Renting Hanboks in Seoul
Hanboks are the traditional dress of Korea and translates to ‘Korean clothing’. It is a garment that is worn on holidays or special occasions. For Women – the overall structure is a thin jacket (jeogori) and a bell-shaped long skirt (chima). For men – the structure is a robe with trousers underneath. We jumped at the opportunity to rent a kimono whilst we were in Seoul.
Renting Hanboks Q&A
Hanboks are the traditional dress of Korea and translates to Korean clothing. It is a garment which is worn on holidays or special occasions.
The cost of renting a Hanbok ranges depending on the timing, what style of Hanbok you get, accessories etc. The standards we have seen Hanboks have cost around ~ 22,000 – 25,000 Korean Won for 4 Hours (2023)
Yes, at popular tourist places, we saw tourists from all over the world wearing Hanboks and taking photos. Wearing Hanboks is a great way in celebrating Korean culture.
Klook Hanbok renting experience
In terms of rental store choice, we opted to go with renting with Gigibebe Hanbok through the Klook app*. (affiliated link – you can get £4 credit to your account if you sign up with this link).
They have great reviews and through the app. You can see how many times it was booked and the instructions on how the whole process works are very clear. I was able to book this the day before which was great because we could plan this around the weather.
The location of the store is right next to the Gyeongbokgung Palace which was ideal. What I liked about the store is that things are marked and priced between the different types of Hanboks. Redeeming the voucher was very easy, I just showed the staff the code on the app and they were able to deduct this from the final cost.
Although, similar to other places I have rented at, there are a lot of different extras they charge you for. For example, the free hairstyle is very basic so if you want nicer accessories. Extras also included the petticoat (which is the underskirt which makes the Hanbok look fluffy) also has more costs to it.
Renting Hanboks in Seoul Process
We walked into the store and the staff invited us in asking us to look around and pick out what we wanted. They were friendly and gave us the space to have a look and discuss what we wanted. Another group of 4 people were in front of us so it was a bit slow but I didn’t mind the extra time. I saw a poster of a couple with a dark blue matching Hanbok set and wanted to just copy them. It made it easier to pick out with a reference
Our experience is based on the traditional (princess) hanbok with a more luxurious pattern. If you select the queen or special Hanboks your experience might differ. We went for the 4-hour experience to get the most out of the day. You can also rent them for 1.5 hours, 2 hours, 4 hours or the whole day ( 9 am – 7 pm) depending on the place.
Once you pick a skirt you tell the staff and they will pick out a top that compliments it. She picked out 2 tops for me and I got to pick which one I preferred. Both were nice but I picked out the one with a bit of glitter because why not.
Then, they put you into a very small changing room where you take off your top layer of clothing. It’s nice that you can keep your bottoms on. I would recommend wearing a white vest top underneath if you don’t want to be standing there in your bra (like I had to – oops). Then they ask you if you want a petticoat (underskirt) which I did. The staff then started laying the skirt by first putting on the petticoat. This was over your head and then the main skirt you chose on top of that. Then you can put on the jacket yourself which fits on like a shirt. The staff will be able to tie the knot for you.
Then you can put your stuff into lockers. We also got a bag as part of the rental. Next was hair styles. The store has a wall with pictures of the different types of hairstyles. These included half-up, and half-down looks or braids with accessories. I went for a braid with pearl accessories and a Daenggi (Korean Hanbok hair ribbon). The process was very fast. I think the person who did my hair was the owner and had been doing this for a great while. She also fixed up my Hanbok which made it fit better too.
As you can imagine is a much simpler process. You pick out the main Hanbok top and then the staff will choose the trousers which go alongside it. Then you are put into a changing room and you can put the trouser on. You can layer the trousers on top of your existing trousers depending on what you are wearing. Then put on the jacket/robe which goes over the entire look. There are also small strings at the bottom of the trousers which you pull to tighten the trousers at your ankles. This gives it the baggy look.
After everything, we showed our voucher for what we paid for and then paid off for the extras and then she gave us the time on when to come back and wrote this down in their notebook. That was it.
Exploring Seoul In Hanboks
We started exploring the beautiful Palace grounds and we were able to get free tickets. The palace is stunning and there were a lot of people in Hanboks walking around too, luckily for me, the staff at the Palace showed me how to walk up the stairs with my hanbok because I had no clue you had to lift the skirt. We later explored the Bukchon area including taking a trip to the Bukchon observatory and then headed back to the rental place. 4 hours was a good amount of time to explore the area and we didn’t feel rushed so it was perfect.
I think renting Hanboks is a wonderful way to explore Korea in a different light. It was tiring for sure, but completely worth it. We got a lot of compliments from friendly strangers and even had people take photos of us.
The experience was good but I would have also loved the chance to visit other stores first to see the different types of Hanboks first. The selection here was great but I would recommend browsing around to see what type of style you’d want before paying for this straight away.