Hotel del Luna, Her Private Life, Gangnam Beauty, What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo, Legend of the Blue Sea, and more!
Every time I go to South Korea, I prepare an extra itinerary for all the K-drama film locations I want to visit. I don’t always get to visit them all, but just listing them down makes me all kilig and excited, like a K-drama heroine on the way to her first date!
A couple of years ago, I compiled a “tamad” guide to K-drama filming locations. These can be easily found in downtown Seoul, or where many of the city’s top tourist spots are. This time around, I tried to be a little more hardworking – not just to search for filming spots, but also to go to areas in and around Seoul that I would not think of visiting otherwise.
A tip, if you’re planning to find these and other filming locations, I suggest you download an offline map of South Korea and save all their geolocations. Sometimes directions, no matter how specific, can be confusing. But an offline map has never failed me, yet.
Have a particular drama in mind? Go straight to it!
- Her Private Life
- Hotel del Luna
- My ID is Gangnam Beauty
- What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim
- Fight for My Way
- Love in the Moonlight
- Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
- Legend of the Blue Sea
Her Private Life
This is my favorite drama of Park Min Young (Sung Deok Mi) so far. Her best acting yet. And she has reeeaaally great chemistry with Kim Jae Wook (Ryan Gold). Thank the gods he finally got a break! Last time I saw Jae Wook, he was a serial killer in Voice. He was amazing there, but he slayed as a leading man, seriously. I want me a Ryan Gold haha!
Deok Mi’s House
A lot of things happened in Deok Mi’s iconic rooftop house – their first “kiss,” beer with her childhood friends, and the many times Deok Mi went down the stairs on her way to fangirling, among many others. It’s relatively easy to find. Her ‘house’ is on top of an air purifier company called Neocure, which is located in a quiet neighborhood near Dongdaemun. So if you’re visiting Seoul’s most notable architectural wonder, this is very easy to reach from there.
How to Go:
Jegidong Station, Exit 1. Turn right towards a residential area. Walk for about 5 mins. until you reach the end of the road, then turn right. You’ll find Neocure on the first corner to your right.
Geolocation: 37.580833, 127.031620
Yangsu-ri Riverside Promenade
This was where Ryan Gold told Deok Mi his real name. It appeared only in one episode. But it so happened that I was looking for an opportunity to leave Seoul without taking too much travel time. BEST. DECISION. EVER.
The promenade is just an hour or so away from downtown Seoul via train. Great views along the way too! I got so excited as soon as I got off the train station in Gyeonggi-do. It was so peaceful, totally different vibe from the capital. I can’t stress this enough, this was the best day of my 10-day trip! In the end, the filming spot here became just a side trip because of everything else that was beautiful in this county.
At one end of the promenade is a beautiful cafe called Cafe Susu, which overlooks the river and the mountains. I stayed there for hours just writing and staring at everything and nothing.
How to Go:
Ungilsan Station, Exit 2. Turn left and keep on the sidewalk. Cross the street that leads to a bike lane just underneath the railway. Walk a bit until you reach a small rotunda, turn right. Take the upward path that leads to Bukhangang Railroad Bridge. Cross the bridge and go down on the first staircase on the left. You might miss this, so note that the staircase can be found right after the small cafe at the end of the bridge. Once down, walk towards the river, you will find a small rough road on your right. Follow this path along the river for 3 to 5 minutes until you find Cafe Susu. Walk a bit further and you will find the promenade. Don’t stop there! Majestic views await at the end of the promenade.
Geolocation: 37.552391, 127.321259
I have a thing for second male leads in K-dramas, I always root for them even though I know they could never get the girl. I was really broken when Nam Eun Ki (Ahn Bo Hyun) took a quiet time by this bridge to think about his friendship and unrequited love for Deok Mi. Huhu my heart! Can I join you? Hug kita! Akin ka na lang!
How to Go:
Dongjak Station, Exit 1. Turn left, walk a few meters until you reach the stairs going up. It will lead you straight to Dongjak Bridge.
Geolocation: 37.507293, 126.980816
Hotel del Luna
Haven’t really seen this drama yet but it’s on top of my list just because of IU ! Also saw an un-subbed episode while I was in Seoul last July and I was intrigued! Have you seen it yet? Is it worth watching?
Bukhangang Railroad Bridge
I chanced upon this beautiful old bridge on the way to Yangsu-ri riverside promenade. You actually have to cross this if you’re coming from Ungilsan station. This was my view on the way back, a bit spooky just like Hotel del Luna. Luckily, there were a few walkers and bikers, or else I probably would have been shaking the whole way haha! Still, it was a nice experience – very serene.
At daytime though, it reminded me of a scene in Doctors, when young Yoo Hye-Jung (Park Shin Hye) went biking with her teacher and future lover Hong Ji-Hong (Kim Rae-Won). Kind of wished I had a bike with me too, but just walking was amazing. Beautiful views all the way! Medyo muntik ako maiyak sa saya haha!
How to Go:
Ungilsan Station, Exit 2. Turn left and keep on the sidewalk. Cross the street that leads to a bike lane just underneath the railway. Walk a bit until you reach a small rotunda, turn right. Take the upward path that will lead you right to the bridge.
Geolocation: 37.551207, 127.316543
Seoul Book Repository
In episode 2 of the drama, hotel staff Choi Seo Hee (Bae Hae Sun) helps an elderly ghost study here. IU later explains that the souls who find peace in the library are those who try to achieve what they were not able to in life. I could totally relate! I’m still living and nothing could give me as much comfort as a library. This one, in particular, has a collection of over 100,000 second-hand books from a variety of bookstores around Seoul.
How to Go:
Jamsilnaru Station, Exit 1. Turn left, walk a bit until you reach the street, cross it. When you see a sort of huge warehouse across, you have reached your destination. Its sign reads: 서울책보고 or Seoul Chaek Bogo.
My ID is Gangnam Beauty
My favorite from 2018! This show was such an eye-opener for me. For those who don’t know, the district of Gangnam is a cosmetic surgery haven. I thought plastic surgery is so common in South Korea, people don’t even give “Gangnam beauties” a second look. But this show made me understand why some people go through it in the first place, and all the gossips and ridicule that come after.
Still promoting natural beauty though. After all, Do Kyung-Seok (Cha Eun Woo) first noticed Kang Mi-Rae (Im Soo Hyang) when she was still deemed as “ugly.” Her kindness and love for dancing were what really won him over, not her looks. Imagine, nanligaw pa siya! Something not really common in the fast-paced Korean dating culture.
This staircase was featured in many episodes, supposedly leading to Mi-Rae’s apartment, where she lives with her best friend Oh Hyun-Jung (Min Do Hee). Usually, Kyung-Seok walks her here (o di ba may paghatid pa ang haba ng hair!) before heading home to an apartment he shares with his rival Yeon Woo-Young (Kwak Dong Yeon).
How to Go:
Bomun Station, Exit 2 ( 10-min. walk). It’s a bit complicated from the subway, so this is where your offline map can come in handy!
Geolocation: 37.587609, 127.013097
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim
Probably one of the best ensembles I’ve seen in recent years. Really loved how all the supporting characters had their own subplots and how each of their stories progressed throughout the series. It was enough for me to watch the drama through the end because as much as Lee Young-Joon (Park Seo Joon) and Kim Mi-So (Park Min Young) were giving me all the kilig, the main plot was just too generic. Still, awkward Seo Joon was worth spending a few sleepless nights haha!
Secretary Kim’s House
How to Go:
Yaksu Station, Exit 8. Key in the address on Google Maps. Prepare your legs, it’s a VERY uphill walk.
Address: 121 Dongho-ro 17 gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Fight for My Way
This drama was praised for its very realistic plot. After all, how many of us have dreams that are too big for our actual talents? Personally, I dream of being a K-pop star, but my dance is just so-so and my voice? So bad. HAHA So I can totally relate!
Its more iconic filming spots are located in Busan. I planned to visit them when I went last November but it was just too cold for my legs and brains to function! There was one in downtown Seoul though, which was also freezing in autumn, but so worth it if you enjoy the night lights and Seoul traffic!
Seoullo 7017 Skygarden
In episode 3 of the drama, Park Moo-bin (Choi Woo-sik) meets with his crush Choi Ae-ra (Kim Ji-won) here. He asks her to be his Cinderella as he gives her a beautiful pair of sneakers. Problem is, Ae-ra lied to him about her shoe size. Should she force her feet to wear a pair of shoes that are two sizes smaller? A simple question that was so relevant to a lot of pretentions we all have to go through daily just so we don’t rock the boat.
How to Go:
Seoul Station, Exit 2. You will see the skygarden as soon as you exit the station.
Love in the Moonlight
I’m gonna be honest with you, I never saw this drama and I don’t plan to. I really love one of its filming locations in Jeonju though. I’ve been there twice and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a daytrip or overnight sidetrip from Seoul.
A number of their stolen moments were filmed in the shadows of this bamboo grove. Although I’m not a fan of the show, knowing that Bogummy walked this cobbled path was enough to give me all the chills!
As I also wrote in my previous guide, in the nearby Jeonju Sago (just some 10 to 15 meters from here) was where Lee Young (Park Bo Gum) gave Ra-on (Kim Yoo Jung) a peck on the cheek.
How to Go:
Via Train: Take KTX from Yongsan to Jeonju Station. Find Jeonju Station Bus Stop and take Bus No. 119. Get off at Jeondong Catholic Church Hanok Village Bus Stop. Walk about 100m. to Gyeonggijeon Shrine.
Via Bus: Take a bus bound for Jeonju from either Seoul Express Bus Terminal or Nambu Bus Terminal. Find Kookmin Bank (Geumamji Branch) Bus Stop and take Bus No. 684. Get off at Jeondong Catholic Church Hanok Village Bus Stop. Walk about 100m. to Gyeonggijeon Shrine.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
It has been over two years since this series finished but for me, Kim Bok Joo remains to be the most iconic character in a K-drama yet. Especially every time I am reminded that she was played by another iconic, and total opposite real-life model turned actress and goddess Lee Sung Kyung.
Also visited a couple of its filming sites before but couldn’t fit the most memorable one – their restaurant a.k.a. Bok Chicken – due to time constraints (it’s about an hour of travel from downtown Seoul). Ironically, they used an actual restaurant that sells various food choices, except chicken.
Restaurant Small Town A.K.A. Bok Chicken
It looks like a house and its door was closed when we came, maybe because we were too late for lunch time and too early for dinner. But we knocked and were let in. I’m gonna be honest, the owners didn’t seem too pleased to have us as customers. Maybe we intruded on their break time? Or they were tired of tourists coming in just for the film set? Couldn’t really blame them for the latter. So a request to anyone visiting in the future: it is a restaurant serving good food, ORDER AND DON’T BE CHEAP ABOUT IT. You are for sure going to take a lot of photos, consider eating there as payment for allowing you to intrude on their privacy.
Note too that their menu is purely written in Korean. We ordered tonkatsu (two huge slabs for W7500, really cheap for a resto near a university) and cheese ramyeon (say it as chijeu ramyeon) for W3500. They have really good food so please, please enjoy the food as much as you enjoy taking photos there!
Let’s not forget the many times Bok Joo walked along this muraled wall on the way to their resto! Just as in the drama, its just almost in front of the restaurant.
Weightlifting Fairy was very memorable for me. It was, in my opinion, the first time a K-drama tried to break the norms using very subtle but straight-to-the-heart messaging and without changing its feel-good bubbly tone. It takes a lot of courage to be who you are in a society that always forces you to be otherwise. But Bok Joo did that with a kind heart and a happy disposition, I will never forget that.
How to go:
Gireum Station, Exit 3. Find the nearest bus stop and take Bus no. 7211 OR no.153. Get off at Kookmin University stop. Cross the road and go down the staircase, then turn left. You’ll find Bok Chicken on your right.
Geolocation: 37.610292, 126.994624
Legend of the Blue Sea
Another one I didn’t watch. I’m sorry! I looooove Jun Ji Hyun but My Love from the Star is one of the best K-dramas for me and I really can’t have Lee Min Ho blurring Kim Soo Hyun’s superb acting in my mind haha! So I had to pass. That didn’t stop me from chasing a couple of their filming spots though. I mean… ‘yung essence man lang ni Jun Ji Hyun maramdaman ko!
Heo Joon Jae’s House/Gallery 487
Note that this is only the exterior, the interior was filmed in another guesthouse. A lot of crazy Ji Hyun (Se Hwa/Shim Cheong) scenes were filmed here. Latak ng dyosa, guise!
How to Go:
Myeongdong Station, Exit 3. I honestly complained about the uphill walk throughout I can’t remember much so please just follow the geolocation haha!
Geolocation: 37.557115, 126.984089
Vivaldi Ski Park
Heo Joon Jae (Lee Min Ho) takes Shim Cheong here to teach her how to ski, but she sets off before learning how to break! He chases her and they both end up rolling on the snow. While still lying there, he teaches her how to say “I love you,” which I guess set off a lot of mini heart attacks to everyone watching!
No point in going to Vivaldi if you’re not going to try and ski. From what I remember, the ski resort is open from late November to early March. Have never tried skiing? It’s easier than you think! So much fun too!
How to Go:
There is a FREE shuttle bus that takes foreigners from Seoul to Vivaldi Park, just not sure if it’s daily. You can check out the schedule here.
Geolocation: 37.665504, 127.690230
Aaaand that’s it for now! I think I’ll keep on finding filming locations every time I’m in Seoul. Can’t help it, the fangirl in me wants it! Will keep you posted! Thanks for reading!!!