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KajoPicks: 8 dramas starring Gong Hyo-jin you should watch

Korean lead actresses are commonly divided into three types. The first one is the innocent, conventional beauty type like Song Hye-kyo followed by the sexy ones such as Uhm Jung-hwa.

Finally, the third group do not follow the typical Korean standard of beauty and are more well-known for their eccentricities such as Gong Hyo-jin.

Since being pretty and sexy are not part of their public image, they are known to take more daring roles compared to their colleagues.

For example, Hyo-jin even takes up a female lead role with (gasp!) unshaven armpits in movie Love Fiction (2012). (It’s not just South Korea, even Hollywood is afraid of female body hair.)

Born in 1980, the actress began her career working as a model. Her acting debut was a supporting role in Memento Mori, a horror flick in 1999.

Over the years, she has become known as the Korean queen of romantic comedies due to her series of successful rom-com dramas.

She has starred in more than 15 television series but here are eight of KajoMag’s favourite dramas of hers:
Gong Hye jin 2019
Gong Hyo-jin in her latest drama When the Camellia Blooms. Credits: Youtube.
1.Gong Hyo-jin as a single mother with her HIV-positive daughter in Thank You (2007)

There are two reasons the drama Thank You made a lot of buzz in 2007; firstly it was actor Jang Hyuk’s successful comeback after his mandatory military service and draft-dodging scandal. Secondly, Hyo-jin made a bold move playing the non-glamorous role of a single mother with a daughter who is HIV-positive.

Several actresses had turned down the role mostly because it was Jang Hyuk’s redemption from scandal. The drama could have turned out to be a hit or a miss. Thankfully, it was a hit for Hyo-jin, as most viewers regarded the drama as heartwarming.

The story follows Jang Hyuk as Doctor Min Gi-seo who is an arrogant, wealthy surgeon. As his girlfriend lays dying, she confesses that she inadvertently gave a young girl HIV via a contaminated blood transfusion.

In order to make amends on his girlfriend’s behalf, Gi-seo finds the girl living happily with her mother Young-shin (Gong Hyo-jin), unaware of her sickness.

The drama manages to deal well with the sensitive topic of HIV, educating the Korean audience about how to treat and respect HIV patients.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Gong Hyo-jin as an aspiring Italian cuisine chef in Pasta (2010)

The drama that really catapulted Hyo-jin’s career, marking her name in Korean rom-com drama is Pasta (2010).

She plays a sly and relentless celebrity chef wannabe named Seo Yoo-kyung who is stuck in a love triangle. Her chemistry with her co-star Lee Sun Kyun who plays the celebrity chef Choi Hyun-wook makes this drama even more entertaining to watch.

Hyun-wook believes that there is no place for a woman in his kitchen so when he starts to work at La Sfera he makes sure all the women there are fired, including Yoo-kyung who is just a kitchen assistant.

However, she is then rehired and starts to work with Hyun-wook. Love starts to simmer between them, in comes Kim San (Alex Chu) who is secretly taking care of Yoo-kyung.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Gong Hyo-jin as a famous celebrity who falls from grace in The Greatest Love (2011)

The Greatest Love (2011) gives a glimpses of what might be the true side of the Korean entertainment scene where entertainers hide behind their public image.

It follows Hyo-jin as Gu Ae-jung who was the most popular member of girl group Kukbo Sonyeo before she became embroiled in a series of scandals costing her career.

Ten years later, the washed up star takes up any TV or radio programmes that will hire her.

Meanwhile, Do Ko-jin (Cha Seung-won) is the public favourite action star known for his looks and humility. Behind camera, he is actually mean and arrogant to people around him.

Their fates collide and they begin an up and down relationship throughout the drama.

Hyo-jin’s natural talent to make the audience laugh and cry with her is obvious in The Greatest Love. So it is no surprise that she won Best Actress title in 48th Baeksang Arts Awards for her role in the drama.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Gong Hyo-jin plays the girl who can see ghosts in Master’s Sun (2013)

Hyo-jin’s role as ghost-seeing Tae Gong-shil may starts off annoying and clingy in Master’s Sun but as the drama progresses, you can slowly sympathise with her.

Since she can see things that people cannot see in the story, there are many scenes showcasing Hyo-jin seemingly speaking to herself. It is quite convincing to watch as she talks to ‘ghosts’ but actually doing the monologue on her own.

With So Ji-sub as the cold and distant CEO Joo Joong-won, the pair makes quite a funny and entertaining couple.

When some of these ghosts possesses her body, you cannot help but to be impressed by Hyo-jin acting skills as you watch her switching from one character to another.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Gong Hyo-jin as a psychiatrist in It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)

As a psychiatrist, Ji Hae-soo (Gong Hyo-jin) self-diagnoses her self as having anxiety issues, a fear of commitment and sex phobia. All of these due to an incident where she saw her mum cheating on her dad with another guy.

What happens when she meets Jang Jae-yeol (Jo In-sung) a mystery novelist/radio DJ who is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder?

The romance between Hae-soon and Jae-yeol is classic tale of hate turns to love relationship. As they finally fall in love, the pair later come to grips with Jae-yeol’s undiagnosed schizophrenia.

While Thank You (2007) highlights the issue surrounding HIV, this drama shines the light on those surrounding mental illnesses.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Gong Hyo-jin as a meteorologist in Don’t Dare to Dream (2016)

Lee Hwa-shin (Jo Jung-suk) is a handsome, impressive anchor who comes from a well-to-do family.

Hyo-jin plays his competitor, a meteorologist named Pyo Na-ri. Unlike Hwa-shin, Na-ri does not have a shining resume or good family background.

As both of them fight to become the broadcasting station’s most valued employee, they start to fall in love with each other.

When a rich man Go Jung-won (Go Kyung-pyo) comes into picture and falls for Na-ri at first sight, will her heart quiver?

Watch the trailer here.

7.Gong Hyo-jin as a television producer in The Producers (2015)

Here, Hyo-jin is PD Ye-jin an experienced PD who works on a long-time music programme. Her long time friend is Joon-mo (Cha Tae-hyun) who has been working in the entertainment industry for 10 years.

The overall drama is amusing to watch as it features real-life TV programs such as Music Bank and 2 Days & 1 Night.

Though the work that goes behind these shows might be real, the love stories and drama are too good to be true.

For example, Seung-chan (Kim Soo-hyun) is a rich chaebol who decides to work at a television network just to follow his secret crush. Which rich dude in the world is willing to do that?

Watch the trailer here.

8.Gong Hyo-jin as a single mother in When the Camellia Blooms (2019)

Dong-baek (Gong Hyo-jin) is a single mother of one living in the small town of Ongsan. There she runs a bar-restaurant called Camellia.

Due to her status as a single mother and being the owner of a bar where men are the main patrons, Dong-baek becomes the subject of the town gossip.

Regardless of what gossip keeps on spinning in the rumour mill, local police officer Hwang Yong-sik (Kang Ha-neul) is in love with her.

Things get complicated when Dong-Baek’s ex-boyfriend Kang Jong-reol (Kim Ji-suk) suddenly shows up in her life.

Things get further complicated as there is a serial killer in Ongsan and Dong-baek might be on his kill list.

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 10 South Korean time-travel romance dramas to watch

If you think long distance relationships are hard, wait until you fall in love with someone from another century!

A time-travel romance usually starts with how the two leading roles find love in each other despite the differences (coming from a different time is definitely a huge difference) and how reality strikes eventually and they are forced to decide whether they need to part and go back to their own lives.

Delve into unrealistic love stories with these 10 South Korean time-travel romance dramas:
1.Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is more than just a time-travel romance drama; It is about the power struggle and survival of the mentally fittest as they fight for the throne.

Based on the Chinese novel Bu Bu Jing Xin by Tong Hua, the story starts with Go Ha-jin (Lee Ji-eun) being transported back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty from 21st century woman.

She wakes up in the year 941 in the body of Hae Soo where she initially falls in love with the 8th Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha-neul).

Later, her love interest is the fearsome 4th Prince Wang So (Lee Joon-gi) who has hideously scarred and hides it behind a mask.

The drama, overall is like a reverse harlem story with more than two of the characters falling in love with the leading woman.

As the princes fight for their places in the palace, more than two deaths occur along the way. So get ready with your tissues as some deaths are truly sorrowful to watch.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Rooftop Prince (2012)

How far would you go to marry the guy of your dream? Would you scar your own sister for life just to get what you want?

The story follows Lee Kak, a Joseon prince who is ready to marry Boo Yong (Han Ji-min). But her sister Hwa Yong (Jung Yoo-mi) wants to marry the prince so she accidentally-on-purpose burns her sister’s face.

As the old tradition goes, the bride of the king or future king must be without any blemishes or scars, so Hwa Yong ends up marrying the prince.

Years pass and the connection or attraction between Lee Kak and Boo Yong remains undeniably strong to Hwa Yong’s dismay. Suddenly, one day Lee Kak finds his wife has mysteriously died.

While he investigates into his wife’s death, Lee Kak and his men are chased by a group of assassins to the edge of a cliff.

The group jumps off the cliff and then later find themselves transported to the 21st century.

In present day Seoul, Lee Kak finds Park Ha who has an uncanny resemblance to Boo Yong.

3.Tomorrow, With You (2017)

This Korean time-travel romance drama kinda reminds you of Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel The Time Traveler’s Wife.

The story centers around Yoo So-joon (Lee Je-hoon), a CEO of a real estate company.

He has the ability to travel through time via a subway. The more So-joon tries to change the future that he foresees, the more it changes his present.

He saves a woman named Song Ma-rin (Shin Min-a) and eventually decides to marry her to prevent her death that he foresees during his time travel.

In the end, can he truly change the future? Overall, the CGI is nicely done while the cinematography is impressive.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Queen In Hyun’s Man (2012)

Before Yoo In-na went on to star in Kim Eun-sook’s Goblin, she had her first leading role in Queen In Hyun’s Man (2012).

Here, she plays the role of Choi Hee-jin, an unsuccessful actress who lands her big break when she is cast as Queen In-hyun in the the drama “New Jang Heebin”. She crosses paths with Kim Bung-do (Ji Hyun-woo) and eventually falls in love.

Meanwhile, Bung-do is a time-traveler and a noble-born scholar from 1694 whose family was massacred in a conspiracy.

Bung-do supports the reinstatement of Queen In-hyun a real-life Joseon queen (1667-1701) who was the second queen consort of King Sukjong.

The queen was deposed by the infamous royal concubine Jang Hui-bin who is historically known for her greed for power.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Go Back Couple (2017)

Also known as Confession Couple, this time-travel romance drama is based on the Naver webtoon Do it One More Time by Hong Seung-pyo and Kim Hye-yeon.

It is about a pair of married couple who is unhappy with their lives as they both struggling to find their purposes in life.

After reaching a breaking point of their relationship, they both find themselves as 20-year-old university students.

What happen when they decide to make different choices than they did the first time around? One of thing for sure, their decisions impact their friends and families more than themselves.

The drama stars Son Ho-jun as Choi Ban-do and Jang Na-ra as Ma Jin-joo.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Faith (2012)

In 2012, Eun-soo (Kim Hee-sun) is a 33-year-old plastic surgeon who was originally a general surgeon. One day a strange man whom she thinks is a drama extra kidnaps her and takes her back to the Goryeo era.

The man turns out to be Choi Young (Lee Min-ho), a royal bodyguard to King Gongmin of the Goryeo Dynasty from the mid-1300s.

There is a handful of time jumping in this drama that makes you want to scream, “Why can’t they just stick to one century at a a time?!”

Meanwhile, behind the camera, the drama was embroiled with casting conflicts and embezzlement scandals.

The writer Song Ji-na uploaded the original script on her website and showed that there were some obvious differences from the final product.

One could not help but wander if the drama could have turned out better if they stuck to Song Ji-na’s original script and if they did not have financial problems.

7.Somehow 18 (2017)

When it comes to K-pop group Shinee, you can’t be sure who is the better actor of the group; Onew or Minho.

In this time-travel romance drama, Minho acts as Gyung Hwi, a 28-year-old resident at a university hospital.

He was bullied in high school and even tried to commit suicide. Thankfully, a new student transfer Han Na-bi (Lee Yoo-bi) stops him.

To his shock however, she later took her own life. For 10 years, Gyung Hwi cannot let go of his past.

One day, he finds himself back in high school 10 years prior before Na-bi’s death. Now he has to find out why she killed herself, but most importantly, can he stop her?

Watch the trailer here.

8.Marry Him if You Dare (2013)

While this storyline and plot is good and entertaining, the final episode of this time-travel romance drama might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

It depicts the love stories and the lives of people working in a broadcasting station.

Na Mi-rae (Yoon Eun-hye) travels back in time to prevent her 32-year-old self from marrying news anchor Kim Shin.

This sets her onto a different path in life, enabling her to do the things she really wanted.

Watch the trailer here.

9.Splash Splash Love (2015)

Dan-Bi (Kim Seul-gi) is a senior high school student who has an irrational fear of mathematics.

For her university entrance exam, Dan-Bi can’t deal with the pressure and runs off to a playground.

There, she falls into a puddle and finds herself transported to the Joseon period.

In Joseon she is mistaken for a eunuch. She then serves as a confidante of King Lee Do (Yoon Doo-joon).

Interestingly, Danbi’s high school level of math and science makes her the greatest scientist in the entire kingdom.

Watch the trailer here.

10.Bing Goo (2017)
Korean time travel romance drama
Kim Jung-hyun and Han Sun-hwa in Bing Goo. Credits: Asianwiki

When Man Soo (Kim Jung-hyun) meets Jang Ha-da (Han Sun-hwa), he is shocked to see she looks exactly like the woman he was in love with back in 1979.

While other time-travel romance dramas on this list have fancy portals or ways to make their time jumps, Bing Goo is about a man who was frozen for 37 years.

So it is basically a melodramatic version of Captain America without the superpower or the Avengers and there is another woman who looks like Peggy in the future.

KajoPicks: 10 Chinese campus romance dramas to watch

Admit it; any youth or coming-of-age drama is better when the producer throws some campus romance into the storyline.

If you are looking for Chinese campus romance dramas to watch, here are 10 of KajoMag’s suggestions:

1.Your Highness, The Class Monitor (2019)

Su Nian Nian (Xing Fei) wants to go to top universities in big cities like Beijing University and Tsinghua University. But due to an accident on her way to university admission examination, she fails to enter the university she wanted.

She has to settle for a predominantly male engineering university. Things get complicated around her after she is appointed as the class monitor and come across Gu Zi Chen (Niu Jun Feng). Nian Nian strongly believes Zi Chen is the one who caused her accident. After constant bickering and getting on each others’ nerves, they eventually fall in love.

Basically, the campus romance in this drama is a love-hate relationship. Plus, there is a lot of push-pulls that at one point gets tiring to watch.

Putting aside the love story, the drama touches on some relatable themes, like how women need to work harder to prove themselves when choosing a career dominated by men. Or how some fields like engineering are gender-stereotyped, and can only be pursued by the male species.

2.Put Your Head on My Shoulder (2019)

Starring Xing Fei and Lin Yi, this drama is based on Zhao Qianqian’s novel of the same name.

It circles around Situ Mo (Xing Fei), an accounting student who wants to work in the advertising industry.

As she tries to find her place in the world, circumstances put her to live in the same house with physics student Gu Weiyi (Lin Yi).

Though the drama marks Gu Weiyi’s television debut, his performance as an uptight, rigid science student is rather impressive.

Meanwhile, Xing Fei is definitely in her ‘zone’ as she takes another lead role in a Chinese campus romance drama. But we do hope that she will take more versatile roles in the future.

3.Love 020 (2016)

This campus romance story is between a senior and a junior student of computer science. Bei Weiwei (Zheng Shuang) the brain with the beauty of the computer science department, while her senior Xiao Nai (Yang Yang) is the cream of the crop in sports and academics. Together, they make the A-list couple of their university.

What makes this pair different from most couples in campus romance dramas is that there is no relationship drama between them.

There is no over-the-top jealousy fights, no crying over insecurities and no dramatic disapproved parent.

On top of this, the drama highlights the work that goes behind the scenes in the game development industry.

Watch the drama here on Youtube.

4.Stand By Me (2016)

Not every group of high school friends is lucky enough to continue studying together in the same university. This group of friends in Stand By Me (2016) is one of the few.

Lu Qiao (Wu Ye Ze), Zhong Bai (Xu Xiao Lu), and Ren Yi Fan (Yu Xiang) are close high school friends.

They meet new friends as they begin their college life at the same university.

Things should not get complicated when Lu Qiao falls in love with a new classmate.

However, they dk because Zhong Bai has had a crush on him since, like, forever. Hence, Ren Yi Fan has to step in to mediate between the two.

Oh well, what is a campus romance drama without a love triangle?

5.Proud of Love (2016)

Here is a campus romance drama with a dose of fantasy! Shen Xi is a dance major student who has a sweet, caring boyfriend named Lin Yu Tang.

Everything is normal until she swaps souls with an engineering student He Zhi Zhou from a nearby university.

So you have an engineering student stuck in a dancer’s body and a dancer caught in the life of an engineering student.

If you are into hilarious, manga-like drama, then this series is for you.

6.Beyond Light Years (2018)

Computer science or specifically game development has become the trendy course for many male leads in campus romance dramas over the years.

Meanwhile, the female lead is usually pursuing an artsy kind of course.

In this drama, the male lead is a computing major named Li Yu Chen who is cold but extremely intelligent (why are we not surprised?).

In the meantime, the leading female is Xia Xiao Ci who is bubbly and passionate about reading and writing.

Clearly, the two leading characters’ personalities clashes. Will they finally be together in the end or will continue to drift apart especially after graduating?

Watch the trailer here.

7.Where the Lost Ones Go (2017)

First of all, let us praise the cinematography of this drama. It is aptly artistically beautiful as the revolves around two art students.

Ye Zi is a major in Chinese art painting while Xiang Zei Yi majors in oil painting.

They engage ina whirlwind campus romance until Xiang Ze Yi leaves without a word.

So what happen when Xiang Zei Yi comes back into Ye Zi’s life years later? Will she pick up the pieces and forgive her first love?

Watch the trailer here.

8.One and Half Summer (2014)

For K-pop fans, this is the Chinese campus romance drama that you need to watch. It stars Nickhun, a Thai member of K-pop group 2PM.

But wait, since when did Nickhun speak Mandarin? He doesn’t, somebody else does a voice over for his character.

Nickhun plays Zhang Hao, a Chinese American who come to China from New York just to find a mysterious woman whom he meets during a vacation in Greece.

Then, he meets her at Nanyang University where the two subsequently fall in love with one another.

Watch the trailer here.

9.My Sunshine (2015)

When two college sweethearts meet each other again seven years after they broke up, will they rekindle their old flame?

The drama starts with a predictable storyline; a girl falls in love at first sight with a boy on campus. They date and a third party comes into the picture to ruin their love.

In a classic romance drama move, the girl gets upset so she moves to another country.

If only real people like us have that luxury to move to another country every time our hearts get broken.

Watch the trailer here.

10.Suddenly This Summer (2018)

This slice-of-life drama feels realistic and somehow relatable to most of us. The 30-episode series divides into 10 episodes during high school time, 10 episodes at campus and the last 10 with the characters in adulthood.

Unlike the campus romances on this list, the couple ends up going to different universities in two different cities because that is the reality for some us who date during university. You juggle between your campus life and a long distance relationship.

KajoPicks: 15 South Korean medical dramas you need to watch

Raise your hand if you spent your childhood watching ER and then later in your teenage years watching Grey’s Anatomy like me.

While the Americans made medical dramas famous 20 years ago, recently the South Koreans have been slowly making their mark outside of their own country.

So much so that there is an American remake of South Korea’s The Good Doctor (2016).

Although romance is a common theme in these South Korean medical dramas, fans still can enjoy the thrill and tension working in the medical field through these series.

Here are KajoMag’s choices of South Korean medical dramas you need to watch:
1.Brain (2011)

Shin Ha-kyun is perhaps one of the most notable actors in South Korea. One of his memorable performances is in the 2011 medical drama Brain.

Here, he portrays a cold and ambitious neorosurgeon named Lee Kang-hoon. He is haunted by the death of his father on the surgery table.

Little does he know that the one responsible for his father’s death is someone close to him.

2.Doctor Stranger (2014)
Doctor Stranger

Is it me or does Lee Jong-suk look too young to portray a surgeon in this Korean medical drama?

While the medical aspect usually appears to be well-researched and convincing for lay people, having a hot, handsome, young actor as the medical genius makes the unconvincing part of these dramas.

Nonetheless, Jong-suk is talented and charming as usual in this drama acting as Park Hoon. He is a South Korean raised in North Korea after his father was tricked into going over there. IN North Korea, he trained to be doctor and later defects to South Korea.

3.Dr Romantic (aka Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim) (2016)

Dr Romantic is one of few Korean medical dramas which has an experienced actor as its main lead as opposed to young heart-throb actors.

The story follows Boo Yong-joo (Han Suk-kyu) who, after a traumatic incident, disappears and changes his name to Kim Sa-bu.

He used to work at Seoul’s top hospital before working at small hospital in Gangwon province. There, he takes two doctors under his wing Kang Dong-joo (Yoo Yeon-seok) and Yoon Seo-jeong (Seo Hyun-jin).

Watch the trailer here.

4.D-Day (2015)
250px D Day 디 데이

Here is another fictional doctor that was transferred from a top medical center to a not-so-famous hospital.

Lee Hae-sung (Kim Young-kwang) is working in a rundown hospital with no emergency room after disobeying his previous hospital director.

Suddenly a sinkhole appears in Seoul followed by earthquake blocking all access to the city. Soon, phones, electricity and water are all not working. Hae-sung starts to save and treat people but what happens when medicine begins to run out?

5.Good Doctors (2013)

When an autistic savant becomes a doctor, the road ahead seems nothing but challenging. Joo Won is brilliant in the role of an autistic doctor named Park Si-on. Watch how he struggles with his bedside manner as a doctor despite his undeniably brilliant skill as a surgeon.

This Korean medical drama even inspired the American remake by the same name which debuted in September 2017.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Yong Pal (2015)
Yong Pal

Following his success in Good Doctors (2013), Joo Won takes up another role as a doctor in Yong Pal (2015).

This time he is a skilled surgeon who moonlights as a mercenary doctor treating criminals and corrupt plutocrats.

7.The Doctors (2016)

First of all, The Doctors (2016) starts a bit off as the teacher has a thing going on with one of his students.

Thirteen years later, the pair reunite when Yoo Hye-jung (Park Shin-hye) becomes a doctor and her teacher Hong Ji-hong (Kim Rae-won) turns out to be her senior neurosurgeon.

Park’s character gathers a fan base through this drama with her charismatic role transforming from a delinquent to a compassionate doctor.

Watch the trailer here.

8.Hospital Ship (2017)

This Korean medical dramas is about a group of young doctors who provide medical care to the locals who live in rural villages on little islands.

So the medical team comprises an interesting mix of a capable, beautiful woman surgeon, a doctor who joins the team as part of his military service, an oriental doctor and a dentist.

Watch the trailer here.

9. A Beautiful Mind (2016)

How can you be a doctor if you can’t be empathetic? Apparently in a Korean medical drama, you can.

Lee Young-oh (Jang Hyuk) is a genius neurosurgeon who is unable to feel empathy. Things get complicated when there are mysterious deaths in the hospital and everything points to his involvement.

Watch the trailer here.

10.Medical Top Team (2013)

This Korean medical drama focuses on the lives of doctors and nurses in the fictional Gwang Hae University Hospital.

Additionally, the main fictional doctors in this drama are specialised in cardiothoracic surgery, a medical field which focuses on surgical treatment inside the thorax.

Watch the trailer here.

11.Cross (2018)

While most doctors would say that they pick up medicine to save lives, this doctor in Korean medical drama becomes one to avenge his father’s life.

Kang In-gyu (Go Kyung-pyo) becomes a resident doctor working in the organ transplant department after his father was brutally killed 15 years ago.

Watch the trailer here.

12.Life (2018)

In Life (2018), Ye Jin-woo (Lee Dong-wook) is a doctor who finds out that the hospital director is siphoning money from the hospital.

When the director dies after falling off an apartment building, his death is ruled as an accident. However, Jin-woo believes there is more than meets the eye.

Watch the trailer here.

13.Live Up to Your Name (2017)

How about a dose of fantasy in your Korean medical drama? Heo Im (Kim Nam-gil) is a doctor from the Joseon dynasty who falls into a river and travels to modern day Seoul.

There he meets Choi Yeon Kyung (Kim Ah-joong), a 21st-century doctor.

Watch the trailer here.

14.Doctor John (2019)

Korean fictional doctor in drama-land is often portrayed as arrogant and Dr John Cha (Ji Sung) is one of them.

The recurring theme for this Korean medical drama is euthanasia as Dr John spent three years in prison for performing euthanasia on a dying patient.

15.Doctor Prisoner (2019)

How far would you go to take revenge? In this Korean medical drama, the doctor goes as far as working in prison.

Nam Goong Min plays the role of Dr Na Yi-je who applies to work at a prison after his medical license gets unfairly suspended.

Watch the trailer here.

So, do you know any other Korean medical dramas that should be on this list? Let us know in the comment box.

KajoPicks: 8 South Korean period action films to watch

Here are 8 Kajo-approved South Korean period action films to watch:

1.The Great Battle (2018)

The Siege of Ansi was a battle between Goguryeo (an ancient Korean kingdom) and Tang forces in Ansi.

Ansi was a fortress on the Liaodong Peninsular in present-day Northeast China.

Lasting from June 20, 645 to Sept 18, 645, the Siege of Ansi was one of the biggest battles of the first campaign in the Goguryeo-Tang war.

The star of the battle was Yang Manchun, a Goguryeo commander of the Ansi Fortress.

In this Korean period action film, heart-throb Jo In-sung plays Yang Manchun, which will make you wonder if the historical figure could have really been that good looking.

Of course, critics were quick to criticise this particular casting as it was highly unlikely that Yang Manchun was in his mid 30s.

Nonetheless, The Great Battle was able to pull through, becoming one of the highest box office films of South Korea in 2018.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Warriors of the Dawn (2017)

What do you as a king when a foreign country tries to invade your kingdom? You flee the country, leaving your young son to take over, of course!

That was what King Seonjo, the 14th king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea did when Japanese forces came knocking on his kingdom’s door.

He escaped to seek refuge from the Ming Empire, abandoning his people and leaving crown prince Gwanghae in-charge.

This Korean period action film follows the story of a group of mercenaries tasked to protect the reluctant Prince Gwanghae during the 1592 Imjin War.

Played by Yeo Jin-goo, the prince then leads the royal court to fight their enemies with the help of To-woo (Lee Jung-jae).

Growing up as a child actor, Jin-goo has proven over and over again that he has just gotten better in acting as he pursued a more adult role in this movie.

However, his acting is still somehow overshadowed by Jung-jae who is known for his charisma and chameleon’s ability as an actor.

Watch the trailer here.

3.War of the Arrows (2011)

How often does a period action film makes the top grossing films in any country? Honestly, it is a rare thing to happen especially in Hollywood over the last few years whereby most of the highest grossing films have been from the Marvel franchise.

This movie was the highest grossing Korean film of 2011, drawing an audience of 7.48 million.

It is set after the Second Manchu Invasion of Korea about an archer who risks his life to save his sister from slavery under Qing’s Prince Dorgon.

While the other characters such as the archer Nam-yi (Park Hae-il) and his sister Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) are fictional, Prince Dorgon or Rui was a real historical figure.

Watch the trailer here.

4.The Admiral, Roaring Currents (2014)

If it is a battle between 12 ships and an invading fleet numbering 333 vessels, the showdown must be epic.

This period action film revolves around the Battle of Myeongnyang, an event which took place on Oct 26, 1597 near Jindo Island, southwest of the Korean peninsula.

One of South Korea’s prominent actors, Choi Min-sik (I Saw the Devil, Lucy) plays the legendary naval commander Yi Sun-sin who led a heroic victory against the Japanese during the battle.

Instead of recruiting Japanese actors, Korean talents such as Ryu Seung-ryong, Cho Jin-woong, Kim Myung-gon took the role of Japanese historical figures Kurushima Michifusa, Wakisaka Yasuharu and Todo Takatora respectively.

With 10 million admissions only 12 days after its premiere, the movie sets a record for achieving the highest number of viewers in the shortest amount of time in South Korea.

Watch the trailer here.

5.The Fortress (2017)

After reading about King Injo of Joseon (16th king of the Joseon dynasty), most people would think him weak and indecisive.

Well, he did cause the depletion of his country’s economy and two wars with the Manchus during his reign.

This Korean period action film lets the audience into the mind of King Injo; what happened during the Second Manchu invasion of Korea in 1636 when he sought refuge in Namhansanseong fortress.

Portrayed by Park Hae-il, King Injo needs to decide whether to bend his knee to the Qing dynasty or not.

On his side is Choi Myeong-gil (Lee Byung-hun), a scholar and politician who advise the King to make the crucial decision.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Kundo: Age of the Rampant (2014)

Starring Ha Jung-woo and Gang Dong-won, this Korean period action film sets in mid-19th century Joseon.

It is about a power struggle between the unjust wealthy who run the society and a group of what would stand for the Korean version of Robin Hood and his merry men.

This band of fighters named Kundo decide to steal from corrupt officials and then share their loot with the poor.

Kundi: Age of the Rampant has everything a Korean period action film can offer; a hero who rises from the lowest point of his life, a villain who clearly deserves to die from the beginning and tonnes of sword fighting and archery scenes.

Besides this, Jung-woo who plays the role of a former butcher who joins Kundo to avenge the death of his family is almost unrecognisable, largely because he is rocking a clean-shaved head in the movie.

Watch the trailer here.

7.The Age of Blood (2017)

Speaking of sword-fighting, here is a Korean period action film that gives you high adrenalin sword-fighting scenes.

Can you imagine slashing your opponents with your feet holding a sword while both of your hands are tied up in the air?

The Age of Blood (2017) follows the story of Kim Ho (Jung Hae-in) who is suddenly demoted to a lowly prison guard after he lost a battle.

Suddenly on his first day on the job, he finds five top fighters from the rebel group have to sneak into the jail to break out their captured leader.

Well, not a smart idea for the rebels because Kim Ho just had a career change from a swordsman for the king.

Watch the trailer here.

8.The Showdown (2011)
220px TheShowdown2011Poster

Here is another Korean action period film based on the Manchus invasion of Joseon.

As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the Joseon soldiers decide to help Ming China fight against the Manchus.

In the middle of Manchuria, the Joseon soldiers who barely survived the battle are now cornered by the Manchu forces.

Now, they have to fight a bloody battle for the survival.

The movie starring Park Hee-soon, JJin-Goo and Ko Chang-seok.

15 travel horror movies to make you think twice before travelling

Travel horror movies are one of those films which answers your question, “What could go worse on this trip?”

Well, these movies then push the boundaries of your imagination: there are serial killers, mad scientists, criminals, mysterious diseases, zombies waiting to ruin everyone’s vacation.

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Grab some popcorn and a pillow to cover your eyes during horrifying scenes in these travel horror movies. Credit: Pixabay.
So here are 15 travel horror movies make you think twice before going on your vacation (or maybe about what to pack):
1.Hostel (2005)

What could be the worst thing that could happen when travelling across Europe? How about being preyed on by a mysterious organisation that tortures and kills kidnapped tourists?

Not for the faint-hearted, this travel horror flick there are a lot of torture scenes and severed bodies.

These are the last few things you could expect when checking into a hostel. Hostel later went on to become part of a trilogy.

2.The Human Centipede (2009)

Here is another movie not for the faint-hearted. A German surgeon kidnaps three tourists and joins them surgically, mouth to anus, forming a human centipede. The movie premise is so disgusting, yet apparently there are no scenes of excrement and it went on to win several international accolades in the horror movie genre. This film also had sequels made, but the final in the sequence was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Awards.

3.Cabin Fever (2002)

When director Eli Roth (who also directed Hostel) went to Iceland for a trip, he got infected with a skin infection. Inspired by his experience, Roth co-wrote and directed this travel horror comedy film.

It is about a group of college graduates who rent a cabin in the woods and get infected by a flesh-eating virus. (Yes, it is a far leap from a skin infection.)

4.Eden Lake (2008)

When a couple choose a remote lake in the English countryside for a break, it means they clearly need a break from everything.

Their vacation is interrupted as a group of teenage delinquents target the couple, first stealing their belongings and then terrorizing and torturing them throughout the movie.

5.Frozen (2010)

Which one is scarier? Being stuck out in the snow as you freeze to death or being stuck in the air where you cannot come down?

How about a situation combining both? The movie follows a trio of skier and snowboarders stranded on a chairlift near the top of the mountain at a ski resort. Now, they have a choice of having to leave the chairlift or freeze to death.

6.The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Here is another slasher film on the list and it stars Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison.

It is about a group of college students going for a retreat to a remote forest cabin. No, there is no serial killer in this movie… just some crazy scientists, zombies and werewolves.

7.Afflicted (2013)

The found footage concept may not be for everyone; sometimes it is too dizzying and eventually, annoying to watch.

This concept however, is suitable for this travel horror flick as it follows a pair of childhood friends travelling the world while filming a web series.

Their adventure gets cut short when they catch a disease during their stop in Barcelona.

8.A Lonely Place to Die (2011)

Be careful if you rescue a girl in the wilderness during your climbing trip. That girl could be: a) a ghost, or b) a kidnapping victim whose kidnappers are out to kill you after you rescue her.

A Lonely Place to Die (2011) is about a group of mountaineers who discover a girl buried alive in a small chamber in the forest of the Scottish Highlands.

9.The Hills Have Eyes (2016)

When someone tells you there is a shortcut you can take during your road trip, do not take their advice; it will be a trap.

There could be a serial killer or a blood-thirsty bear lurking along the so-called shortcut.

In this travel horror movie, there is a group of cannibalistic mutants targeting a family whose car breaks down after taking a ‘shortcut’.

10.The Shallows (2016)

Surfing is a fun thing to do when you do some solo travelling. But it is not so fun when you get stranded 180m from shore and there is a white shark waiting to have a piece of you.

The story follows medical student Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) who travels to a secluded beach in Baja California following the death of her mother.

Although it’s not likely that you will be stalked by a vengeful great white shark, it reminds yourself to prepare for all contingencies when you solo-travel, especially to a secluded beach.

11.The Last House on the Left (2009)

When a group of men who rape and almost kill your daughter take refuge at your vacation home, what do you do? You turn the place into a murder scene as you exact your revenge.

And what makes a good murder weapon other than the microwave which you used to make your family’s dinner?

This is a story of how a normal family could be driven into doing something evil when you cross them.

12.Turistas (2006)

It stars familiar names like Josh Duhamel, Melissa George and Olivia Wilde. This travel horror story turns ugly when a group of international backpackers in Brazil find themselves caught in an underground organ harvesting ring.

The twist is that the victims in the movie find that their organs are used for the poor.

13.The Ruins (2007)

What if your trouble during vacation comes not in the form of a human but in a form of a murderous plant instead?

The Ruins follows two young American couples enjoying their vacation in Mexico. When they visit a Mayan temple, they find themselves at the mercy of a vine that moves around and kills people.

14.Wolf Creek (2005)

This Australian travel horror thriller film takes you to the Wolf Creek National Park in Western Australia.

There, a serial killer lurks, waiting to abduct and kill tourists while taking their possessions as trophies.

The movie actually inspired by real-life The Backpacker Murders. It is a series of murders which took place in New South Wales between 1989 and 1993.

Authorities eventually arrested and charged Ivan Milat for killing seven backpackers including three German and two British nationals.

15.The Strangers (2008)

One of the worst things could happen to anyone is a random act of violence. There is no cause or closure or even obvious cure for these kind of cases.

The Strangers (2008) opens the viewers’ minds that death or crime could happen to anyone at random time or place.

It follows Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) whose stay at a vacation home is disrupted by three masked criminals who break into thee house.

Do you have any other 15 travel horror movies you would like to suggest? Let us know in the comment box.

KajoPicks: 10 South Korean spy films about North Korean espionage

When it comes to the spy film genre, the most famous movies are none other than the James Bond series.

While Hollywood took on a more fictional, imaginative angle of espionage activities, South Korean filmmakers turned to their northern neighbour for inspiration.

A handful of dramas and movies based on North Korean espionage came out over the years, and some of them were inspired by the real deal.

So here are KajoMag’s 10 South Korean spy films about North Korean espionage to watch:
1.Spy Gone North (2018)

Loosely based on the true story of South Korean spy, Park Chae-seo, this movie stars Hwang Jung-min, Lee Sung-min and Cho Jin-woong.

Jung-min plays the role of Park Seok-young, an agent recruited by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to infiltrate the highest ranks in North Korea.

He is given the code name ‘Black Venus’. His mission is to travel to Beijing disguised as a salesman and establish a business connection with high ranking North Korean official Ri Myung-un (Lee Sung-min).

Instead of expecting action and guns like most spy films, Spy Gone North (2018) is more of a slow-burn political drama.

Watch the trailer here.

2.The Berlin File (2013)

If you are looking for more action and thrill for your dose of South Korean spy films, watch The Berlin File (2013).

Talented Korean actor Ha Jung-woo stars as North Korean agent Pyo Jong-sung in Berlin who is betrayed and cut loose when a weapons deal goes wrong.

While trying to escape from Berlin, South Korean agent Jung Jin-soo (Han Suk-kyu) and North Korean agent Dong Myung-soo (Ryoo Seung-bum) are also hot on his trail.

The director Ryoo Seung-wan wanted the movie to be reminiscent of The Bourne Identity. So you can imagine it to be fast-paced with intense characters build-up for the secret agents.

3.Commitment (2013)

After his father’s failed espionage mission, North Korean Myung-hoon (Big Bang’s TOP) and his younger sister Hye-in (Kim Yoo-jung) are sent to a labor prison camp.

To save his sister, Myung-hoon volunteers to become a spy and infiltrates the South to finish what his father failed to do.

Arriving in South Korea, he poses as a North Korean defector and enrolls at a local high school.

Things get tricky when both North and South Korean governments are out to get him.

Watch the trailer here.

4.The Suspect (2013)

The selling point for us to watch this film is the fact that Gong Yoo is playing the role of a spy.

His character Ji Dong-chul is one of the top special forces agent in North Korea until he is abandoned by his own government.

This South Korean spy film is another revenge movie as Dong-chul finds out his wife and daughter are killed.

He defects to the South where he is framed for a murder by the South Korean intelligence service.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Secretly, Greatly (2013)

Secretly, Greatly (2013) is a South Korean spy film that starts light and funny and then intense and emotional halfway through the movie.

It stars Kim Soo-hyun, Park Ki-woong, and Lee Hyun-woo who play North Korean spies infiltrating South Korea as a village idiot, a rock musician and a high school student respectively.

What are the odds of three North Korean spies living in the same neighbourhood anyway?

They start to get comfortable with their lives in the South until a mission comes ordering them to commit suicide.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Operation Chromite (2016)

Liam Neeson in a South Korean spy film? Sign us up for this movie. Based on the real-life events of the Battle of Inchon, Neeson takes up the role of General Douglas MacArthur who devises a secret plan to attack behind enemy lines at Inchon.

The movie sets in 1950, few months after North Korean forces have invaded most of South Korea.

Then, an American-led UN coalition is sent to Korea to help the South Koreans.

But before any making any move, MacArthur plans a top secret South Korean intelligence operation. Operation Chromite presents a fictionalised version of the real operation in which the spies gather essential information from within occupied Inchon.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Secret Reunion (2010)

Imagine two spies; one from South Korea and another from the North reuniting years after both are no longer in the espionage business. Will they pretend to not know each other or plot to murder each other?

The story follows Agent Lee Han-gyoo (Song Kang-ho), a South Korean spy who falls from grace after failing to stop the assassination of a North Korean dissident.

Meanwhile, Ji-won (Kang Dang-won) is a North Korean undercover spy living in South Korea who is betrayed by his fellow agent.

Six years later, Han-gyoo works as a private investigator and Ji-won in construction. Fate brings them together later in life; will they pick up what they left years ago?

Watch the trailer here.

8.Silmido (2013)

In 1968, a black operations unit of the Republic of Korea Air Force known as Unit 684 is formed to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Il-sung.

Thirty-one civilians made up of either petty criminals or unemployed youths are recruited with the promise of money and jobs if they succeed in their mission.

Unit 684 members are trained on Silmido, an inhabited island off the Yellow Sea. They have to endure harsh training for years, during which seven of them die.

Things go even farther south in August 1971, when the assassination mission is cancelled following the improvement of relations between North and South Korea.

Feeling betrayed and upset after all they went through, the surviving members of Unit 684 start an uprising against the South Korean government.

This movie is the dramatised version of the Unit 684 retaliation against their government.

Watch the trailer here.

9.The Spies (2012)
The Spy2012 poster

Imagine living your life undercover for 22 years and suddenly you receive a mission to assassinate a target.

Section chief Kim (Kim Myung-min) was dispatched to South Korea 22 years ago to spy for the North Korean government. Over the years, he sticks to his life routine; making a living by selling fake Viagra pills smuggled from China.

After he receives a sudden assassination order, he starts to gather his teammates.

The movie follows how Kim and his teammates reluctantly carry out the assassination plot.

10.Double Agent (2003)

During the Cold War, Lim Byong-ho (Han Suk-kyu) is chased by North Korean officials in Berlin where he narrowly escapes.

However, he is caught by South Korean officials in which he is brought back to South Korea for interrogation.

After enduring horrifying torture, Lim convinces the South Korean to let him working as a training officer for operatives on survival in North Korea.

The plot thickens as it turns out Lim is actually a North Korean spy who still receives orders from his sleeper agent in South Korea.

Watch the trailer here.

5 movies and dramas based on the Hwaseong serial murders

After remaining unsolved for 33 years, South Korean police announced on Sept 18, 2019 that they had identified the prime suspect of the Hwaseong serial murders.

These murder cases rocked South Korean society from 1986 to 1991 as they soon realised that they could be looking at the country’s first serial killer.

Female victims’ ages ranged from 13 to 71, and were usually found bound, raped and murdered in Hwaseong, south of Seoul.

Most of the victims had been strangled to death; many with their own clothes.

Their bodies were found in different places including pastureland, canals, rice paddy fields and embankments.

Using the latest forensic techniques to retrieve DNA, officers managed to identify 56-year-old Lee Chun-jae as a suspect in at least three of the killings. Lee was already serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of his sister-in-law in 1994.

As of October 15, Lee’s status has been changed from ‘suspect’ to ‘accused’. Despite the statute of limitations having expired for all the Hwaseong serial murders, police have sent his case to prosecutors. The police had retained key evidence and samples all this while in the hopes of solving these heinous murders.

Often compared to Zodiac Killer cases as they had never been solved before, the Hwaseong serial murders have been portrayed several times in popular culture.

5 movies and dramas inspired by the Hwaseong serial murders
Here are 5 movies and dramas evoked by the Hwaseong serial murders:
1.Memories of Murder (2003)

This movie is the most famous portrayal of the Hwaseong serial murders in popular culture.

Besides its cinematography, Sang Kang-ho’s performance as Detective Park Doo-man gained wide praise from movie buffs.

It is set in 1986 in the province of Gyunggi where a second young and beautiful woman is found dead, raped and gagged with her own underwear.

The movie circles around Park, a small town policeman and his partner Cho Yong-koo (Kim Roi-ha) who use brutality to solve the case.

Then comes Seo Tae-yoon (Kim Sang-kyung) into the picture. He may be younger than Park but he is experienced enough to help Park with the investigation.

Memories of Murder have a few similarities with the real events of the Hwaseong serial murders.

For instance, the fact that the victims were gagged with their underwear was drawn from the case.

In the movie, however, the DNA evidence was sent to US for analysis compared to the Hwaseong serial murders where evidence had been sent to Japan.

Just like in the real cases, the DNA results did not match any of the suspects back then.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Confession of Murder (2012)

Imagine if the killer had published a tell-all book about how he committed all the murders after the statute of limitation expired, knowing that he would not be prosecuted.

In this movie, Lee Du-seok (Park Si-hoo) does exactly that, describing all his killings in detail.

Detective Choi (Jung Jae-young), who investigated the murders 15 years prior starts to hunt the killer again.

Meanwhile, Han Ji-soo (Kim Young-ae), who lost her daughter to the serial killer pledges revenge.

At the same time, another killer appears, casting doubt on who the real killer is.

So who is the real killer? Is Du-Seok just an impostor or is the other killer just a copycat?

Full of suspense, this movie is also about the victims families who take matters into their own hands after believing authorities had failed them.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Gap-dong (2014)

This 20-episode drama is set in the fictional city of Iltan in Gyeonggi Province. After a total of nine murders within a 12-kilometer radius over three years, the police conclude the man behind the crimes is a guy they nicknamed ‘Gap-dong’.

Detective Yang (Sung Dong-il) believes the killer is an intellectually challenged man named Ha Il-sik.

To prove his innocence, Ha commits suicide. Subsequently, his son Moo-yeom (Yoon Sang-hyun) becomes a police officer to clear his father’s name.

After 17 years, a string of crimes resembling Gap-dong’s murders occur. Is it committed by the same murderer or a copycat?

This time, Detective Yang and Moo-yeom have to put aside their pasts and work together to catch Gap-dong.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Tunnel (2017)

In 1986, Detective Park Gwang-ho (Choi Jin-hyuk) tries to catch a serial killer. While chasing the serial killer, he enters a tunnel.

When he emerges from the other side of the tunnel, Detective Park finds himself in the year 2016.

He then realises the serial killer has continued killing after 30 years. This time, he needs to work with Detective Kim Seon-jae (Yoon Hyun-min) and a criminal psychological counselor Shin Jae-yi (Lee Yoo-young).

You can watch the drama legally here for free.

5.Signal (2016)

Starring Lee Je-hoon, Kim Hye-soo and Cho Jin-woong, this drama has not only drawn from the Hwaseong serial murders but also other real-life crimes in South Korea.

The plot starts when a mysterious walkie talkie shows up, allowing a detective in the year 2000 to communicate with a cold case profiler in 2015.

Together, they not only solve crimes but prevent some cases from ever taking place.

Signal (2016) is one of the highest rated Korean dramas in cable television history. There is even a Japanese remake of the drama which premiered in 2018.

Watch the trailer here.

Watch this drama on Viu here.

5 reasons why you should watch Battle Trip before you travel

Battle Trip is a South Korean entertainment program which sees two groups of celebrities travelling and competing with each other based on specific topics and showing viewers travel tips.

Then the audience in the studio will vote which group win the battle.

The show has showcases not only destinations around Asia but in other continents such as Europe.

Known to be helpful for travellers, even former celebrity couple Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo were reportedly watching the show before planning out their honeymoon.

If you are planning to go for specific location, here are five reasons why you should check out Battle Trip (if the show had featured that destination) before you go:
Battle Trip
Go for the Viking ride in Russia!
1.You can have the exact travel itinerary and see how it turns out

Planning your travel itinerary can be stressful, so how about letting these Korean celebrities plan it for you?

Some of these itineraries are not the typical touristy itineraries. For example in an episode featuring actors Hyun Woo and Tim, the two celebrities divided their Bali itineraries into two parts. On the first day they went to the main tourist attractions while on the second day, Tim took them to hidden spots of Bali.

How did he knows the hidden gems of Bali? Tim stayed there for a month when he filmed the Indonesian TV series, “Saranghae, I love you”.

The show also features different kinds of theme for every episode while giving audience different kind of itinerary, even if it is at the same location.

For instance, there is one episode features a snack tour in Seoul which one group goes around the city in search for tteobokki (Korean rice cake) and another looking for bakeries.

2.You can get a rough idea of how much to plan for your budget

The most important thing about any travelling plan is the budget. You can roughly know how much these celebrities spend when they travel, especially on food and drinks.

Some of us might not be able to afford what they eat (like Kobe beef in Japan) but most of the eateries featured in the show are quite affordable.

They might not be exactly clear about other expenses such as transportation fee. Viewers, nonetheless, still can know the rough budget especially for food and entrance fees to tourist sites.

3. You can get an idea of what (and where) to eat too!

As these Korean celebrities eat through the show, you can also roughly plan and expect what to have in your trips.

Although depending on the celebrity, some of them are quite picky with their food while some are adventurous.

This show can be mouth-watering to watch, especially when the celebrities have the same food preferences like yours as they enjoy their food throughout the journey.

4.Of course, where to visit and what to do

Who would not want to visit the World Liquor Museum in Jeju, South Korea or go bob-sleighing in Canada?

Every trip has its own unique itinerary of places to visit even when the destination has been featured more than once in the show.

Additionally, the show showcases different itineraries based on the different season. Hence, the audience can decide when is the best season to visit a particular destination.

For example, you can only visit Sapporo Odori Beer Garden in Hokkaido, Japan for booze during the summer.

Or you can visit the Blue Pond in Biei, Hokkaido which only looks picturesque in the summer but not in winter.

As for Hokkaido’s Shirahige Falls, it only looks like it comes straight out of a fairy tale during winter while it looks like any other waterfall during summer.

5.Finally, they show you the reality of travelling; the ups and downs as well as the good and the bad

The best part about Battle Trip is it shows the reality of travelling. Sometimes, not everything goes your way even after you meticulously plan for everything.

While watching the show, you can take note of what to watch out for if you are planning to go to the same place.

For instance, when the K-pop Infinite members went to Gangneung, South Korea for a short hike, the Badabuchae-gil Trail was closed due to bad weather.

Watch how the celebrities make up for their setbacks when things did not go the way they planned.

You can watch all the episodes of Battle Trip on KBS World’s official Youtube channel.

#KajoPicks: 10 tear-jerking Korean romance movies you need to watch

If you are looking to shed some tears while watching love stories unfold, here are KajoMag’s suggestion of 10 tear-jerking Korean romance movies to watch:
1.The Classic (2003)
The Classic
The Classic (2003). Credits: IMDB

When it comes to Korean romance movies, actress Son Ye-jin is perhaps the queen of this genre. One of her breakthrough performances is in Classic (2003).

The film tells the parallel love stories of a mother and daughter, both played by Ye-jin.

The story starts with the daughter, Ji-hye and Soo-kyoung (Lee Tae-Kyung) who are friends that both have a crush on Sang Min (Jo In-sung).

Soo-kyung asks Ji-hye to write a love letter to Sang-min on her behalf (why would you ask your friend to do that anyway?). Luckily for her, after receiving that letter, Sang-min is attracted to Soo-kyung.

Feeling uncomfortable that her crush is attracted to her best friend, Ji-hye starts to avoid him. But since it is a classic romantic movie, Ji-hye keeps on running into Sang-min.

Amidst the romantic encounters, Ji-hye finds a box. Inside is her mother’s memorabilia of her first love. The movie then explores how her mother’s love story intertwines with her own.

2.A Moment to Remember (2004)
Korean romance movies to watch
A Moment to Remember. Credits: IMBD

While most romantic stories are about finding love and a happy ending, this movie revolves around the question of what happens after you marry the love of your life and the ever after is nothing like you imagined.

Based on the 2001 Japanese television drama Pure Soul, the film stars Son Ye-jin as Kim Su-jin and Jung Woo-sung as Choi Chui-soo.

Married life seems great for the couple until she finds out that she is suffering with a rare kind of Alzheimer’s disease.

As things get harder for the couple, Su-jin checks herself into an assisted facility. Despite his grief, Chui-soo stays by Su-jin’s side even when she doesn’t remember him. At one point, she even calls him her ex-boyfriend’s name, and Chui-soo painfully plays along.

The movie even inspired other countries such as India, Turkey and Malaysia to make similar films involving the heroine diagnosed with Alzheimer’s while her husband remains by her side.

3.Late Blossom (2011)
Korean romance movies to watch 2

Unlike most Korean romantic movies, this is a love story of two elderly couples.

Based on a Korean manhwa I Love You by Kang Full, the movie turned out to be a sleeper hit even with little budget for marketing.

The movie follows Kim Man-suk (Lee Soon-jae), a foul-mouthed milk deliverer but actually has a warm heart.

One day, he meets Song (Yoon So-jung), a woman who collects and sells scrap paper. Meanwhile, there is Jang Kun-bong (Song Jae-ho) who works in a parking lot and has a wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

This unique romance movie about finding new love in old age and being in love with the same person after years of marriage is definitely worth-watching.

4.Always (2011)
Korean romance movies to watch 3
Always (2011) official poster.

How can a man possibly look hot and disheveled at the same time? That is how So Ji-sub looks like as he plays Cheol-min, a man who had shut his life from the world in this movie.

After a failed boxing career, Cheol-min works as a parking lot attendant where he meets a blind telemarketer named Jung-hwa (Han Hyo-joo).

They start spending time together and eventually fall in love with each other.

Even though Hyo-joo’s acting as a blind woman is as convincing as it can get, there is still something lacking about it, but Ji-sub’s performance in this movie will tug at your heartstrings.

5.Maundy Thursday (2006)
Korean romance movies to watch 4
Maundy Thursday official poster.

In this Korean romance movie, the heroine is someone who has attempted suicide several times.

Meanwhile, the hero is a death-row inmate who is actually sentenced to death for murder.

The heroine Yu-jeong (Lee Na-young) has an aunt who is a nun. She often visits death row inmates in prison. One day, one of the inmates, Yun-soo (Gang Dong-won) asks if he could meet her niece.

Yu-jeong reluctantly agrees, subsequently visiting Yun-soo in jail every Thursday.

The most unlikely pair eventually find love in each other but time is running out on them as Yun-soo is about to get executed.

6.More Than Blue (2009)

Don’t you hate it when two people fall in love in a movie and one of them gets terminally ill but refuses to tell the other person?

You are dying so why can’t you be honest for one last time?

More than Blue follows two friends K (Kwon Sang-woo) and Cream (Lee Bo-young) who first meet each other during high school.

One day, K finds out he only has few months left to live. Since he knows Cream’s biggest fear is to be left alone, he decides to keep it as a secret.

To prepare Cream’s life without him, K pushes her to fall for Ju-hwan (Lee Beom-soo). Suddenly, Cream announces she is in love with Ju-hwan. Or is she?

Realistically speaking, life will not be as complicated as it is in this movie if people just choose to be honest with each other.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Pure Love (2016)
Korean romance movies to watch 5
Pure Love or Unforgettable official poster.

While there is a popular belief in the Korean entertainment industry that K-pop idols can’t act, they are usually cast in a drama/movie for popularity boost anyway. That being said, EXO’s D.O or Do Kyung-soo is one of the few K-pop idols who really proved the skeptics wrong.

In this movie Pure Love (or internationally released as Unforgettable), D.O plays a shy and innocent boy named Beom-sil who falls in love with Soo-ok (Kim So-hyun). Soo-ok has a leg injury so Beom-sil is always there to carry her.

The movie overall is not just about romance but about friendship, grief and acceptance.

Maybe it was the movie cinematography, the soundtrack or just D.O’s raw performance, but who knew kissing an umbrella could be more intimate than an actual kiss?

Besides looking forward to D.O’s non-kissing kissing scene, prepare to wipe your tears at the end of the movie if you decide to watch Pure Love.

8.A Millionaire’s First Love (2006)
Korean romance movies to watch 6
A Millionaire’s First Love official poster.

This Korean romance movie might remind you of Nicholas Spark’s novel A Walk to Remember. A troubled male teenager falls in love with an innocent girl who turns out to be dying.

In this movie, Hyun Bin plays a rich kid named Kang Jae-kyung. After a series of trouble, his grandfather sends him to a small town in Gangwon province. If he fails to graduate or drops out, then he would lose all of his inheritance.

There he meets and subsequently falls in love with Choi Eun-hwan (Lee Yeon-hee), an orphan who is suffering from a heart disease.

At first, Jae-kyung tries to push Eun-hwan from him, afraid that his presence would cause more harm than good for her.

Eventually, he decides stay with her and do everything to make her happy.

There are few tear-jerking moments in this movie. But one of the most memorable parts must be when Jae-kyung gives Eun-hwan a jar containing love notes wrapped in pill capsules for her birthday. Each capsule is supposed to be opened once a day.

Jae-kyung then catches Eun-hwan opening a handful of the love notes at once as she is afraid she might die before she can read all of them.

9.One Day (2017)

Death plays a major role in most tear-jerking Korean romance movies just like One Day (2017). After the death of his wife, insurance examiner Gang-soo (Kim Nam-gil) falls into depression.

Upon returning to work, he takes a case of a woman named Mi-so (Chun Woo-hee) who is in a vegetative state.

When he visits her at the hospital, Gang-soo realises he can see and talk to Mi-so’s spirit and he is the only one who can do that.

Do not be fooled by the movie’s cheery official poster because the storyline is not as happy as its promotional item.

Watch the trailer here.

10.Be With You (2018)

Once again Son Ye-jin proves she is the queen of Korean romance movies with the success of Be With You (2018).

She plays the role of Soo-ah who returns one year after her death to the bewilderment of her husband Woo-jin (So Ji-sub) on a rainy day.

However, all of her memories have all disappeared. Woo-jin takes Soo-ah in to live with him and she slowly begins to remember her past.

The timeline of this movie might be a bit confusing because it is a bit fantasy-ish. Plus, there are flashback scenes of how the couple first met and started dating.

Of course, all good things have to come to an end as Soo-ah needs to leave her family once again.

Tear-jerking moment? That time when the couple’s son Ji-ho (Kim Ji-hwan) delivers a speech in a school concert, telling his mother that he will take care of his father when she leaves them. Talk about heart-breaking!

Watch the trailer here.

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