Aside from the heart-fluttering tiki-taka chemistry between Shin Min-ah as dentist Yoon Hye-jin and Kim Seon-ho as jack-of-all-trades Hong Doo-shik, the seaside setting of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha has easily captured our hearts. It is indeed the perfect filming location for a healing K-drama. The picturesque village is known as Gongjin. Here, we’ll reveal where this town is in real life and the spots featured in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha that you should add to your South Korea bucket list.
Real-Life Gongjin: Pohang City
Just like the fictional Gongjin Village, Pohang City is a peaceful coastal town with an ever-present view of the ocean and the mountains. This underrated destination is comprised of rustic neighborhoods with a Japanese flair—historical traces of migrant settlement can be seen on Japanese-style wooden houses and shrines.
As it is close to the ocean, a seafood experience at the local markets and bayside eateries is the most tempting—as well as sunrise watching and barefooted strolls on the beach. It is common to do day trips from Gyeongju, Busan, and Daegu, but it’s definitely worth lingering for longer.
If it looks familiar, it’s because it has also been the setting of another heartwarming K-drama When the Camellia Blooms. In the next sections, we’ll discuss our favorite spots in Pohang City featured in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha.
Sabang Memorial Park – Mugeunbong Peak
One of the first spots we saw in the first episode is Mugeunbong Peak at Sabang Memorial Park where a sole wooden ship overlooks a mountainous landscape and the sea. This is also the site of one of the first encounters of Yoon Hye-jin and Hong Doo-shik.
Mugeunbong is part of the 4,500-hectare Sabang Memorial Park, which comprises outdoor leisure spaces and exhibition facilities that tell of the country’s reforestation and erosion control efforts. The open spaces are vast, green, and unobstructed—best for sightseeing walks and appreciating views of Pohang’s coast and mountains.
Location: 66 Odo-ri, Heunghae-eup, Buk-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Cheongjin 3-Ri Fishermen’s Welfare Center (Yoon Dental Clinic)
The set for Yoon Dental Clinic is Cheongjin 3-Ri Fishermen’s Welfare Center, which is a community center in real life. It’s worth visiting for its views of the port with quaint fishing boats and for mingling with the warm locals. The welfare center houses some commercial units including a scuba diving center.
Cheongjin 3-Ri Fishermen’s Welfare Center is only a few minutes by car to Sabang Memorial Park. It is also possible to walk.
Location: 1884-2 Haean-ro, Cheongha-myeon, Buk-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Wolpo Beach is the place where Hye-jin and Doo-shik first met awkwardly, with the latter sporting a figure-hugging bodysuit and the other dumbfounded by the disappearance of her expensive shoes. The beach is an under-the-radar diving and fishing destination, boasting clean and shallow waters and a laidback beach ambiance. That said, we can understand how Hye-jin got so deeply immersed in thought that she lost track of her shoes.
Location: Haean-ro 2308beon-gil, Cheongha-myeon, Buk-gu Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Cheongha Market (Gongjin Market)
Gongjin Market is one of the key locations in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha where a lot of memorable scenes took place. The real-life Cheongha Market is a modest place, probably not the first in mind when in Pohang as there’s the bigger and more famous Jukdo Market. However, the K-drama sure has done well on shedding light on its charms—go here for the traditional ambiance, cheap hauls, and delicious eateries.
It’s now easy to find the market, thanks to the conspicuous squid statue atop a concrete marker that says Gongjin Market (공진시장). This is also where you can find Cheongho Hardware Store, Bora Supermarket, and the curiously named “Coffee in the Middle of the Day and Beer in the Moonlight” (hardware in real life).
Location: 6 Cheongha-ro 200-beongil, Cheongha-myeon, Buk-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Cheongjin 2-Ri Lighthouse
In a traditional fishing town, it’s not surprising to find a lot of lighthouses dotting the coast of Pohang. And the lighthouse at Cheongjin 2-ri breakwater is another lesser-known landmark that has been brought to light by Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. It’s that hard-to-miss tall red icon in the opening cartoon sequence of the show and the romantic backdrop for some of the two leads’ scenes.
Cheongjin 2-ri breakwater is just a few minutes by foot from Cheongjin 3-Ri Fishermen’s Welfare Center.
Location: Cheongjin 2-ri Breakwater, Cheongjin-ri, Buk-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
If the filming locations of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha in Pohang didn’t make you want to go off the beaten path, we don’t know what will! Find more underrated countryside destinations in South Korea to add to your bucket list on KKday.
*Featured image via tvN & NETFLIX Korea