The 2019 Bong Joon-ho film “Parasite” was filmed entirely in South Korea. Some of the key locations were unfortunately sets built at studios, but there are still some memorable locations which can be visited at practical locations. This article contains some minor spoilers, so if you’ve not seen the film, we discourage reading until after you’ve watched.
The Kim family home is depicted as a basement level unit in a lower class neighborhood. Late in the film, the entire area gets flooded by heavy rains. Due to the requirements of the story, the location needed to be built as a set at Goyang Aqua Studio (250 Tongil-ro 396beon-gil, Ogeum-dong, Deokyang-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea), in order to create the flooding scenes.
Ki-woo, played by Choi Woo-shik, meets with Min-hyuk at this market. The two sit and have drinks at a small table at the corner of the building. The table and parasol where they sit are still there. Min-hyuk offers Ki-woo the opportunity to take over for him as an English tutor for a wealthy girl. The market appears again later in the film, when Ki-jeong, played by Park So-dam buys a peach and exits down the alley on the right. This same area, namely the stairs in the distance on the right, supposedly appear once again later in the film, but we doubt that to be the case and will cover it later in this article.
LOCATION: 32 Songijeong-ro, Ahyeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Due to the success of the film, many of the locations are marked in one form or another noting their connection with the film. At the market, this sign can be found on the right side of the building.
Ki-woo walks through this upscale neighborhood to his job interview for English tutor.
LOCATION: 24 Seonjam-ro 8-gil, Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This same area appears again late in the film when the heavy rains begin and the Kim family hurries home.
The filmmakers did an excellent job of blending real locations with studio sets. Visual effects were composited into some of the street shots, making it very much appear as if the Park house was an actual residence. However, only the streets were real. Every element of the home was created by the production, as documented in the film’s behind the scenes featurettes.
The film’s primary location, the Park house, was built on some open land near Jeonju Film Studio Complex (125-14 Wonsangrim-gil, Hyoja 4(sa)-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do South Korea), which is located far away from the locations in Seoul. The first level of the home was a physical set built for the film, while the second level of the home was created entirely with digital effects. Again, the behind the scenes content on the film does an excellent job in demonstrating how it was all pieced together.
The restaurant where the Kim family eats was a real restaurant. Sky Pizza was located at 86 Noryangjin-ro 6-gil, Noryangjin 2(i)-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul, South Korea. Unfortunately, it has since permanently closed.
After nearly getting caught together at the Park house, the Kim family escapes in the pouring rain on foot back to their home. They are seen descending down these stairs, located near Jahamun Tunnel.
LOCATION: Near 219 Jahamun-ro, Buam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
There are safe areas to stand on both sides of the street to take photos of the stairs. The city even added this photo marquee, where visitors can stand. They even put black and white bars over the eyeline of the plexiglass, to emulate the film’s poster when posing for photos, which was a nice touch. It’s always great to see a city embrace their filming locations and this is definitely a highly recommended spot for fans of the film.
Here is a closer look at the bottom portion.
Here is a reverse view of the photo area. There is a street leading up to this point and you simply head down a few stairs and you’re there. To cross over to the “Parasite” stairs themselves, you simply go back up the stairs on the left, head uphill a bit and there are a couple spots you can cross above the tunnel, either though a pedestrian walkway or up to the next street and back down, if you prefer. It’s not difficult to reach the stairs, despite the heavy traffic through the tunnel.
At the top of the stairs themselves, there is a sign noting it as a filming location.
While never shown from these perspectives in the film, here are some additional views of the stairs themselves.
Here is a view of the photo area, as seen from the top of the stairs.
Cold and wet, the Kim family descends down the stairs and into Jahamun Tunnel. The tunnel is located at the base of the stairs, as depicted in the film.
LOCATION: Jahamun Tunnel, near 219 Jahamun-ro, Buam-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
As a visual allegory of their low class standing in society, the family continues down more and more stairs. As they approach their neighborhood, they descend down a small flight of stairs. According to numerous sources online, it’s the same stairs seen behind the market early in the film. However, we’re skeptical these stairs were actually used, as the surrounding features simply do not match. In the film, there is no railing down the middle of the stairs and the buildings on both sides look completely different. We’ve included it simply because so many resources point to these stairs as a filming location, but if it is, it was heavily modified.
LOCATION: Near 32 Songijeong-ro, Ahyeon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea (to the right of the market location)
We lean towards the belief that, due to the heavy amounts of water seen flooding down the stairs, this was probably another set at Goyang Aqua Studio, possibly with visual effects added to widen the scope. We will update this article if we ever find any further clarification, but by our estimation, this was most likely not an actual filming location, in spite of the many resources claiming it is.
Late in the film, Choi Yeon-gyo, played by Cho Yeo-jeong, decides to throw a party for her son. She asks Kim Ki-taek, played by Song Kang-ho, to take her to this grocery market. Somewhat to our surprise, the interior still looks pretty much identical to how it appeared in the film.
LOCATION: 4 Yangjae-daero 71-gil, Bangi 1(il)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
While only seen from interior views in the film, here is a look at the outside, for anyone planning to visit.
Lastly, we leave you with Da-song’s self-portrait painting from the film, seen hanging on the wall inside the Park house. The painting was done by Korean artist and rapper Hoony Hoon, who displayed it at some American screenings of the film.
For anyone planning to visit Seoul, South Korea, which we highly recommend, these locations are scattered across a variety of locations around the city. You’ll need several hours to visit them all, which requires driving or use of public transportation.