13 Old But Gold Historical K-Dramas That Still Deserve All The Hype

Old historical Korean dramas to watch

Sometimes, you watch a drama and it still slaps years and years after – That’s the old-but-gold vibe that’s always enduring. 

I know I’ve often found myself thinking of certain dramas long after watching them, and in this post, I’ve listed 13 fantastic Korean dramas released more than 10 years ago that are still super interesting. 

These must-watch historical Kdramas are easily top of the top and they’re so riveting and interesting with storylines that are still so relevant years after. 

1. Tree With Deep Roots – 2011

Tree With Deep Roots

In King Se Jong’s early reign, he accidentally causes the death of his in-laws and slaves. 

Ddol Bok vows revenge, and becomes a warrior, while Dam, now mute, serves as a court lady. 

Ddol Bok returns to the palace as Kang Chae Yoon with plans to kill the king but gets entangled in the mystery of Hall of Worthies scholars’ deaths linked to the secret society Hidden Root.

2. Dong Yi – 2010

Dong Yi

Dong Yi follows the life of Dong Yi, later known as Choi Suk Bin, who starts as a lowly water maid in the royal palace. 

King Sok Jong chooses her as his concubine, and she gives birth to Yeong Jo, the future king of Joseon. 

After Yeong Jo’s birth, Dong Yi becomes Suk Bin, and while this old historical Korean drama is pretty long (60 episodes, as is standard with dramas of this age), trust me when I say it’s stunning in all the ways that count. 

3. Queen Insoo – 2011

Queen Insu

Queen Insu, wife of King Deok Jong and daughter of Hanh Wak, the second state councilor, was called Queen Insu from the 2nd year of Sung Jong’s reign. 

Evaluated as the best stateswoman in Joseon, this drama follows the tragic relationships of three women during the reign of King Dan Jong.

4. Time Slip Dr Jin – 2012

Time Slip Dr Jin

Jin Hyuk, a genius neurosurgeon, is transported back to the Joseon Dynasty in 1860. 

And even with the many challenges and the limited resources, he becomes a genuine doctor.

5. Arang And The Magistrate

Arang And The Magistrate

Eun Oh, a government official with the ability to see ghosts, meets Arang, a virgin ghost who wants to find out more about her death and get vengeance for her murder (if necessary). 

Eun Oh, who tries to fulfill her request, is played by Lee Joong Gi and yes, he was absolutely brilliant in this role.

His chemistry with Arang in this romantic historical Kdrama (Shin Min Ah) was off the charts, and this is frankly one of my faves that I keep coming back to as the years have passed. 

6. Kim Soo Ro – 2010

Kim Soo Ro

This drama follows Kim Soo Ro, the legendary founder of Geumgwan Gaya, a dominant city-state during the Three Kingdoms Period.

Kim Soo Ro (Ji Sung) faces political struggles and rivalry for the throne, and I know you’ll enjoy this epic through and through. 

7. Jang Ok Jung – 2013

Jang Ok Jung

Jang Ok Jung, the titular character, is the primary focus of this drama which dwells on her life before becoming a concubine, especially her stint as a fashion designer and cosmetic maker in the Joseon era.

It tells us her story before the events that led to the deposition of King Sook Jong’s wife, Queen In Hyun, and the heartbreaking aftermath.

This drama is partly fictional and partly based on real-life events, and it’s the perfect watch if you watched Dong Yi & you want a show that redeems Ok Jung. 

8. Sungkyunkwan Scandal – 2010

Sungkyunkwan Scandal

Kim Yun Hee disguises herself as a boy to take the men’s national exam and support her family. 

By a stroke of luck, she is made to attend Sungkyunkwan and there, she befriends Lee Seon Joon and others while trying to keep her identity hidden.

If you know Park Min Young, then you probably know that she’s one of those actors who has chemistry with all her male leads, and I tell you, she and Park Yoo Chun (who plays Lee Sun Joon, the male lead) were simply brilliant. 

9. Yaksha – 2010

Yaksha

Set in a tumultuous political period, the young king strives to strengthen his position, and Baek Rok seeks revenge after betrayal leading him to slavery and gladiator life.

Yaksha is an epic, but it isn’t the most popular historical Kdrama and that’s probably because it’s decided much more noir – you guys, this historical drama available on Netflix might have been released more than a decade ago, but it’s still very interesting. 

10. Warrior Baek Dong Soo – 2011

Warrior Baek Dong Soo

This martial arts fusion sageuk is set in the Joseon dynasty and it revolves around Crown Prince Sa Do’s conspiracy, with Warrior Baek Dong Soo leading a group to defend King Jeong Jo.

11. Hong Gil Dong – 2008

Hong Gil Dong

Hong Gil Dong, inspired to fight injustice, joins forces with Heo Yi Nok and Lee Chang Hwi to challenge a society divided between nobles and ordinary citizens.

12. Iljimae – 2008

Iljimae

Set in the Joseon Dynasty, Yong, a hooligan by day and thief by night, is looking for the owner of a sword used to kill his father.

Meanwhile, Eun Chae, a government official’s daughter, admires Iljimae for his actions and soon gets swept up in all of it.

You guys, Iljimae has probably the largest fanbase of all Korean dramas, and even though it was released more than 15 years ago, it’s still a personal fave and it’s so popular. 

13. The Iron Empress – 2009

The Iron Empress

The Iron Empress follows Wang Gun’s granddaughter who fights against enemies threatening Goryeo – She makes sacrifices, even against her own family, for the empire’s well-being.


What is your favorite historical Kdrama of all time? What old drama do you keep going back to over and over again? Let’s hear it in the comments below. 

And, you can check out the related posts below for more recommendations that are interesting and will keep you engaged for hours. 

Happy watching!

Sora

I'm the girl for the job if you want amazing drama recommendations (no, really!), OST recs that will leave you deep in your feelings, and genuine drama talk that you can only get from a viewer with lots of biases. I'm always on the lookout for new dramas to watch, so don't hesitate to leave a comment with something you think I'll enjoy and I'll send a reply ASAP. Thanks for visiting!

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