Photo: Samtan Art Mine, filming location of “Descendants of the Sun”
A love story of a handsome soldier and a beautiful lady doctor, hit drama “Descendants of the Sun” had received high popularity and attention, especially among fans from Asian countries. Even though the drama had came to an end, the popularity of this television series continues to linger as fans are increasingly looking to visit the drama’s filming locations.
Each filming location has its own charismatic facet such as historical sites that go with the military camp scenes or artistic locations that brings out a sensational romantic ambiance. If you are curious about the actual filming locations, how about going on a discovery trip and explore each of them personally? Read on to find out more on the various filming locations of ‘Descendants of the Sun’ in Korea.
Photo: Overview of Camp Greaves Youth Hostel (top) / Walking along the DMZ cease-fire line (bottom left) / Youth hostel remodeled like a typical military quarters interior (bottom right) (Photo courtesy of Camp Greaves)
‘Uruk’ featured in the Descendants of the Sun is a fictional country. Scenes showing the military headquarter of Captain Yoo Si-jin (played by Song Joong-ki) and the soldiers in the Uruk dispatch troops are filmed at Camp Greaves DMZ Experience Center in Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do. Located just about 2km from the southern boundary line of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the US Armed Forces was stationed here for about 50 years after the Armistice Agreement. After the withdrawal of US Armed Forces, Camp Greaves was on the verge of demolishment but was then turned into a youth hostel with a military experience center, which was opened to the public in 2013.
Camp Greaves is a US military base with the oldest cultural heritage where one can get a glimpse of the modern architecture of the United States. In addition, its geographical location at the DMZ makes it an even more preferable travel destination for all tourists. Several activities such as walking along the DMZ cease-fire line and bicycle tour programs are available for visitors to participate in this well-preserved, environmental-friendly DMZ region.
Due to its location, no private or individual visits are allowed and thus all visitors can only enter by joining the DMZ Security Tour organized by the Paju Imjingak Tourist Information Center. Enjoy this unique experience to the filming locations of ‘Descendants of the Sun’ via this tour! Register for Course B of the DMZ Security Tour and visitors may take the shuttle bus to visit The 3rd Tunnel, Dorasan Observatory, as well as Camp Greaves.
Photo: Once an abandoned mine, the Samtan Art Mine is transformed into an art exhibition
In the fifth episode of ‘Descendants of the Sun’, the safe house for Ah Goo-seu (played by David McInnis) and his gang was filmed at the Samtan Art Mine located in Jeongseon-gun, Gangwon-do. Once a former abandoned mine, it was transformed into a cultural and art complex for public visit.
Photo: Outdoor View of Samtan Art Mine (top left) / Abandoned mine turned into winery (top right) / Pretty and colorfully decorated Kids Café (bottom)
Samtan Art Mine is composed of an art center, wine cave, restaurant, rail museum, and other auxiliary facilities. In particular, the old mine and shower room from the abandoned mine were mainly used as filming locations so as to minimize any potential change to the original setting of the abandoned mine. The art center that was opened for the artists comprised of amenities including a studio, modern museum, Samtan museum, storage for art works, and more. Follow the path connecting from the first level of the art center and you can find the rail track that was used for transporting coal in the past on exhibition. Combining a dark and melancholic abandoned mine with arts; the Samtan Art Mine exudes an unusual ambiance that makes it a popular filming location for other Korean variety programs or television series such as ‘Running Man’ and ‘Phantom’.
Besides merely visiting Samtan Art Mine, here are some nearby tourist attractions to make your trip to Jeongseon in Gangwon-do even more fulfilling!
Photo: Enjoy Jeongseon’s scenic beauty while riding the rail bike
Used to be an abandoned railway track that runs from Jeongseon's Auraji to Gujeol-ri, the track was reinvented into a leisure sports attraction for tourists to enjoy the beauty of nature while riding the rail bike. From Guljeo-ri Station to Auraji Station, the total track is 7.2 kilometers long and is a continuous descent that is easy to ride along at at a slow speed of 15kph.
Photo: Scenic train following rail bike (top) / Fish-shaped Caféteria (bottom left) / ‘A Grasshopper’s Dream’ Café (bottom right)
With the exception of the last section of the trail that involves an uphill trail, it is considered fairly easy to ride through the gentle slopes. As the bikes are four-wheeled, the ride is sturdy. In addition, a bumper is installed in every rail bike that ensures the safety of all passengers even if two rail bikes were to collide into each other.
The derelict Gujeol-ri Station was transformed into a café known as ‘A Grasshopper’s Dream’ while a fish (spotted barbel) shaped building at the Auraji Station operates as a cafeteria that sells light snacks, great for visitors who wish to have a quick bite. Regardless of the time schedule, all passengers who arrived at the final destination get to take a free ride on the scenic train that brings them back to Gujeol-ri Station.
Photo: Bird’s eye view from the Byeongbangchi Sky Walk
Byeongbangchi Sky Walk stands at an altitude of 583m, which acts as an observatory deck that features breathtaking views. The skywalk experience offers exciting activity, giving feelings like walking on the sky, thanks to the tempered glass that allow visitors to see the beauty of Bamseom Island and Donggang River just beneath their feet! In order to prevent the glass flooring from scratches, mandatory overshoes are prepared for all visitors to wear over their shoes at the entrance.
Photo: The table where the protagonists of ‘Descendants of the Sun’ sat and had a conversation (top) / Interior of the café (bottom left) / Desserts that can be enjoyed at Jeongjadong Café Street (bottom right)
Wondering where the main characters Captain Yoo Si-jin and Sergeant Major Seo Dae-young (played by Jin Goo) were when they sat at with the cute stuffed animals at a café? It was filmed at one of the cafés located in Jeongja-dong Café Street, a 500m stretch of road at Jeongja-dong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si in Gyeonggi-do that is also home to numerous cozy cafes and restaurants. Simply walk down the streets of Jeongja-dong and the coffee aromas, as well as delicious food, can simply turn up the appetite of anyone! Every other café found in this street has its own distinctive interior and attuned lighting and atmosphere. Patio seating are also available in most cafes here, allowing visitors to have brunch while reading a book in the day, or for love birds to enjoy a romantic date night. Reminiscent of open-air cafes in Europe, this is a popular filming location that is often featured in various dramas.
* This column was last updated in August 2016 and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check from the official websites before visiting.
<Last updated on August 25, 2016>