The Korea Herald

ssg
소아쌤

[Drama Tour] Cheongju as seen through the lens of 'The Glory'

By Lee Si-jin

Published : April 20, 2024 - 16:00

    • Link copied

"The Glory" stars Lee Do-hyun (left) and Song Hye-kyo sit in front of a giant ginkgo tree located in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. (Netflix)

CHEONGJU, NORTH CHUNGCHEONG PROVINCE -- While Netflix’s mega-hit revenge drama “The Glory” (2022-23) was mostly shot in the capital city of Seoul and the surrounding metropolitan area, Cheongju -- located in the southwestern part of North Chungcheong Province -- made its presence strongly felt as the stage for two of the most iconic scenes in the show.

In the series, Moon Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo), a victim of school violence, spends a lot of time sitting on a wooden chair under a giant ginkgo tree.

Hoping to show how cautious the revenge-driven female lead is and her willingness to take her time in carrying out the long-in-the-making vengeance project, the director of “The Glory” presents this quiet, yet emotionally powerful chair scene in four different seasons.

Mesmerized by the dramatic changes in color, many drama viewers asked about the location of the shoot.

Cheongju’s Yonghwasa Temple also became a popular site after grabbing viewers’ attention in a scene in which Moon carries out revenge on one of her vicious bullies from the past.

For those who might feel that the two filming locations are not reason enough to head to Cheongju, there are several tourist destinations and cultural experiences nearby to make for a great day trip.

Cheongju Jungang Park

Cheongju Jungang Park in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald) Cheongju Jungang Park in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Cheongju Jungang Park is where Moon played traditional board game Go with her lover (and Go teacher) under a 30-meter-tall ginkgo tree.

The wooden chairs and Go boards are no longer there, but the park serves as a meeting spot for older people who while away time playing the other traditional game “yutnori,” and take a leisurely rest with friends.

Joo Yeo-jeong (left) and Moon Dong-eun play Go in Joo Yeo-jeong (left) and Moon Dong-eun play Go in "The Glory." (Netflix)

In addition to the massive ginkgo tree, the park is filled with a number of cultural heritage assets, including Mangseollu Pavilion -- the oldest wooden structure in Cheongju -- and Byeongma Jeoldosa Yeongmun, which served as the main entrance to the provincial military headquarters during the Joseon era (1392-1910).

With the chirping of the birds and the trees all around, the park offers a quick escape from hectic downtown Cheongju.

When you have had your fill of peace and quiet and are in the mood for something more energetic, head over to Yukgeori Market just across the street.

Yukgeori Market, the largest traditional market in the central area of South Korea, is home to 1,200 shops.

Ranging from clothing, household goods and toys to food, plants, medicinal herbs and handicrafts, this traditional market has everything you could ever want.

Kimchi pancakes are grilled at Yukgeori Market in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, April 11. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald) Kimchi pancakes are grilled at Yukgeori Market in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, April 11. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)
Rows of shops line both sides of Yukgeori Market's main route in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald) Rows of shops line both sides of Yukgeori Market's main route in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

The shouts of the vendors as they peddle their wares, the roar of motorcycles off to make deliveries and the scraping of metal spatulas against hot griddles contribute to the vibrant, lively atmosphere of the market.

Though the market does not have any designated photo zones, Instagrammable spots or eateries that have gone viral, Yukgeori Market gives a sneak peek into the daily life of local Cheongju residents.

Yonghwasa Temple

Choi Hye-jeong kneels down to ask Moon Dong-eun's forgiveness for her past deeds in Choi Hye-jeong kneels down to ask Moon Dong-eun's forgiveness for her past deeds in "The Glory." (Netflix)

With another five-minute car ride from Yukgeori Market, you can explore Yonghwasa, the small Buddhist temple where Choi Hye-jeong (Cha Joo-young), a vicious bully, got on her knees and asked Moon for forgiveness in "The Glory."

Celebrating the upcoming Buddha’s Birthday holiday, the temple site is decorated with colorful lanterns.

Unlike secluded temples tucked away in the mountains, Yonghwasa lies at the center of Cheongju City, beckoning travelers with its great accessibility.

The temple has preserved one cast-iron cauldron and clay fire pit on the right side of the main hall for "The Glory" fans.

A visitor takes a stroll near a clay fire pit and cast-iron cauldron from A visitor takes a stroll near a clay fire pit and cast-iron cauldron from "The Glory," which are preserved at Yonghwasa in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, April 11. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

“Though it is not packed with visitors nowadays, our temple attracted quite a lot of tourists who wished to take 'proof shots' or other photos to enjoy ‘The Glory’ a little longer after the show came to an end in August 2022,” a Buddhist believer surnamed Kim told the Korea Herald on April 11.

Strolling around the temple site, visitors can easily recognize the show’s filming spots from signs made by temple officials.

Go inside the main hall to feel the quiet, tranquil vibe created by the wooden floor, stone Buddha statues and candles.

A Templestay program participant bows with a Buddhist monk at Yonghwasa in Cheongju. (Yonghwasa) A Templestay program participant bows with a Buddhist monk at Yonghwasa in Cheongju. (Yonghwasa)

Those who wish to spend more time exploring the world of Buddhism can apply to join either a one-day or two-day Templestay featuring meditation with Buddhist monks, a mala beads-making activity and a tea ceremony.