Chances are, the majority of us have spent the bulk of our time catching up on TV shows to alleviate boredom in the past two years, no thanks to pandemic woes. Luckily enough for those who’ve dedicated much of their time to Korean dramas (or K-drama) in particular—you can now enjoy quarantine-free travel to South Korea thanks to streamlined travel measures from Singapore for vaccinated travellers.
In this piece, we’ve compiled a list of popular K-drama filming locations for when you wish to relive those iconic scenes — the ones that provided you with laughter, tears and hope in the lowest of times.
1. Cheongna Lake Park (K-drama: Guardian: The Lonely and Great God)
Aired between 2016 and 2017, Goblin is a fantasy drama that tells the story of a military general from the Goryeo Dynasty—and how he became an immortal goblin to protect the country. It was so popular that it became the fifth highest-rated drama in Korean cable television history.
It is in this particular K-drama that the protagonists, Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) and Ji Eun Tak (Kim Go-eun) often met at the Cheongna Lake Park. Like in episode 4, where a tipsy Kim Shin tells Eun Tak that she is his first and last bride. Or in episode 13, where Eun Tak summons Kim Shin because she missed him (yes, cue the tears).
Cheongna Lake Park is located in Incheon, and it consists of four main zones — the Eco, Traditional, Leisure and Art. The Traditional Zone is decked in the theme of Korean traditional culture, with Hangul-shaped chairs, and even unique architecture like the Cheongnaru Pavilion.
It’s where you can come for a relaxing bike ride, or simply stroll around. Take your time to unwind by appreciating the blooming flowers and sculptures that are surrounded by the wide-open lake. While exploring the place, you’ll also come across a wide field of green foxtail along with a windmill structure, which makes for a great photo opportunity. If you have a monopod or a tripod, you could set a timer and pose for a solo or group shot against one of the most beautiful sceneries here in South Korea.
For those on a family vacation, there’s even a multiplaza with recreational gym equipment like sit-up benches and bars for all ages to play around with, an inline skating track and an empty lawn for the little ones to run about.
Address: 131 Crystal-ro, Seo-gu, Incheon, South Korea
Operating hours: 24 hours
How to get there: Take the AREX train to Cheongna International City Station. Get off at Exit 1 and hop on bus #46. Alight at Cheongna Lake park station.
2. Hocheon Village (K-drama: Fight For My Way)
Widely known as the location for the K-drama Fight For My Way, Hocheon Village is one of the most popular places in Busan, a charming attraction located right around the mountainside roads over 300km from Seoul. Starring Park Seo Joon and Kim Ji Won, this 2017 drama centres around a realistic plot of underdogs with big dreams—their struggles, and how they strive for success in adulthood.
When seen from above, this village is pretty much dotted by clusters of colourful houses that are located along the alleys. This is also where you can visit Namil Bar—a popular filming site where the characters of the show pour out their troubles over dishes like spicy tteokbokki (rice cakes) and Eomuk soup (Korean fish cake). Beyond that, there are also plenty of props and scenes located within the village for you to recreate your favourite scene. When entering the Hocheon Cultural Platform, you’ll even come across a large banner that sports the drama’s title!
The place is known to offer a romantic night view. It is at its loveliest after the sun sets — think warmly-lit night lamps that illuminate the entire scene. Raise your head and you’ll be greeted with a picturesque view of vibrant houses beneath your feet! Even if you haven’t watched the show, Hocheon Village is dazzling in its own right. It’ll remain a great memory; one you should tick off from your travel bucket list.
Address: 1517-156 Beomcheon 2(i)-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan, South Korea
Operating hours: 24 hours
How to get there: From Seoul Station, hop on a 2-hour train to Busan. Take Bus #87 and arrive at Hocheon Village after 15 stops.
3. Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park (K-drama: Now, We Are Breaking Up)
Set in the fast-moving world of the fashion industry, love blossoms between realist designer Song Hye Kyo and idealist freelance photographer Jang Ki Yong in this 2021 drama. The show is what you would typically picture when it comes to K-dramas — packed with romantic first meetings, coincidental encounters and intense dates.
One common misconception is that the K-drama scene was shot overseas, but that can’t be further from the truth. Instead, this hot spot is located in Gapyeong of Gyeonggi-do, a province that’s not that far from Seoul. Set against the green Hwayasan Mountain, Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park is a spot reminiscent of the Alps. It’s specially designed to resemble small Swiss towns with its charming buildings and garden attractions at every turn.
Here, visitors get to learn more about the food and culture of Switzerland. It even has a cheese and chocolate museum, along with photo zones and a sheep ranch! Fun fact: this was also the filming location for 2PM’s Taecyeon on the variety show We Got Married Global.
Address: South Korea, Gyeonggi-do, Gapyeong-gun, Seorak-myeon, Darakjae-ro, 226-57
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—10:00am to 6:00pm
How to get there: From Seoul station’s Dong Seoul Terminal, hop on a 1-hour ride to Cheongpyeong Terminal. Transfer to the Seorak Terminal after 19 stops, and take bus #20-1 to arrive at Edelweiss Swiss Theme Park.
4. Wolmido Island (K-drama: Descendants of the Sun)
Descendants of the Sun needs no introduction — it’s the highest-rated series back in 2016 starring Song Joongki and Song Hye Kyo. From reel to real, the stars even tied the knot shortly after (though they’ve since parted ways, much to the chagrin of fans).
Think back to one of the first few scenes between Captain Yoo Si-jin and Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young where they were seen practising their accuracy skills at a shooting range.
This was shot within an actual arcade range found within an amusement park in Wolmido Island. It’s where you can go to shoot some darts, win some toys, and relive the moment!
What you can find there is also Wolmi Theme Park — a vibrant spot with rides like a Ferris wheel, mini trains and swings that are perfect for those travelling with children on a family vacation. This adventure land was also a place featured in the iconic K-variety Superman Returns, where the adorable Song Triplets headed for an excursion with their father!
Since the island is located right off the coast of Incheon, you can also expect to find a number of restaurants specialising in fresh raw seafood — marine products that range from blue crab to yellow corbina and cutlassfish.
Address: 81 Wolmimunhwa-ro, Gaho-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon, South Korea
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday—10:00pm to 10:00pm, Saturday to Sunday—10:00pm to 10:30pm
How to get there: Take bus #1 from Seoul to Yongsan to arrive at Incheon Station, then transfer to bus #2 that brings you directly to Wolmido Island.
5. Onbit Recreational Forest (K-drama: Our Beloved Summer)
An impressive turning point in coming-of-age drama, Our Beloved Summer, is when PD Ji-woong brought his team of producers and casts to a villa in the forest to shoot a documentary. This took place at Onbit Natural Recreational Forest—an idyllic and hidden gem located in Nonsan.
Don’t be fooled by its name—“recreational” is rather misleading as this isn’t quite a hot spot for tourists yet. On the contrary, this is actually a privately owned forest that became a hot photo spot thanks to its wonderful autumn scenery after the K-drama was aired in 2021.
Though not quite a recreational location, it’s still very much open to the public. Just take note that there may not be your usual touristy amenities available—be prepared to bring sufficient food and drinks before making a trip there.
While it’s a relatively unexplored sight, this sure is one place to visit for those looking to immerse themselves in a peaceful and enchanting environment among the trees and lakes. After all, forest bathing is said to have great healing benefits for our mental health.
The best time to visit is during fall, when leaves have all turned yellow and orange, just like the isolated two-storey wooden villa where protagonists Kim Da Mi and Choi Woo Shik stayed in.
Address: 309 Hansamcheon-ri, Beolgok-myeon, Nonsan, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea
Operating Hours: 24 hours
How to get there: From Seoul station, take KTX #127 to Daejeon station. Take bus #201 to arrive at Doma Samgeori and walk approximately 18 minutes to the forest.
6. The Oriole Bar (K-drama: Itaewon Class)
Nothing quite beats the relaxing vibe of a Korean bar—glasses of soju paired with well-marinated chicken cutlets. This is exactly what was often portrayed in the K-drama Itaewon Class. Yes, the one that aired right in the midst of the pandemic in 2020, starring celebrities Kim Da Mi and Park Seo Joon. Originally based on a webtoon, this story of unexpected twists, revenge and romance was so well-received it won the Best Drama Series at the 25th Asian Television Awards.
The Oriole Bar is a three-storey cafe and bar owned by a member of the Korean R&B group Brown Eyed Soul. Just like what was portrayed in the show, the cafe provides rooftop dining with a breathtaking view of the city, overlooking the iconic N Seoul Tower located in the near distance.
The first floor is a bistro serving fusion cuisine — like the Mozzarella Tteokbokki KRW18,000 (~S$20) whilst the second and third are levels where you can get some alcoholic beverages like cocktails, a mojito KRW1,6000 (~S$17) and whisky. Unsurprisingly, the rooftop is the most popular among patrons — so be sure to arrive before 7pm to catch a table and a gorgeous sunset view too. Fun fact for those who happen to be BTS fans — V (or Taehyung) was once spotted hanging out at the bar in March 2020!
Address: 43 Sinheung-ro 20-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday—2:00pm to 10:00pm, Saturday to Sunday, 11:00am to 10:00pm
How to get there: At Deoksugang Palace in Seoul, take bus #402 to Jangji Public Garage to arrive at Huam Mineral Spring. Oriole is about 2-minute walk from there.
It’s often said that television provides a window to the world — it’s what people use to get a glimpse into wonderful destinations around the globe. More than ever, this has become a source of comfort, especially in a time of uncertainty.
We’ve got TV to thank for unearthing some of these gems that go beyond typical sightseeing or tourist attractions. Even if you’re not a fan of K-dramas, some of these places are simply too stunning to miss!
Watch here for other top cities and attractions to visit in South Korea:
Things to note while travelling to South Korea
- South Korea has begun to ease Covid restrictions within the country. However, South Korea continues to practice social distancing in all areas.
- Wearing a mask in all indoor public places and on public transport is mandatory.
- You’re only allowed to take off your mask outdoors if you’re within a two-metre distance from other people.
Content courtesy of Korea Tourism Organisation.
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Best time to visit
Looking to visit right when the cherry blossoms are blooming? If so, April is your best bet. Alternatively, September to November is a great period for those who enjoy cooler (but not freezing) fall weather.
South Korea’s transportation is rather convenient—with extensive networks of railways, highways, bus routes, ferry services and air routes that traverse the country. Get the T-Money Public Transit Card for easy travel around the city. This can be easily topped up at public transport stations, convenience stores and even vending machines.
The official currency of Korea is the South Korean Won (KRW).
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