Trazy’s Picks for the Top 5 Photogenic Spots in Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Welcome to the second part of my travel review! Last week I told you guys about my experience renting a Hanbok at the 3355 rental store in Gyeongbokgung. Well, today’s post is going to be about the spots I visited in Gyeongbokgung Palace as I showed off my beautiful Hanbok!

Trazy crew in a beautiful Korean traditional dress, Hanbok, at Gyeongbokgung Palace!❤💙💚💛💜 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Tag a photo of yourself in hanbok with #hanbok_trazy if you want to be featured!📷 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #trazy #travelcrazykorea #hanbok #3355hanbok #hanbokrental #gyeongbokgungpalace #korea #southkorea #southkorea🇰🇷 #travelphoto #igtravel #travelphotography #travelgram #neverstopexploring #instatravel #travel #traveltheworld #explore #explorekorea #exploretheworld #roamtheplanet #worldtravel #wanderlust #roundtheworld

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I wish I could have explored more, but it would have taken hours to tour the whole palace, and honestly my feet were killing me towards the end. It was gorgeous, though, and the weather was amazing.gyeongbokgung-9Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest of the Five Grand Palaces (the other four being Gyeonghuigung, Deoksugung, Changgyeonggung, and Changdeokgung) and was first constructed in 1394 during the Joseon Dynasty. The name translates to ‘palace greatly blessed by heaven.’

As of 2009, roughly 40% of the original number of palace buildings still stand or are being reconstructed after being heavily destroyed by the Japanese government in the early 20th century.

Entering the Palace

gyeongbokgung-1Gyeongbokgung Palace is open every day except Tuesday from 9am to 6pm (last entry time 5pm). Keep in mind that closing times vary from season to season. From November to February, the palace is only open until 5pm.

Click here for the ticket prices. Don’t forget to bring your passport or a valid photo ID to confirm your age!

1. Gwanghwamun Gate

gyeongbokgung-10Gwanghwamun Gate is the main gate of the palace, with three arched openings and a double roof. The king would use the central arch, while the crown prince and officials entered through the sides. There also used to be a bell in the gate pavilion which was used to announce the time of day.

The gates are replicas of fortress gates, with high stone foundations and arched entrances in the center, which are a good indication that Gwanghwamun Gate is the main gate of the main palace.gyeongbokgung-2Make sure you don’t miss the changing of the guard ceremony that takes place in front of the gate every day at 11am and 1pm, excluding Tuesdays.

During the Joseon Dynasty, the royal guards had the task of guarding and patrolling gates of the palace. The ceremony took place whenever the shifts changed over, starting in 1469 and continuing until the end of the dynasty. What you see now is just a re-enactment. The guard’s bright-colored costumes and fluid movements are a real pleasure to see, so take lots of pictures!

2. Geunjeongjeon Hall

Geunjeongjeon Hall is the largest and most formal main throne hall of Gyeongbokgung Palace, originally built in 1395 during King Taejo’s reign. Here the king would hold meetings, receptions for foreign visitors, dignitaries, and handle state affairs.

There were also strange-looking stone gargoyles at the corners of the foundation and around the stairs, which I later found out were the 4 directional guardians and 12 Chinese zodiac animal signs.gyeongbokgung-8The spacious courtyard in front of the hall was where important events were held. It is paved with rectangular stones called ‘pumgyeseoks’, which are markers that civil and military officials would line up against according to their ranks during official functions.

The king’s throne can only be viewed from a distance, but just look at how grand it is. Also, check out all the intricate details surrounding the throne hall. Can you imagine how long it must have taken to build and paint all of that?!

3. Hyangwonjeong Pavilion and Pond

This next spot is by far my favorite in Gyeongbokgung Palace as it looks like something straight out of a postcard, with all the gorgeous colors and mountain view in the background.

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, meaning ‘pavilion of far-reaching fragrance’, is a two-story hexagonal pavilion built on a small artificial islet in the middle of a pond on the northern grounds of the palace. The king used the area for rest and leisure.

The bridge allows private access to the island and actually used to be much longer and was on the north side of the island, but was destroyed during the Korean War. Its present form on the south side of the island was reconstructed in 1953. gyeongbokgung-3Unfortunately, you can only admire the pavilion from afar as no one is allowed to cross the bridge for safety reasons. The foot of the bridge is a very popular photo spot as it was right in front of it, though!

4. Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

Built on the pond west of the king’s living quarters,  Gyeonghoeru Pavilion was where the king held special banquets for foreign envoys or court officials.

#경복궁 #서울 #일상스타그램 #경회루

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The name means that the king is capable of handling national affairs only when he has the right people around him. Once again, the original pavilion was burned down in a fire during the Japanese Invasions between 1592 and 1598.

Though you can’t really see them as you can’t get close to the pavilion, sculpted animals sit on top of the front railing stones leading to it. This is to ward off evil spirits.

5. National Folk Museum of Korea

The final place that I stopped by was the National Folk Museum of Korea. By this point, the balls of my feet were crying in pain in my shoes so I was practically hobbling around.gyeongbokgung-6Located inside the palace, the museum is home to over 4,000 historical artifacts that were used by ordinary Korean people in their daily lives. Thanks to the three main exhibition halls and donation hall, you can learn all about Korean society and culture throughout the centuries here.

I didn’t really get a chance to walk around and explore the museum due to time constraints, but the area was full of people and there were amenities like a cafe, internet room, library, and souvenir shop!gyeongbokgung-4Check out Trazy’s video below that shows you all of the five most photogenic spots in Gyeongbokgung Palace mentioned above. 😉

So How Do I Get There?

There are several ways to get to and tour Gyeongbokgung Palace. The Seoul Palace Guided Tour is a great way to explore Gyeongbokgung as well as Changdeokgung and Deoksugung with an experienced and knowledgeable English tour guide. seoul-palace-guided-tourIf you want to immerse yourself in Korea’s rich historical heritage more comprehensively, try the Korean Palace Tour where you can also visit the National Folk Museum of Korea, Namdaemun Market, and Buddhist temples!korea-palace-tourFor those who would prefer to explore without any guidance, the Downtown and Palace Course option for the Seoul City Tour Bus Ticket will take you to the most popular tourist destinations in downtown Seoul, including the major palaces. seoul-city-tour-bus-ticketAanndd that wraps up my two-part series on Gyeongbokgung!  I hope that you guys enjoyed reading all about my experience renting a Hanbok and touring the palace. It was fascinating seeing how much history the palace embodied as I explored the grounds.

Check out last week’s post about Hanbok rental here and if you want to fully immerse yourself in Korean culture too by wearing Hanbok, check out 3355’s Hanbok rental service!

Don’t forget to check out Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop, for more travel reviews, guides, and fun things to do in Korea! button31

Travel Review & Tips: Renting a Hanbok at 3355 Shop near Gyeongbokgung

Hello again, fellow Trazers! I’m a member of Trazy crew back again with a travel review, this time about my experience renting a Hanbok for one day at a hanbok rental shop called ‘3355’ near Gyeongbokgung Palace.3355-hanbok-rental-7Though I am Korean, the last time I wore Hanbok was over 10 years ago and I remember not enjoying it. I am someone who values comfort over anything, so I don’t enjoy wearing clothes that require a lot of maintenance and care.

However, I’ve always loved the look of Hanbok and I had never properly toured Gyeongbokgung either, so when ‘3355‘ reached out and offered a Hanbok rental experience at their Gyeongbokgung branch, I said yes.

The store is conveniently located within walking distance of Anguk Station near Gyeongbokgung Palace. For details and directions, click here.

Hanbok History

In case you aren’t familiar with Hanbok, it is traditional Korean attire, part of the country’s national history and cultural heritage that has been handed down over generations.

Dating back to the Three Kingdom’s Period (57 B.C – 668 A.D), the type and color of Hanbok would differ according to the season and the person’s gender, class, profession, or social status.

For example, members of the high social class wore silk and satin Hanbok while commoners wore Hanboks made of cotton . Those of a lower class who performed manual labor would usually wear a shorter top with wider sleeves to maximize comfort when working.

Hanbok used to be worn almost all the time whereas now, people usually wear them for occasions such as weddings, memorial services, birthdays or funerals.

However, it is recently gaining popularity again as many designers have altered Hanbok for everyday wear with traditional elements still remaining in the garment but with a more modern feel, getting rid of the notion that Hanbok can only be worn during special occasions.

Features of Hanbok

Hanbok consists of straight and curved lines, which give it an attractive flow representative of a uniquely Korean aesthetic. It is also not meant to be tight-fitting and should instead give unrestrained movement to the body.

Women’s Hanbok consists of a short jacket called ‘jeogori’ (pictured above) which makes the upper body look very small, paired with a full skirt called ‘chima.’ The wide sleeves of the jeogori and flexible wide chima make the wearer look graceful, hiding the movements of the lower body which make the wearer appear to be floating on air.

The open arms of the jeogori have been said to represent warmth and embrace of the Korean people while the wide and voluminous skirts symbolize space and freedom.

For males, Hanbok is composed of trousers called ‘baji’, jeogori, a sleeveless top called ‘baeja’, vest called ‘jokki’, and an overcoat called ‘durumagi.’

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For children,newborn babies wear a white ‘baenaet jeogori’ wishing for his or her health and longevity. Babies will also wear clothes made out of 100 pieces of cloth or quilts to celebrate their hundred days after being born. ‘Dolboks’ have multi-colored sleeves representing the wish for the wearer’s health and luck, ‘dol’ signifying a baby’s first birthday.

 Symbolism of Colors and Designs

Colors of Hanbok are decided according to the “five colors theory”, which refers to the theory of the yin and yang and five elements. They are colored using natural dyes, which give them the depth and richness that cannot be achieved with artificial dyes.

Did you know that the colors of Hanbok all have different meanings? For example, red symbolizes good fortune and wealth, black symbolizes infinity, yellow represents the center of the universe and white is associated with purity and modesty. Gold used to be a color that the general public could not wear, as it was only for royalty.

Certain designs and patterns also represented the social ranking of the wearer. Lotus flowers signified a wish for nobility while peonies represented wishes for honor and wealth. For royalty figures and high-ranking officials, designs of dragons, phoenixes, cranes, and tigers were commonly used.

 3355 Hanbok Rental Store

Now that you’ve learned a bit about Hanbok, let’s get onto the actual rental experience!3355-hanbok-rental-23355 (pronounced ‘Sam-Sam-O-O’)  is a Hanbok rental store with locations in Gyeongbokgung and Bukchon Hanok Village. Here you can rent a Hanbok for a whole day for 30,000 ~ 50,000 KRW, depending on the style you choose. You can also enter Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is very close to the store for free if you wear Hanbok.

* The store opens at 9am and closes at 6pm, so the Hanbok must be returned before then, otherwise you will be charged 10,000 KRW per hour!3355-hanbok-rental-5I went to the store at around 10am expecting it to be almost empty but I was surprised to see how crowded it already was! The customers were mainly comprised of foreign tourists, which made me realize how much popularity Hanbok has gained all over the world, probably mainly from its depiction in dramas and the media.

Facilities

The store was spacious and clean, with an interior that reminded me of a Korean traditional house – the wood floors, calligraphy writing on the pillars, and traditional paintings of birds and scenery on the walls.3355-hanbok-rental-2There was also an area with dressing tables full of hair accessories and shelves with purses to go with the Hanbok. Two large fitting rooms were also located behind a screen door.

 Renting Hanbok

There about 600 Hanboks in the store of all different colors and sizes with several employees ready to help you out with fitting. Here is the user guide.3355-hanbok-rental-19The Hanboks are categorized into four groups from A to D. They are as follows:

Category

 Category Description

 Cost

A

Premium line of female Hanboks that are of the highest quality.

50,000 KRW

B

The most popular line of Hanboks for both females and males.

40,000 KRW

C

Graceful and elegant line of Hanboks that are also affordable.

30,000 KRW

D

Children’s Hanboks for ages 1~7.

15,000 KRW

There were many different types of Hanbok such as  traditional ones where the jeogori is longer with wider sleeves, modernized ones with shorter lengths and narrower sleeves, as well as male and children’s Hanbok.3355-hanbok-rental-3There were even modernized versions which have recently become very popular, which tie in the traditional designs and colors but are more simplistic, making the Hanbok more subtle and wearable.3355-hanbok-rental-1I felt like a kid in a candy store as I tried to pick out one to wear. Whenever I thought I’d found ‘the one’, I would fall in love with another one on the rack. The Hanboks were all in great condition as they are dry cleaned as soon as they are returned, ready for the next customer to wear.

If you aren’t sure about what kind of Hanbok you want or want recommendations, ask the staff as they will help you out.

Eventually, I managed to narrow it down to two – both of which were red (for good fortune and wealth! And also because I wanted to look fierce and a bit aggressive and felt like red connoted that……)3355-hanbok-rental-8The flowers on the Hanbok on the left sold me, so I ended up choosing that one.

Try it on to see how it looks

Be aware that you can only try on one Hanbok, so choose wisely! An additional fitting will cost 5,000 KRW.3355-hanbok-rental-10This is because of all steps involved in putting on the Hanbok as well as the pinning and styling that the staff does for you to ensure the best fit. You also don’t  want to be dashing in and out of the fitting rooms and hogging them especially when the store is very crowded.

3355-hanbok-rental-9
Skirt you wear under the Hanbok

The staff were extremely helpful and kind, explaining all the steps involved in putting on the Hanbok and expertly pinning and securing areas so that I would get a customized fit.

*If anything is too tight, loose, long or short, tell the staff! You do not want to be walking around all day tripping over your skirt. There are also additional charges if you damage your Hanbok or make it dirty so be careful.

Accessorize!

3355-hanbok-rental-16Once you have your Hanbok on, it’s time to accessorize! Pick out a complimentary purse to go with your Hanbok from the shelf. I chose a silver one to complement the red and stored the valuables I wanted to take around with me inside.

3355-hanbok-rental-12
Check out all the hair accessories!

You can also choose to get your hair styled for an additional 5,000 KRW to complete your look.3355-hanbok-rental-15I had my hair braided and secured with a cute flower in the middle.3355-hanbok-rental-13Additionally, there were many accessories to choose from with an additional charge such as ‘norigae‘(hung from the coat strings or skirt for a more luxurious look), ‘daenggi‘(traditional ribbon made of cloth to tie and decorate braided hair), and ‘binyeo‘(rod-like hairpin used to fasten a crown or wig and hold braided hair up).3355-hanbok-rental-6There were also traditional hats and crowns to really make it look like you are from the Joseon Dynasty! 

Shoes

3355-hanbok-rental-20There are shoes for men and women that you can wear with your Hanbok as well! I opted for a pair of white shoes with a chunky heel, thinking that the extra height would prevent me from tripping over the hem of my Hanbok. It sure did help with that, but my feet were in pain by the end so I would recommend wearing a comfortable pair of shoes.

Store your belongings

Final step before heading out to show off your Hanbok is so store your belongings. You will be given a black tote bag to put your bag and clothes into.3355-hanbok-rental-17Simply give this bag to the staff at the reception area. You will then receive a slip of paper where you will write your name and phone number. Give this slip and your belongings to them and keep the receipt they give you. You will need it when you come back later so don’t lose it!

Show off your Hanbok!

Andddddd that’s it! You are now free to explore Gyeongbokgung Palace or simply walk around Seoul taking lots of pictures wearing your Hanbok!

I highly recommend the 3355 Hanbok Rental Store as the facilities are clean and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. The varieties of Hanbok available here are also awesome that you’re bound to have a hard time picking just one to wear. I also really like how they don’t charge by the hour, so if you arrive early in the morning, you can wear the Hanbok all day!

You can rent a Hanbok at 3355 for a discounted price on Trazy! Click here for more information.hanbok-rental-experience-thumbnail

Stay tuned for next week’s post, which will be about the spots that I visited in Gyeongbokgung Palace wearing my Hanbok! Finally, don’t forget to check out Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 travel shop for more travel reviews and up-to-date information on fun things to do in Korea! button31

Wear Korean traditional dress Hanbok and become a princess!

Hanbok is Korea’s traditional dress which is mainly derived from the Joseon Dynasty era. One of our Trazers, Jaebin H went to visit Goguan Studio with her friend to try out Hanbok and take pictures at the most traditional setting.

Let’s see what it was like to dress up like a Joseon Princess!

I went to Goguan studio where you can wear Hanbok (Korean traditional clothes) with my Taiwanese friend. As far as I know, there are three branches in Seoul, and the one I’ve tried was located in Insadong (and the other two are in Myeong-dong and Hongdae).

To get there, you have to get off the subway at Subway line 1 Jonggak station, and find exit 3.

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After you go out the exit, go straight until you see the intersection. And turn left at the intersection.

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Go straight again.

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And you will find the place like this.

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After you get in, you have to change into slippers.

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It costs 20,000 won per person for taking photo by yourself. (You can get 2,000 won or $2 discount on Trazy) If you pay more you can also have your photo taken by a professional photographer and have your hair and make-up done also.

We did the one we take photo by ourselves.

First you have to choose which Hanbok you want to wear. There are so many choices like over 300 from traditional wedding costumes to king and queen costumes. These are the basic ones we chose from called “Chima jeogori” which is a skirt and jacket.

An assistant will help you wear the clothes. After you finish wearing it, you will choose one of the headbands you like. If you are all set, you can start taking pictures freely at the studio.

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The place perfectly recreates the traditional surroundings of Korea. It’s also equipped with a variety of traditional items that you can actually use when taking pictures, such as fans, swords, musical instruments, hats, and etc. There are a lot of selfie sticks for those who take pictures on their own.

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There might be other people taking pictures at the same time, so you have to wait for taking a picture at the spot you want sometimes.

There are also several beautiful wall paintings on the way to the fitting room. You can enjoy traditional tea and calligraphy experience for free too, but sadly we missed it. ;(

This place is very nice for experiencing what Korea actually was like in the past. Every detail makes the place more traditional. What’s so good about this place is that you don’t have any time limit, so you can take pictures as long as you want.

In fact the place is not that big, and it has only about 3~4 spots, but still I can be pretty sure that you will get very satisfying pictures just like I took for my friend. Also it would be nicer if you experience it with somebody else, especially with your partner so that you can wear something like traditional wedding costumes or become a king and queen.

If you want something of higher quality, I recommend you get the Raku package to have more choices of costumes to choose from and receive make-up and get your hair done, and also photo taken by a professional photographer!

If you want to fully experience Korea, I recommend this place. My Taiwanese friend was very satisfied 😉

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