If you’ve always dreamed of stepping into the shoes of your favorite Hallyu star, you’re in luck, as many Korean TV series and movie filming locations are open to the public. We’ve rounded up a list of the most popular ones, so get ready to turn your K-drama fantasies into reality!
Featuring Joseon-era architecture, traditional performances, and hanbok-clad staff, the sprawling folk village Min Sok Chon in Yongin, South Korea is designed to transport visitors back in time to the country’s dynastic days. For this reason, it has and continues to be a popular filming location for a number of Korean period dramas and films. Among them include the wildly popular The Moon that Embraces the Sun, My Love from the Star, The Face Reader, and Masquerade.
Nami Island, a countryside destination loved by nature enthusiasts and K-drama fans (it was a filming location for the wildly successful Winter Sonata), is an idyllic stretch of land made up of tree-lined paths, water-side picnic spots, and nature-inspired sculptures and artwork. Located just 63 kilometers from Seoul, the destination makes for a great day trip for visitors of all ages. Furthermore, each season offers something unique, whether its cherry blossoms in the spring, water sports in the summer or music festivals in the fall.
Comprised of some 200 houses scattered across three ‘villages’ that each portray Korea in a different decade from the 1950s to the 1970s, the Suncheon Open Film Location is the largest film set on the peninsula. Here, visitors can see the filming locations of some of the country’s most beloved TV series and films like Bread, Love and Dreams and Gangnam Blues. They can also enjoy a bit of nostalgia by dressing up in old-fashioned school uniforms and sampling buchimgae (pan-fried foods) and dotorimuk (acorn jelly) at a traditional open Korean tavern. The realistic set is especially popular in the springtime, when the apricot and peach blossoms bloom.
As one of Seoul’s most eccentric modern architectural structures, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza is without a doubt the epicenter of all things design in South Korea. Appealing particularly to young trendsetters with its wide variety of attractions and events (including Seoul Fashion Week), the neo-futuristic complex is a fully-equipped facility where visitors can enjoy food, shopping, and entertainment all in one place. K-drama fans may also recognize it as a filming location for the popular shows My Love from the Star, The Producers, and She Was Pretty.
Situated in the city of Gangneung, Jumunjin Beach is a sandy stretch of coastline known for its natural beauty, fresh seafood, and K-drama affiliations. Its unusually blue water made it the perfect background for the famous scene of Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, when Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun) first summons Kim Shin (Gong Yoo). Since it appeared on the TV show, Jumunjin Beach has attracted throngs of fans eager to snap selfies on the famous site. After getting your photo, head to nearby Anmok Beach, where stunning views and gorgeous seaside cafés await you.
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in South Korea, Daehan Dawon in Boseong, Jeollanam Province is an oasis of verdancy and tranquility. Blanketed in soft, rolling hills of beautifully landscaped tea hedges, the farm functions as one of the biggest producers of the country’s green-tea products, and is perhaps the area’s most popular tourist attraction. It’s also the site where Shim Cheong (Jun Ji-hyun) is almost captured by Lord Yang’s swordsmen, but just in the nick of time, is saved by Dam Ryung (Lee Min-ho) in Legend of the Blue Sea. While you’re there, try the city’s iconic green tea snacks such as green tea ice cream and green tea kalguksu (noodle soup), or the province’s signature dish, tteokgalbi, grilled short ribs patties served on a sizzling hot plate.
Housed in a lavish Buam-dong mansion and offering breathtaking vistas of the Seoul Fortress Wall, Sanmootonge is a café loved by local hikers and K-drama fans alike. Here, patrons can sit under umbrellas on the cafe’s terrace or in one of its beautifully adorned rooms that look out over the neighborhood. Fans of The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince will appreciate the many paintings and photographs of Hallyu stars Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun-hye in various scenes of the drama, which was partially filmed at the café. Prices, like the hill on which Sanmootonge is perched, are steep, but the views are worth the extra few thousand won.
A visit to Paju’s Heyri Art Village wouldn’t be complete without popping into Gallery White Block. The modern interior of this gallery-cum-café, as its name suggests, resembles a giant block with white walls, high ceilings, and copious amounts of natural light. For this reason, it has become a popular filming location for Korean dramas including Suspicious Partner, On the Way to the Airport, and Introverted Boss. After browsing the paintings, photographs and sculptures on display across Gallery White Block’s six exhibition halls, grab a cup of coffee on the first floor and enjoy the views of the Heyri pond.
Itaewon may be known for its raucous nightlife, but tucked away just off the main strip of bars and restaurants is Itaewon Land, a five-story jjimjilbang made famous after its appearance in the body-swapping scene of Secret Garden, a popular K-drama. Its various relaxation rooms such as the pine room and salt room are sure to help you to de-stress while its traditional sauna’s red clay room and flat stone room will most certainly allow you to sweat out all the toxins from last night’s soju session. With a number of guest rooms available for overnight stays, Itaewon Land is also a great (and affordable) place to crash after an evening out on the town.