5 Sure-fire Ways to Meet a K-pop Star in Seoul
K-pop is one of Korea's greatest exports, but if you're going, you might as well try to catch one of the country's biggest stars in the flesh (or, at least, in hologram form).
1. Live the K-pop Experience Programme
Founded in 2015, the K-pop Experience Programme is a free way for all K-pop fans to tour the SMTOWN area (which would normally cost you ₩30,000). Located in COEX Artium, this is an entire building dedicated to the stars under SM Entertainment's label, including Girls Generation. If nothing else, you'll get to see where your favourite K-pop stars film their music videos, get their makeup done and pick out that perfect outfit.
Afterwards, everyone in the tour will participate in a dance class, which, of course, features iconic moves from various SM Entertainment artists.
For additional fees you can also schedule photoshoots with professional photographers in the studio or go through a little K-pop idol makeover after the session. Each session lasts for about an hour and 45 minutes, from 11am-12:45pm Monday and Tuesday.
Since there are only two sessions a week, space is limited. Participants are selected via lottery, so sign up in advance.
Application ends March 23, 2016. Programme ends March 29, 2016.
2. Enjoy a Hologram Concert
Unless you've been living in South Korea for a while, or intend to travel to the country specifically for a concert, your best chance to see your favourite K-pop star may be at a hologram concert. Available 365 days a year, you can catch a hologram concert at Everland, a huge South Korean theme park in Seoul. You'll need an Everland entrance ticket to enter the concert theatre, even though the concert itself is no extra charge.
3. Eat at Celebrity Restaurants
Like celebrities in other parts of the world, many South Korean stars also own restaurants. Some of these dining spots are also great ways for fans to meet the family members of the celebrity (who are usually the ones actually running the establishment), and take photographs of various idol-related paraphernalia that lines the interiors.
Take Viva Polo for instance. Owned by the mother of Park Chan-Yeol, a prominent member of famous boy band, the restaurant is intimately decorated with baby photographs of the handsome member of EXO.
If you're not sure where to start, check out this list of celeb-owned restaurants.
4. Visit the K-pop HQs
If you're any half-decent K-pop fan, these four abbreviations will mean more than just a combination of random letters: YG, JYP, SM and FNC. Yup, these are the huge entertainment companies that develop and manage massive stars like PSY, Se7en, and Big Bang.
Next time you're in Seoul, drop by and if you're lucky, you may just catch a glimpse of your favourite star(s) at work. The good news is that many of these locations are in Apgujeong, so you can visit them all in one afternoon.
5. Check out K-star Road
If you have some time to spare, take a little trip to travel the K-Star Road, a project dedicated to K-pop stars and other local celebrities. It's like a K-pop version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Although it may all seem a tad manufactured, from the cheesy statues to the crazy artwork, it is still a great spot to check out, especially if you are a K-pop fan. There is also a slight chance of meeting your favourite star, since it is the district where most of them shop, work and live.