Surprise, everyone! We’ve got a special guest post today! 🥳
Our very own MC went on a long-awaited (and much envied) vacation to Korea just a couple of weeks ago, and is here to share her trip with us, so that we can see Korea through her eyes, a little bit. Whee~!
Big thanks to Elaine, for suggesting the idea, and to MC, for agreeing to write this post for us! We are all so blessed to have you both! 🥰
Korea through the eyes of a Fangirl
(preface: I shall refer to South Korea as Korea as it’s shorter. Please note that I did NOT step into North Korea!)
Hi! Or I should say Annyeonghaseyo? Lol.
Having never been to Korea before, I was curious – was the Korea of Kdramas similar to the real Korea? This isn’t going to be a typical “places to go and what to do” but more of my observations of the Motherland from a Fangirl’s eyes. Come along with me?
Disclaimer: While white trucks of doom seem to be barreling down towards our hapless leads in many thriller-type dramas, I was thankful that I stayed safe throughout this trip. No need for medical attention (although if you want to read a hilarious exchange on medical care in Kdramas, go to this page).
But I must say that a good 90% of cars on the road (especially in Jeju) were white. I have yet to find out why though, and would love to know if anyone knows!
Second disclaimer (yes, yes get on with it already!) – I didn’t take that many pictures so some of these are pictures from online. Sorry! Basically, the nice pics are from the internet. The crappy ones are by me. Oops.
Observation #1 – Maxim is really a big thing
Ah, those yellow packets. They’re in So. Many. Dramas…
Reader, I discovered that it is indeed true. Maxim IS everywhere in Korea. You see it in supermarkets, in eateries, in convenience stores….
Someone even wrote an article on why instant coffee mixes are so popular and you can read it here.
Observation #2 – I spotted a pojangmacha!
That red tent! I would recognize it anywhere. And I was pretty chuffed to see one or two along the streets of Seoul… (sadly I did not have time to stop and have some drinks and snacks. But I did see people truly having their soju and snacks!)
Observation #3 – The palaces are stunning
If you’re a historical drama fan you’d recognize all the palaces.
To be honest I always thought these dramas were filmed far off in some remote corner of Korea so colour me surprised when I realized the palaces were smack dab in the middle of downtown Seoul. You’d see a palace surrounded by traffic.
There are 5 major palaces and the one I went to, Gyeongbokgung Palace, is absolutely gorgeous. The pictures I took didn’t do it justice at all!
Also, for those who watch historical dramas, this long walkway made me think of countless scenes of monarchs walking down and thinking deep thoughts (i.e. The Red Sleeve).
Observation #4: Cheonggyecheon Stream appears in MANY dramas
Ah, I’ve always watched dramas and saw characters at a stream (what a place to film at!) so I looked out for this one. Yes, you’ve seen it too:
Yes this was just a short snapshot and there were so many other shows filmed here. It was nice to walk around it especially since the weather was great that day! Here’s my not-very-nice picture.
Observation #5: Crash Landing On You was obviously not filmed at the actual Demilitarized Zone…
…But the DMZ itself was very interesting to visit.
The saddest part was the memorial where a song was played in memory of families that had been divided for ages.
Plus I went into one of the underground tunnel where North Korea tried to tunnel their way towards Seoul – those tunnels sure were small and despite not being the tallest, I conked my head on the scaffolding within a couple of times (thankfully we all had to wear a helmet!)
Interestingly, the scenes where CLOY’s Yoon Se-ri paraglides (into North Korea) were filmed at Byeolmaro Observatory in Yeongwol (which is a hilltop planetarium) and the scene of them meeting in North Korea was actualy filmed in Jeju.
Observation #6: Our favourite actors are everywhere…
I mean, on advertisements. What do you think I meant? Lol! Here’s a few:
Fun fact: Jung Hae In was the one of the first persons to “welcome” me as his gorgeous face smiled down on me from billboards in the Gimpo airport, lol. Too bad it wasn’t the man himself!
Of course I saw other ads – Song Joong Ki for some soju, NewJeans selling Levi’s jeans (lol), IU for New Balance, etc etc etc. After a while there were just too many to take pictures of!
(sadly I did not meet any actor or actress or idol on the street…)
Observation #7: Netflix goes ALL OUT in advertising
I saw Woob’s face plastered all over bus stops, trailers played at subway stations, etc … in fact, Black Knight was the only show I saw promoted on such a widespread basis during my trip.
Netflix sure has a big advertising budget!
Observation #8: Wangsimini Station!!!
This one’s for the Hospital Playlist fans.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this – start from 3:50 mark till 4:40.
I loved this scene so much that when I took the the subway, I was so excited to see Wangsimni station on the rail line. Ah… I didn’t exit there but I had a good chuckle over that station.
Now that I’m back from Korea, it’s also fun to see things in my Kdramas.
Case in point, Olive Young is a super popular beauty shop where you can get skincare, makeup, hair care, etc under one roof. It’s like a Sephora, if you know that brand.
When I came back, I was watching True To Love / Bo Rah Deborah! and had a very good laugh over a scene that was supposed to be touching.
Our leads were walking along the road having a casual conversation but my eyes were drawn to the sign at the back…
Yes, it’s Olive You! The producers probably didn’t have official clearance to feature the brand so they conveniently edited out the NG in the brand to create a brand new brand of their own. 😀
All in all, I’m really happy I went to Seoul and Jeju.
The food (oh all the food!), the weather, the scenery and shopping was wonderful.
Personally my most favourite part of the trip was Seongsan Ilchulbong (Seongsan Sunrise Peak); it was a steep climb but I was richly rewarded with gorgeous views – you can find out more about it here and check out my (really did not do the view justice) photos below:
Still, I know that if I miss Korea, I just need to head back into the wonderful world of Kdramas to get my Korea fix (or more likely, cause me to start planning for the next trip to Korea…)
And last but not least thank you, wonderful reader, for following me along and thank you once again to Fangirl for letting me share / relive my Korea experiences!