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Thursday, February 2, 2023

[WEEKEND GETAWAY] Explore the real-world sets of Korea’s biggest dramas

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Actors play a game of Go at Cheongna Lake Park in Seo District, Incheon. [NETFLIX]

Every Korean drama has an iconic scene that fans cherish and many of those filming locations are available to visit.  
 
With fans both in Korea and abroad eager to visit filming locations as many TV shows gain popularity worldwide, local governments sometimes even ask the production crew to leave behind some of the installations they set up to attract more visitors.
 
Its just the start of 2023 and there’s already plenty of drama series captivating viewers such as “The Glory” and “Reborn Rich.” If you’re curious to discover where some scenes in those shows were filmed, here are some spots that also double as great travel destinations. 

“The Glory” — Cheongna Lake Park, Incheon

Ha Do-yeong, played by actor Jung Sung-il, steps on to a stone Go board at Cheongna Lake Park in Seo District, Incheon. [SCREEN CAPTURE]
Ha Do-yeong, played by actor Jung Sung-il, steps on to a stone Go board at Cheongna Lake Park in Seo District, Incheon. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

“The Glory” is the newest thriller drama series keeping everyone on the edge of their seats, becoming the third most-watched non-English TV series on Netflix the week it premiered. The show circles around the story of protagonist Moon Dong-eun, played by Song Hye-kyo, planning to take vengeance on her high school bullies.  

The game Go is an important metaphor repeated on the show, with Moon referring it as a game in which people “aim to take over the house someone else has carefully built” to imply her determination for revenge. Because it’s such an important symbol, the show features numerous scenes of actors playing the game.  

One of the places actors play Go is at Cheongna Lake Park in Seo District, Incheon. It is where Ha Do-yeong — the husband of one of Moon’s bullies, played by actor Jung Sung-il — meets Joo Yeo-jeong — a medical intern trying to help Moon, played by Lee Do-hyun — for the first time and plays Go on a huge Go board. The show’s film crew built a 258-square-meter-large (2,777-square-feet) Go board made of stone at the park, which you can still go and visit.  

The board was made as a prop for the show, but Incheon Facilities Corporation agreed to leave it at the park so fans could come and see it for themselves. Although you won’t be able to see the huge Go stones that were placed on the board during the scene, you can try walking on the stone board or playing the game at the park. 


“Reborn Rich” — former Busan Mayor’s office and residence

The house of Jin Yang-chul, played by actor Lee Sung-min, in ″Reborn Rich.″ [SONG BONG-GEUN]
The house of Jin Yang-chul, played by actor Lee Sung-min, in ″Reborn Rich.″ [SONG BONG-GEUN]

Like the title suggests, the show “Reborn Rich” features various expensive-looking houses. One of them is the house of Jin Yang-chul, chairman of Sunyang Group, a fictional chaebol played by actor Lee Sung-min.

The house is portrayed on the show as being located in Jung District, central Seoul, but can actually be found in Suyeong District, Busan. The house was once used as the residence and office of Busan mayors, but has been open to the public since 2021, when current mayor Park Heong-joon decided not to move in.

Visitors can’t go inside the house, but can look around the vast park area outside. The area is bigger than you think, spanning over 18,015-square-meters with a lush canopy of some 20,000 trees. A huge pond can be found in the park, which is where Jin met his son-in-law Choi Chang-Je, played by actor Kim Do-hyun. There’s also a garden where Jin was shown reading a book with his son Jin Do-jun, played by Song Jong-ki.  

As well as from reliving scenes from the show, try enjoying the view. The house is located on the edge of Mount Hwangnyeong and has a magnificent view of Busan’s Gwangalli Beach and Gwangan Bridge.  

According to Busan city, around 300 people per day have been visiting the house since “Reborn Rich” premiered. Although the interior of the house is off-limits for visitors as of now, you may be able to step inside if you plan to visit after 2024. The city announced it will open the entire venue, even the house, to the public in 2024 and host various events.  


“The Interest of Love” — Euljiro Nogari Street, central Seoul

A photo of Euljiro Nogari street, a small alleyway near Euljiro 3-ga station that’s filled with pubs selling beer. [SONG BONG-GEUN]
A photo of Euljiro Nogari street, a small alleyway near Euljiro 3-ga station that’s filled with pubs selling beer. [SONG BONG-GEUN]

A photo of Euljiro Nogari street, a small alleyway near Euljiro 3-ga station that’s filled with pubs selling beer. [SONG BONG-GEUN]
“The Interest of Love,” an ongoing TV drama about romance growing among people working at the same bank, is filmed around Seoul. Featuring office romance, one scene that often comes up in the show is employees going for hoesik, or after work dinners.  

The drama describes the bank where actors work as being located between a vibrant marketplace and a busy financial district, and Euljiro in central Seoul fits that bill perfectly.  
One place featured in the show is the Euljiro Nogari street, a small alleyway near Euljiro 3-ga Station that’s filled with endless pubs selling beer. Ha Sang-soo, a bank worker played by Yoo Yeon-seok, also goes for a beer with his colleagues at Euljiro Nogari street.  

Unlike most pubs where people mostly drink at tables inside, many drinkers tend to sit outside at colorful plastic chairs and tables. Given the street’s name, all the pubs sell nogari, or butterflied and dried young pollock, and offer them for a very cheap price of 1,000 won per fillet.  



“Work Later, Drink Now”  Golmok Sikdang, Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi

Obokjip, the restaurant that actors on ″Drink Now, Work Later″ often visit [SCREEN CAPTURE]
Obokjip, the restaurant that actors on ″Drink Now, Work Later″ often visit [SCREEN CAPTURE]

There is one restaurant that the three heroines of “Work Later, Drink Now” — So-hee, Ji-yeon and Ji-goo — always visit for a drink. The restaurant is almost considered their second home, with the three drinking there to celebrate Christmas, just to chat with each other after work or to go on blind dates.  

If you have watched the drama series and want to drink along with the actors, you can also visit the restaurant. The restaurant is known as Ohbokjip in the drama series, but is actually called Golmok Sikdang, Korean for alleyway restaurant. It can be found in Euijeongbu in Gyeonggi, and is right next to Omok Park, which is also often featured on the show.  

It has a cozy atmosphere because it used to be an actual house, which was later renovated into a restaurant. The interior is slightly different from what you see in the drama series, but you can still find the open kitchen and bar area where the restaurant owner is often seen busily cooking food for the three friends.  

BY BAEK JONG-HYUN, LEE TAE-HEE [lee.taehee2@joongang.co.kr]

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