One of our highest priorities in Seoul was to wear a hanbok, which is the Korean traditional dress. Several photo studios across Seoul offer sessions, which includes hanbok rental, make-up and styling as well as a number of edited photos, but because of Seollal (Korean New Year) and short notice, we couldn’t find any, which could accommodate us.
Instead we chose to rent a hanbok from a shop we found close to Anguk Station. It was only 10,000KRW for two hours, and there were plenty of different patterns and colors to choose among. For an extra fee, they offered us to rent a mink vest, which might have been a good idea considering the freezing Korean weather, but out of principle, I don’t wear fur, so I skipped that. And yes I know it’s hypocritical, considering that I have no problems eating the animals, and I also wear leather shoes, but you gotta start somewhere, right?
The hanbok consists of a skirt, the chima, and a small jacket, the jeogori. Under the hanbok, you wear a petticoat to add fullness to the dress and make it fall nicely. I kept all my clothes on, under the hanbok, and it worked out fine. The store assistants helped us to get dressed and to place the hair accessory, which was also included in the rental fee. We placed all the stuff we didn’t want to carry with us in the lockers, which were provided in the store. I haven’t been able to figure out the English name of the store, where we rented our hanboks, but I’ll ask a Korean friend one of the days. It was only a few steps from Anguk Station, but if you can’t find it don’t worry; there are plenty of shops in the area with hanbok for rent.
From Anguk Station, we were only a short walk from Gyeongbokgung, which is the biggest of the palaces in Seoul. Gyeongbokgung was built in 1395, but it’s been fully restored to its former condition, and it’s a beautiful sight.
If you’re wearing a hanbok, you get free admission to the palaces in Seoul, but because of Seollal, entrance was free of charge to everyone, and Gyeongbokgung was completely packed. At the first gate, we were approached by a couple of Indonesian bloggers, who probably thought they had landed a big scoop, getting an interview with two Koreans. I’m not very social when I’m cold, but Pia talked for both of us and explained, that we were Korean adoptees, and didn’t speak any Korean. I think they got a bit disappointed, when they realized we weren’t real Koreans, but I’m curious to know whether they have uploaded the video they shot.