hanbok when visiting the palaces because you can gain FREE access in this outfit. Although Gyeongbokgung Palace is the first and largest royal palace built in 1395 during the Joseon Dynasty, it has never lost its charm over all these years and thousands of people flock to this ageless palace everyday.

Gyeongbokgung's view from the outside.

Gyeongbokgung's intricate design on the inside.

I did not explore hall by hall, pavilion by pavilion, but if I were to mention a spot that you must not miss, it would definitely be the lake area as it is beautifully surrounded by pink cherry blossom trees. It must feel so romantic to take a stroll down the walkway with your loved ones here!

Changdeokgung Palace

Another palace you should visit is the Changdeokgung Palace with its famed Secret Garden as the main highlight. Historically, this garden is reserved only for the King, but now it becomes a hot tourist spot where you get to admire the beauty of the garden's water reflecting the colors of the pavilions.

(Sorry, no pictures of Changdeokgung because I skip this tourist spot - one palace is enough for me hahaha)

Bukchon Hanok Village
37, Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Okay, I am done with the palaces - let's head to another hot tourist spot nearby! It's Bukchon Hanok Village, a Korean traditional village composed of lots of alleys and "hanok" (traditional houses), preserved to showcase a 600-year-old urban environment.

Some of these picture-perfect hanoks remain as residential homes, whereas the rest of them are open for public as cultural centers, guesthouses, restaurants and tea houses.

Be sure not to miss this popular spot where you can see N Seoul Tower from afar!

You can also join the 3.5-hour walking tour to experience, learn and immerse yourselves into the traditional Korean culture across the few stops in the village: Bukchon Culture Center, Hansangsu Embroidery Workshop, Gahoe Folk Drawing Shop, Bukchon Museum 'Old Fragrance' and Anguk-dong house of Yun Boseonga.


And finally, here comes the third stop before returning my hanbok. Between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, there is this long stretch of road full of quaint little shops in centuries-old traditional hanok style.

I actually like the unique vibes in Samcheong-dong, as each shophouse is intricately designed with fun, colorful elements that blend well with the traditional landscape in the midst of hustle and bustle of the city. I guess that's what makes Samcheong-dong so extraordinarily charming!

Found my new favourite here - Egg Drop sandwich!

Even the exterior of Starbucks here is so unique and tastefully designed!

Hey foodies, I'm sure this would be your ideal place for food hunting - quirky Instagram-worthy spots, European-style caf├ęs, laid-back restaurants and antique tea rooms are aplenty here. This is also where you can find unique fashion pieces, handmade crafts and antiques, as well as art galleries.

Love the forest-themed ambiance in this bakery-fashion shop! 

Spotted a cute fishie shop and couldn't stop myself from recording this down.


Finally I can tick off my checklist of exploring the historical side of Seoul City in traditional hanbok. The calm and serene environment in Anguk and its surrounding areas makes it more appealing to those seeking for comfort and slow-paced lifestyle, unlike the other shopping districts in Seoul.

More about my 8D7N Seoul trip:
#1 Ihwa Mural Village: Popular Instagram Spot in Seoul

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