Photo of me wearing plus size Hanbok at Gyeongbokgung palace. I'm standing on a ledge and below are more people wearing hanbok posing for photos.

Plus-size Hanbok Rental in Seoul

Hanbok, also known as Chosŏn-ot, is the name for the traditional Korean outfit. Historically, a Hanbok was everyday clothing. Now, they are worn at festivals and important occasions and are now considered semi-formal. The name refers to both the male and female versions of the outfit as it translates as just “Korean Clothes”. You can rent Hanbok for both adults and children, and now more stores are starting to offer plus-size Hanbok rental.

One thing that delighted me when visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace is that a lot of the visitors were wearing Hanbok. If you are wearing one, then you get free entry into several palaces which includes skipping the line. This means that you’ll see so many people wearing Hanbok around the palace, and honestly I don’t think it’s possible to look bad in it!

The first time I visited Korea, in 2018, I was super disappointed as I couldn’t find a rental shop that had plus-size Hanbok available, so on my return trip I made sure to look up a shop in advance to guarantee they would have something that fit me.

Finding a Plus-Size Hanbok Rental Shop

A photo of a rail in a shop with a selection of Hanbok in different colours. A sign above the rail says "short size". On the wall in the background is a sign saying "Yes".
A selection of Hanbok at Yes Hanbok

The areas surrounding Gyeongbokgung palace are full of Hanbok rental shops. If you leave at exit 4 of the Gyeongbokgung station then you will immediately find plenty of shops. As there are so many styles, feel free to browse the different shops to look for one that you like and to compare prices.

If you are looking for plus-size Hanbok rental, then I definitely recommend Yes Hanbok, which is located right beside the subway exit. Their prices were slightly higher than the nearby shops: however, from looking online I knew they definitely had Hanbok in my size. Their price also included free hairstyling, and I absolutely loved the design of the Hanbok I got, so I was very happy with them. They even gave us an extra 30 minutes on our rental, to give us time to watch the guard changing ceremony before returning.

There are other places that offer plus-size Hanbok, but I recommend checking in advance because in 2018 it was really upsetting constantly being told “Sorry, we don’t have anything big enough,” and I’m larger now than I was back then! I also recommend going quite early as even if stores do carry bigger sizes, they won’t have as big a selection, so you’ll be more limited on choice and they may run out faster.

Renting a Hanbok

Photo shows two girls wearing Hanbok getting their hair done up. The girl on the left is wearing a light pink hanbok and has long brown hair that the hairdresser is about to touch. The girl on the right has shorter hair and the hairdresser is holding a section of it.
My sister getting her hair done as part of the Hanbok rental.

When you first enter the shop, you’ll find the Hanbok split into sections by size. When we entered, they immediately sent us to the “large” section. I was with my sisters and all three of us are different sizes, but we’re all considered large due to our height. My two sisters were both able to pick Hanbok from the rail, but I needed to get one from the plus-size Hanbok section. I don’t actually know where it was, as the woman helping me dress went out and brought a few different ones back for me to try after my original choice was too small. She then found a matching jacket which was incredibly comfortable. The petticoat was one size fits all, and fit nicely.

Once I was dressed, I then got in line to get my hair done. There were six different styles available to choose from and a range of different hair accessories. I then found a matching bag and was ready to pay and explore.

It was quite warm in Seoul but the material of the Hanbok meant that I didn’t feel too hot while exploring. I could have happily worn it all day! While researching locations that offer plus size hanbok rental, I saw that in winter you can also rent warm jackets and some places provided heat pads too.

How long to rent a Hanbok

Photo of me standing in front of a brick wall wearing a Hanbok. The skirt is dark blue with golden patterns and I'm wearing a white jacket with matching gold patterns on the sleeves. I have my hair tied back and a silver hairband and am holding a matching purse.
First photo in my Hanbok after renting it

When looking at shops, you’ll notice that the amount of time you get for the Hanbok can vary. I saw options for 2 hours, 4 hours and all day.

I would definitely say that 2 hours is just not going to be enough time, unless you are going right at the end of the day and they only have a few hours until closing, it’s worth the extra to pay for 4 hours instead. At Yes Hanbok, it was only a tiny amount more for the 4 hours. We were lucky that they actually let us have 4.5 hours to give us time to watch the guard changing ceremony.

In the four hours we had Hanbok, this was enough time to explore Gyeongbokgung palace and the folk museum, along with watch the changing of the guard ceremony. We spent so long at the palace and museum that we didn’t have time to explore Bukchon Hanok village in our Hanbok and came back a different day to explore it. If you skipped the museums you’d have more time but by the time we returned the Hanbok, we were quite hungry and ready to eat. I definitely would not have felt comfortable eating in the Hanbok, so the four hours was perfect for us. There are plenty of places to eat near the rental shops, so we were able to grab some food as soon as we returned them.


Photo of me wearing a purple hanbok sitting on the floor in front of a traditional Korean screen. The screen has eight panels showing mountains. I am sat with my hands resting on my lap and my hair is up in a traditional Korean style with a headpiece.
Getting my photo at the photography studio in 2018.

I was travelling with my sisters, so we could take photos of each other. If you’re a solo traveller, some locations give you the option of hiring a photographer as part of the rental. I saw a couple people around Gyeongbokgung that looked like they were using this service and my sisters and I would use this as inspiration for our own shots.

Other rental places actually have a photo studio inside their building, where you can take photos before you even step outside. In 2018, as they didn’t have any plus size Hanbok, one rental store kindly offered me a discounted rate to just get some photos. This was really nice as it meant I still got to wear a Hanbok (it just didn’t fasten at the back and the jacket had to be pinned closed)

Should you rent a Hanbok in Seoul?

Visiting in April meant getting to see so many beautiful blossoms.

Renting a Hanbok was one of the highlights of the trip. I had such a lovely time wearing one and felt so beautiful. It’s definitely an experience I would recommend to everybody.

Have you rented a Hanbok before? Did you enjoy it? What other traditional outfits have you had the chance to wear?

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