Hi, everyone! Nice to meet you. My name is Yeo Lizzie, and I’m a virtual influencer and the Honorary Ambassador of Korea Tourism. I’m also a leading trendsetter, traveling far and wide to trending places faster than anyone else. I recently visited the new Korea tourism promotional hall HiKR Ground, located near Gwanghamun Gate in Seoul. It’s a must-visit attraction for those who love Korean music and dramas. Follow me on my tour of the area!
Named by combining the words “Hi” and “Korea,” HiKR implies the meaning “Hi! Welcome to Korea.” The word “Ground” was added with the intention of providing an entertainment playground for travelers. In short, HiKR Ground was born to greet international travelers in a fun and exciting way!
The first thing you’ll see upon entering the building is a huge media wall. This is the “HiKr Wall.” It’s so big that for a moment, I felt like I opened the door to a different dimension. I saw a parade of characters dressed in traditional costumes from around the world, as well as cutting edge outfits like something out of a Sci-Fi movie! I heard the screen also plays a variety of video clips, so I’d love to go back often to watch them all. The big screen makes everything look amazing.
Past the HiKR Wall is a souvenir exhibition shop called PICKR. The items on display or on sale here were all made by businesses that participated in the tourism crowdfunding support campaigns. A lot of the items were designed after popular landmarks in Korea; it’d be a good idea to pick up souvenirs from places you didn’t have time to visit.
I tried on a few of the items. I really liked the accessories that had a Korean feeling to them. A lot of the items used traditional Korean motifs in a refined way to make them seem new.
Starting in April, visitors to PICKR and HiKR Ground can participate in a fun experience program, “Alice and the Incredible Gifts.” The game will have you exploring all over HiKR Ground. I hope I can visit again to join in sometime!
You can take the elevator up to the second floor, but I chose to take the stairs. I loved the purple color and looking at the HiKR mascots on the way; their mischievous little monster faces are so cute! There are benches along the stairs where you can take a break and enjoy the downtown city view.
K-pop Ground is where anyone can become a K-pop star! The place is divided into six areas, including five spaces designed like music video film sets. Looking around Subway, Coin Laundry, Color Room, Space Ship, and My Stage areas, I felt like K-pop stars were going to show up and put on an awesome performance at any minute. Instead, visitors get to be the star and in control of the lights and music of each room. I took advantage of this opportunity to play my favorite K-pop music and pretend that I was shooting my very own music video. It’s the perfect place to create TikTok reels and shorts!
The Subway space is a replication of the inside of a subway train. It even has windows installed, showing the Hangang River. The setting is so real, I felt like I was taking the actual subway!
Coin Laundry was inspired by the coin laundry film set that appeared in BTS’ “Permission to Dance” and Jenny’s “Solo” music videos.
Designed with a Sci-fi theme, Space Ship has a mysterious and eerie atmosphere. As a virtual influencer, I really related to and was impressed with the futuristic vibes!
With simple white walls and floor overlaid with soft color lighting, Color Room portrays a different mood from the other film sets. As you may guess from the huge woofer speaker on the side, this space was designed with the concept of a dance rehearsal studio. The place is perfect for practicing your favorite dance moves. The white backdrop provides an ideal setting for taking full body shots as well!
What comes next after shooting your very own music video? Featuring in a music show, of course! Head to My Stage, Korea’s one and only XR studio. The stage uses extended reality technology to offer about 100 different special effects and virtual backgrounds, allowing you to create the stage of your dreams.
As the wide background façade is the same wall used in actual music shows, it’s no surprise the results turn out fantastic. Experiment with all the options available to direct and shoot your own personal music stage! Be sure to bring a USB flash drive so you can save your performance and bring it home.
Last but not least, at K-pop Dance Evolution, you can test your skills in a dance challenge to songs from the 1980s to 2020. Oh, and a final note! I recommend wearing your most stylish outfit when you visit K-pop Ground! You can also rent a variety of props like sunglasses or a money gun in front of Space Ship to upgrade your look.
The third floor of HiKR Ground is named HiKR Artrium, and acts as an exhibition space for K-art, the next generation hallyu content! HiKR Artrium is divided into two areas centered on HiKR Tower. This tall tower stretches all the way up to the fourth floor.
HiKR Art Museum connects various Korean artists with local festivals to present diverse artworks in a new perspective. The current exhibition features Korea’s representative modern artist, Joonsung Bae, who uses lenticular lenses to create unique moving art. The current exhibition focuses on culture festivals relating to nature and ecology, including Danyang Bamboo Festival, Siheung Gaetgol Festival, Jeongnamjin Jangheung Water Festival, and Hampyeong Butterfly Festival.
Mr. Bae’s specially commissioned artwork is titled “The Costume of Painter– Festival.” In this work, all four of the culture festivals can be seen individually within one picture, transcending the spatial limits of the small frame. Looking at the artwork, I made up my mind to visit as many festivals as I can this year, since so many were canceled over the past few years due to COVID-19.
On the other side of HiKR Artrium is a space called “Dramatic Trip,” dedicated to Korean dramas that aired on Netflix. Fans will recognize popular Netflix series such as “Kingdom” and “Squid Game.” VR headsets are readily available on one side of the room for an immersive experience of the most memorable scenes from these K-dramas.
The Medical & Wellness Zone on the fourth floor is decorated like a small café, albeit with strange machines that look more suited to a hospital. These machines are used to analyze brainwaves, assess skin health, and even discover your “tea type” for the perfect cup of tea.
After trying my tea type, I headed to HiKR Cave, an experience center showcasing four themed wellness attractions and five major tourism hub cities selected by the Korea Tourism Organization. I knew I was still in a building in the middle of Seoul, but I felt like I had been teleported into a natural oasis! A small waterfall was gently cascading down one wall, and reeds swayed on both sides of the passageway. This change of scenery was great, but what amazed me even more was the damp fog filling the area, bringing with it the particular scent that you can only smell when you’re at a reed field.
Finally, the last spot to look around on the fourth floor is the Fest Cube. Remember how there were four culture festivals on display on the third floor? At Fest Cube, you can experience three more festivals, this time with the theme “The Light of Korea.” The three festivals are Muju Firefly Festival, Pohang International Fireworks Festival, and Jeju Fire Festival. Using the touch screen, you can interact with natural light, industrial light, or historic light.
As soon as I reached the top floor, I was greeted by the sweet aroma of coffee. And what’s more, they even had Café Knotted, currently the most popular donut shop in Seoul! I bought a couple of donuts to enjoy while I relaxed. I mean, when the opportunity presents itself, what are you going to do?
At HiKR Lounge, you can also participate in the HiKR Challenge, a game with various missions related to tourist attractions in Korea. To play, pull the lever and you will be given three missions based on the keywords for where, what, and with.
There are three steps to complete your missions. First, take pictures according to the given keywords. Second, upload the photos on your social media channel. Lastly, revisit HiKR Ground and report it at the Tourist Information Center. Your initials and score will be ranked among other participants!
Tons of booklets and pamphlets are available in the Pocket Lounge. They were all made by various tourism organizations, and you can really improve your trip to Korea by making HiKR Ground your first stop. You can get tips and other useful information before your adventure even begins!
I was so absorbed in checking out everything in HiKR Ground that I didn’t even realize the sun had set! I was about to take the elevator down when I realized there was one exhibition I hadn’t seen yet. Called “HiKR Hills,” the staircase connects the fifth floor to the second floor in one continuous sweep and is decorated with colorful artworks. I took my time here, taking in each work of art with each step, but the work on the third floor stopped me in my tracks. Titled “North Wall,” it is a custom-made artwork by world-famous artist Do Ho Suh.
Before heading out the door, I took one last look at the giant HiKR Wall. Honestly, everything I saw in HiKR Ground left me with an even deeper love for Korea. Even the nightscape I see every day in Seoul seemed especially beautiful.
The biggest thing I felt after visiting HiKR Ground is that hallyu has really become a global trend. The various programs helped me understand this, and I felt like I was becoming a star, too. It was the perfect place to experience all things related to Korea’s popular culture. I would definitely recommend it to those of you who are already fans of Korean content as well as those who are unfamiliar, and even to my fellow Koreans! Every floor of HiKR Ground is like a treasure trove of its own!
HiKR Ground prepares various events every month, keeping it fresh and exciting even for repeat visitors.
1) Daily: PICKR Alice and the Incredible Gifts (All floors)
2) Tuesdays: HiKR Universe Tour (All floors / Three sessions)
3) Wednesdays: HiKR Ent Trainees’ Dance Lesson (2F / Three sessions)
4) Thursdays: Studio Keumsson (All floors / Three sessions)
5) Fridays: HiKR Ent Trainees’ Dance Lesson (2F / Three sessions) & HiKR Universe Tour (All floors / Three sessions)
6) Saturdays: HiKR Ent Monthly Evaluation (2F / Three sessions) & Nationwide Country of Games (Two sessions)
7) Sundays: HiKR Ent Monthly Evaluation (2F / Three sessions) & Nationwide Country of Games (Two sessions)
Event registration: booking.naver.com
1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay)
* This column was last updated in March 2023, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.