Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The free 'hanbok' experience @ Myeongdong Tourist Information Center, Seoul

A trip to Korea will never be complete if you have not tried on the hanbok or traditional Korean dress. Whilst there are many places that offer this experience, only a couple offer free service. Based on information gathered online, we initially went to the main headquarters of Korea Tourist Information Centre at Cheonggyecheon. What we didn't know was that this hanbok experience is only offered in spring/summer and not winter. The Mandarin-speaking lady then guided us towards the other 2 places at Myeongdong that provide this service; Myeongdong Tourist Information Center and M Plaza. We chose the former because it was nearer to where we were at that time since we will have to walk there. Only approximately 10 minutes walk but to walk at -5 degrees (not counting windchill) is just as bad as walking in Saskatoon @__@.
L: Hanbok experience and tourist info at Myeongdong; R: Landmark where the tourist info center is located
Multiple language-speaking staff are available to help
Korea 2015 grand sale handbook and lots of other brochures
Once there, proceed to the reception counter where a couple of staff will be around to help; Mandarin, English, Japanese, and Korean-speaking staff are available. For hanbok experience, there's no advance booking, but all you have to do is register your name and state the number of people. Depending on the number of people before you, be prepared to wait for your turn. There was only another group ahead of us so we waited for a mere 10-15 minutes. While waiting, feel free to browse through and take all the brochures and pamphlets you may need at the tourist center.
L: Photo booth; M: The photo room; L: The touch screen and 10-minute timer
The set-up is really easy. The staff will guide us on how to wear the hanbok and the suitable head attire. Majority of the bright-colored dresses are royal-inspired (I mean, everyone would rather be an emperor or empress and not a palace worker right?). Once adorned in the dress, the staff will show us how to use the touch screen TV and the 10-minute rule. Really simple; one attire for 10 minutes (with a timer). Select the various backgrounds that are available, position yourself where you are supposed to stand, look at the camera and snap away. Take as many as you want and for each one that you like, simply email it to your email add (easy peasy). Of course, if you are ever so photogenic and good at walking with the hanbok without tripping, you can probably take tons of photos within 10 minutes :). Once done, remove the hanbok, put it back, and off you go.

Below are some of the better ones (;p) of Panda and I:

Korea Tourist Information Center at Cheonggyecheon-ro. Hanbok experience only available in spring/summer
Stay tuned for more of my blog posts in Seoul :)

Address: Myeong-dong Tourist Information Centre, Eulji-ro 2ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Website: Myeong-dong Tourist Information Center (명동관광정보센터)
Directions: Euljiro 1-ga station (Line 2-Exit 6). Take the first left and walk straight. Alternatively, if you are in Myeongdong area, you may need a map to look for it. Look for a huge Paris Baguette Cafe and 7-11 store and the centre is somewhere beside that.