Korean Drama (K-Drama) is a phenomenon that has been gaining steam over the past decade, which has helped to change much of the world’s perspective on South Korea. K-Drama no longer refers to a bunch of soap opera-ish TV series that depict the everyday life of Koreans, but it instead portrays the nation as a place of adventure and romance. Locations where Winter Sonata, Goblin, and The Great Jangeum were filmed have become tourist attractions, but let’s take it up a notch, why not also try activities that are featured in popular K-Dramas? Here are our top five K-Drama activities to experience for yourself in South Korea.
1. Visit a Jimjilbang (24-hour Bathhouse)
Jimjilbang are 24-hour bathhouses with community areas where one can eat, get a facial or massage, and enjoy themed saunas — like salt, ice, hot clay, and other rooms — that may benefit your health. K-Dramas feature jimjilbangs as a place where a character can go when they have nowhere else to spend the night, but it is actually a glorified bathhouse where one can spend time with friends and family.
Some things to try:
Eating eggs cooked in a sauna room
Get a massage in a massage recliner
Make a bear hat with the towel provided
2. Picnicking at the Han River
The spot where most characters throw themselves off a bridge in K-Dramas are those spanning the Han River. Yes, that is gory and depressing, but it is also a place where relationships blossom. This is where Cheong Shim and Jun Jae Heo watched fireworks in the TV series Legend of the Blue Sea. Most bike-riding scenes are also shot along the Han River.
Some things to try at the Han River:
Ride a bike. There are places nearby that rent out bikes and you can also stop by a convenience store to get some instant noodles cooked perfectly in one of their machines.
Put up a tent and have a picnic: You can set up a tent anywhere on the lawn and even get food delivered to you.
Enjoy cherry blossoms in the spring
Ride a duck boat
Go jogging on riverside trails
Have a luxurious dinner on a stationary ship
3. Walking on Crowded Streets
One of the fantasies brought up a lot in K-Dramas by characters who are too famous to be seen in public is to walk with someone special in the streets to watch musicians perform, buy accessories, and eat food sold from food trucks or carts. The best place for this is Hongdae. There are many unique shops, delicious food, and young talented musicians singing, rapping, dancing, and playing instruments in select areas.
Although with the current rise in COVID-19 cases, your experience might not be as expected and we advice to stay safe when in crowded spaces.
4. Late-night Eating and Drinking at a Pojangmacha
After a stressful workday, characters in K-Drama always go to a pojangmacha with a co-worker and pour their hearts out as they eat and drink soju or beer. Pochas can be seen almost anywhere in Korea and they usually open from evening until late night. When the weather is nice, the tents are usually open and you can sit outside, under the night sky, but on cold or rainy days, the tents are usually closed and provided with heaters. The menu varies from conventional side dishes to various seafoods.
5. Singing in a Noraebang (Karaoke Room)
Noraebang (Karaoke room) has evolved just as much as K-Dramas have. It used to be that you could rent a room for a specific period of time and sing to your heart’s content, but noraebang now range widely in terms of price, food selection, theme, size of room, and even degree of privacy. For instance, there are high-end noraebangs with rooms big enough to house a party with a wide selection of cocktails. You can also ask for recordings of your session so that you can retain a memory of the event.