For every BTS fan or member of the ARMY, the ultimate dream is to see the group perform live on the concert stage. For the 14 months of their Love Yourself: Speak Yourself worldwide stadium concert tour, devoted ARMYs flew all over the world to join the purple ocean and experience the Love Yourself era in big, monumental venues: from Rose Bowl in LA, to Wembley in London, and back again to the Olympic Stadium in their home country. It was a journey that brought together fans from different ages and countries, who were connected by their love for Bangtan Sonyeondan.
I am part of a Twitter group called “Ticketless Dreamers”, which is made up of 75 people from four continents: Europe, North and South America, and Asia. We met each other online when all of us tragically failed to score tickets for BTS’ finale tour in Seoul. We were “rejects”, and we had already booked our flights to Seoul. For a month, we consoled each other as our departure date to Seoul came closer. Some of us would be traveling alone, while others would be with friends and family, but none of us were sure to see Bangtan on stage.
Seeing the pride of South Korea was the top priority for us Ticketless Dreamers, but there are other things that we also enjoyed as part of this growing fandom. We knew we had to meet each other and go to different places that could bring us closer to BTS. To experience the sites, sound, smell, and taste that BTS members have experienced would be like taking a walk on the path that they’ve been to, albeit briefly.
Here are a few of the BTS tourist spots in Korea that hold meaningful memories to the fandom, and where my friends and I did our own ARMY pilgrimage.
Food, Coffee, and Bangtan
Location: 14 Dosan-daero 28-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
One go-to place for ARMYs is the group’s favorite restaurant when they were rookie Kpop idols. BTS’ trainee days were filled with hardships, and several of their vlogs would include them eating with such vigor and enjoying Korean food the most. The restaurant near Bighit’s old building offers home-cooked Korean meals for an affordable price.
The Min’s Cafe
Location: 330 Apgujeong-ro, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Owned by Lee Chang-min, BTS’ sunbae (loose translation: mentor/senior) from the K-pop duo Homme, this cafe was frequented by the members when they were still starting their journey as idols. BTS memorabilia and notes from the members cover the quaint hangout place, inducing nostalgia for long-time fans.
Location: 22 Bongeunsa-ro 4-gil, Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
The influx of fans in Seoul have helped boost business for hidden gems. The shoot location for BTS’ Love Yourself: Her – E Version, this pizza place quickly became popular among ARMY.
Location: 30 Baekjegobun-ro 45-gil, Songpa 1(il)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
The newly opened restaurant near Seokchon Lake in Jamsil is owned by member Jin and his older brother. Ossu Seiromushi specializes in steamed Japanese dishes and requires advance reservation, though ARMYs can also line up outside and wait for available space.
#Namjooning and the healing of ARMY
Nature lover and resident art connoisseur RM has influenced a legion of ARMY to embark on healing trips to appreciate art and nature across the globe. Through RM’s #namjooning posts on Twitter, he has shared his love for the arts by visiting various museums and galleries, as well as inspired his followers to bask in nature and support initiatives that give back to the environment through tree planting and gardening.
Location: Gwangjang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul-si & Guri-si, Gyeonggi-do
Achasan mountain is a famous place for Koreans to hike and watch the sun rise. It was featured in Run BTS! Ep. 44 when V and RM hiked for their punishment.
Busan Citizens Park
Location: 73 Simingongwon-ro, Beomjeon-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan
This beautiful park with different photozones was made more popular by member V when he took his picture during their 5th Muster fan meeting in Busan this year.
Location: 68 Yeouigongwon-ro, Yeoui-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
A popular hangout place for Koreans, BTS members have gone biking, strolling, and hanging out with each other or friends in this park.
Seoul Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Location: Deosugung Palace, 99 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
This is one of the many art museums that RM visits when he’s in Korea.
Location: 33 Nuha-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
This is one of the oldest secondhand bookstores in Seoul and a place that RM visited because of his love for literature.
Supporting Fan Projects
One of the coolest things about the BTS fandom is the way fans celebrate the group through fan-made projects that everyone can enjoy. The purpose is simply to share the love and connect with fellow fans through simple and love-filled gestures that sort of pay-it-forward to the community.
via Cafe TENN, Gangnam station
RM Forest No. 1
Namjoon’s fans and fan site @Honeyjoonie94 helped create RM Forest No. 1in Hangang River Park to celebrate his birthday.
Billboard Projects in Various Subway Stations Around Seoul
Fans from around the world created various fan projects through billboards, bus, and subway ads in Seoul during the month of the concert. ARMY treat these ads like a treasure hunt and share them on SNS once they are spotted.
No fan pilgrimage is complete without buying official merch and memorabilia of BTS. Luckily, the month of the concert saw a number of new releases from BigHit, the entertainment company of BTS, and the opening of their first BTS House Pop Up shop. Fans are able to take photos and experience different sets from their various photoshoots and music video discography.
BTS Pop Up: House of BTS
Location: 34 Gangnam-daero 102-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
One of the most anticipated pop up stores in the fandom was launched in Seoul to welcome global and local fans in a 4-level showcase of everything Bangtan. Housing around 200 merchandise, with themes from their old MVs and songs turned into interactive photo zones, House of BTS saw swarms of ARMY lining up from very early in the morning to night time in Gangnam weeks leading to the concert. It’s a space where people of different languages and backgrounds connect to fulfill the ARMY dream of immersing into BTS’ world. The pop up house will operate until January 5, and fans are eagerly awaiting for more merch to arrive as the weeks change.
LINE STORE, Itaewon
Location: 200 Itaewon-ro, Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The super popular BT21 characters from LINE STORE also stole the hearts of international and local fans alike. Since its launched, BT21 has seen a loyal following of its own with its cute and adorable characters made into an array of products and collaborating with different brands globally. LINE’s Itaewon branch showcases the history and the making of BT21 Koya, RJ, Shooky, Tata, Chimmy, Cooky, and Van who are all based on the real BTS members and ARMY.
However small or simple our experiences, the connection we felt together became a part of the most beautiful moment in our lives as ARMY. I feel like the real pilgrimage as ARMY is our own journeys of self discovery, self love, and gaining friendships with those who are somewhat on their own path of turning a dessert into a sea through BTS.
Thank you to the Ticketless Dreamers for an unforgettable BTS experience!
Which of these BTS tourist spots in Korea have you visited?