[WEEKEND GETAWAY] Four places in 'My Dearest' and 'Strong Girl Nam-soon' you should visit
The currently airing TV shows "My Dearest" and "Strong Girl Nam-soon" are not your usual Korean dramas. "My Dearest" is about the lives of the ordinary back in the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), and "Strong Girl Nam-soon" is about a rather weak-looking girl with incredible physical strength. Their plots are full of twists and unique elements. However, they are noteworthy for something else as well, and it's the fact that they are shot in some of the country's most interesting and picturesque locations.
And to save your time from looking up where each show was filmed, the Korea JoongAng Daily did the work and selected these four places.
"My Dearest" is a two-part historical drama show, and its second part premiered on Oct. 13. It features a love story during the Qing invasion of Joseon in the 17th century, between Lee Jang-hyun, an aristocrat played by Namkoong Min, and Yoo Gil-chae, played by Ahn Eun-jin. The show has been receiving many positive reviews for the actors' impressive acting and its well-written script.
The show is special in that it shows Korea's timeless natural landscapes rather than the Joseon Dynasty's royal palaces or its historical sites. While many historical dramas focus on recreating fancy royal buildings or relics of the past, "My Dearest" pays more attention to the pain and suffering of ordinary people outside the royal palaces.
Hagwon Farm in Gochang County, North Jeolla, also seen in the show's official poster, serves as the background of the love story between the couple. The farm's Gochang Green Barley Field, covering an area of 495,868 square meters (122 acres) of land, creates a perfect shooting location for love stories with its scenic and romantic atmosphere. The field hosts a green barley festival every April. During the fall, the vast field is filled with white buckwheat flowers until the sowing season comes. Throughout the winter, parts of the field stay green regardless of the cold.
There is no admission fee, and parking is free. However, all vehicles must leave the farm after sunset.
Hagwon Farm: 150 Hagwon Nongjang-gil, Gongeum-myeon, Gochang County, North Jeolla (전북 고창군 공음면 학원농장길 150)
Phone number: 063-563-9897
Silver grass field on the summit of Mount Hwangmae, in Hapcheon County, South Gyeongsang, is the background of the tragic farewell of the main couple of “My Dearest.” In the midst of the Qing invasion and the chaos caused by it, Jang-hyun had to leave the land and his lover Gil-chae to follow Crown Prince Sohyeon (1612–45), who was taken hostage by the Qing Dynasty. Jang-hyun and Gil-chae’s dramatic goodbye scene was shot on the peak of Mount Hwangmae, where masses of silver grass elevate the emotional intensity.
Mountain Hwangmae reaches 1,113 meters (3,652 feet), but there’s a parking lot only 300 meters below the peak. “My Dearest” captured spring and winter landscapes, but the essence of this field is highlighted during the fall when the silver grass goes wild.
The spot is also popular among K-pop fans after its appearance in the music video for BTS RM’s “Wild Flower” (2022). A tree standing alone in the middle of the silver grass field there gives dramatic feels to those who visit the location, let alone those who see it on screens.
137-7 Hwangmaesangongwon-gil, Gahoe-myeon, Hapcheon County, South Gyeongsang
(경남 합천군 가회면 황매산공원길 137-7)
Fast-forwarding to the modern era, "Strong Girl Nam-soon," which began airing on Oct. 7, is a romantic comedy and action drama featuring Gang Nam-soon, a girl with extraordinary physical strength.
Nam-soon embarks on a journey of self-discovery and growth, overcoming her trials and tribulations. Actor Lee Yoo-mi plays Gang Nam-soon and does so perfectly, and even though this is a spin-off of “Strong Girl Bong-soon” (2017), viewers still regard it with much enthusiasm and zeal.
Nam-soon, who was lost in Mongolia when she was a child, returns to Korea and first visits Gangnam District and its landmarks. K Star Road, a street in front of Galleria Department Store in Apgujeong-dong, Gangnam District, southern Seoul, is where Hallyu, or the Korean wave, was born in the 1990s.
In fact, the Apgu area used to be home to some of Korea’s largest entertainment agencies, such as SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and Cube Entertainment. It still serves as Korea’s cultural hub and birthplace of many trends, being the chicest part of the capital.
After a while, most of those companies moved to other parts of Seoul, and the neighborhood had been stagnant for some years. However, Apgujeong Rodeo Street has never lost its charms with its plenty of cafes and restaurants that satisfy the foodie needs of young Koreans in their twenties and thirties. Things are not as affordable here, but if you are open to treating yourself with a fancy meal, this is the neighborhood for you.
Singsa-dong, Gangnam District, southern Seoul
(서울 강남구 신사동)
Jamwon Han River Park
About a 20-minute bus ride from the main streets of Apgujeong-dong, Jamwon Han River Park is where Nam-soon takes shelter when she suddenly has nowhere to go after falling victim to housing fraud. She recalls her memory of building a ger during her time back in Mongolia, and installs one in the middle of the park.
Located near the fancy Apgujeong-dong and Singsa-dong, the two popular neighborhoods of Gangnam District, the park attracts both locals and visitors of the city to come and rest after spending a busy day in the city. Just as in any other Han River park, there are convenience stores in the park where you can buy and cook ramen at their outdoor stoves.
Jamwon-dong, Seocho District, southern Seoul
(서울 서초구 잠원동)
BY BAEK JONG-HYUN, KIM DONG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]