Comment: I originally posted this way back in December 2012 but since then have rewritten the article and edited many of the pictures that I took that day. As the weather gets cooler, I thought that this place would be awesome to revisit but on the off chance that I don’t here’s the post.. with more pictures.
I was going through my old photos from the past year when I stumbled on a folder containing photos I took a few months ago. We’d been hearing that there were different places all around Seoul where you could take pictures with Hanboks (traditional Korean clothes). For the most part these were all photo studios or tourist offices. It sounded fun but to be honest, my girlfriend and I weren’t ones to want to go to a studio to get these done.
It took me a day or two to finally nail down a spot that combined the ability to try on and wear Hanboks against the backdrop of traditional Korean buildings. We spent the better of the day visiting palaces and had two false starts before we finally found the real deal.
Uhnhyeongung (운현궁), designiated as Historic Site No. 257, was traditionally where the crown prince (or whoever was in line to be monarch) would stay before taking the throne. Interestingly, until 1991 this was a privately owned site until it was sold to the city of Seoul and renovated in 1993.
When we arrived late in the morning the site was nearly empty. We walked up to the ticket booth and paid around 15,000 Won (for two) for entry plus tickets to try on the Hanboks. We walked over to the office where a smiling lady took our tickets and helped us on with our Hanboks. She wasn’t too happy with the prospect of us running around the palace wearing the Hanboks but agreed to let us go as long as we weren’t out too long and paid special mind not to get the Hanboks dirty.
Thankfully these are some paired down hanboks which have been simplified to make wearing them easy. The men’s outfit was basically just a jacket with pants while the female outfit was a little more complicated (add a shirt under the jacket). These aren’t the traditional hanboks which require at least two people helping and several layers. They’ve been paired down for tourists although it’d be hard to differentiate when looking at them side by side. The area was pretty much deserted with the exception of a small event going on in the pavilion. We ran into another couple (not dressed in Hanboks) a couple of times while wandering around but otherwise we were the only people there. With the exception of a few odd glances and complements on how nice we looked, no one seemed at all bothered by two would-be time travelers walking around snapping photos.
We ended up heading to a few other places including one of the larger palaces but none of them allowed for visitors to try on Hanboks and walk around. It was a shame, with the exception of our Converse sneakers we could have very well been 500 years in the past.
We’re planning another visit, this time after it snows. The last snowfall was perfect but it melted away before we could clear out our schedule to make a visit. The next heavy fall should make for some great backdrops though. Assuming, of course, the lady lets us take the hanboks out again.