Locations in Seoul bring back memories of K-drama scenes
By Jeff Chung
By Jeff Chung
SBS, the Seoul Broadcast System, is known for its hit dramas such as "Stairway to Heaven" and "Lovers In Paris" — and K-drama tours to Seoul offer lots of locations from both series.
"Stairway to Heaven" aired in South Korea from late 2003 to early 2004. In the series, Song-ju, played by Kwon Sang-woo, manages department stores and theme parks. Many scenes were shot at Seoul's Lotte World, a complex that includes the World Adventure Amusement Park.
The park's carousel is famous as the setting where Song-ju and Jeong-seo, played by Choi Ji-woo, frolicked as children. For good Korean food, go to the food court along the ice rink on the lower level.
Remember the scene where Song-ju played the piano for Jeong-seo on the beach? That was filmed on Muuido Island, near the Inchon International Airport. Muuido is known for its two beaches — Silmi Beach and Hanagae Beach.
If you don't have time to go to Muuido Island, try another spot in Seoul's Apgujung neighborhood, south of the Han River. Trendy Apgujung, filled with cafes, theme restaurants and designer stores, is where the affluent play. It's also where you'll find the cool Italian cafe Pascucci, where Jeong-seo's evil stepsister plotted her schemes. In Apgujung, your chances of spotting stars is high.
One of my favorite dramas is "Lovers In Paris," which was a smash for SBS in summer 2004. Han Gi-ju, played by Park Shin-yang, is a divorced man working in Paris as head of GD Motors. Gang Tae-young, played by Kim Jeong-eun, is a poor student chasing her father's dream to study in Paris. She ends up working for Gi-ju as a part-time maid — and also his date for a business function.
They return to Seoul only to enter into a love triangle with Gi-ju's nephew. In the first couple of episodes, Gi-ju's Parisian home actually was the 27th-floor penthouse of The Oakwood Premier in Seoul. (I had the chance to stay there in January with my brother, and the two-bedroom, two-bath — with kitchen — suite was much cheaper than comparable luxury-class hotels.) The penthouse is where Tae-young worked as a maid, leaving cute notes and reminders for her boss. The lobby lounge also was the location for a few scenes in "Winter Sonata." When I was there, the bar on the lower level had a picture of Bae Yong-joon out in front.
The Grand Hyatt, north of the Han River, is where the famous swimming-pool scene was shot. Gi-ju and Tae-young's first kiss was shot in the hotel's lobby. Other scenes filmed at the Grand Hyatt: Gi-ju sings for Tae-young at the bar; the college hockey party, which was shot in the nightclub J.J. Mahoneys; and the engagement ceremony, which took place in the grand ballroom.
Jeff Chung is general manager of KBFD, which televises all of these K-dramas. If you have a K-drama question or comment, call KBFD at 521-8066 or write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KBFD INTRODUCES 'MY GIRL' NEXT MONDAY
EPISODES 1 AND 2
In this new 16-episode series, Yoo-rin is a well-meaning tour guide who constantly tells white lies to get out of sticky situations. Her father, on the other hand, is a gambler always looking for that big jackpot. While running away from thugs who are after her father, Yoo-rin meets Gong-chan, a confident hotel heir who is willing to do anything to make his dying grandfather's wish come true, even if it means pretending Yoo-rin is his long-lost cousin.
Airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 7:50 p.m.; re-airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 3 p.m.
Next Monday at 7:50 p.m.: Yoo-rin meets Gong-chan on a plane when she tries to stall it from departing. Then she runs into him while fleeing thugs who are after her father to collect money. Gong-chan hires Yoo-rin to be an interpreter for his Chinese guests at a dinner he's hosting at his vacation home.
Next Tuesday at 7:50 p.m.: Gong-chan asks Yoo-rin to help him find Jung-woo. Yoo-rin gives her father money she earned as an interpreter and tells him to go abroad.
'KNOCKED OUT BY LOVE'
EPISODES 5 AND 6
Wednesday at 7:50 p.m.: In an attempt to console herself after losing her savings in a scam, Da-jung goes on a date with Bok-goo. While drinking with Joon-sung, Eun-seok calls out Min-goo's name. A jealous Joon-sung tries to take her to his hotel room. Bok-goo calls Eun-seok with Min-goo's cell.
Thursday at 7:50 p.m.: Eun-seok is confused about her feelings for Bok-goo. Joon-sung visits Eun-seok's family. Eun-seok finally remembers what happened in Busan, and realizes her feelings for him are deepening. Bok-goo takes a job as a hit man.
EPISODES 17 AND 18
Friday at 7:50 p.m.: Uncomfortable with what had happened with Yoo-il, Soon-ae tells Yoo-il and Porcupine that she should move out of Yoo-il's place. Yoo-il throws a party to find out how much Un-joo knows.
Saturday at 7:50 p.m.: Kang Joon and Yoo-il brawl over Soon-ae. Kang Joon is speechless when Soon-ae shows concern over Yoo-il. Bum-koo and his gang conclude that Yoo-il and Soon-ae are spies who first stole the pen from the CIA and alert Song Hyun-chul.
Correction: The new K-drama "My Girl" will start Monday. "To Marry a Millionaire" concludes tonight. Information in an earlier version of this story was incorrect.