Previously, on MBC Dramia! part 1: We were at the K-Drama Royalty Standee Line. The real juicy stuff starts now.
After spending a considerable amount of time hobnobbing with Deok Man, Mishil, Bi Dam, Dong Yi, King Suk-jong, Yeon Woo, Song Sam Dong, Scheduler (oops, wrong dramas ), etc in their standee form, we proceeded to attack the museum/coffee shop. The first floor has posters of popular dramas aired at MBC, including Goong, The Greatest Love, Coffee Prince, My Name Is Kim Sam Soon, etc. and a TV set where scenes from sageuk dramas were looped.
At the second floor is the museum/coffee shop where framed autographs of stars who visited Dramia, costumes used in dramas and some re-created filming sets can be seen for free. You may also dress up in your favorite sageuk drama costume and have your photo taken with the standees for a fee (I think it’s 20,000won, if I remember correctly). But if you don’t want to shell out the cash, you can still play around with and pose at the sets. Costumes are off-limits, though.
(Note: To navigate the gallery, you may just click on thumbnails and navigation arrows. You may also view it in Full Screen mode (FS) or Slide Show (SL) mode.)
After the museum, it’s time to explore the filming sites. To get there, one must first pass this test: The Killer MBC Dramia Stairs.
Of course, if you have been navigating the Killer Stairs of Seoul Subway Stations all this time, this one should be a breeze. However, the steps are made of uneven rocks so you may have to be extra cautious not to trip over them.
Once you pass that, the fun begins.
The great thing about this site is that visitors can also play with the props, of course, as long as everything remain intact afterwards.
My favorite part here is the main palace courtyard, which is so familiar to anyone who has seen at least one MBC sageuk drama. I particularly remember it as the setting for the final battle at Moon-Sun. It looks just as majestic in real life as it was on screen.
My second favorite would be the Silver Moon Building from Moon-Sun in which we had a grand time taking pictures of… the floor.
Hey, it’s a very nice floor, so you can’t blame us if we got too attached to it.
After exploring the place, we went down to the other end of the palace filming site (the end that has no Killer Uneven Stairs but has a Dangerously Steep Ramp) where we found… more filming sites. This time, it’s the ‘commoners’ area.
The truth is, we only became curious to go to that part of Dramia because we noticed some visitors following people in costume going towards that area. We knew that there’s a drama filming there because (1) I read from someone who went there a couple of days before we did that there is a drama currently filming at MBC Dramia; and (2) we noticed the Starcraft vans parked everywhere. And then of course, the various people in period costume milling around the museum building (I think that’s their designated dressing room). Of course, we will never pass the opportunity to have another celebrity sighting even if we’ve already exceeded the quota on Day 1, so we followed them, too.
At first, we were acting really cool about it. We’re just ordinary tourists, taking photos of the sets and scenery, etc. And then we saw some familiar faces, supporting actors we’ve seen in past dramas but we never knew what their actual names are. I immediately recognized the bad guy from Dae Jang Geum, the one who looks like Lou Veloso. And then we saw Lee Byung Hun, not the actor but the renowned PD of Dae Jang Geum and other noted historical dramas. Side note: I just realized that PD Lee is another Korean celebrity whom we have seen before and we saw once again on this trip. He was an awardee at the Seoul Arts and Culture Awards which we attended last year.
Later on, Lou asked a staff member for the title of the drama are they filming. He said, “Horse Doctor“. I already knew some info about that drama – mainly because when I learned that there’s a drama currently filming at Dramia, I asked on Twitter which MBC drama is now filming and someone said it’s Horse Doctor. That got us so excited because it stars Lee Yo Won and Jo Seung Woo, actors whom we actually know and like. And, we have seen Jo Seung Woo before so he fits the theme of our trip. Unfortunately Lee Yo Won is not filming that day, but we didn’t mind. A celebrity sighting is still a celebrity sighting, and Jo Seung Woo is an A-lister.
This is me telling my friend Mac who’s taking footage of the shoot with her 7-inch Galaxy Tab: “Mac, bilisan mo, baka mahuli tayo bawal daw mag-picture!” (Mac, hurry up, we might get caught, they said taking photos is prohibited!) between gritted teeth. You see, the person who posted that there’s a drama filming in Dramia said that cameras were strictly prohibited around the filming location. However, a lot of other people were also aiming their respective cameras at the shoot, and only one was told to stop filming because she was taking video footage. Camera phones were allowed, so I stashed GD-TOP away and took out my Nokia N8 which has a very good camera. Then later on, I saw that the guy beside me was taking photos using a Nikon Coolpix point-and-shoot and he was not told off, so I stashed my phone back in my bag, took out Pinky (my Canon SX230 superzoom digicam) and snapped as many photos as I can. Then as we were leaving the filming site, I used GD-TOP to take more photos. My kit lens has the equivalent of 11x optical zoom so I can still take good shots even from a considerable distance (I was told by Charity, though, that a staff heard the shutter clicks – damn Canon 600d and its really loud shutter – and was looking for the source ). This explains why the gallery below contains photos of varying degrees of image quality.
We lost track of time and it was getting really late, so we left the filming site before the scene even finished filming (they were shooting the same scene gazillions of times that we have already memorized Jo Seung Woo’s lines). As we were walking back towards the main gate, we were taking photos of us with the bit players walking in the background when suddenly, one of the actors snuck in behind Lou and attempted to photobomb her.
And since he wanted to take a pic with us, anyway, why not go ahead and take a decent one?
There was another man passing by and we have recognized him from other dramas where he played supporting roles (as usual, we don’t know his name). He was in a hurry to go back to the dressing rooms but when we asked to take a picture with him, not only did he oblige. He even threw his jacket aside so that it won’t ruin his costume for the photo. He’s so nice! Yet another example of an actor who’s nice as opposed to idols who are… not so much. (Then again, there’s G-Dragon. But that’s a totally different story that is unrelated to this blog entry.)
That pretty much ends our MBC Dramia tour story. But… this won’t be complete without a misadventure being thrown in, right?
As I’ve said, we lost track of time so when we got to the parking area where the ticket booths are, it’s already past 6:00pm. The ticket booth closed at 5:00. The place was pretty much deserted; the only cars left are those brought in by visitors who didn’t commute. MBC Dramia is in a nearly isolated area. How the heck are we going to get outta there??
As night settled in and the temperature considerably dropped, we were already contemplating on walking several miles just to be able to go back to Baegam Terminal. Charity and Lou decided to go back to the main Dramia site to look for anyone who could help us call a cab. The rest of us waited for them at the parking lot. Just then, one of the guards passed by and asked us if we need help. We tried telling him that we need two cabs for 6 people. He went to the guard house – where Cha and Lou were – to make the call. In short, the guards were able to get us the cabs and we finally were able to leave the place. *whew* The cab driver charged us 1000won extra on top of the metered amount, but we didn’t mind one bit.
Moral of the story: for your peace of mind, always take note of the time and leave MBC Dramia before 5:00pm.
To go to MBC Dramia:
1. Go to Nambu Bus Terminal in Seocho-dong. Via the Metro, take subway Line No. 3 (orange line) and get off at Nambu Bus Terminal (Seoul Arts Center) station.
2. Go out at Exit 5 (or if you’re not particularly fond of stairs, Exit 6 has an escalator but you will come out on the other side of the road. You have to cross back to get to the right side) and turn back to your left, in the opposite direction of the exit. Go straight a few steps until you reach the corner, then turn right. The terminal is right there on your right side.
3. Inside the terminal, you will see some ticket booths. Buy a ticket to Baegam Terminal. Cost is 4,200won, one-way. NOTE: some blogs said that you may use T-Money for your fare, but when we asked the driver he said that he doesn’t accept T-Money.
Take note of your departure time. As regards the seat number, I’m not sure if it’s being enforced because we didn’t follow it. Our seats were already taken when we got on the bus so we just sat wherever we wanted.
4. Look for the boarding gate for Baegam Terminal and wait for the go-signal to board. It’s on the last door at the far end, but in case they shuffle the gates, you can always consult the bulletin boards posted at every gate to make sure that you’re on the right one.
5. The trip will take about an hour or so from Seoul to Baegam Terminal. Once you reach Yongin, the bus’ PA system will announce the stops so listen carefully.
6. From Baegam Terminal (it’s not really a terminal but more of an ordinary bus stop), get off the bus and take a taxi to MBC Dramia. Fare would be somewhere between 7,000-8,000won. Travel time is about 10 minutes.
7. To go back, reverse the procedure. You may ask the person manning the ticket booth to call a cab for you (unless it’s already closed, at which case, you may request the guards to do it for you).
8. At Baegam Terminal, you have to buy your return ticket to Seoul from the nearby convenience store (it’s not a 7-Eleven or something like that, but more of an ordinary nondescript store). Just tell the cashier that your destination is Nambu. You will get off at the last stop which is Nambu Bus Terminal, then just proceed to wherever you will go next from there. NOTE: There are buses going to other destinations that will stop at Baegam Terminal, so don’t just board any bus that you will see. You may ask the storekeeper or the other waiting passengers if the one that will stop is the bus to Seoul.
One last, important tip: Aside from the coffee shop there are no food stores/restaurants in there, so bring your own food. Just make sure you clean up your trash. Vending machines are available for drinks.