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Jan 10, 2022

Pohang: The Filming Location of Hometown Cha Cha Cha

Elizabeth Boyd

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Hometown Cha Cha Cha was a drama that stole everyone’s hearts. From the beautiful seaside village and funny antics of the residents to the heartwarming love story between Chief and Ms. Dentist–it’s no wonder why Korean visitors are trying to visit the filming locations of this Netflix hit. And I’m among them! Here are some of the top spots I have on my list to explore once my South Korean travel plans fall into place.

The Classic Red Lighthouse

Classic red lighthouse featured in the Netflix drama, Hometown Cha Cha Cha.
Figure 1. Classic red lighthouse featured in the Netflix drama, Hometown Cha Cha Cha.

There are a few red lighthouses in the Pohang area, but the one associated with the drama is called, “Cheongjin Hang North Breakwater Light.” To be honest, it’s more of a red tower than a typical lighthouse, but with plenty of Hometown Cha Cha Cha charm, who cares?! During the drama, this was the location of their wedding photos, along with plenty of other moments. It’s a hallmark of the show, being in the background of so many scenes. I wouldn’t feel like I was in the drama’s fictional village unless I saw that red structure peeking out in the distance.

I imagine later in the day, this spot might be a little more crowded and harder to get photos without people in the background. Because of this, I’d aim to start here first and get there in the morning. However, I also might like to snack on a sandwich in the afternoon and dangle my legs over the side just like Chief did in the moonlight.

Wolpo Beach in Pohang

Episode one’s classic beach encounter was filmed at Wolpo Beach. Hometown Cha Cha Cha
Figure 2. Episode one’s classic beach encounter was filmed at Wolpo Beach.

Do I want to fall into a daze gazing at the horizon, contemplating my future and all that my life has held whilst wearing sparkling high heels? Yes, yes I do. Okay, maybe not the part about the pumps, but come on, how could I not have a moment on the seashore where it all started? The tan sand and mellow waves (depending on the weather, at least) seem like the perfect spot for some self reflection, and maybe a snack or two. I’m sure there are some convenience stores close to the shoreline that would offer a cold drink or an ice cream. And honestly, after testing out the Chickadee app in my travel planning, I most definitely would have the app on hand for this trip. So I’d probably end up texting a member of my team to help me find some good shaved ice nearby.

Apparently, this beach can get pretty popular, with plenty of folks on floaties and walking along the shore. One of my favorite things to do at the beach, besides thinking deep thoughts, is looking for wildlife and shells. I wonder if Wolpo has any starfish or crabs? Only one way to find out!

Sabang Commemorative Park

Sabang Commemorative Park has more to offer than just this boat!  Hometown Cha Cha Cha
Figure 3. Sabang Commemorative Park has more to offer than just this boat!

Chief’s grandfather’s boat: it’s not only sentimental but it comes with a grand view of the ocean. Turns out, this filming location is a part of a memorial park that consists of museums and many sculptures. According to Pohang’s tourism website, “The Sabang Memorial Park has an indoor exhibition room that collects and exhibits materials that contain the soul and sweat of erosion engineers who contributed to the reforestation of the country by engaging in erosion control projects to pass the spring season in the 60s and 70s, and various kinds of erosion control projects. The type of project was actually constructed on the mountain behind the memorial hall so that the forest restoration technology could be grasped at a glance.” The surrounding park and indoor exhibits feature how these efforts were accomplished.

There are also some ancient relics inside and videos detailing the events. I love history, and though I probably wouldn’t be spending a significant amount of time in this museum, I certainly will appreciate the cultural significance. This makes this landmark a double win for me.

Coffee in the Middle of the Day and Beer in the Moonlight Gongjin Cafe

Turns out this is a hardware store and not a coffee shop. Hometown Cha Cha Cha
Figure 4. Turns out this is a hardware store and not a coffee shop.

Rip my heart out; turns out this isn’t a real cafe! Believe it or not, this is the exterior of a hardware store. But you know what? That’s okay. With the iconic exterior still being in place (at the present), I’m still keeping it on my list! This cafe was the hub of so many town chats. Maybe I’ll buy some coffee nearby and make my way over to snap a picture before heading on to my next Pohang adventure.

Cheongha Market

Figure 5. The small market featured in Hometown Cha Cha Cha is Cheongha Market.
Figure 5. The small market featured in Hometown Cha Cha Cha is Cheongha Market.

Near the Gongjin coffee shop (hardware store) is the Cheongha Market. Though this might not be impressive to many, this market and surrounding area are special to Hometown Cha Cha Cha lovers. After seeing several dramas with markets, I am really looking forward to this particular spot.

As a child, we had an outdoor “flea” market near our home in Orlando. I remember so many weekends spent walking between the dusty paths to explore people’s laid out tarps full of second-hand belongings. There was food there, too, and more professional street vendors. The flea market was always an adventure because you never knew what kind of deals you would run into there. I imagine it will be a similar feeling at the Cheongha Market.

The much larger Jukdo Market in Pohang caught my eye.
Figure 6. The much larger Jukdo Market in Pohang caught my eye.

I’ve watched quite a few videos of Korean markets, and I’m mostly excited about the new variety of food I could find there. It wouldn’t surprise me if I also visit the larger Jukdo Market while I’m in Pohang. The reviews and pictures of this place on travel blogs are raving! Because it’s next to the sea, the fresh seafood is worth boasting about.

Besides the seafood, I also hope to buy some Korean pears. In Orlando, we have a Lotte Market and I loved to buy those huge round fruits. I haven’t had one in about two years and I look forward to eating some during my trip, where they would be fresher than the ones I had in Florida!  

What about the houses?

So many fans visited the houses from the show that producers told visitors to stop.  Hometown Cha Cha Cha
Figure 7. So many fans visited the houses from the show that producers told visitors to stop.

If you’re a fan of the show, you might be wondering why I didn’t mention visiting the homes of the main characters (which are easy to access). I had originally planned on strolling by and taking a few photos, but then I read online that people actually live there and the poor folks couldn’t catch a break from tourists. To avoid ruining someone’s peace, I decided to not place it on my list. Instead, I’ll be sticking to tourist-friendly filming locations.  

Bonus: Space Walk Structure

The spacewalk in Pohang, South Korea
Figure 8. This Space Walk was completed in 2021.

This was not in Hometown Cha Cha Cha but it is in the Pohang area, and while doing my research I stumbled onto it! It’s actually relatively new, completed in November of 2021. The Space Walk walkway is located in Hwanho Park. This art installation resembles a rollercoaster and is constructed of steel. It gives amazing views of the ocean and is just a wonder to look at. You cannot walk on it past 5 pm on most days, so I’ll probably need to see this during the day if I want to stroll on it (though look how beautiful it is at night).

Second Bonus: Pohang Ship Experience

Pohang Ship Experience, Pohang, South Korea
Figure 9. Pohang Ship Experience is right up my alley!

This is unrelated to Hometown Cha Cha Cha too (unless you count episode one where Chief is on a ship). Just know, if I’m in the area, I’m going to live it up! This Ship Experience caught my eye immediately. A few years ago, I was traveling with my father in South Carolina and we stopped by Charleston’s Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. Here, we explored the inside of many ships used in wars and now on display for guests to tour. It was a highlight of our road trip!

Though I would have never expected this type of experience to bring me so much joy, it truly did. The self-guided tour through the ships was a delight. I imagine Pohang’s Ship Experience would give me a thrill as well! Though I might not be able to read the Korean descriptions of the ships, I will happily sound out the Korean words for fun as I explore the ship’s quarters.

I truly didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what the Pohang area has to offer. I was shocked at the many things to do in the area. And I didn’t even explore all the incredible restaurants yet! Because of this, when I visit, I think I’ll try and stay at least a couple of days. I don’t want to rush through these places, though I think I could probably hit most of my bucket list in one day if I tried. Hopefully, I won’t have to and can give myself a good amount of time in this amazing region!

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