My name is Mich and I’m a new contributor here at KDL!
I came across the site back in May when I was looking up On The Way To The Airport (공항가는길) locations to visit on an upcoming trip to Korea. I was really excited to find KDL because… it’s about time us drama fans had a resource like this, really! It can be a challenge to source for filming locations; I had always done individual searches for some of my favourite dramas, but not everything might have been covered (particularly the lesser known places). Now, it’s so convenient to be able to find everything available on one site!
Since I love travelling to Korea (8 trips and counting!), it’s also been a good opportunity for me to visit the locations in my favourite dramas. There’s always that tingle in my fangirl heart knowing that I’m at the very place where a pivotal moment in the show happened, and being able to feel that much closer to everything just makes me happy!
So, to continue on with the KDL webmistress’ great response to my challenge, I’ve compiled a list of my personal top 5 K-Drama filming sites! These are some places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit over the years, and some that I can’t wait to check out on upcoming trips. Even if the dramas featured aren’t on your faves list, the places are still worth checking out to discover a different part of Korea!
Here they are, in no particular order of merit:
This was actually a surprise find on a trip in August 2014! I had wanted to visit Bu-am dong in Seoul to find the guesthouse featured in the variety show The Human Condition (인간의 조건), so off a friend and I went in search of it. After finding the said guesthouse (passing by Sanmotonge in the process), we decided to take a walk to check out the rest of the area.
After walking further down the road, we chanced across Sanyoohwa and thought it was a quaint place, so we decided to take a look. It’s a cozy little house with a beautiful back porch and a lovely view, a charming place to spend the afternoon and refuel after a long walk. The icing on the pancakes I had for afternoon tea that day was finding out that this was the setting for Han Yeo-reum’s furniture shop on Discovery of Love (연인의 발견) (which was still filming at the time)!
Tip: Be prepared to walk – a lot! And make sure you have a good navigation system (e.g. Google Maps) to help you find your way through the many twists and turns of Buam-dong [부암동]. Be sure to also check out the other cafés in the area!
#2 Seoul Square
An unlikely place for a filming location, but this monolith building in the heart of Seoul was the setting for One International’s office in Misaeng (미생). I caught on to the show pretty late – try a good 1.5 years after the show first aired! Nevertheless, I faithfully watched the reruns, cheering on Jang Geu-rae and Sales Team 3, feeling like a proud friend as I watched each of the interns’ personal growth and progress (and hello – when Han Seok-yul finally cut his unruly mop!).
On a quiet Sunday in September 2016, I finally made my first visit to Seoul Square, after many years of only staying across the road at Seoul Station. It was a pity that there’s limited access to some of the other parts of the building (the show was also filmed at its garden and rooftop), but just being able to place my hand on the same pillar that Geu-rae slipped a note to himself… that was enough to make me smile.
Tip: No matter that you can’t visit the actual office floors of the building – visit B1 of the building to check out their Misaeng display. They have a great display of props used in the show, like the employees’ passes, name placards – even reports and resumés!
#3 Café Blüte (formerly known as Yoon’s Color)
While I didn’t follow the ‘Endless Love’ series of K-dramas (Spring Waltz, Summer Scent, Autumn in My Heart and Winter Sonata), I really enjoyed watching Love Rain (사랑비), which was also directed by Yoon Seok-ho. When I found out that some of the modern day scenes in the show were filmed at the gallery then known as Yoon’s Color, I knew I had to visit Sangsu-dong to check it out!
Unfortunately, on my first visit in January 2014, the gallery was closed for a private function. Three years later in June 2017, I finally made another visit there – and what a good decision to! The first floor space has been taken over by a café/florist called Blüte, and this explains why the place flourishes, including the outdoor garden, which was one of the focal points of the drama. Being able to check out the second floor where Seo Jun and Ha-na lived and pined for each other side-by-side was just incredulous for me – that, and seeing the actual paintings featured in the show!
The painting of Yoon-hee (Yoona) as painted by Seo In-ha (Jang Geun-seok) in Love Rain
Tip: Try exploring the other parts of Sangsu-dong (which is just two stops away from Hongdae) and see what new cafés and eateries you can discover!
Following on from the previous location, here’s one place I’m absolutely itching to visit on a future trip! My favourite part of Love Rain (사랑비) was actually the 70s episodes featuring Jang Geun-seok and Yoon-a as the parents in their younger days and watching their love story unfold in simple times warmed my heart.
While the Keimyung University campus was also featured in Boys Over Flowers (꽃보다남자), it really stood out much more in Love Rain (사랑비) because its warm brick buildings and colonial-style architecture were rather fitting for that period.
Tip: Autumn is probably a good time to visit, with the colourful fall leaves making a beautiful setting for a campus walk. That was also the season the 70s aspect of the show was filmed!
I am such a sucker for vintage-styled locales, which is why the reproduction of a Korean street in the 70s/80s at the National Folk Museum of Korea is one of my favourite places! Similiarly, the Suncheon Open Film Set is also a place that offers a throwback to 50s-70s life in Korea, comprising three villages from different eras, around 200 houses and re-creations of places in a typical town. Dramas like East of Eden (에덴의동쪽) and Baker King Kim Tak-gu (제빵왕 김탁구) were filmed there, along with many other films and TV shows.
Tip: Suncheon is located in Jeollanam-do, and is approximately a four-and-a half hour bus ride away from Seoul (tickets are available at the Central City Terminal). From Suncheon Intercity Bus Terminal, you can take bus numbers 77, 99 or 777 to the film set. Alternatively, you can take a train from Yongsan station to Suncheon station and take bus 77 from Isu Middle School.
Special mention – Seo Do-woo’s House on Jeju Island
Because I adored On The Way To The Airport (공항가는길) and its beautiful, calm feel – and Seo Do-woo had much to do with that! I can’t wait to try visiting that house when I have the chance to travel to Jeju Island.
That’s it! Thanks for reading and hope you’ve come across something new today 🙂 If you’d like to join the challenge, leave a comment on this post, or send us a message! In the meantime, keep contributing your locations to KDL – you’d never know where a fellow drama fan would like to visit next!