Your best chance to come face to face with oppa
If you’re a K-POP fan, travelling all the way to Korea to meet your oppa is only second nature. Now that you’ve made it all the way to there, it’s time to embark on the K-POP journey of your dreams.
From visiting the various agencies to camping out at idol-owned cafes, Korea is a K-POP wonderland. Who knows, you might even bump into J-Hope himself on the street! Sounds tempting? Keep reading to find out how you can stand the highest chance of meeting your oppa while in seoul.
While you’re planning your K-POP pilgrimage, here’s how you can save $36 on your oppa stalking trip with Tripsle’s Cherry Blossom sale.
Tip: The more thumbs-up Jins you see, the higher the chance of bumping into your idol at that location.
1. Visit idol stomping grounds
A K-POP pilgrimage isn’t complete without a visit to your favourite group’s agency building, where idol groups go for their practices and recording sessions. If you’re hoping to bump into your bias on your trip, then agency buildings are the perfect place to start your hunt. You might even get the chance to dig through BTS’s trash and take home a souvenir.
Don’t like the idea of wandering around while looking for the agencies? Book yourself a private charter instead so you’ll get to spend more time looking for oppa.
YG Entertainment (BIGBANG, Lee Jong Suk and BLACKPINK)
You’ll spot the YG headquarters from a mile away, given its unique architecture makes it stand out in the neighbourhood. Located in Mapo-gu, YG is home to some of the biggest K-POP groups like Big Bang and Blackpink. Known for its delicious cafeteria food, make sure you stop by and see if you can catch a glimpse of Lisa on her way to work!
Address: 397-5 Hapjeong-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Hapjeong Station (Exit 8)
How to get there: Once you come out of Exit 8, walk straight past the SK Oil Station and keep going straight. Walk past Hotel Circle to the second fork in the road and make a right turn. You should see the YG building on the left of a GS25 convenience store.
SM Entertainment (Super Junior, EXO and Red Velvet)
If you’re set on camping to wait for oppa to appear, make sure you stop by SM’s building. Home to global groups like Super Junior and EXO, it’s no surprise SM’S headquarters are located in trendy Gangnam. If you’re an SM fan, don’t forget to check out SMTOWN @coexartium as part of your trip too.
Pro tip: SM’s headquarters are located right opposite Hangang Park, so make sure you bring along some snacks while waiting for Kai to appear.
Address: 114, Seolleung-ro 190-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Apgujeong Rodeo Station (Exit 1)
How to get there: After exiting the station, make a right turn and continue going straight. Look out for a sign pointing to Hangang Park and make a right turn. Continue going straight until you see the SM building on your right.
JYP Entertainment (TWICE, GOT7 and DAY6)
The company behind groups like Twice and DAY6, JYP is actually near SM so make sure you visit both of them on the same day! The entrance to JYP is usually decorated for artist’s birthdays, so make sure you plan a visit during your bias’s birthday to snap that iconic photo under the the JYP sign.
Pro tip: There’s a Dunkin Donuts right opposite JYP, and they’re willing to let you camp there as long as you buy a drink every hour. Don’t forget to check out the memorabilia signed by JYP artists while you’re getting your drink!
Address: 41 Apgujeong-ro 79-gil, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Cheongdam Station (Exit 9)
How to get there: Exit the station and continue going straight until you cross the street. Make a right turn and keep going straight. On the third alley you pass on your left, turn and keep walking until you see the JYP building.
Big Hit Entertainment (BTS, HOMME)
Big Hit is home to one of the biggest boy groups, BTS, and their headquarters got an upgrade in 2017. It may be a little hard to camp outside the building given its location, but lucky fans have spotted the boys entering the building. Signs have been put up asking fans not to scribble on the wall, so make sure you obey the rules if you decide to pop by for a visit!
Address: Yangjin Plaza 5F, 5 Hakdong-ro, 30-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Hakdong Station (Exit 3)
How to get there: Once you exit the station, keep going straight. Turn left and keep going straight until you see Yangjin Plaza on your left. Big Hit occupies floors 2 to 7.
Cube Entertainment (BTOB, Pentagon, Hyuna)
Just like SM, Cube has a cafe, 20 SPACE, right below its office, which means you can enjoy a drink while waiting for your idols to come to work! 20 SPACE also has special merchandise available, so make sure you bring home some goodies while waiting for Ilhoon to show up!
Address: 83 Achasan-ro Seongdong-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Seongsu Station (Exit 1)
How to get there: Take the escalator down and keep walking straight. Cube Entertainment will be on your right.
2. Sip on coffee made by oppa
What better way to meet your idol than to have him serve you an iced latte? More and more idols are opening their own cafes, and many fans have jumped at the chance of seeing their oppas behind the counter. Can’t squeeze in all these cafes in one trip? Fret not, we’ve rounded up some fan-favourites for you.
Mouse Rabbit Cafe
One of the more popular idol cafes, Super Junior’s Yesung and his brother run this cafe known for its cosy ambience and delicious desserts. Tucked away in Gwangjin, the cafe is easy to get to from Konuk University Station, and if you’re lucky enough, you might even get to meet the star himself!
Pro tip: Yesung is known to hang around and even take orders at Mouse Rabbit. If you’re a Yesung fan, this cafe is definitely a must!
Address: 5-14 Hwayang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest station: Konuk University (Exit 2)
Personally designed and decorated by Big Bang’s leader G-Dragon, the cafe opened two days before the star’s military enlistment. With its architecture as the main highlight, fans can also get their hands on special ‘Untitled 2017’ goods. A bowling alley and pub are expected to be open soon, so make sure you visit this star’s insta-worthy cafe in Jeju!
Address: 38 Shinhwayeoksa-ro,304-gil, Andeok-myeon Seogwipo-si, Jeju, South Korea
Owned by 2AM and HOMME’S Changmin, this cafe tucked away in Apgujeong is famous for its summer drinks like lemonade and cherryade. Changmin’s mum often works behind the counter, and she’s known for letting fans know if Changmin is stopping by. The interior of the cafe is also filled with all things K-POP, so make sure you stop by for a visit.
Pro tip: The boys of BTS often stop by the cafe to support Changmin, so if you’re BTS fan, consider adding this cafe to your itinerary!
Address: Apgujeong-ro 330, 01-112, Seoul, South Korea
Nearest station: Apgujeong Station (Exit 6)
Though this cafe is technically not owned by an idol, it’s THE place to go if you’re hoping to bump into oppa. With both a cafe as well as a market in the basement, the interior is filled with all things SM, from huge EXO posters to props from Red Velvet’s music videos. The menu in the cafe is themed after SM artists, so make sure you dig into a Heechul cupcake before taking home snacks like Super Junior popcorn and TVXQ ramen!
Pro-tip: SM artists are constantly passing through the building, so if you’re hoping to catch sight of your SM biases, this is the place to be.
Address: 52-1 Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Cheongdamn Station (Exit 6)
3. Catch a free mini-concert by all the biggest stars
Imagine an intimate concert for a handful of lucky fans, and that’s what K-POP music shows are like. A chance to catch all the top stars performing live for free, music shows are every fan’s wildest dreams come true. It can be tough for foreign fans to get into these shows, but fret not for Tripsle has you covered with tips on how to get into Show Champion, M!Countdown and The Show.
Getting into Show Champion is simple compared to the rest of the shows, as all you need to do is arrive early and queue up with everyone else.
There are 2 ways to get in: via a fanclub or general entry. If you want to get in with a fanclub, you need to have a physical copy of the group’s latest album as well as the group’s official lightstick.
|Fan Club entry||Physical copy of latest album + official lightstick|
|General entry||No special items needed|
Certain groups pre-record their performance, meaning they won’t be performing live, so make sure to double check if your group is pre-recorded! They start letting people in at 5:30PM, so make sure you’re there before then.
Location: Bitmaru Broadcasting Centre, 815 Madu 1(il)-dong, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do
Nearest station: Juyeop Station (Exit 3)
How to get there: Exit the station and cross the street. Cut through the park and go over the bridge, where you’ll end up at a little square. You’ll see a tall building that’s Bitmaru Broadcasting Centre. Cross the street and look for the line of fans outside.
Getting into M!Countdown might be a little trickier than Show Champion, given the show is one of the top music shows in Korea.
There are different tiers of entry for fans, and the requirements for the different tiers vary according to which group you wish to see perform. The very basic items needed range from a physical copy of the group’s latest CD to an official slogan. The higher your tier, the easier it is to get in.
Here’s what items you need on hand that determines which tier you are in. Bear in mind that it differs for each group!
|Tier 3||Official fanclub membership card, official lightstick, physical copy of the latest album , proof of purchase of digital single on Korean music services (e.g Melon) + ID or passport|
|Tier 2||Official lightstick, physical copy of the latest album , proof of purchase of digital single on Korean music services (e.g Melon) + ID or passport|
|Tier 1||Fans with none of the above|
Just like Show Champion, certain groups pre-record their performance, so don’t forget to check if your favourite’s performance is pre-recorded to avoid disappointment. More popular groups tend to pre-record their performances.
Location: CJ E&M Center, 66, Sangamsan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Digital Media City (Exit 9)
How to get there: Exit the station and walk straight until you see SBS Prism on your left. Make a left turn and keep going straight until you see CJ E&M on your left.
The Show might be the easiest music show to get into. All you need to do is sign up for an SBS account and apply for admission. They use a lottery system for admission, which means you can get it without joining a fanclub.
That being said, if you’d like a guaranteed chance of catching your idols, make sure you Tripsle your The Show tickets!
Location: SBS Prism Tower, 82 Sangamsan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Nearest station: Digital Media City Station (Exit 9)
How to get there: Exit the station and keep walking straight until you see the SBS Prism Tower on your left.
4. Hold hands with the love of your life
For K-POP fans, fansigns are a dream come true. Fansigns are a chance for you to get personal and even have private conversations with your idol, while getting your album autographed at the same time. If you’re hoping to get into one, here are some insider tips to help you along the way.
How to check for fansigns:
Fansigns usually happen during a group’s comeback promotion period, which may range from a week to a month. Companies usually announce a fansign a week in advance on either their Daum fancafe or official Twitter support account.
Pro tip: @fansigndata_b on Twitter posts updates on fansigns across all groups, so if you’re not familiar with the official fancafe, this is another alternative!
How to apply for fansigns:
There are 2 kinds of fansigns, a first-come-first-serve or a lottery based.
|First-come-first-serve||Used by rookie groups or groups from smaller companies, only need to purchase 1 copy of the album is needed|
|Lottery-based||Used by most groups. The more albums you buy, the more entries into the raffle you get, so the higher your chance of getting in|
Both fansigns require you to buy albums from specific stores on specific dates, so make sure you head down to the correct store to get your album and fill out the necessary forms. Your name on the form has to match your ID exactly, or you won’t be allowed to enter the fansign if chosen!
Results are usually announced on the evening of the last day to buy albums, so make sure you check back with the store to find out if you’re one of the lucky fans!
Pro tip: For lottery-based fansigns, there are usually a “safe” number of albums to buy to ensure you have a chance of being selected. For example, during BTS’s Young Forever promotion, fans bought around 90 albums to get in.
Attending the fansign
Each member can only sign one page of the specific album they’re promoting, so make sure you decide which page before going down! If you want to bring along gifts for your idols, check if they’re allowed to accept them. Most groups only accept letters, but they’ll still play with toys or headbands for photos.
Pro tip: Stick a Post-It with a question to your idol on the specific page you want them to sign, and they’ll answer it, but remember to keep it simple! You only have a short amount of time with each member, so don’t waste that time having them answer your question.
Prep yourself for your K-POP pilgrimage
Now that you know where to go for a chance to meet your idols, don’t forget to Tripsle your travel essentials so you’ll be ready when you meet oppa!