I’ve been a long time fan of television series, starting from my junior high days when I adored the American teen alien show Roswell. I supported the show fervently from my living room in Singapore, over 14,000km from where it was actually filmed in Covina, California, USA. Being able to be anywhere near the filming site was a pipe dream – until my family flew to California for my cousin’s wedding at the turn of the millennium!
Once we were there, one of my cousins kindly drove my sister and me all the way to Covina from my uncle’s place at the time in La Canada, and I got to live in my Roswell fantasies for the afternoon at places like the Crashdown Café, UFO Center, and the Roswell High School bleachers. It was truly a dream come true!
This interest with filming sites continues today with my love for K-dramas – and thankfully, it doesn’t cost as much or take as much time to travel to Korea for a visit! When I do embark on a Korean trip, visiting a filming site (or 2… or a few) would most definitely be on the itinerary.
Here are 3 reasons I like searching for and eventually visiting my favourite K-dramas’ filming sites:
1. To satisfy a curious mind
Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like to actually stand before your favourite drama character’s house, or to visit a shop or eatery that the characters in the show frequent? It’s fun to find out where your favourite drama scenes were filmed – and even more fun when you get to visit it in person! Which brings me to my next point…
2. To feel a sense of closeness and wonder
Let’s face it – watching a drama is an investment, not just of time, but pretty much your whole being! With emotions getting so heavily vested in the characters and all the ins and outs of the plot, it’s no wonder many of us drama fans would feel a sense of loss or experience massive withdrawals after the show comes to an end (particularly if the ending was not as satisfying – I’m looking at you, Signal and On The Way to the Airport!).
Visiting the filming site of a drama would take you a step closer to what you had put so much of your heart and soul into following, and could even bring back some fond memories of the show too!
It was also the same when I travelled to Macau back in 2009 to check out the many filming sites of Boys Over Flowers (꽃보다 남자). It was really exciting being at The Venetian Macao, in particular, tracing every single scene that was filmed there: from the bridge where Jun-pyo (Lee Min-ho) and Jan-di (Goo Hye-sun) parted, to the bench where Ji-hoo (Kim Hyun-joong) sat on – although the long-suffering friend who accompanied me may not have enjoyed the visit as much as I did!
The bridge at the Venetian Macao (taken by © Mich, 2009)
Now that I’m following Strongest Deliveryman (최강 배달꾼), I’m looking forward to visiting the filming sites on my next trip to Korea, and walk the same streets frequented by my dear Gang-soo (Go Kyung-pyo) on his delivery rounds 🙂
3. To feel a sense of achievement
This is something I’ve been feeling more of ever since I came across KDL and started contributing to the site (20 listings and counting)! While some filming locations are rather notable and can be recognised right off the bat (like Gwanghwamun Square and N Seoul Tower, for example), others are more non-descript, or are ‘camouflaged’ well to avoid any attention brought to the actual brand, company or location.
So, finding out exactly where a certain scene was filmed could take a lot of time and research, particularly if details of it are few and far between. (It also helps to know Korean and be able to read hangul, because some websites only have Korean versions of it) Thankfully, I thrive on doing thorough online investigation and would only give up if I’ve exhausted all options! Most times, I’ve been able to find the exact location of the place I’m looking up; other times, I’d need the KDL webmiss to give me a helping hand (thanks always, Marion!).
One of my fave recent finds was the Cheonho Stationery Town Walking Street Entrance from Strongest Deliveryman (최강 배달꾼). I started out searching based on two clues – the big pencil signage at the background of the scene, and the ‘151길’ roadsign in the foreground. When searching the former didn’t come up with any ideal results, I turned to the latter. While there were a lot of streets in Seoul with ‘151길’ in them, it didn’t take me long to find this location in Cheonho, which is where many of the other SDM scenes are filmed. What’s even more surprising was realizing that I’d actually been there before, on my trip last September! It now seems like a return visit is very much in order.
(I certainly feel like one – and I love it!)
Bonus: Relishing in serendipity
Sanggojae (taken by © Mich, 2011). Discovered on a day out to Bukchon Hanok Village!
Sometimes, the best discoveries made are the ones that are completely unplanned! This was certainly the case for me when I stumbled across Sanyoohwa café, Sanggojae and the Kim Sam Soon staircase. And who would have thought too that places I’d previously visited (like Sowol-ro 38-gil, the Itaewon overpass and LeHoi) would be featured again in Strongest Deliveryman. Gives me more reason to want to go back for a visit!
If you have a different reason for wanting to search for K-drama filming sites, feel free to share that with me in the comments!
In the meantime, I hope you’re able to find the filming sites you’re looking for here at KDL 🙂 Thanks for reading (and hope you enjoyed the SDM/Gang-soo picture spam as much as I did, hehe)!