During my trip back to South Korea last February, I was fortunate enough to have my friend Rann with me. She’s one of my k-wave buddies. Since it’s a first time for both of us to travel with a k-wave fan, we decided to go to the ultimate k-drama destination, Dae Jang Geum Park (MBC Dramia). Having this in the itinerary is unusual since it’s not so popular with first-time tourists to Korea. However, if you are a historical k-drama fan, this is a must-go destination.
While I was researching about it, I found out that there were very few resources/blogs written about the place. It’s a bit far from Seoul. We almost cut it off our itinerary because of bad weather, but I’m glad we didn’t. So I’m writing this post to try to excite and encourage people to visit Dae Jang Geum Park. I promise that it won’t disappoint.
Dae Jang Geum Park, previously known as MBC Dramia was an outdoor film set owned by MBC. It’s located at Yongin, Gyeonggi-do province. I believe sets of Jewel in the Palace were built here for the 2003 drama. However, the park was only opened to tourists in 2011.
MBC continued to expand this to be a big set for it’s other historical dramas. Popular dramas shot here are Jumong, Moon Embracing the Sun, Dong Yi, Queen Sheondeok, and Empress Ki. The complex features permanent sets imitating buildings from the Korean Three Kingdoms, Goryeo, and Joseon.
HOW TO GO THERE
- Take the Seoul Subway (Orange Line / Line 3) and alight at Nambu Bus Terminal Station.
- Ride a bus to Baekam (백암) and alight at Baekam Bus Terminal. The ticket costs about 4,500 KRW but prepare extra in case the fare increased.
- Don’t go down once the bus stops. Baekam is not the first stop. Baekam is the third stop after Yang Ji (양지) and Jwa Jeon (좌전). The trip from Seoul to Baekam is 50 minutes. You have to listen well in the recording to know if it’s the right stop. If you’re not sure, sit near the driver and ask if it’s Baekam. I remember I asked the driver, “Ajusshi, Baekam yogi-yo?” (Is this Baekam?), when we traveled. If they say, “Ne”, it means yes. If they say, “Aniyo”, it’s not.
- Take Bus 105 (photo below). The last stop of this bus is Dae Jang Geum Park. The bus interval is around 50 minutes to 120 minutes. You can look at the monitors in the bus stop to check if a bus is near and how many minutes left until it arrives. If you miss it, you can take a taxi going to Yongin Dae Jang Geum Park. The taxi trip is about 10 to 15 minutes and costs 8,500 KRW. If you’re a big group, just take a taxi.
NOTE: For the #105 Bus, get on at the Hanaro Drugstore (across Baekam Bus Terminal) when you are heading to Dae Jang Geum Park. If you’re going back to Seoul, buy a ticket and get on at the Baekam Bus Terminal.
IMPORTANT! The last bus to Baekam leaves the park at 5:00pm (Winter Season). Ask the staff in the counter if the time is different for Summer Season.
I used these sources when I was planning: 1) Travel With Karla (https://travelwithkarla.com/2017/05/09/mbc-dramia/) 2) Imagine Your Korea (http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=2503965). For this post, I added information from the Dae Jang Geum brochure/map given upon entrance to the park.
Here are some more photos of the sites we’ve visited. Rann and I only had two hours to tour so we handpicked the sites we wanted to see. I’ve included the attraction number on the photos so you can check the location on the map above. My tip is to leave Seoul early, like 7-8am, so you can have a longer time to explore the park.
Also, you can rent hanboks here for 20,000 KRW. We didn’t have time to do this but I will surely be back to remedy this. I realized that pictures will really look better if you have traditional hanboks on.
Upon entering the park, the first attraction you will see is the Jewel in the Palace Set. Kitchen scenes were done here. Below is my photo with some of the character standees. In front of the building, you will see Jang Geum and the captain.
There were also standees of Lee Seung Gi, Suzy, and other artists who did MBC historical dramas but I was only able to take a picture with the Kim Soo Hyun one.
Maybe because it was winter when I went there that the marketplace set was not setup. I’ve seen photos of other tourists where tables and props were displayed. Anyway, this area was also used in Dong Yi, Moon Embracing the Sun, Warrior K, Tale of Arang and the Lord, The King’s Doctor, and Hur Jun, the Original Story. I still have to check but I think this was also in Ruler Master of the Mask.
I had two reasons why I wanted to visit this place. The first one was this bridge. I wanted to see this bridge. This scene was really iconic for me when I watched Empress Ki, because I love Ji Chang Wook. Hahahaha
I kind of developed a habit because of this place. Whenever I see prison scenes in historical dramas, I check if this was the set used. Hahahaha
I discovered this scene after I visited Dae Jang Geum Park. I watched Hwayugi (Korean Odyssey) after I went there. Since the sets were still fresh on my mind, I was able to spot that this was the shoot location for episode 2. I also discovered that other networks rent this place to film as well, since TVN produced Hwayugi, not MBC.
The 2nd reason I wanted to go here is to see the Military Drill Hall, a set in Splash Splash Love. Please watch that movie. Kim Seul Gi is such a great actress. I first discovered her in Oh My Ghost. Hahaha. Yes, I’m promoting Splash Splash Love here! 🙂
So there you go! I hope I was able to convince you to visit Dae Jang Geum Park. If you recognize the sets from other dramas, please do tell me. Also, let me know your experience after you visit, okay?
I’ve included other details below for your reference. There’s no restaurant in the area so I suggest you eat a heavy meal. There is a cafe and vendos in the park where you can purchase food and drinks. It’s not in the rules but please refrain from eating while touring the sets.
- Adults (age over 19): 7,000 KRW
- Middle and High School Students (age 13 – 18): 6,000 KRW
- Children (age 4-12): 5,000 KRW
- Pre-schooler under 4): Free
Special discount rate is applied to locals (living in Yongin), group tour (minimum 20 persons), the disabled, senior citizens, and veterans, when supporting documents are presented.
- Summer Season (Mar – Oct): 9:00 – 18:00
- Winter Season (Nov – Feb): 9:00 – 17:00
- The park is open throughout the year.
- Admission is allowed until 1 hour before the closing time.
PLEASE BE AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING DURING YOUR VISIT!
- Visitors may be restricted from accessing some of the places in the park, including filming sites, for synchronous recording of sound and picture is often required during filming. Please note that this restriction cannot be a reason to get a refund on the ticket cost.
- Due to the characteristics of the filming sets, wheelchairs and strollers may not be allowed. Please pay particular attention to the safety of children and senior citizens.
- Visitors are restricted from accessing indoor filming sets.
- Pets are not allowed.
- Smoking is not allowed for fire prevention.