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On why I decided to tour Bukchon Hanok Village without renting a hanbok

I had it all planned; rent a hanbok, take lots of photos, post them on Instagram, make people think I’m cool. I would be just like those tourists who went to South Korea and included wearing the traditional Korean clothing as part of the trip. It was written down in my Seoul bucket list (yes, I had one) and showed said list to my friend, Krish while selling the idea of bathing in a jjimjilbang (to which she declined because Aunt Flow was allegedly visiting). I only had one more day to explore Seoul, Krish and I had set out to do a palace-hopping. First stop, Bukchon Hanok Village, I was ready to rent a hanbok, until I saw the other female tourists wearing them. I had a mind shift, what I thought to be a pretty rad idea suddenly seemed corny. 

How to get to Bukchon Hanok Village from Hongdae

My friend and I stayed in Hongdae so it’s what I’m using as a starting point.

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Option 1: Take the subway Line 5 at the Hongik University station. When you reach Gongdeok station, get off the train then walk your way to Gongdeok station. Get on the train, your stop is Gwanghwamun station. From there, it’s just a 15-minute walk to Bukchon Hanok Village. 

Option 2: Take the subway Line 2 then get off at Euljiro 1-ga station. From there it’s a 22-minute walk to Bukchon.

Bukchon Hanok Village

Bukchon Hanok is a traditional village in Gyedong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul. Its proximity to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, and Jongmyo Shrine makes it an ideal starting point for visiting and discovering traditional Korean architectures in Seoul. The neighborhood is home to over 900 hanoks (traditional Korean houses) that date back to the Joseon era (1392–1897). These houses were originally used as the dwelling place of noble families of high-ranking government officials. 

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The hanoks were made of stone, stone, and tiled roofs, their most unique feature is the Ondol, an ancient underfloor heating system to keep the houses warm. Today, many of these hanboks are inhabited by local residents while some are used as business establishments, restaurants, cafes, guesthouses, cultural museums, art shops, etc. 

The village is as beautiful as how you see it in all those Instagram photos. But more than its charm, I was more taken by the fact that it has been there for over 600 years. It is literally and figuratively a step into a history. I don’t know about you, but I have always held a fascination over places that allow a peak of the olden days.    

How to rent a hanbok

This is the part that I had to google because as I mentioned in the introduction, I changed my mind about renting a hanbok. There are many shops along Bukchon where you can rent one for a few hours or for an entire day. The rates are usually are between β‚©17,000 to β‚©37,000.

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Another blogger has written a much more detailed guide on renting a hanbok (and unlike me, she did the ritual) so there goes the link if you want more information.

On why did I not rent a hanbok

Thinking that it was corny is just one of the reasons. The thought of walking the alleys in a beautiful clothing with a camera and a tripod in tow doesn’t sound appealing. My friend also had zero plans to wear a hanbok, further weakening the idea. It turned out to be a good call because what happened next would have made the whole business of wearing a hanbok disastrous. 

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Okay, this is a little bit TMI but I don’t care, I will share it. Remember Aunt Flow? Well, she visited me too on that day and did so with a vengeance. To those who can’t speak in codes, Aunt Flow is every woman’s monthly torment a.k.a., menstruation. I am on a regular cycle but most of the time, my menstrual flow is not too strong, well except that day.

I was in a panic; let’s just say Aunt Flow was giving it her all. I was too afraid to walk but I had to keep on going, I needed to use a bathroom and I needed it fast. My friend, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to realize how urgent the situation is (or maybe she just didn’t really care).  

Eventually, the bloody business has been handled and only then was I able to human again. Because of this, we had to change our itinerary. Instead of visiting the palaces as we originally planned, we ended up in the shopping district instead, Myeong Dong.


If I ever go back to South Korea, I wouldn’t pass up the chance of wearing a hanbok again. So what if it’s corny, it’s a good kind of corny anyway. Here’s to hoping that next time, Aunt Flow won’t be there to ruin everything. 

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Thanks for reading!

πŸ‘‹

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