Gyeongbokgung Palace, located in Seoul, is one of the most famous historical landmarks of Korea. It was the main palace back in the Joseon dynasty (1392-1897) when Korea was ruled by a kingdom. Today, Gyeongbokgung Palace is open for the public to view and experience part of Korea’s history. It is popular among tourists and locals alike to rent Hanboks (traditional Korean clothing) and tour the palace. This allows you to become more immersed in the experience and feel like you are travelling back in time.
I had the chance to tour the palace in a Hanbok right before I returned home to Calgary, and it was an experience I will never forget. With me living abroad, I haven’t had the chance to wear a traditional Hanbok since I was in kindergarten. Because of this, I was very excited. Around the palace are many different Hanbok rental shops, and most are exceptional. I picked a shop close to the subway station, and it did not disappoint. The owner was so friendly and helped me pick the right size and style of Hanbok. She also taught me how to properly put on and adjust the Hanbok, and styled my hair to go along with the outfit. I rented the Hanbok for two hours, which is just enough to tour the Gyeongbokgung Palace. The price was very reasonable, with rentals starting at 20000 won (roughly $20) for two hours. This price included hair and accessories. If you want to go up to Bukchon Hanok Village as well, which is great for pictures, I recommend you rent for a little longer.
Gyeongbokgung Palace offers free admission for those wearing traditional Hanboks, and also offers free guided tours in English. The palace has lots of great spots for you to take pictures at, and many historical architectural sites for you to see. For the best possible experience, I recommend you visit in early autumn or late spring. The scenery is beautiful no matter what season, but it is very uncomfortable wearing a Hanbok in the summer or winter. Although I went in late August when the heat was starting to die down, I was still very hot and already sweating five minutes into the tour.
If you want to experience some of Korea’s history and traditions, this tour is the perfect thing for you. I felt like I was taken back in time, and like I was a princess back in the Joseon dynasty in my Hanbok. It is an experience that will last forever in your memory, and something you should definitely try if given the chance.
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