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November 1st, 2021

The Best Locations from Crash Landing on You

Elizabeth Boyd
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Crash Landing on You opened so many up to South Korean dramas. It was the first K-Drama many of my friends have watched. The story is an easy gateway into a new culture and world. Crash Landing on You focuses on Seri, a South Korean woman who paraglides into North Korea and is aided by a North Korean captain and his men. It’s filled with adventure, romance, suspense, and an overall heartwarming plot. This was the second drama I watched and it was so masterfully done. I fell in love with the characters and the landscape. If I get a chance to visit some of the filming locations whilst in South Korea, I will be so happy!

North Korean Village (Taean)

Captain Ri and Se-ri in "Crash Landing on You"
Figure 1. Captain Ri and Seri in "Crash Landing on You"

The first half of the show was my favorite, when viewers were enraptured by the small North Korean village. The best news is, you don’t have to go to North Korea to see it! This village was filmed in Taean, South Korea. It’s quite a drive from Seoul (about two hours), however, if you’re a die-hard CLOY fan it would be well worth the trek. Granted, the North Korean setup of the place is no longer there. However, many of the structures still seem to be standing!

Nothing was more iconic in Crash Landing on You than Captain Ri’s house. His home is still in picture-perfect shape, just like in the show. Some visitors were even able to go inside the house (can you imagine!?). This area is officially called, “Moseokwon Pension House.” Regardless of if I’d be able to go inside or not, just standing at the gate alone would be bucket list worthy.

Even if you can’t go past the gate surrounding the home, there is a hill next to his house that you can climb up to see the filming location from a better vantage. One visitor did this and they were able to see the entire backyard, where Seri and the soldiers had their soju dinner party and spent so many scenes.

This home was a huge part of the show and would be the top of my list to see. I anticipate that I’d wear some sort of floral dress to mimic the theme of the garb from the show. I think it would also be really cool to picnic there. It might be a good idea to pack food anyways, since it is quite the journey. However, I wouldn’t want to rush through the village and take my time in those surroundings. Being able to sit and eat a sandwich (or potato, like in the show) would add to the experience.

North Korean Picnic (Binae Island, Chungju)

North Korean soldiers enjoying picnic in "Crash Landing on You"
Figure 2. North Korean army officers having picnic in "Crash Landing on You"

This was such a warm moment in the show. The picnic with Seri and the soldiers in the field next to the river was so joyful and sweet. This area in South Korea is actually known for backpacking and camping! I went looking through some blogs of travelers who visited Binae Island and they commented on how peaceful it is. The combination of the moving water and mountains makes for the perfect camping spot. Over the past few years, watching people (whether it’s BTS or in a K-Drama) go camping and eat delicious meals over a portable grill has really piqued my interest in doing it for myself. I never went camping with my family growing up, and feel like it’s a milestone I need to check off as a human being. I’d love to camp here of all places.

Captain Ri & Seri’s Romantic Walk (Hantan River Sky Bridge, Pocheon)

Captain Ri & Seri’s Romantic Walk on Hantan River Sky Bridge, Pocheon in "Crash Landing on You"
Figure 3. Captain Ri and Seri's Romantic walk on "Crash Landing on You" (Left); Hantan River Sky Bridge (Right)

While in South Korea, Captain Ri and Seri go on a walk together and find themselves on the Hantan River Sky Bridge. At first glance, this made me think about the bridge they cross in Switzerland. And apparently it did the same to Captain Ri who begins to recall that one time he saved a woman from jumping off a bridge (Seri). This is a tender moment as Seri realizes that Ri has been her hero all along.

This bridge has been used in a few other K-dramas as well, and it’s no wonder. It’s incredible! It spans over a forest with a river running through it, and the colors are so vivid. There is also a glass portion that allows you to look straight down. I’ve never been on a bridge like this and can only imagine how awestruck it would make me.

I like how the bridge itself doesn’t seem to impose on the natural landscape. The way the construction was done and the materials used...it seems to just belong there. This is a great place to stop, too, because any time of year would be beautiful to visit.

Seo Dan & Gu Seung Joon’s Confession Spot (Tangeum Lake Rainbow Bridge in Chungju)

Seo Dan & Gu Seung Joon’s Confession Spot in "Crash Landing on You"– Tangeum Lake Rainbow Bridge in Chungju
Figure 4. Tangeum Lake Rainbow Bridge in Chungju

This stunning rainbow bridge was featured in a romantic scene between Seo Dan and Gu Seung Joon while they were in North Korea. The scene was actually when they confessed to each other, which makes it an extra special spot. This bridge in particular is in Chungju and overlooks the waters of Tangeum Lake. During the day it has a nice view, but obviously the appeal happens at night.

I can imagine drinking a cup of hot chocolate, with the cold night air and the breeze from the lake. I’d be strolling down the rainbow bridge with my traveling companion, likely recapping the day or past few days of the trip. Maybe we would dive into deep conversation on culture and things we had observed. My mind can easily imagine it and wow do I want to experience it!

North Korean Forest (Hallasan National Park in Jeju Island)

Seri encountered Captain Ri in the forest in "Crash Landing on You" (Left); Hallasan National Park (Right)
Figure 5. Seri encountered Captain Ri in the forest in "Crash Landing on You" (Left); Hallasan National Park (Right)

Here is where it all began. Seri gets stuck in a North Korean forest where she encounters Captain Ri and we haven’t been the same since. This national park is stunning. It covers nearly 60 square miles and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is no such thing as overselling this park!  

Hallasan Mountain is the tallest in all of Korea, and locally the name means, "high enough to pull the universe." By some, it is considered a holy space where gods live. At the top is a crater lake named Baengnokdam. The lake’s circumference is a little over a mile. It is a stunning site and no wonder locals thought the gods inhabited such a place. You can take the five mile hike to the top to see for yourself and get gorgeous panoramic views.

This national park also boasts Gwaneumsa, a Buddhist temple originally constructed in 1083. It was destroyed in 1702 but soon rebuilt. I love history and would love to visit such a historic structure. As an American, most of the “old” buildings I’ve seen have dated back to the 1800s and no sooner. Being able to see a temple from the 18th century, and one that was previously there since the 11th, would be a real treat.

Of course, I would like to hike through the forest and see the setting for this iconic scene, but I’m so thankful that the park is astounding outside of that. This would be a great place to take someone who wasn’t familiar with Crash Landing on You because it has an appeal to almost anyone.

Pyongyang, North Korea Hotel (Commodore Hotel in Busan)

Seri and Gu Seung Joon in "Crash Landing on You" (Left); Inside of Commodore Hotel in Busan (Right)
Figure 6. Seri and Gu Seung Joon in "Crash Landing on You" (Left); Inside of Commodore Hotel in Busan (Right)

This hotel appeared several times in the show and is where Seri and Ri run into Gu Seung Joon, as well as Seo Dan. With a stunning interior, and moderate pricing, I 100% plan to stay here. This hotel has a standard gym, sauna, and indoor swimming pool. I however will likely be found spending my free time in one of their restaurants.

Their Onsaemiro Restaurant piqued my interest most. The traditional Korean theming is so aesthetically pleasing, and buffet style is an option so you can take as long as you like. This style is one I enjoy the most in dining. There is nothing worse than feeling rushed, and in such a beautiful space, I would want to take my time! However, it is also possible to order off of a menu, which features a couple of Korean dishes I’ve been wanting to try such as abalone porridge and oxtail soup!

Commodore Hotel has a lovely lounge, COMO1979. This is more reflective of the space where the CLOY characters sat down to talk. They have quite the selection of drinks, from tea and coffee to fresh juice and alcohol. They even offer some nonalcoholic cocktails. Since I do a good deal of work online, I assume I wouldn’t take work completely off for my trip (so that I could stay longer in the country!). This would be the perfect spot to bring my laptop and get in some assignments and answer emails. The tall glass windows in the lounge offer the perfect amount of natural light and the cushioned couches encourage extended stay.

Like many, Crash Landing on You solidified my love for K-Dramas. I would be doing a disservice to myself if I didn’t visit at least one of these locations during my Korea trip.

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