The romantic K-drama “Encounter,” which graced us with warmth and love this winter season, is officially over, and we’re pretty desperate for some more romances like Cha Soo Hyun and Kim Jin Hyuk’s. If you’re like me and going through some “Encounter” withdrawal, here are a few other recommendations based on some of the aspects we loved about the drama!
Romance in an exotic location
One of the most breathtaking and romantic parts about “Encounter” were hands down the scenes filmed in Cuba. It made for a beautiful backdrop to the budding romance of Cha Soo Hyun and Kim Jin Hyuk. What a beautiful country to fall in love in! It almost made you want to pack your bags and travel in hopes of finding that one true love.
If you’re looking for another series where the two main leads fall in love in a foreign country, the first drama I’d recommend is “The Package.” Starring Jung Yong Hwa as San Ma Roo and Lee Yeon Hee as Yoon So So, the drama is filmed mostly in France. Ma Roo goes to France alone and is part of a Korean tour guide lead by So So. The two end up falling in love with each other despite their complicated pasts in Korea.
With France as the setting for this series, how much more romantic can it get?
“Descendants of the Sun” stars Song Hye Kyo and Song Joong Ki in a story about an army captain and doctor who meet by chance in a hospital in Seoul. Yoo Shi Jin falls in love at first sight with Kang Mo Yeon and pursues her. The two eventually fall in love with each other, but find it difficult to be together, mainly because they have different values. The two embark on a rollercoaster of a romance and it all happens with Greece as the backdrop.
The setting is breathtaking and it makes almost every scene a delight to watch.
Start watching “Descendants of the Sun”:
Park Bo Gum, whom we all adore
There probably isn’t a single person who doesn’t watch a Park Bo Gum drama without falling for his charm. In “Encounter,” his character was carefree and incredibly sweet – not too far off from the real Park Bo Gum that we know. Before starring in this series, there were a couple other K-dramas he starred in where it was hard not to fall head over heels for him.
In “Reply 1988,” Park Bo Gum plays Choi Taek, a very naive and innocent person who is a genius when it comes to playing baduk. He falls in love with his childhood best friend, Sung Deok Sun (Hyeri), and ends up in a love triangle with his other best friend, Jungpal (Ryu Jun Yeol). The two men struggle throughout the series as they try to win Deok Sun’s affections.
This was the first major role that people noticed Park Bo Gum in and it didn’t take much time for him to garner a huge fanbase. You don’t get the exact same qualities in his Choi Taek character as you do with Kim Jin Hyuk, but you’ll definitely appreciate his innocence and doe-like gazes. Choi Taek is a character that is so hard not to love!
Start watching “Reply 1988”:
Moonlight Drawn By Clouds
You’ll get pretty much the same endearing qualities of Park Bo Gum in his role as Lee Young as you get with his character in “Encounter.” They’re both super charming and swoon-worthy. Lee Young is a King who ends up falling for Hong Ra On (Kim Yoo Jung), a women who pretends to be a eunuch. Lee Young initially believes her to be male but later finds out the truth!
The romance and sweeping Ra On off her feet is probably the best part of the series. Lee Young is a charming character who wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to fall in love with Ra On despite her baggage-filled history and status. He’s willing to be with her no matter what.
It’s such a heartwarming and lovely romantic tale that really put Park Bo Gum on the map for being a respectable male lead. He had been playing secondary characters frequently up until this role, so to see him shine so brightly in this series was awesome!
Start watching “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds”:
Hallyu Queen Song Hye Kyo
One of the main reasons for the success and hype of “Encounter” was because it was starring the one and only Song Hye Kyo. Because of her repertoire of successful K-dramas in the past, it’s almost a given that whatever role she takes on will be a good one.
You really can’t mention Song Hye Kyo’s K-dramas without the mention of “Full House.” After the success of her other K-dramas (“Autumn In My Heart,” “All In,” “Hotelier,” to name a few), Song Hye Kyo was on a serious roll as she took on the adorable rom-com, “Full House.” Her character, Han Ji Eun falls into a marriage contract with the famous actor, Lee Young Jae (Rain). The two embark on a love-hate relationship as they learn to live together and deal with each other’s quirks.
This K-drama was a success for good reason. Not only were Song Hye Kyo and Rain really popular actors at the time (and still are), but they had sizzling chemistry. The story was charming, and almost every episode had a cute and sweet scene that you could literally watch on repeat. It’s a classic K-drama for a reason!
Start watching “Full House”:
My Girl And I
Probably one of Song Hye Kyo’s most romantic and adorable movies, “My Girl and I” stars the actress as Bae Soo Eun while Cha Tae Hyun plays her classmate, Kim Soo Ho. Soo Eun is the popular girl in school while Soo Ho is a pretty ordinary teenage boy that’s not as popular. Despite this, Soo Eun ends up in a relationship with Soo Ho and the two fall in love.
It’s a sweet story about first loves, and it’s got similar vibes as “My Sassy Girl,” except there’s a bit of a twist that is pretty devastating and will have your heart going out to the two characters.
This category could obviously be endless, especially in the world of K-dramas. Almost every K-drama features a solid, good-looking cast, but when it comes to “Encounter” there was seriously not a dull frame. Song Hye Kyo and Park Bo Gum were the epitome of perfection and it was totally fine with us when the camera would linger a bit too long on a close-up of their faces.
So although this list could be lengthy, here’s a few of my personal suggestions of K-dramas casts filled with eye-candy actors that will most likely have you drooling.
Autumn In My Heart
“Autumn In My Heart” was an instant success not only Korea, but all over Asia. People were taken by the sad love story between Eun Seo and Joon Seo – a brother and sister who find out that they’re not actually blood related. You’ll not only find yourself sucked in by the tragic fate of these two lovers, but you’ll be taken aback by the beauty of this cast. This series was a groundbreaking success that put all three of the main leads on the road to Hallyu status.
“Hwarang” is a historical series that stars a lot of actors who you really wouldn’t mind watching for 20 episodes. It stars Park Seo Joon as a hwarang warrior named Moo Myung, who falls in love with his best friend’s sister, Kim Ah Ro (Go Ara).
If you’re looking for some eye-candy, this series is perfect. Historically, Hwarangs were considered to be good-looking warriors that were skilled fighters to protect the Silla kingdom. This cast is already impressive with Park Seo Joon and Go Ara, but there’s also Park Hyung Sik, who is in love with Go Ara’s character – what a love triangle! Some other hwarangs who are in this series include Choi Minho, Do Ji Han, and Kim Taehyung (BTS’s V), to name a few!
Start watching “Hwarang”:
The rich and poor K-drama trope can get old sometimes, which is why it’s so important that writers have a good script to make the trope fun to watch. What made “Encounter” a bit more unique than other typical rich/poor themed K-dramas is that the female lead was the rich one – this isn’t that common in the K-drama world. But if you’re looking for a K-drama that incorporates the “rich/poor” trope, you should check these ones out:
Cinderella and the Four Knights
“Cinderella and the Four Knights” is like a fairytale K-drama involving a girl named Eun Ha Won (Park So Dam) who gets a job working at a mansion filled with rich, good-looking men. She ends up in a relationship with Ji Woon (Jung Il Woo) despite signing a contract to not fall in love with any of the boys living in the mansion.
It’s a sweet story that has all the clichéd tropes, but it’s one of those guilty-pleasure K-dramas that you will watch and thoroughly enjoy. Plus, you have the added bonus of seeing a pretty good-looking cast of Jung Il Woo, Ahn Jae Hyun, and Lee Jung Shin! You can’t go wrong!
If you’re looking for a shorter K-drama to binge watch, “High-End Crush” is the perfect series to check out. It’s about a rich CEO named Choi Se Hoon (Jung Il Woo) who falls in love with a country girl named Yoo Yi Ryung (Jin Se Yoon). They’re from totally different sides of the track, but Se Hoon ends up falling head over heels for her. He tries to move past it but can’t, which is why he tries to win her heart.
It’s a charming little series that plays on the rich/poor trope so well! It seems like a typical K-drama love story, but Jung Il Woo and Jin Se Yoon have such adorable chemistry that you’ll enjoy seeing Se Hoon jump through hoops for Yi Ryung!
Hey Soompiers, which of these K-dramas are you going to watch next? Let me know in the comments below!
If you haven’t already, check out the first episode of “Encounter”:
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She can often be seen singing her heart out at karaoke, walking her dog, or indulging in desserts. Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “Clean With Passion For Now” and re-watching “She Was Pretty”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen and Song Joong Ki‘s next drama