The Korean wave or ‘Hallyu’ is rising in popularity amongst many different countries and garnering further interest in the Korean peninsula’s popular culture. K-pop, short for Korean pop, is a music genre that includes numerous forms of music from hip hop to jazz. Though it originated in Korea there are fans worldwide who have come to love this music genre and the country itself.
An example of the growing interest in K-pop can be seen in one group’s growing popularity; BTS. They have become increasingly popular amongst global fans with numerous breakthroughs. From appearing on American top host shows ‘Ellen’, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ to performing at the ‘American Music Awards’ and ‘Billboard Music Awards’ they have become the first K-pop group to have reached number one in the ‘Billboard 200’ chart.
How can fans further enjoy K-pop when traveling in Korea?
There are numerous ways that fans of the genre can enjoy themselves whilst traveling around and exploring new places. All of this whilst supporting their idols and taking home special gifts in recognition of their fandom. These can be enjoying a live music program, touring K-pop inspired locations, and walking through their artist’s home company.
Enjoying a live music program is a great way to meet other fans, see several of your favourite performers at once and cheer on your idols when they receive an award. The other great thing is that they are held weekly so if you miss one week you can always go the next week instead. KBS’s Music Bank, SBS’s Inkigayo, SBS MTV’s The Show and MNET’s M! Countdown are a few of the best live programs that you can attend.
Come visit our main headquarters in Seoul and rock out your style at the KTO’s K-Style Hub. The K-Star zone has a lot of great things to see and do. Idols line the walls to greet you, take photos with artists such as BIGBANG and PSY, and lose yourself in virtual reality. You can check it out for yourself at: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=2388770
Just off of Exit 2 of Apgujeongrodeo Station you can stroll down ‘K-Star Road’. The 3,500-foot-long stretch is lined with 18 dolls that stand at 10-feet tall with each doll having their own unique design and affectionately called ‘Gangnamdol’. The name is a combination of Hallyu’s hometown Gangnam and idol. Whilst walking down you can take a photo with one of these dolls to declare your fandom and at the end of the road take home your own ‘Gangnamdol’ to stick on your fridge or sit on your desk back home.
Another must-visit place for any fan is MBC World. Whilst there you can attend a hologram concert, dance to the beat of your favourite song and check out their Hall of Fame. Maybe even go on a virtual date with a surprise star?
A dream for many fans worldwide is to see the home company of their icons. A couple of big labels to visit would be SM Entertainment who are famous for idol groups Shinhwa, BoA, Super Junior, Red Velvet and more. They have their own fun K-pop hub called ‘SMTOWN’ close-by in the COEX Atrium. You can become an artist-for-a-day and take home a souvenir from their Celebrity Shop. YG Entertainment is another company headquarter that you don’t want to miss seeing with it’s incredible line-up of talents: WINNER, Epik High, BIGBANG, PSY, iKon and more!
These are only a few ways that you can immerse yourself in all things K-pop whilst you are in the music genre’s hometown. All of these destinations and more can be found in our book ‘Hallyu- Korean Wave Travel Guide’.
For your own copy visit us at the Korea Tourism Organization in Sydney.
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