Spontaneity is the best kind of adventure.
Four years ago, after the third episode of Descendants of the Sun (DOTS in short), in my mind’s eye, I can see that I’ll be in Greece by the end of the series. It happened, I called it my summer odyssey.
While I can’t say that I am an avid follower of K-dramas because I can still count the titles I’ve watched on the fingers of my two hands, I can’t deny that they are influential and a force to be reckoned with. Just look at 2016 Google Trend in Singapore, Descendants of the Sun topped the chart for TV Shows.
Back then, my friend and I were bewitched by that sensational K-drama, so we booked tickets to Greece without reading too much about the country’s fiscal crisis. Sure, we’ve heard about pilots and ferry operators going on strike in the news just one day before our flight, but we prayed hard that it’ll never happen to us during our trip.
Of the places we visited in Athens and the Greek islands, everything was business as usual, except on the very last day of our trip when we were having our dinner in the hotel’s roof garden, there was a commotion on the street but nothing alarming, the hotel staff was still smiling and attending to guests. Was it worth venturing to Greece all because of DOTS? Yes, and most importantly, it is always better to do some research and plan your trip early.
Four years later, another K-drama is making waves in Asia and I’m writing this piece because I just finished the entire 16-episode series recently after much deliberation as I wondered if it would just be another cheesyepic romance like DOTS? To my surprise, Crash Landing On You is more than just a love story. The cultural difference between North Korea and South Korea and the ever-present tension that has displaced families and friends are revealed in the drama.
Although you’re not wrong to say that it seems like a Romeo and Juliet-esque kind of love story. The drama kicks off with the leading lady, Yoon Se-ri, a South Korean conglomerate heiress who crash lands in North Korea as a result of her paragliding accident, and there in North Korea, she meets Ri Jung Hyeok, a North Korean elite army officer.
With a stellar line-up of cast and otherworldly locations like Switzerland and Mongolia, I bet Crash Landing On You will top the TV Shows chart for Google Trend in Singapore this year.
And I, being a lover of the mountains, have my eyes set on Switzerland by the end of episode two when Jung-hyeok and Se-ri marvelled at the paragliders flying above Kleine Schedeigg. My impression of Switzerland from abroad is probably rather romantic, but it does look like it.
Are you nursing a hangover from Crash Landing On You’s finale too? Let’s recap some of the best moments set in dramatic Swiss scenery to bask in the ~feels~. Perhaps I’ll see you there during my pilgrimage to Switzerland.
Getting Around Switzerland
First things first, before gallivanting around Switzerland, you will need the Swiss Travel Pass – All-in-one ticket to help you get around Switzerland flexibly and cost-effectively. There are two types of Swiss Travel Pass and Swiss Travel Pass Flex depending on your travel style. Both are available in First Class and Second Class.
With the all-in-one ticket, you can access trains, buses and boats plus free entry into over 500 Swiss museums and you get up to 50% discounts on mountain excursions (Rigi, Stanserhorn and Stoos).
If you’re intending to stay in certain areas of Switzerland for a longer duration, then Swiss Travel Pass Flex can benefit you greatly. You get to travel on the Swiss Travel System network for 3, 4, 8 or 15 non-consecutive days within a month; on your selected days, you get to enjoy the same benefits from using the Swiss Travel Pass. The Swiss Travel Pass Flex also offers a 50% discount on most mountain railways and cable cars, including the Swiss Museum Pass, providing you with free entry to 500 museums and exhibitions.
Here’s How to Live Your K-Drama Fantasy ‘Crash Landing On You’ in Switzerland
1. Sigriswil Panorama Bridge
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Right off the top of my list, it would be that fateful encounter on the Sigriswil Panorama Bridge. The two star-crossed lovers met each other on this suspension bridge which offers a breathtaking view of the Thun Lake and the Bernese Alps. Jung Hyeok managed to prevent Se-ri from committing suicide by asking her for a favour and that is to help him take a photograph with Seo Dan. Se Ri is forced to exit the bridge to take the picture. This scene is only revealed towards the end of episode 4.
Here is where Jung Hyeok and Seo Dan posed for a photograph with the magnificent Swiss Alps as the backdrop.
If you’re based in Zurich, you can actually get there via Grindelwald First – Top Adventure.
3. Lake Brienz and Iseltwald
I bet this is the next most instagrammable spot in Switzerland! No filter needed when you’re in dreamy alpine Lake Brienz.
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Just finish watching the recently hot Korean drama #crashlandingonyou , its a recommended show to watch! And we happened to be in Switzerland area where they film the show 😍 Scene replay by my hubby @happyfan10 , photographer: ME 🙋🏻♀️ There's no piano, but many Korean tourists waiting to take photos 😂 It happened to be late afternoon when we arrive, so got to see the sun starting to set down 🥰
In episode 3, we see Jung Hyeok reminiscing the time when he was in Switzerland playing the piano in picturesque Lake Brienz. This is one of the key filming sites which later appeared in episode 9 and 11 again. The wooden platform otherwise known as the landing stage is located in front of the private residence Seepark Iseltwald. There is a three-star hotel Iseltwald am Brienzee within the vicinity too. Apart from posing for photos here, consider taking to the water in a kayak.
By episode 9, it was clear that the scriptwriter wants us to believe in — kismet. Se-ri was cruising on Lake Brienz and overheard a piano melody from the landing stage. The person who was playing the piano back then was none other than — Jung Hyeok.
Here’s a tip, if you have the Swiss Travel Pass, you can take a jetboat ride on Lake Brienz which is free of charge!
4. Lindenhof, Zurich
With Switzerland as one of the key locations in the drama, Zurich is definitely captured on screen and evidently shown in the drama trailers and trailers. Fast fact: Zurich has been ranked first as the city with the highest quality of life for seven consecutive times in the notable Mercer’s quality of life study. It also means that you’d do better to have a comfortable travel budget when it comes to exploring Zurich, but here’s a way to travel within your means by opting for a city tour to help you experience the best of Zurich.
We see more of Zurich in episode 16 where Se Ri travels to Switzerland in hope of meeting Jung Hyeok again. She stumbles upon Lindenhof, an idyllic town square in Zurich but the pianist turns out to be someone else. Feeling disappointed, she left and decides to go paragliding instead.
5. First Flieger, Grindelwald
Finally! It was a dramatic reunion for Se ri and Jung Hyeok, with the spectacular view of Grindelwald in the background in the last episode.
How many of you wish to try paragliding here after watching the final episode? You can marvel at the dramatic Swiss landscape the same way as the paragliders with Mountain First – Top Adventure.
6. Lake Lungern in Obwalden
The final episode of Crash Landing On You scored the highest viewership ratings according to Nielsen Korea. Everyone in South Korea wishes for a sweet ending and it’s been granted!
Even though the lovebirds cannot be together in either North or South Korea, they can see each other in Switzerland for a few times in a year!
It’s a bittersweet ending, to be accurate. But that’s the reality for North-South Korea relations. Now, the question is, where is that beautiful house overlooking the scenic mountains and Lake Lungern?
The Swiss home shared between Se Ri and Jung Hyeok is situated on the north-eastern end shore of Lake Lungern in the canton of Obwalden, Switzerland. It is a private residence in the Swiss village Kaiserstuhl-Bürglen so unfortunately you’re not allowed inside. The good news is — there is a hotel nearby for travellers! Enter Hotel Kaiserstuhl at Lake Lungern, it is a few meters away from the filming site.
Waking up to scenery like this makes your heart sing – What a wonderful world…
High production values with exceptional cinematography, Crash Landing On You is as original as DOTS. No matter if you’re a hopeless romantic or politically-minded, you’re welcome to enjoy the endless possibilities in the world of K-Drama.
7. Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa
Towards the end of episode 16, Se Ri attends a piano concert together with Jung Hyeok. This is the scene where we see Se Ri and Jung Hyeok holding hands under the table which has sparked rumours about how the two are actually dating in real life. Well, it’s scripted.
This scene is filmed in Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa which is one of the luxury hotels based in the Bernese Highlands.
Bonus: Giessbach Grandhotel
Throughout the entire series, there are glimpses of Jung Hyeok’s past as a student in Swiss Music School. The filming location is still based in Switzerland, in case you’re wondering.
The ‘Swiss Music School’ seen in the drama is a heritage hotel that dates back to the 19th century. Giessbach Grandhotel was formerly a meeting place for royals and elites. Today, it is a hotel that welcomes tourists from around the world.