The Korea Herald


[Drama Tour] Explore Jeju Island as shown in rom-com series 'Welcome to Samdal-ri'

By Lee Si-jin

Published : March 7, 2024 - 19:24

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Cho Sam-dal (played by Shin Hye-sun), a renowned photographer in Cho Sam-dal (played by Shin Hye-sun), a renowned photographer in "Welcome to Samdal-ri," takes photos along Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road. (JTBC)

Jeju Island, an 80-minute flight from Seoul, is a go-to destination for many local and overseas holidaymakers, beckoning with its unique culture and activities, from Jeju horseback riding to tangerine picking and "haenyeo," among many others. Haenyeo are women divers who harvest marine products from the seabed for a living.

But, Korea’s southernmost island is looking to expand its touristic reach by promoting iconic spots featured in the popular 16-part rom-com series “Welcome to Samdal-ri."

The series, which wrapped up in mid-January on cable TV network JTBC, presents the story of Cho Sam-dal (played by Shin Hye-sun) who returns to her hometown on Jeju Island amid a scandal after living in Seoul for 18 years.

While drama fans empathized with the relatable story of love and growth, many were also drawn in by the turquoise waters and green fields that served as stunning backdrops of the show.

In fact, Samdal-ri is not a fictional village. It is a real place located in Seongsan-eup on the southeastern part of Jeju Island.

For drama fans who love to travel, Jeju Tourism Organization recommends “Welcome to Samdal-ri”-themed travel spots that entertain visitors with memories from the hit series.


People sit in an open field at Dodubong on Jeju Island. (Jeju Tourism Organization) People sit in an open field at Dodubong on Jeju Island. (Jeju Tourism Organization)

Dodubong, a 10- to 11-minute ride from Jeju International Airport, is one of the 360 volcanic cones called "oreum" that dot the landscape of Jeju Island.

People of all ages visit the 61.8-meter-tall Dodubong for the splendid coastal view of Jeju City it offers and its easy-to-climb oreum trail.

Dudubong is featured in the first episode of “Welcome to Samdal-ri,” when Sam-dal expresses her determination to leave the island and explore a new world while watching airplanes take off from Jeju International Airport.

Visitors can stroll around the volcanic cone and take in a panoramic view of the city.

The Kisses Photo Zone at Dodubong (Jeju Tourism Organization The Kisses Photo Zone at Dodubong (Jeju Tourism Organization

Take a short break under the trees near Dodubong's peak to take pictures at the oreum’s natural photo zone.

With the trees' silhouette resembling a Hershey’s Kiss, the Kisses Photo Zone went viral among young visitors who wished to capture the moment framed in a unique way.

Gimnyeong Beach and Gwangchigi Beach

Gimnyeong Beach (Jeju Tourism Organization) Gimnyeong Beach (Jeju Tourism Organization)

Though countless holidaymakers frolic in the cool, clear waters of Jeju Island under the beaming sun in the summer, visiting popular beaches on the eastern side of the island, such as Gimnyeong Beach and Gwangchigi Beach even in March is never too early.

Gimnyeong Beach, a spot especially for nature lovers, is where a camera is a must.

On clear, cloudless days, the blue-green sea blends into the horizon, creating a scenic ocean view.

The contrasting colors of the black basalt rocks, covering more than 90 percent of the island, and the light beige sand and white windmills prompt many to take out their cameras.

When the tide goes out, a hidden basalt road is laid bare, allowing people to walk on the sea road.

Gwangchigi Beach (Jeju Tourism Organization) Gwangchigi Beach (Jeju Tourism Organization)

Meanwhile, Gwangchigi Beach beckons visitors with a different charm.

The unique coastal terrain with green moss gives visitors the impression that they are amid a vast stretch of wilderness.

Gwangchigi Beach offers a chance to look at the island’s rocky areas, blue ocean and the iconic Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, also known as Sunrise Peak, at the same time.

Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road

A view of the sunset along Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road (Jeju Tourism Organization) A view of the sunset along Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road (Jeju Tourism Organization)

Located in Sinchang-ri Village on the the western tip of Jeju Island, Sinchang Windmill Coastal Road is a six-kilometer trail connecting the village to Chagwido Port along the winding coastline.

Following drama character Sam-dal, who was a photographer doing a photo exhibition project for the island’s meteorological administration, many visit the trail to take beautiful images featuring vibrant sunsets.

Some travelers decide to have a tranquil, relaxing time at the observatory, which is located in the middle of the trail.

The windmills, which line the coastal road from an offshore wind farm, are beloved not only by content creators but also by visitors who walk along the wooden deck path, feeling the sea breeze.

In this series, The Korea Herald introduces travel destinations featured in hit drama series with the hope of inspiring readers to immerse themselves in the popular scenes and scenery of their favorite shows. -- Ed.