KDL 2017 Roundup #1: Most Seen Locations in K-Dramaland

by Marion KDL and Mich KDL Time sure flies when you’re having fun – and we’ve certainly had lots of fun in K-dramaland this year! Probably the most fun part of it all (for us, anyway) is being able to spot familiar locations in each of the dramas we’ve watched. If you’ve been fervently watching […]


by Marion KDL and Mich KDL

Time sure flies when you’re having fun – and we’ve certainly had lots of fun in K-dramaland this year! Probably the most fun part of it all (for us, anyway) is being able to spot familiar locations in each of the dramas we’ve watched.

If you’ve been fervently watching various dramas too and found yourself going, “Hey, this place looks familiar…” or “I think I’ve seen this somewhere before…”, you’re certainly not alone! Just like you, we’ve spotted a number of popular film locations that were visited and revisited this year.

So, to kick off our 2017 series of year-end round-ups, here’s KDL’s list of 2017’s Most Seen (and Must See) Locations in K-Dramaland!

Note: Numbers in brackets at the end of each header denotes the number of dramas the location has appeared in!

CAFÉS

Avengers Social Club (2017, episode 1)

Gallery White Block [화이트블럭] [8]

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is one of my favourite K-Dramaland staples – and even more so now, since it became Avengers Social Club’s (부암동 복수자들) (tvN) headquarters. 2017 saw this café as a place for meeting up and plotting things. Aside from it being the regular site in ASC, it appeared rather briefly for meet-ups in Two Cops (투깝스) (MBC), Revolutionary Love (변혁의 사랑) (tvN), While You Were Sleeping (2017) (당신이 잠든 사이에) (SBS), Suspicious Partner (수상한 파트너) (SBS), Introverted Boss/My Shy Boss/Sensitive Boss (내성적인 보스) (tvN) and Perfect Wife/Ms. Wife (완벽한 아내) (KBS2). ASC and Meloholic/Melo Holic (멜로홀릭) (OCN) reminded us that this is also an art space, and a really nice one at that!

With features in 8 dramas, it’s definitely the most-featured K-Drama café in 2017.
– Marion KDL

 

Bride of the Water God 2017 (2017, episode 10)

The Forest Garden [숲속정원] [5]

This is my 2017 surprise. It came to my attention after Mimi submitted this site sometime in mid-summer and from then, it seemed that there wasn’t a K-Drama this year that did not feature this restaurant (that eventually always appears as a café in K-Dramaland). Of course, this is far from true. But its signature window + flower crest + outdoor metal archway makes it impossible to not notice this place in Because This Is My First Life/This Life Is Our First (이번 생은 처음이라) (tvN); Avengers Social Club’s (부암동 복수자들) (tvN); Temperature of Love (사랑의 온도) (SBS); Bride of the Water God 2017/The Bride of Habaek (하백의 신부 2017) (tvN); and Suspicious Partner (수상한 파트너) (SBS).
– Marion KDL

 

Age of Youth 2 (2017, episode 3)

Green Cloud Coffee Shop [그린클라우드커피] [5]

This café fascinates me. For one, it has appeared in some K-Dramaland classics like Fated to Love You/You Are My Destiny (운명처럼 널 사랑해) (MBC, 2014) and Kill Me, Heal Me (킬미, 힐미) (MBC, 2015). It has a set of concrete stairs in the café that makes it highly recognizable. And it lies in the central tourist spot of Hongdae, only a few steps away from The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince. But it has never ever appeared in any list of TOP K-Drama must-know film locations. How come? Will 2017 change this? Lots of people in K-Dramaland chose to meet at Green Cloud Café this past year – for example, in Temperature of Love (사랑의 온도) (SBS), Two Cops (투깝스) (MBC), Reunited Worlds (다시 만난 세계) (SBS), Radiant Office (자체발광 오피스) (MBC) and Age of Youth 2 (청춘시대 2) (JTBC).
– Marion KDL

Revolutionary Love (2017, episode 7)

Honorable mentions: Would U Like& — Edae Branch [우주라이크커피 이대점 거리] [4]

RESTAURANTS

Secret Forest (2017, episode 3)

Pork restaurant 쌍대포 본점 [5]

 

From having meals to hosting welcome celebrations – K-Dramaland’s favourite barbecue restaurant continued to feature in dramas in 2017. Over just enjoying the restaurant’s juicy BBQ pork belly, the trend this year seemed to be having drinks there instead, as seen in Two Cops (투깝스) (MBC), Secret Forest/Stranger (비밀의 숲) (tvN), Suspicious Partner (수상한 파트너) (SBS) and Radiant Office (자체발광 오피스) (MBC). I also had a chance to pay the place a visit in June, thanks to my fresh fascination with Signal (시그널) (tvN, 2016) at the time!
– Mich KDL

 

Revolutionary Love (2017, episode 11)

Asosan [아소산 본점] [5]

I sometimes wonder if this is a real restaurant. Because in all the dramas that it was featured in, only ONE room was featured again and again. Simply compare its sightings in Revolutionary Love (변혁의 사랑) (tvN); Avengers Social Club (부암동 복수자들) (tvN); Because This Is My First Life/This Life Is Our First (이번 생은 처음이라) (tvN); While You Were Sleeping (2017) (당신이 잠든 사이에) (SBS) and Criminal Minds (크리미널 마인드) (tvN). But then again, private rooms are often where highly classified information or secrets are discussed in the land of K-Dramas.
– Marion KDL

 

Avengers Social Club (2017, episode 4)

Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon [경원재 앰배서더 인천] [4]

This is a rather versatile location in K-Dramaland. While it appeared as a mansion in Money Flower (돈꽃) (MBC), it appeared as a high-end traditional restaurant most other times, in which K-Dramaland’s high society held uncomfortable meetings. This was seen in Mad Dog (매드독) (KBS2), Avengers Social Club’s (부암동 복수자들) (tvN) and Lookout (MBC).
– Marion KDL

PARK/GARDENS

Deserving of the Name (2017, episode 10)

Yeouido Hangang Park [한강 공원 여의도 지구] [8]

 

This is without doubt the most featured Hangang Park in K-Dramaland. Characters usually chose this place to have important conversations, like in Money Flower (돈꽃) (MBC), Two Cops (투깝스) (MBC), Temperature of Love (사랑의 온도) (SBS), Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo/Deserving of the Name (명불허전) (tvN), Chief Kim/Good Manager (김과장) (KBS2), Father Is Strange (아버지가 이상해) (KBS2) and Bride of the Water God 2017/The Bride of Habaek (하백의 신부 2017) (tvN). For Hyun-jae in The Best Hit (최고의 한방) (KBS2), this was the place he decided to take a nap at after arriving to the present day. While Yeouido Hangang Park encompasses all the parks on Yeouido Island that border the Han River, the preferred location this year was the Yeouido Landscape District, which lies just right east of Wonhyo Bridge – and thankfully so, because the proximity makes it a lot easier to visit!
– Marion KDL

 

Go Back Couple (2017, episode 4)

Haneul Park aka Sky Park [하늘공원] [3]

While this filming location started gaining attention from last year’s Another Miss Oh/Another Oh Hae Young/Oh Hae-young Again (또! 오해영) (tvN, 2016), it steadily became a setting for romantic scenes in this year’s dramas, and is beautiful to visit both in the day (Manhole (맨홀-이상한 나라의 필) (KBS2)) and at night (Go Back Couple (고백부부) (KBS2), Introverted Boss/My Shy Boss/Sensitive Boss (내성적인 보스) (tvN)).
– Mich KDL

 

Strong Woman Do Bong-soon (2017, episode 14)

Nanji Hangang Park [난지한강공원] [3]

Romance and friendship – this is probably the best association for this particular Hangang park. Most would feel their heart flutter again when thinking of Bong-soon and Min-hyuk’s lovely date in Strong Woman Do Bong soon (힘쎈여자 도봉순) (JTBC), the romantic tensions in Ma-rin’s phone call to So-joon in Tomorrow With You (내일 그대와) (tvN) and also the heart-to-heart talk between best friends Ji-ho and Soo-ji in Because This Is My First Life/This Life Is Our First (이번 생은 처음이라) (tvN).
– Marion KDL

Actually, I’d love to see this be the setting for a big concert in a K-Drama next year, only because this park is frequently used for music festivals in real life! I had a chance to attend one (Smile Love Festival) on my June trip this year 🙂
– Mich KDL

 

While You Were Sleeping (2017, episode 32)

Honorable mentions: First Garden, Paju [퍼스트가든]

BRIDGES

Temperature of Love (2017, episode 7)

Wonhyo Bridge [원효대교] [9]

 

With its trademark V-shape pillars and colorful tiles, this bridge is probably the easiest to recognize among K-Dramaland’s range of bridges. K-Drama characters would usually go underneath the bridge to have heart to heart talks or think things over, like in Because This Is My First Life/This Life Is Our First (이번 생은 처음이라) (tvN), Meloholic/Melo Holic (멜로홀릭) (OCN), and Father Is Strange (아버지가 이상해) (KBS2). In 2017, this bridge also became part of crime scenes in While You Were Sleeping (2017) (당신이 잠든 사이에) (SBS) and Mad Dog (매드독) (KBS2); a site to attempt suicide in Money Flower (돈꽃) (MBC); a place to open up one’s business in Reunited Worlds (다시 만난 세계) (SBS), a site to do sports in Temperature of Love (사랑의 온도) (SBS) and film a MV in The Best Hit (최고의 한방) (KBS2).
– Marion KDL

 

Whisper (2017, episode 2)

Seogang Bridge [서강대교] [7]

When this bridge’s red metal overarch appears in a drama, it means that major changes are underway for the protagonist on the bridge – just like how Ha-baek, the god of all gods, had to learn the ways of humans in Bride of the Water God 2017/The Bride of Habaek (하백의 신부 2017) (tvN), or when upright but betrayed judge Lee Dong-joon became a corrupt lawyer in Whisper (귓속말) (SBS). I could go on, but the underlying notion is that Seogang Bridge provides a scenic transition: from one place to another, and from one situation in life to another. This was also seen in While You Were Sleeping (2017) (당신이 잠든 사이에) (SBS); Temperature of Love (사랑의 온도) (SBS), The Best Hit (최고의 한방) (KBS2), Suspicious Partner (수상한 파트너) (SBS) and Chief Kim/Good Manager (김과장) (KBS2).
– Marion KDL

 

The Liar and His Lover (2017, episode 10)

Hangang Bridge [한강대교] [6]

The K-Drama characters who appeared on this bridge could have taken comfort in the words of Simon and Garfunkel’s most beloved song, Bridge Over Troubled Water! Because what troubles some of them had – between aimless walks (in My Golden Life (황금빛 내 인생) (KBS2)), covering up deceitful actions (Chief Kim/Good Manager (김과장) (KBS2)) and being sent to the hospital (in Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo/Deserving of the Name (명불허전) (tvN)), to the more extreme cases of fighting with a motorbike gang (Two Cops (투깝스) (MBC)) and even attempted suicide (in Bride of the Water God 2017/The Bride of Habaek (하백의 신부 2017) (tvN)). But, the romantics can take heart too – sweet, young love confessions also happened here too, as witnessed in The The Liar and His Lover/Lovely Love Lie/She Loves Lie So Much (그녀는 거짓말을 너무 사랑해) (tvN).
– Mich KDL

 

The Best Hit (2017, episode 4)
Black (2017, episode 1)

Honorable mentions: Hangang Railway Bridge [한강철교]> [3], Dongjak Bridge [동작대교] [3]

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Money Flower (2017, episode 1)

Seodaemun Prison History Hall [서대문형무소역사관] [4]

 

It’s back! I remember when I first started watching K-Dramas, this was the prison where every bad person was sent to – until Iksan Prison Set (see below) arrived on the scene. 2017 turned this around slightly as criminals found their way here again (or out of there) in Witch’s Court / Witch At Court (마녀의 법정) (KBS2); Money Flower (돈꽃) (MBC); Criminal Minds (크리미널 마인드) (tvN) and While You Were Sleeping (2017) (당신이 잠든 사이에) (SBS).
– Marion KDL

 

Nothing To Lose (2017, episode 2)

Seoul Central District Court [서울중앙지방법원] [4]

Is it really so easy to enter and work at this court as dramas like Nothing to Lose/Judge vs. Judge (이판사판) (SBS); Go Back Couple (고백부부) (KBS2); Defendant (피고인) (SBS) and Whisper (귓속말) (SBS) made us believe? Usually seen as the place to get a divorce in K-Dramaland, Seoul Central District Court was mainly featured as a workplace this year.
– Marion KDL

 

Criminal Minds (2017, episode 12)

Iksan Prison Set [익산교도소세트장] [4]

For every wrong-doer who gets brought to justice, there has to be somewhere for them to serve out their sentence – and in K-Dramaland, this is the very place. While some serious criminals were held here in Criminal Minds (크리미널 마인드) (tvN) and Mystery Queen/Queen of Mystery (추리의 여왕) (KBS2), I definitely had a serious issue seeing poor Choi Gang-soo locked up! But as he did with everything he encountered, my Strongest Deliveryman (최강 배달꾼) (KBS2) took it all in his stride ♥
– Mich KDL

Not forgetting Jung-joo’s pitiful brother Kyung-ho in Nothing to Lose/Judge vs. Judge (이판사판) (SBS)!
– Marion KDL

SCHOOLS

The Liar and His Lover (2017, episode 11)

Osan High School [오산고등학교] [4]

 

A number of our beloved 2017 K-Drama characters (or their offspring) attended high school here. This was seen in Avengers Social Club (부암동 복수자들) (tvN); Manhole (맨홀-이상한 나라의 필) (KBS2); The Liar and His Lover/Lovely Love Lie/She Loves Lie So Much (그녀는 거짓말을 너무 사랑해) (tvN); and even the ‘Strong Woman’ herself, Do Bong-soon. Wonder if they would have all been classmates in an alternative universe?
– Mich KDL

 

Strongest Deliveryman (2017, episode 16)

Konkuk University [건국대학교] [4]

Seoul National University may have been considered prestigious in Because This Is My First Life/This Life Is Our First, but hands down the university of K-Dramaland this year was Konkuk! The Student Union building seemed to be a particularly popular feature, with appearances in While You Were Sleeping (2017) (당신이 잠든 사이에) (SBS) and Strongest Deliveryman (최강 배달꾼) (KBS2). It also briefly shows up in a flashback in Bride of the Water God 2017/The Bride of Habaek (하백의 신부 2017) (tvN), and also as the university in Meloholic/Melo Holic (멜로홀릭) (OCN).
– Mich KDL

ART ON THE STREET

Manhole (2017, episode 1)

Sinchon Graffiti Tunnel [3]

 

Well known as our Grim Reaper/Goblin’s ‘catwalk’ (with green onions at that!), the Sinchon Graffiti Tunnel also became the modern day Bong-pil’s time travel site in Manhole (맨홀-이상한 나라의 필) (KBS2); a shady place to deal with stolen phones in While You Were Sleeping (2017) (당신이 잠든 사이에) (SBS), and a cool place to film a 90s MV in The Best Hit (최고의 한방) (KBS2). Happy to see a good dose of ‘painted walls’ in K-Dramas again this year.
– Marion KDL

Think it’s time for me to pay this place a visit on my next trip to Seoul – and I’d be more than happy if it could lead me back to the 80s, so that I could visit Kwang-ho and Yeon-sook in Tunnel (터널) (OCN) (since the actual tunnel is much too far to track down)!
– Mich KDL

 

While You Were Sleeping (2017, episode 3)

We Are Young Mural [3]

It’s nice how street art has its place in K-dramas, like this prominent mural located in Samcheong-dong. Though it appeared mostly in the background for dramas like Manhole (맨홀-이상한 나라의 필) (KBS2) and My Golden Life (황금빛 내 인생) (KBS2), it caught the eyes of the couple in While You Were Sleeping (2017) (당신이 잠든 사이에) (SBS), which made them stop to admire it for a while. – Mich KDL

OTHER NOTABLE LOCATIONS

Lookout (2017, episode 1)

A.Y Lounge Bar [에이와이 라운지] [6]

 

Want to go out for a drink alone or with friends in a lounge bar in K-Dramaland? This was the place to be in 2017, it seemed – from Avengers Social Club (부암동 복수자들) (tvN); Bride of the Water God 2017/The Bride of Habaek (하백의 신부 2017) (tvN); to Father Is Strange (아버지가 이상해) (KBS2); Lookout (MBC), and even Perfect Wife/Ms. Wife (완벽한 아내) (KBS2) and Voice (보이스) (OCN) (well, they’re the only ones who didn’t come for a drink – instead, it was for an investigation).
– Marion KDL

Wonder what the ‘A.Y’ in the name stands for – could it be ‘Aw… Yeah!’ (time to par-tay); ‘All Yours’ (so drink up!); or even feeling like an ‘Aging Youth‘ (no relation to Age of Youth) after one too many shots? Haha – but I digress 😉 On to the next listing!
– Mich KDL

 

Fight For My Way (2017, episode 8)

House Seonghyeong-dong [3]

Houses and mansions are normally used and re-used in K-Dramaland. This year, different K-drama characters lived in the same apartment building: pop group Asgard were tenants here in Age of Youth 2 (청춘시대 2) (JTBC), Ko Dong-man rented this place before living in Namil Villa in Fight For My Way/Third-Rate My Way (쌈 마이웨이) (KBS2) and Koo Jung-hee helped a customer move in here in Perfect Wife/Ms. Wife (완벽한 아내) (KBS2). On top of all that, this house is even located right next to Bok-shil’s rooftop apartment! ♥
– Marion KDL

 

Temperature of Love (2017, episode 7)

Incheon International Airport (ICN) [인천국제공항] [7]

As always (and it’s a given, really), this is THE place for departures and arrivals in K-Dramaland. Seen this year in Black Knight: The Man Who Guards Me (흑기사) (KBS2); Money Flower (돈꽃) (MBC); Mad Dog (매드독) (KBS2); Avengers Social Club (부암동 복수자들) (tvN); 20th Century Boy and Girl (20세기 소년소녀) (MBC); Temperature of Love (사랑의 온도) (SBS) and Mystery Queen/Queen of Mystery (추리의 여왕) (KBS2) – among many others, certainly. I see this location so often that I don’t even see the need to add any new dramas to the listing. :/ But it seems that this airport is also featured more frequently as a place where people work… well, at least in the case of pilots and stewardesses.
– Marion KDL

Looking forward to more exciting K-Dramas successfully taking off in the new year to come!
– Mich KDL

* * *

Have any others to add to the ‘Most Seen’ list? Share your findings and favourites with us in the comments!

Watch out for the other upcoming KDL Round-ups we have for 2017 🙂

 

Live Up To Your Name, Dr. Heo (2017, episode 15)

[… and of course we couldn’t end this without this landmark; always somewhere in the background]

What are you looking for?