Check out where they kissed

March 19, 2014

‘Man from Another Star’ locations draw many foreign hallyu fans

Tourists are busy taking photos at a venue that was featured in a scene in the drama “My Love From the Star” at Petite France, in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. (Korea Times photo by Kim Ji-soo)

Tourists are busy taking photos at a venue that was featured in a scene in the drama “My Love From the Star” at Petite France, in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. (Korea Times photo by Kim Ji-soo)

GAPYEONG — In the inner valleys of Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province, the weather is still in that limbo between winter and spring. But the northern stretch of the Han River was full and smooth, as if inviting visitors to come. Visitors there were, flocking to Petite France, a theme village where a key scene in the TV drama “My Love from the Star” was shot.

As soon as the park opened at 9 a.m., tour buses parked nearby and began pouring out tourists who were fans of the popular drama starring actors Kim Soo-hyun and Jun Ji-hyun.

“I really like the characters,” said Chiu Tzu-ting, 38, a Taipei resident who was in Korea for the first time. Chiu and friends were busy taking photos where Kim’s character, Do Min-joon, flew Jun’s character, Chun Song-i, into the air to bring her to him for a kiss to restart in earnest the romance in the drama.

A scene from “My Love From the Star” shot at Petite France (Courtesy of SBS)

A scene from “My Love From the Star” shot at Petite France
(Courtesy of SBS)

Fellow travelers stood on a plastic stool to pose like Chun, giggling and laughing.

“The drama is popular in Taiwan; I too watched it with my girlfriend,” said Tim Hung, 36, who was traveling in the same group.

Thirty-minutes after opening, tourists from other nations arrived as well, as the theme park had also been the venue for filming other dramas like “Secret Garden” and “Beethoven Virus.”

“Ever since the ‘My Love From the Star,’ we’re seeing about 2,000 tourists visiting, up from like 300,” said Won You-uk, deputy general manager of Petite France. He and his boss, Jin Yong-soon, said that they were expecting a greater influx of tourists, especially the Chinese in summer when the valley turns greener and the weather turns milder.The village also has 26 rooms.

He said that those in the travel industry are expecting a boon from “My Love,” which is posing to become the Korean drama to refuel “hallyu” in a big way for the first time in a decade. Hallyu is largely regarded to have started with the dramas “Winter Sonata” (2002) in Japan and “Jewel in the Palace” (2003).

A classroom at Incheon National University where characters from “My Love From the Star” portrayed a professor and student  (Courtesy of Incheon National University)

A classroom at Incheon National University where characters from “My Love From the Star” portrayed a professor and student
(Courtesy of Incheon National University)

Won added that when travel industry-people went on a road show to China recently, they were busy explaining where the hot tourist destinations were with Petite France as the starting point, not Seoul, reflecting the drama’s popularity in China.

About 28 percent of the Korean drama viewers fell in love with the drama “My Love From the Star” that weaved a dreamy fairytale of love between Kim’s character, a person from another galaxy, and Jun’s character, a top actress. The drama was streamed online to Chinese audience, and they too quickly joined in the fandom.

With the drama, the stars hit a major jackpot where the heartthrob Kim Soo-hyun, who was not well known in China till this work, became a household name. A Chinese satellite television, the Jiangsu Satellite TV, reportedly spent a total of 1 billion won to have Kim tape a segment on its show titled “Super Brain” in the first week of March. The demand for “chimae” or the chicken and beer exploded in China, and makeup Jun sported in the drama flew off the shelves; Kim’s songs from the drama’s OST topped the charts.

The locations featured in the popular Korean soap opera are drawing tourists, in particular the Chinese tourists to sites in Incheon, west of Seoul as well.

At Incheon National University, Chinese tourists can be seen taking photos in the classroom where the characters Do taught and Chun was a student.

“Our campus has about 10 sites where the drama was shot,” said Kim Gwang-soo, PR official for the university in Songdo, Incheon, adding that the sites are included in the campus tour.

Because the school year has begun, the university is working with the Incheon Development and Tourism Corporation so that tourists groups can tour the sites.

The university is not the only place in Incheon attracting the Chinese tourists. The stone pit in Okryeon-dong, nearby Songdo International City, was where the scene where the character Do stops Chun’s car from plunging off a cliff. Deemed dangerous, the place is cordoned off but still tourists reportedly can be seen.

On Wednesday, the city of Daegu said that it has developed a new tour program that will take them through drama filming locations in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province and then to chicken outlets in Daegu.

The drama’s male star Kim Soo-hyun on March 16 kicked off a fan meeting in Seoul, which will see him travel through nine cities in seven countries including Taiwan, three cities in China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand through May.

The rights to the drama have been sold to 15 countries including Israel, Belgium, Myanmar and Cambodia.

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