By Angela Casco
If you have seen or heard of the hit K-Drama Crash Landing On You, you would have a rough idea of how the story goes—a paragliding mishap lands Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin), a South Korean heiress, north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) where she meets Ri Jeong-hyuk (Hyun Bin), an army officer and a member of the North Korean elite who rescues her and hides her from authorities.
Spoilers aside, the story leads Se-ri to Captain Ri’s home, which becomes her hiding place in a country where she shouldn’t be in the first place. The events that unfold thereafter depict life on the other side of South Korea’s border.
Situated in a fictional small village in North Korea, the captain’s house is typical of what can be found in rural communities—simple yet durable structures. Its exterior, including the roof, attic, and chimney, is built with cement and bricks. Its interior, meanwhile, is predominantly woodsy, from the walls (some covered in vintage-looking wallpaper) to the furnishing. A yard also allows outdoor lounging, cooking, fermenting side dishes like kimchi, and even eating.
The rest of the houses in the community, also home to the comedic village women who are fond of the good-looking captain living in their neighborhood (perhaps a little too much), are made of similar materials, too, giving off the same countryside vibe.
As it’s physically impossible for any production company to film in any area beyond South Korea’s DMZ, Studio Dragon (also the production company behind other top-rated dramas such as Legend of the Blue Sea, Love Alarm, Arthdal Chronicles, to name a few) has opted to portray Captain Ri’s residence through an actual village in a county southwest of Seoul—Taean. It’s approximately a three-hour drive from the country’s capital and is known for its clear seas, unpolluted soils, coastal flora, tidal flats, coasts, and white sand.
Despite the use of a village in the South to depict one that is supposedly in the North, among a number of filming locations, many of the drama’s viewers are praising the drama for providing a glimpse of life inside a country the world knows little about.
A Youtuber by the name Kang Nara, who is a North Korean defector, says in a video that about 60% of what’s depicted on the show about her former home is accurate, though she chimes jokingly that it’s highly unlikely for a captain as attractive as Hyun Bin to exist in the reclusive nation.
In a February 11 Facebook post, a South Korea-based Filipina that goes by the name Mee In Korea, who has visited the said filming location, says the village is open to the public, though it’s uncertain if it will remain that way as the area continues to receive interest among local and foreign tourists.
For interested visitors, Mee advises that you take a bus from Seoul terminal in Gangnam going to Taean, before taking a bus or taxi going to Moseokwon pension house. From there, cars are not allowed so be ready to walk all the way to the village.
You can watch Crash Landing On You on Netflix Philippines.