Get your lightsticks ready!
If you’re an avid fan of K-Pop like me, then chances are, travelling to Seoul would be the ultimate dream come true. I can’t think of a better way to get to know more about my idols than by visiting music shows, their talent agencies, and of course – supporting their official merchandise.
Going to Seoul as a first-timer can be very overwhelming – especially for us K-Pop fans. However, fret not! This K-Pop Seoul guide will endorse you to all the places around the city that’ll give you a better shot at seeing your oppa up close and personal.
4 True KPOP Fan Essentials
As a KPOP fan since 2013, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with the genre. From BTS concerts to simple SHINee fan gatherings, my life as an ARMY and a SHAWOL seemed to always keep me on my toes. By 2017, I’ve had the chance to travel to Seoul with my family and our friends, and believe me- I was so excited that I was finally getting to breathe the same air as my oppa!
After two visits to Seoul and six years of K-Pop fangirling experience, here are 4 true K-Pop fan essentials that you need to take with you to Seoul:
1. Basic Korean words
Before anything else, you have to know a few Korean words in order to survive Seoul. As a KPOP fan, you need to know at least some words otherwise how can you tell your bias that you love them? Basic Korean words for “Hello”, “I love you”, “How much?”, and “Yes/No” are some words that are guaranteed to help you in your travels.
2. Cheering Slogans
Now that you’re familiar with some basic Korean words, let’s go onto making your cheering slogans!If you’re going to attend music shows, concerts, or even fanmeets, then it’s a must that you bring your own cheering slogan to show your support to your favorite group or bias.
As the lights go down, the lightsticks go up! Every K-Pop fan must own their favorite group’s official lightstick. These create a beautiful ocean of color that gives all your idols an idea of all the outpouring love and support their fans have for them.
4. Discover Seoul Pass
The best way to explore Seoul and spazz out over your favorite idols is with your own Discover Seoul Pass! This limited BTS edition includes over 34 free attractions, 29 discounted attractions and an exclusive BTS photo postcard that would easily fit in with your collection! Some of these attractions actually include destinations just for KPOP fans such as SMTOWN Theatre (coexartium) and SMTOWN@coexartium (SM Museum).
Must-Visit Spots in Seoul for KPOP Fans
1. BigHit Entertainment
Famous for housing the world-famous group, BTS (방탄소년), Big Hit Entertainment rose to become one of the top talent agencies in South Korea. Started by Bang Si Hyuk in 2005, the talent agency has since been focusing on their idols’ creativity and innovative styles, leaving their idols free to perfect their craft.
Address: Seoul Gangnam-gu, 5 30-gil, Hakdong-ro, Floor Yangjin Plaza 5F, South Korea
Nearest station: Hakdong Station (Exit 3)
How to get there: Once you exit the station, keep going straight. Turn left and keep going straight until you see Yangjin Plaza on your left. Big Hit occupies floors 2 to 7.
2. SM Entertainment
Known as one of the Big 3 talent agencies in South Korea during the beginning of the KPOP industry, SM Entertainment still remains at the top with groups such as Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, NCT, and Red Velvet.
Address: 114, Seolleung-ro 190-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Apgujeong Rodeo Station (Exit 1)
How to get there: After exiting the station, make a right turn and continue going straight. Look out for a sign pointing to Hangang Park and make a right turn. Continue going straight until you see the SM building on your right.
3. YG Entertainment
Second rank in the Big 3 talent agencies in South Korea, YG Entertainment still proves to be one of the pioneer talent agencies that helped create the KPOP music scene into what it is today. The agency boasts of legendary groups such as Big Bang, 2NE1, and BLACKPINK.
Address: 397-5 Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Hapjeong Station (Exit 8)
How to get there: Once you come out of Exit 8, walk straight past the SK Oil Station and keep going straight. Walk past Hotel Circle to the second fork in the road and make a right turn. You should see the YG building on the left of a GS25 convenience store.
4. JYP Entertainment
Lastly, JYP Entertainment is one of the Big 3 pioneer talent agencies in South Korea that successfully established over 50 different talents- singers, producers, actors, and choreographers. Some of the agency’s talents include TWICE, GOT7, Day6, and Stray Kids.
Address: 41 Apgujeong-ro 79-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Cheongdam Station (Exit 9)
How to get there: Exit the station and continue going straight until you cross the street. Make a right turn and keep going straight. On the third alley you pass on your left, turn and keep walking until you see the JYP building.
K-IDOL OWNED CAFES/RESTOS
1. Yogorino (Block B’s Zico)
Known as an Italian dessert brand, Yogorino was brought to Hongdae by Block B’s Zico. The dessert shop features a wide array of ice creams, yogurt, parfaits, and coffee beverages. Although Zico doesn’t personally manage the store, his father personally runs the business so make sure to keep an eye out for him!
Address: 31, Wausan-ro 27-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: 11 AM to 10 PM, Monday to Sunday
2. Kona Beans (Super Junior)
Originally started by Kyuhyun’s, Leeteuk’s, and Sungmin’s mothers, Kona Beans was established as a Hawaiian-themed coffee shop featuring Kona beans in its brews. Eventually, Leeteuk’s mother single handedly managed the business. According to some fans who’ve been in the shop, sometimes the Super Junior members drop by the shop for a cup of coffee.
Address: 640-9 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Operating hours: 7 AM to 11 PM, Monday to Sunday
3. Ossu Seiromushi (BTS’ Jin)
Featuring a traditional style of Japanese cooking, BTS’ Jin, along with his brother Kim Seok Jung, opened up Ossu Seiromushi. The restaurant boasts of traditional wooden steamers used for cooking, as well as various fresh meat and vegetables in its dishes.
Address: 30 Baekjegobun-ro 45-gil, Songpa 1(il)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 5 PM to 10 PM, Monday to Saturday | 12 AM to 10 PM, Sunday
1. SBS Inkigayo
Start the week off right! Airing live every Sunday, SBS Inkigayo is a South Korean music program that’s broadcasted by SBS. The show features some of the latest and most popular KPOP bands such as TWICE, MAMAMOO, and NCT.
2. KBS Music Bank
For KPOP fans that are also students, KBS Music Bank is THE music program to look forward to. Airing every Friday, KBS Music Bank showcases a lot of your favorite KPOP idol groups as they compete to be the number 1 artist for the week! Global fans need not worry if they miss this since KBS broadcasts the program globally through its international channel, KBS WORLD.
3. MNET’s Show! Music CORE
Enjoy the weekend with MNET’s Show! Music CORE! Aired on Saturdays, Music CORE always made sure to prepare for your favorite KPOP idols’ performances by creating special stages and sets that can’t be seen in any other music program.
4. SBS MTV The Show
If you’re getting a bit tired from the midweek grind, then make sure to watch The Show every Tuesday! Unlike other music programs, The Show is only relatively new having started back in 2011. Despite that, The Show makes sure that the fans of the various KPOP groups are satisfied by airing the show in 18 countries through MTV Asia.
1. Myeongdong Underground Shopping Center 명동 지하상가
Make sure to bring that piggy bank ‘cause we’re heading to Myeongdong Underground Shopping Center! This peculiar shopping district is hidden to most shoppers- especially since it lies underneath one of the premiere shopping districts in Seoul. The Myeongdong Underground Shopping Center has about a dozen of small boutiques and shops that cater to the inner fangirl in you!
What you’ll find: K-Style clothing, KPOP Merchandise, Official KPOP Merchandise, Ready-to-eat Meals
Address: 123 Toegye-ro, Chungmuro 2(i)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 9 AM to 10 PM, Monday to Sunday
2. Buru’s Ddeurak (부루의 뜨락)
If you want to experience a real Korean music store, then head on to Buru’s Ddeurak. The name may be hard to pronounce, but it’s a guarantee that the shop is definitely worth a visit!
What you’ll find: KPOP Albums, Vintage KPOP Albums, Vintage Korean Albums
Address: 37-1 Myeongdong 8na-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 10 AM to 11 PM, Monday to Saturday | 11 AM to 11 PM, Sunday
3. K-Star Road
Lined up with cute, toy statues of your favorite KPOP idols, K-Star Road is the place to be! The road features some of your KPOP idols’ favorite restaurants and shops, as well as their old schools and homes. K-Star Road also gives you a chance to head on over to your oppa’s talent agencies, while giving you the pleasure to shop and dine at the streets of Gangnam!
What you’ll find: KPOP Toy Statues, Talent Agencies, Restaurants, Official Merchandise
Address: 407, Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
If you’re a fan of Red Velvet or NCT, then you shouldn’t miss SMCOEX. Get to know more about your favorite SM artists by reading about their journey in the museum within SMCOEX. You can also get a chance to see some of the outfits they wore during their concerts. Line up early, and you might just be able to hang out with your oppa in their new virtual reality tour! For hassle-free travelling, make sure to use your Discover Seoul Pass!
What you’ll find: Official SM Merchandise, Museum, Theater, Cafe
Address: 06164 513, Yeongdong-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Operating Hours: 11 AM to 9 PM, Monday to Sunday
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