For almost everyone, summer is pretty much synonymous to hitting the beach, throwing pool parties for the fam or the entire barkada, or traveling overseas to catch a cool breeze or bask under the heat of the sun even more.
But for me, a total homebody who prefers staying in the comforts of her home over posing for Insta-worthy sunny season pics, summer is all about binge-watching and catching up on TV shows I missed – that is, of course, whenever I’m not dragged to a trip by relatives or friends.
My guilty pleasure? Korean travel variety shows.
Unlike typical travel programs you see on TV that will simply sweep you across a certain city or country – throwing in facts and tips here and there as the host samples local fare or joins in some loud festival – Korean travel variety shows are not just informative but also extremely entertaining. I’m talking about wacky missions and tons of excitement topped with lots and lots of laughter here!
Indeed, watching K-Celebs exploring a new place abroad or featuring Korea’s lesser-known destinations in these incredibly addictive shows is an experience in its own, and if you’re curious enough to check out one for yourself during your free time, here are six Korean travel variety shows that will give you some good laughs and serious #TravelGoals:
One Fine Day
MBC Music’s “One Fine Day” (OFD) goes all out in treating your favorite idols to themed trips. In the earlier seasons, OFD is mainly about giving overworked idols a vacation they deserve, but now, each trip almost always comes with a catch.
Among my favorite guests of this show are the boys of SEVENTEEN. In One Fine Day, which was renamed as “13 Castaway Boys” just for them, the group’s survival skills were put to a test as they were marooned on the island of Yeoseo in the southern tip of South Korea, with nothing but a plastic bag packed with items they deemed as their “needs.” Their teamwork, funny antics, and charm in variety probably helped them score another OFD season, the currently-running SEVENTEEN’s One Fine Day in Japan.
Also check out: SHINee Surprise Vacation (Onew in Thailand, Jonghyun in Japan, Key and Minho in England, and Taemin in Switzerland), AOA’s Hainan Getaway, VIXX’s One Fine Day in Jeju, Super Junior’s One Fine Day in Switzerland, and G-Friend’s Variety Training in Cebu
Some time last year, there was a fuss around my workplace in Bonifacio Global City. Apparently, Sandara Park was shooting a segment at a restaurant nearby for KBS travel show called “Battle Trip.”
Curious, I checked the show after it aired, and got hooked by its simple yet fresh concept: MCs divide into teams and go on an adventure in exciting destinations. Upon returning to Korea, they will then come together in the studio to talk about their experiences and decide on which team has had the better trip.
While Sandara and her travel buddy Kang Hyoni’s course called “Dara Tour” initially lost to actor-director Kim Min Gyo’s Pattaya, Thailand escapade, she didn’t fail in showcasing the beauty of the Philippines, even defending the country as a safe place to travel for foreigners.
1 Night 2 Days
The cast of “1 Night 2 Days” smile for a selcawith their special guests as they filmed the “Handsome Men Winter Camp” episode
This 10-year-old show is one of the longest-running travel-themed programs on air.
Staying true to its motto “real wild road variety”, the 1 Night 2 Days or 1N2D cast members Kim Jong-min, Cha Tae-hyun, Kim Joon-ho, Defconn, Yoon Shi-yoon, and Jung Joon-young embark on different trips throughout South Korea per episode all the while performing a slew of obscure missions to earn rewards (that will make their trip more comfortable)and avoid punishments.
Idol groups like Infinite, APink, and Twice, as well as celebrities like Park Bo Gum, Park Seo Jun, and Han Hyo Joo have graced 1N2D.
New Journey to the West
Inspired by the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West”, this rollicking travel-reality program follows personalities like Lee Seung-gi, Kang Ho-dong, Eun Ji-won, Lee Su-geun, Ahn Jae-hyun, Kyuhyun, and Mino on a backpacking trip across Xi’an, China.
To make things interesting, the cast portrays characters drawn from the original novel, and together, on their trip of 5 days and 4 nights, they take on a string of games that will send you into fits and fits of laughter.
Youth Over Flowers
Getting kidnapped has never been this fun.
In “Youth Over Flowers”, celebrities are taken to a far-flung country without prior notice, rendering them completely unprepared for the trip. Every season, the cast spends about a week or so in their destination, filling their time with a number of activities that they planned on their own or have to do for the show.
Among this program’s most notable guests are actors Park Bo Gum, Kang Ha Neul, Jo Jung Suk, and idol group B1A4’s Baro.
Clad in traditional Indian kurtas SHINee’s Minho, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun, EXO’s Suho, Infinite’s Sunggyu, and CNBLUE’s Jonghyun pose for a photo in front of the historic Gateway of India
So, what happens when you send five of K-Pop’s biggest stars to a country where very few people know who they are? “Exciting India” has the answer.
In this 4-episode KBS World special, Super Junior’s evil maknae Kyuhyun, Infinite’s leader Sunggyu, CNBLUE’s lead guitarist Jonghyun, EXO’s leader Suho, and SHINee’s main rapper Minho are flown to India as KBS’s newsroom correspondents to create a full-length report on how K-Pop is perceived in the South Asian sub-continent.
Setting forth as men with a mission (well, they look more like university students doing a group project), they scour the city of Mumbai – from the historic Gateway of India, to the cosmopolitan shopping district, to the slums of Dharavi – immersing themselves in the rich Indian culture as they gathered facts, overcame language barrier, and learned the ups and downs of journalism.
Written by The Krew member Andy Flores