Thanks to the popularity of K-culture, South Korea is now on the radar of many travellers. To experience the full-scale of the country’s vibrant entertainment scene, Seoul is definitely the place to be.
But where does one go to get their fix of BTS, Blackpink, Running Man and Descendants Of The Sun? It’s wishful thinking to bump into your favourite celebrity while exploring the capital. While that is not unlikely, there are some stops fans should definitely add to their itinerary.
From a holographic performance hall to a television studio tour, we check out the must-do attractions every hallyu fan to Seoul needs to visit.
The name itself is pretty self-explanatory. Stretching for about 1km from Apgujeong-dong Galleria Department Store, this road is where many of the country’s biggest entertainment companies are located. You’ll know you’re near the offices of SM, FNC and YG, when you see hordes of fans gathering outside these buildings.
K-Star road is separated into four zones and walking through the route, you will find your path decorated with bear statues (aka GangnamDols) bearing names of various K-pop groups. The upscale neighbourhood of Apgujeong is also home to many celebrities’ favourite trendy cafes and restaurants.
Namsan Seoul Tower
Built in 1969 as Korea’s first integrated transmission tower, this landmark is more popularly known today among fans as a venue for romantic scenes in dramas and movies. The roof terrace houses thousands of padlocks attached to the fence by romantic Seoulites. It was even featured in the hit series My Love From The Star and Boys Over Flowers.
From above, visitors will also get an impressive view of the city’s skyline. Other main attractions include multi-coloured digital art projected onto the tower at night and a digital observatory. The tower’s surrounding on the picturesque Namsan Mountain is also a great place to unwind and people watch.
Ever wondered what it’s like behind the scenes of your favourite drama variety programmes? The MBC World gives visitors a glimpse of shows produced by the network. With the exception of the newsroom and hologram theatre; the building provides many photo opportunities, with its scenic backdrop and cool layout.
As it’s an actual working environment, visitors will be able to have a feel of what operations are like at a television cable network. You can get a feel of being a news anchor reading news scripts in front of the camera. Fans of period dramas can also view the costumes featured on shows like Moon Embracing The Sun and The Scholar Who Walks The Night.
Suncheon Open Film Set
Located in Jorye-dong, Suncheon, this venue is the largest film set in South Korea. It has about 200 houses scattered throughout three villages; each representing a different era from the 1950s to 1970s.
Visitors are free to roam around the film set and look out for places where scenes from their favourite shows were filmed. Some notable productions that took place here include dramas like East Of Eden and Baker King Kim Tak-gu to movies like A Werewolf Boy and Gangnam Blues. An episode of the popular variety show Running Man was also filmed here.
If you did not manage to catch your favourite act live, here’s the next best thing – a hologram performance. K-Live is a first-of-its-kind that let fans enjoy special performances by their favourite K-pop idols through high-tech 3D images. Located at the Lotte FITIN shopping center in Dongdaemun, the venue also offers many interactive experiences featuring artists from YG and JYP.
SMTOWN Coex Atrium
SM is home to the likes of EXO, Girls’ Generation, TVXQ and NCT – all acts which are featured prominently at this venue. Not to be confused with SM Entertainment headquarters in the upscale neighbourhood of Cheongdam-dong, SMTOWN is a free-admission culture complex space.
A notable highlight here is the SMTOWN Museum on the third floor. Fans would be able to trace the history and progress of their favourite SM acts. The museum includes various exhibitions related to music albums, stage photos, outfits and accessories and behind-the-scenes stories.