There’s something about South Korea that keeps pulling us back time and time again. It’s like a siren call. If you’ve been to the country, you’ll know exactly just what we mean.

While sight-seeing and food hunting are often top priority, we recently got to experience the K-pop fever and immerse ourselves in various music activities. From musicals to live performances, here are some attractions to check out the next time you visit Seoul and Gangwon:

1. Music Bank: Enjoy a K-pop concert for free

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Whoever that claims that “less is more” clearly has never attended Music Bank (뮤직뱅크). For the uninitiated, Music Bank is KBS’s long-run music chart show that airs every week where various K-pop stars will come to promote their new singles. There’s everyone from new rookies, indie bands, comeback artists, idol groups and more.

On 4th October, we were fortunate enough to witness Twice (“Fancy”, “Feel Special”), SEVENTEEN (“Fear”, “Snap Shot”), NCT Dream (“Boom”, “Stronger”), ONEUS (“Lit”), Red Velvet (“Zimzalabim”), CLC and many more. Our favourite moments were when the balladeers sang their hearts out live, but watching the other K-pop acts lip sync to their sickening choreography were equally entertaining.

Tickets for Music Bank are given out through an online lottery. After creating a KBS account here, concert-goers can sign up for the lottery in hopes to win tickets here. Application for tickets are usually made a week prior to airing. So if you aren’t lucky this week, try again for the next show.

While we were in the area, we also dropped by…

The Gangneung Coffee Festival

Ever since it’s first event a decade ago, the Gangneung Coffee Festival has been a tourist attraction for coffee addicts to enjoy the city’s outstanding hand dripped coffee. This coffee culture celebrates famous coffee chains and artisan coffee shops with interesting events including exhibitions, coffee-making process and coffee bean-roasting experience programs.

2. Watch “Only You” musical

“Only You” will make you laugh and cry, but more importantly, the message of love will resonate deeply. This contemporary musical drama centers on the life-long marriage of an ordinary couple from Gyeongsang province that spans over 3 decades. Instead of using musical numbers, this award-winning show features famous 1990s K-pop hits.

The 4 main characters in the story are:

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  • Kang Bong-sik (Husband) – A short tempered yet has a soft side to his personality.
  • Lee Pil-rye (Wife) – Affectionate and easy-going but her indecisiveness often drives her hubby up the wall.
  • Kang Eun-ji (Daughter)
  • Han Yeong-seok (Son-in-law)

P/s: Fret not if you don’t understand Korean as subtitles in English, Chinese and Japanese are provided.

The details for “Only You” are as follows:

  • Venue: JTN Art Hall Theater 3, 26, Ihwajang-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Ticket prices: 50,000 won
  • Opening hours: Wednesday – Friday: 8pm / Saturday: 3pm & 6:30pm / Sunday & National Holidays: 3pm
  • Contact: +82-70-8245-2602
  • How to get there: Alight at Hyehwa Station (Seoul Subway line 4), exit 2. Walk along the stream and past the Elementary School until you see the Art Hall on the right.

3. Daehakro Festival: Non-verbal performances

Daehak-ro is said to be the “Korean version of Broadway where culture meets art”. Since its inception it 2017, Daehakro (대학로) has been a festival where music lovers can gather to enjoy musicals, plays, and various Korean performing art genres.

Earlier this month, we were fortunate to gather at Marronnier Park to witness a series of non-verbal performances by groups of talented locals, all gathered in a single location. These acts are usually staged in major theatres across Seoul.

 

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– 넌버벌 퍼포먼스 현장 스케치, 맑은 가을 하늘 아래서 펼쳐진 다채로운 공연 현장! – #넌버벌 #웰컴대학로 #드럼캣 #팡쇼 #셰프 #판타스틱 #썬앤문 #점프 #쿵 #페인터즈 #welcomedaehakro

A post shared by 웰컴대학로 (@welcomedaehakro) on

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The 2019 Daehakro Performing Arts & Tourism Festival is held from 2nd September till 27th October. Some of the acts that we got to witness were Drumcat, Pang Show, Chef: A New Brand of Bibap, Sun & Moon, Fanta Stick, Jump, “KUNG” Season 3: Dreamer and Painters.

For more info, check out the official website.

4. Nanta Academy Drum experience

Nanta is a well-known non-verbal performance in Korea that specialises in rhythms, beats and body movements with the help of Korean traditional instruments. To experience this culture performance, visitors can enrol in the Nanta Academy for drum lessons. Besides learning a new skill through the rhythms of Nanta, this hobby is also great for stress relief!

5. Moonlight Tour at Changdeokgung Palace

Much has been said about the stunning Changdeokgung Palace (also known as Donggwol). Named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997, Changdeokgung Palace is one of the 5 Grand Palaces built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). As the longest-serving royal residential palace, these architectural gems didn’t just housed kings and queens, but it was also the center of politics and city life back in the day.

The Moonlight Tour offers tourist a different perspective of Changdeokgung Palace. Attendees are given paper lanterns as you explore the grounds. Our highlight though, was the traditional performance at Yeongyeongdang Hall where we also got to enjoy traditional tea.

For the next 30 minutes, there were an array of gugak (traditional Korean music) performances, pansori, shadow play, and traditional dance. The wooden house mirrors the same styles of homes in the Joseon era where the royal family were entertained with various ceremonies and performances.

Do note that foreigners are only allocated limited time slots with only 100 tickets per night. Therefore, visitors are advised to secure tickets online.

The details to Changdeokgung Palace’s Moonlight Tour are as follows:

  • Address: 99, Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 종로구 율곡로 99)
  • Admission: 30,000 won
  • Website

 

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Day 4 of #HypeMYTravels: Stunning performance by a group of women during our Changdeokgung Moonlight night tour.

A post shared by Hype Malaysia (@hypemy) on

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For more information, hit up the Korea Tourism Organisation (Malaysia) website or Facebook page. Alternatively, you can follow them on Instagram.

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Justin
Usually awkward & quiet, but gets talkative once the conversation revolves around movies, TV shows, music, and entertainment. (Contact: [email protected])