Seoul Broadcasting System’s (SBS) famous soap opera “My Love From the Star” has been attracting overseas visitors to its filming locations. As the drama is currently enjoying great popularity in China, a growing number of Chinese tourists are coming to Korea to visit the locations.

The soap opera has drawn a lot of attention to not only the clothes and props used by its main characters, but also to the beautiful locations and sceneries shot in every episode. Among the shoot locations, some popular spots include Jangsado Island in Tongyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang Province), where Cheon Song-yi, played by Jeon Ji-hyun, and her extraterrestrial boyfriend Do Min-jun, played by Kim Soo-hyun, have a date. Other popular sites include Petit France, a French village-themed park in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi Province), Incheon National University, the Korean Folk Village and N Seoul Tower.

It was to Jangsado Island that Do Min-jun and Cheon Song-yi fled to avoid the crowds. To get there, visitors need to get on a ferry at the Tongyeong ferry terminal and pass through the center of the Hallyeo National Marine Park for 40 minutes. A tunnel made with camellias greets visitors when they arrive on the island. The tunnel is made with 100,000 camellia trees. Other attractions include the Yeonriji tree and a rainbow-shaped bridge. The Yeonriji tree is also known as the “Love Tree,” as it means that two trees with different roots can grow together as one. For this reason, Cheon envies the tree, as it can live together forever entwined with its lover. The rainbow-shaped bridge is located in the center of the island. From the bridge, people can enjoy a breathtaking view created by the ocean and the snake-shaped island. .

According to Jangsado Sea Park staff, the average number of monthly visitors was 300 until this January, but rose to 870 in February. From March 1 to 17, more than 41,000 tourists visited the island. That works out to more than 2,400 visitors every day.


The camellia flowers create a picturesque view in early spring on Jangsado Island. (courtesy of the Jangsado Sea Park)


A tunnel made with camellia trees welcomes visitors to Jangsado Island. (courtesy of the Jangsado Sea Park)

Petit France, in Gapyeong, is another famous location thanks to the soap opera. In this theme park, Do confesses his feelings for Cheon and kisses her while saying, “This is the most selfish thing I can do to you.” Not only the scene, but also the beautiful night view and surroundings of Petit France as a backdrop, created a big sensation amongst viewers. According to theme park staff, after the park was featured in the drama, its daily visitor numbers rose from 300 on an average weekday to 2,000 per day, and from 1,000 to 5,000 on weekends. Nearly 60 percent of the visitors are from mainland China. Thanks to the increased number of visitors, the theme park recently extended its closing time to 8 p.m.


Tourists take photos at one of the shooting locations for “My Love From the Star” in Petit France, Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province. (courtesy of Petit France)

Some other popular shooting locations in Seoul include the N Seoul Tower. At the restaurant on top of the tower, Cheon longs for her boyfriend after he leaves her while watching the night view of Seoul. On the terrace at the base of the tower, the couple promises to love each other forever and locks a small padlock with their names engraved on it to the railing as a sign of their love. N Seoul Tower has always been known as a major tourist destination for the city, as people can enjoy a view of the whole metropolitan area. Thanks to the soap opera fever, however, it is now enjoying even more popularity, especially amongst Chinese visitors.


N Seoul Tower and the roof terrace where “locks of love” are hung by adoring couples. (photo: Jeon Han)


Tens of thousands of “love locks” are hung on the railing of the terrace at the base of the N Seoul Tower. Tourists are flocking here to the place their own padlock, as featured in “My Love From the Star.” (photo: Jeon Han)


Flower beds in full bloom welcome visitors to the pavilion near the N Seoul Tower. (photo: Jeon Han)

Incheon National University has also been enjoying a new-found popularity. Chinese tourists are visiting the university to see the classroom where Do, a professor, gave a lecture in certain episodes. The seat where Cheon sat inside the classroom has become a particularly famous spot for a photograph. According to the university, about 16 campus locations were featured in the drama. Amongst them, Chinese visitors have made lists of the top eight must-see locations at the university.


A classroom at Incheon National University where Do Min-jun gives a lecture. The classroom is now one of the must-see locations for many Chinese tourists. (courtesy of Incheon National University)


The SBS crew films an episode of “My Love From the Star” at the Incheon National University campus. (courtesy of Incheon National University)

The Korean Folk Village has also seen a rise in visitors. It is here that, according to the show, Do had to make an emergency landing some 400 years ago. At the folk village, the director shot various scenes set during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), such as a rendezvous between Do and noted Joseon doctor Heo Jun (1539-1615).

The actor who plays Do, Kim Soo-hyun, also filmed a famous MBC drama here, “Moon Embracing the Sun” (2012). According to the folk village, CCTV, the Chinese state broadcaster, recently visited the site to shoot in more detail the locations used by SBS. The staff added that the village continues to receive many enquiries from Hong Kong and Taiwan about visiting the place.

By Yoon Sojung Staff Writer