When in South Korea, most people remain in Seoul or travel south to well-known tourist destinations such as Busan and Jeonju. But right next to Seoul is Goyang, a fairly new built up city which is continually expanding and gaining a reputation for being a broadcasting city. This past January, we got the chance to head out of Seoul and discover its neighbouring city, Goyang, which has offices of two of the major South Korean broadcasting companies, SBS and MBC Dream Centre. It is also an increasingly popular filming location for Korean dramas and films.
Korean dramas are the reason why many people become interested in South Korea and its culture and it remains one of the biggest exports of South Korea. We’re sure many have visited Seoul Tower to look for that coffee machine and sit in the cable car just like Gu Jun-pyo and Geum Jan-di in Boys over Flowers. So for all the K-Drama lovers out there, Goyang is the place to visit if you like to hunt for locations from your favourite dramas. For example, did any of you know that Dream High 1 and 2 were filmed in Goyang, as well as being partly funded by the City itself!?
Dream High 1 was an idol studded Korean drama that starred Taec-yeon and Woo-young of 2pm, Suzy from Miss A, Korea’s little sister IU, as well as veteran legend himself JYP and many others. It was also the series that brought beloved Song Sam-dong aka Kim Soo-hyun into the limelight and helped him become the recognised actor that we know today! Dream High has gone on to make another series featuring more of our favourite idols and has become a very popular series amongst Kpop fans. And for all those dreaming of being a fellow student at the much coveted Dream High, at the K-Culture centre in Ilsan Park, you can dress up in the famous and super fashionable Dream High school uniform and get photos taken with the cast (via a blue screen, but hey it’s something!)
There are also many items on display that will no doubt excite all the K-Drama fans.
With more and more dramas and films being filmed in Goyang (like Good Morning President, No Mercy, and The Secret Reunion), it is becoming a increasingly popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
While in Goyang City, we also got a mini tour of the SBS headquarters, getting a sneak peak at the editing studios where all the amazing signature effects that variety show viewers love are added. Many fans of variety shows will know how much effects are added into shows like Star King and Weekly Idol (e.g. EXO’s amazing special powers) and the vital part they play in making the shows even more fun and entertaining. Seeing all the editors in action makes you realise just how much work goes into each episode.
We were even able to go onto the set of a popular show, Midnight TV Entertainment (한밤의 TV연예). As we walked through the doors we stepped into a large and mostly empty room with a lifted platform in the centre where the set of Midnight TV Entertainment stood. The set was surrounded in all directions by rows of lights, microphones and cameras used during filming. The main stage was quite spacious with most of the props located along the side and back walls, giving the guests space to move around and making it feel more like a room than a studio. The chairs on set were surprisingly comfortable and a lot of fun to spin around on! Midnight TV Entertainment has seen many top stars including SNSD and more recently Infinite, so it was very exciting to be able to see the set where a lot of the action happens. We also got to sit in the presenters’ chairs, who at the time was Rock star band YB’s Yoon Do-hyun and SNSD’s Soo-young. We’re not sure whose chair is whose but either way we’re happy! This is definitely a memory that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
So to all you K-Drama fans, why not take a trip to Goyang during your next trip to South Korea. Goyang is located just north of Seoul and is reachable via the metro on the Orange line No. 3 between stations Wondang and the end of the line, Daehwa. Also on the green line Gyeongui between stations Daegok and Ilsan.
The K-Culture centre is located inside Ilsan Park next to the Air Kids Land (에어키즈랜드) at the bottom end of the park. The closest metro station is Madu with a 15 minute walk to the park.