The rainy season begins, and the outdoor drizzle is enough to dampen our travel-lusting spirits. But in the comforts of the indoors, we find salvation in virtual tours available online—with google maps’ navigation, travel blogs and vlogs on YouTube, and the shows and films we binge-watch in streaming sites on the regular.
But something about actual travel shows make our hearts race and strengthen our desire to visit a place. And with the continuous all-things-Korean invasion in the time of pandemic, we simply can’t overlook the country’s must-see programs that spark our wanderlust. While dramas like “Crash Landing On You” and “Memories of the Alhambra” moved us closer to picturesque locations overseas, it didn’t capture the big picture. This is where travel variety shows come in—serving lots of eye candy both in its choice of places to feature and its cast members!
If you’re in the mood for a foreign escape with your favorite Korean actors and K-pop idols, dress comfortably and watch these five travel variety shows. Your oppa, your dream destination, minus the hassle of travel requirements—all yours.
1. Jung Hae-in’s Walk-cumentary
The 32-year-old actor shifts from leading man to travel show producer in this ‘Walk-cumentary.” Here, Jung Hae-in explores the Big Apple with fellow actors Eun Jong-gun and Lim Hyun-soo—immersing themselves in Manhattan’s bright and busy streets, Brooklyn’s hipster neighborhoods, and a side trip to Canada to see Niagara Falls and its exhilarating activities.
If you’re the type of traveler who loves backpacking, Traveler is your show. Its first season brought actors Ryu Jun-yeol and Lee Je-hoon to Cuba, where they dive deep and get to know the rich history and culture of this bright and festive country. Meanwhile, the recently-concluded second season brought Kang Ha-neul, Ong Seoung-wu, and Ahn Jae-hong together for a trip to Argentina, hiking up its mountains and dipping their toes in the vivid liveliness of this South American destination.
3. Youth Over Flowers
This variety show, which showcased five editions since it first aired in 2014, takes several actors and idols in different places around the globe—making it a real must-watch for viewers seeking an unconventional virtual trip. Tune in and choose your own adventure—enjoy a backpacking trip in Peru with Yoon Sang, You Hee-yeol, and Lee Juck; get lost in the beauty of Laos with “Reply 1994” boys Yoo Yeon-seok, Son Ho-jun, and Baro; find the Northern Light in Iceland with Jung Sang-hoon, Jung Woo, Jo Jung-suk, and Kang Ha-neul; go on a safari adventure in Africa with “Reply 1988” cast Ryu Jun-yeol, Go Kyung-pyo, Park Bo-gum, and Ahn Jae-hong; or wander in Australia with the members of K-pop boy group WINNER.
4. BTS: Bon Voyage
Any fan of global K-pop sensation BTS would have seen the whole four seasons of “Bon Voyage,” but even non-followers would be left wanderlusting for the destinations these boys have visited in this show! Taking viewers from old-world charm of Northern Europe and to the sunny beaches in Hawaii, and just last year, the icy mountainscapes of New Zealand, it’s an adventure that satisfies that longing for the outdoors and our fangirl hearts.
5. Begin Again
This one is for travelers who love music, too. In “Begin Again,” South Korean musicians are flown around the world to busk in the streets of the destination they were brought in. The fourth season is still ongoing, but past ones featured artists like Lee So-ra, Jaurim’s Kim Yoon-ah, Henry Lau, Lena Park, Girls' Generation’s Taeyeon, Paul Kim, and Crush, who performed in Iceland, England, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, and of course, in South Korea!
Banner photo screengrabbed from BANGTANTV’s YouTube channel