Myeongdong is a shopping haven. There is nothing that you cannot find there – clothes, shoes, skin care products and food. But amidst the modern Korea that this district projects is a hub where tourists can experience traditional Korean culture, the Seoul Global Culture and Tourism Center, which is located at the 5th floor of the M. Plaza building.
It is in this place where me and my friends were able to experience dressing up in Hanbok, Korea’s traditional dress. It was their first time in the country and a trip to Korea won’t be complete without trying out their piece of clothing which was molded by the peninsula’s history. We’ve been on the lookout for places to try it and it was during one of our shopping expeditions that we were able to see the sign for the center.
To try out for the Hanbok dressing experience, you have to be at the center early for registration. It opens at 10:30 in the morning and the last slot is till 6:30pm. The assistants at the door will list your name, ask how many you are and then assign the time slot for you but you can also tell them your preferred time. No advance reservations for the following day is given. It is good to be at the center at least 15 minutes before your turn to dress up and touch up your make-up (hey, you need to be pretty for the pictures. :D). Then you will be given 15 minutes to take pictures at the designated photo spots. Take note that there are no official photographers so you need to bring your own cameras and cellphones for that much-needed selfies (or selcas). There are also tripods provided if you need them.
The Hanboks that will be given to you will depend on your size. They are divided into male or female, then kids sizes, small, medium and large. Just pray that the design that you want is in your size, but based on my observation, all of the Hanboks are very pretty and complete with the appropriate hair accessories. You don’t even need to remove your own clothes to put them on because they are designed to be tied at the back. The assistants will make sure that you are properly dressed before telling you to go start taking pictures.
Aside from experiencing Korea’s traditional costume, tourists can also try other activities such as the traditional Korean painting, paper craft and K-pop dance lessons. You can even avail of their free WiFi and internet lounge while resting after shopping the whole day. The Seoul Global Culture and Tourism Center also provides information in English, Chinese and Japanese through their helpful staff and free pamphlets about Korea’s sights, festivals and other related inquiries.
For me and my friends, visiting the center completed our Korea experience and I know that a lot of tourists also felt that way.
Here are the directions to the Seoul Global Culture and Tourism Center from the Visit Korea website:
From Myeongdong Station (Subway Line 4), Exit 4.
Go straight for 150m to arrive at M Plaza on the right.
From Euljiro1-ga Station (Subway Line 2), Exit 5.
Go straight on Euljiro Street, and turn right onto Myeongdong 9-gil Street.
Turn right onto Myeongdong 9ga-gil Street.
Turn left onto Myeongdong 7-gil Street.
Go straight for 300m to arrive at M Plaza on the left.
To know more about their scheduled activities, you may visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SeoulGlobalCultureTourismCenter.