What Happened in Bali Korean Drama Review

What Happened in Bali (or Something Happened in Bali) is about a struggling travel agent (Ha Ji Won) in Bali who gets caught up in a complicated love square with a wealthy heir (Jo In Sung), his fiancé (Park Ye Jin), and the fiancé’s former lover (So Ji Sub).

Ha Ji Won is Lee Soo Jung who is a travel agent in Bali. She has had a hard life trying to get by.  She meets three people who she takes on a tour and gets involved in their lives which is further complicated when she reunites with them in Seoul.

Jo In Sung plays Jung Jae Min. He is wealthy and works at his family’s business. He is selfish, immature, and does not get along with his fiancé. When he takes an interest in Soo Jung, he finds himself creating more problems for everyone.

Park Ye Jin is Choi Young Joo. She is Jae Min’s fiancé but can’t stand him. She longs to be with her former lover In Wook, but the class divide has separated them due to her wanting to marry a wealthy man.

So Ji Sub is Kang In Wook. He comes from a poor background and used to date Young Joo. She left him for Jae Min, but they continue to share complicated feelings for each other that only get more complicated after he meets Soo Jung.

I headed back to 2004 for some classic old-school melo antics, and I got that in spades with What Happened in Bali! You all know that something I love about older dramas is the atmosphere, and this drama nails it. The way it’s shot, the clothes, and those longing stares set to a handful of amazing songs that are played repeatedly each episode. I love it! The soundtrack in this series is really fantastic.

Probably a better plot description for this drama would be that it is about four miserable people who make each other more miserable. Honestly, the drama is very dramatic, but in a cheesy sort of way. It is very serious and these people go through one crappy thing after another, but the soapy way it is presented is just fun. It is incredibly engaging with swift pacing that moves things right along. The show maintained my interest from start to finish.

We also get some very youthful versions of actors like Jo In Sung, Ha Ji Won, So Ji Sub, and Park Ye Jin. They look so young here! It was very fun to see these early roles from some of these iconic actors. Jo In Sung puts forth a particularly impressive and memorable performance.

Now, this kind of drama is definitely just for fans of old-school melos. It is filled to the brim with tropes and cliches of the time, but it executes them in such an enticing way. Some may find it difficult to watch, particularly how Soo Jung is treated by pretty much everyone around her. This is a hardcore melo though, and it’s pretty clear that all of the relationships are unhealthy and destructive.

And the romance, if you want to call it that, is complicated and messy. Soo Jung has had a pretty bad life. She’s a decent person, but in order to survive and make money, she will do what she has to, even if it means compromising her morals.

Her relationship with Jae Min is a hot mess with both parties kind of using the other one with a weird mix of feelings involved. No matter how bad he obviously is for her, a small part of her feels for him, and she works hard to repress that. For many reasons, she stays entangled in the destructive force that is Jae Min.

Jae Min is very immature, has a temper, and likes Soo Jung in that possessive and stalkerish kind of way. He does a lot to help her, but he doesn’t treat her very well to her face. You know, one of those extremely jerky kind of drama guys. He’s got a heart in there coupled with a terrible family situation, but his actions make it hard to root for him. We get a front row seat to watch him go off the deep end and spiral out of control.

In Wook on the other hand is calm, controlled, and kind of robotic. He is nice to Soo Jung, but his bad communication with her creates a lot of issues for the both of them. He also definitely wants to stick it to Jae Min, and the two have both a company as well as a twofold romantic rivalry.

Young Joo is torn between her feelings for In Wuk and wanting to marry Jae Min for his status. Then when they both start paying attention to Soo Jung, she finds herself clinging to both guys. Talk about a mess of a situation!

The drama does have humor sprinkled throughout which lightens up and otherwise more serious show. Like I said, I found its soapy, over-dramatic style pretty humorous, so I personally didn’t feel the intended heaviness of the drama.

It is pretty heavy though, so others may find it kind of depressing. The tears flow like a constant river and the sounds of anguished sobs ring out all through the night. The themes are dark and more mature, the characters are morally grey, and there are plenty of complex issues to wrap your mind around.

Now, something What Happened is Bali is famous for is its shocking ending. Luckily, I managed to stay unspoiled despite its fame. I was really hoping for something that would live up to the hype, and I must say, I was very satisfied with it. A lot of people might not be though.

*If you plan to watch this drama, it is highly recommended to skip this section

Whew! That was quite the ride! After watching these four people descend into misery and chaos for 20 episodes, we reach the big ending. Jae Min had been slowly losing it as his obsession with Soo Jung grew and consumed his life. Things got pretty bad for her.

Luckily, In Wook’s big plan to take a huge sum of money from Jae Min’s company worked. After all of the horrible things she went through in Seoul and then growing close with In Wook, Soo Jung agreed to disappear with him to Bali to start a new life together and get away from the chaos.

In Wook gets one over on Jae Min in a big way. Then Jae Min is falsely led to believe that Soo Jung was in on In Wook’s plan the whole time and only approached him as part of that plan. That ultimately seals all of their fates.

Jae Min goes completely off the deep end. He heads to Bali where he tracks down Soo Jung and In Wook. The two seem to have a happy life, and that is what he sees. But lying in bed, In Wook and Soo Jung have a heart to heart.

He knows she is still not happy even with their seemingly perfect life. She admits that she is not, and that even though she had tried her hardest, she had given her heart to Jae Min. The two were sad over this, but In Wook gave her his blessing for her to return to Korea.

Enter Jae Min. He enters their bedroom armed with a gun and first shoots In Wook and then proceeds to shoot Soo Jung. In Wook immediately dies as Soo Jung lays in their bed covered in blood, gasping in pain.

Jae Min comes back to his senses at the sight and runs to her completely distraught over what he had done. And the last words Soo Jung utters to him are, “I love you.” Then she dies. Now even more distraught, Jae Min goes to a beautiful beach at sunset where he sobs and then proceeds to kill himself with the gun.

Ah, the irony. After everything Jae Min had put Soo Jung through, she loved him. She tried to love In Wook and do what was best for her, but she wasn’t happy. And just as she had decided to return to Jae Min, he shows up and kills her, In Wook, and eventually himself.

So, as I said, I liked the ending. The whole drama focused on the tragedy of these characters, and it really was just one tragedy after another. After all of the pain and chaos, it was very fitting for it to end as a double murder and suicide. No happiness to be found for these people. And the big ending definitely lived up to the hype for me.


What Happened in Bali was a crazy and chaotic ride that was filled with greed, tears, and misery. Emotions run high as these four people bring pain and heartache to each other. I loved the old school melo feel, and it completely delivered everything I love about this genre. It’s not a drama for everyone, but for those who like this style, What Happened in Bali nails it.

My Rating: 9/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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26 Responses to What Happened in Bali Korean Drama Review

  1. kdramachickblog says:

    Thank you so much for this review! As you know, I could never watch something so depressing with such an ending but I love how you love that kind of drama! Now I have a good snapshot of what it is without having to cry 😢

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      Yes, I knew this one would not be one that you would enjoy, hehe. Hopefully, I captured the essence of it enough though for you to get a good picture of it though, since it truly is a classic. It was a wild and fun ride for sure 🙂


  2. Timescout says:

    I was never a fan of these extreme melos even when I was new to dramas and my tolerance for this type of tropey stories was a lot higher. Hence I haven’t watched any of the oldskool melos like this one and e.g I’m Sorry I Love You. Melos are even less of my thing these days, so I tend to pass them by, ha.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      Haha, yeah, I know you’ve never been into this kind of drama. It really is the definition of an extreme melo in every since. I like newer melos too, but I love the old ones more. They’re just different. You know me though, I find the tropes and extreme soapiness so over-the-top that it’s fun rather being depressing or annoying. Most people would probably find this show really depressing though, lol 😂


      • Timescout says:

        I guess to laugh at the OT shenanigans really is the way to enjoy these dramas. Unless you like to cry… a lot. 😁 I just get way too annoyed with the characters and an unholy urge to slap some sense in all of them. I don’t like to feel frustrated with my dramas. 🙂 Btw, have you watched Que Sera, Sera? That’s about the only older melo of this type I’ve seen and kinda liked. It’s pretty well written for this sort of thing and the acting was great all around.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          It really is. Otherwise, yeah, it would be kind of depressing, lol. I find myself laughing at a lot of points that really isn’t intended. That’s where most people would probably roll their eyes and get annoyed, hehe.

          I have not seen Que Sera, Sera yet. Been on the list of doom for way to many years though. It looks like something I would like, and I definitely plan to watch it. It sure is hard squeezing in all the dramas though. Bali had been on the list many years too 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Snow Flower says:

    Well, at least they all look good while being miserable! So what happened to the gold-digging second female lead?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      That they do! lol. SPOILERS: Her character was fun, though a tad underutilized at times compared to the other three. She eventually marries Jae Min, but of course, it’s a disaster, and they’re miserable. Jae Min wanted a divorce, but his overbearing father was going to prevent it. Not long after the big blow up ending happens, and we don’t really see her afterwards. She’s the only one to survive out of the group though, so I guess that’s something 😂


  4. joan says:

    beg to disagree but i love jae min from the start he may be rude and selfish but deep inside he is innocent and kind person that’s what soo jung he thru him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      It’s good that you liked him all the way through 🙂 I agree that he had a good part of him on the inside which is what made him a multi-dimensional character and able to sympathize with, but his outward actions were terrible, including to Soo Jung. But it’s a melodrama, so I try to kind of just go with it in that context, hehe


      • Joan says:

        for what i remember in wook was worst.. jae min can’t hide his extreme feelings though and shown thru his actions but regardless i’m so fond of him while watching 😄 but yeah your right to each his own 😄

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Oh I agree, In Wook was certainly challenging too. His communication issues caused some serious heartache! lol. It was always easy to tell what Jae Min was thinking because he couldn’t hide it. He was a thoroughly entertaining character, and Jo In Sung gave such an impressive performance 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. MyKDramaticLife says:

    Wow nice tb. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. beez says:

    Ahhhhh, Kay. You watched it! And you liked it!
    Here’s my problem, I can’t even add it to my “watched” list. What happened was 😉 when I first began watching Kdramas in 2013 and hanging out at Dramabeans, I tried to devour all the old classics every time the Beanies mentioned an old title. The problem with “Bali” was somebody gave away the ending BUT either they got it wrong or I misunderstood because I thought So Ji sub was the shooter. Because of my obsessive fangirl love for So Ji sub, I didn’t want to see him that way (and I really didn’t care for Zo In sung back then at all) but I needed to see everything SJS has been in. So, not being able to resist, I fast-forwarded through all the episodes. (I don’t know what I thought I could glean from that because I only stopped every 15 minutes and never watched long enough to really give it a chance.) But based on what you say “a crazy and chaotic ride that was filled with greed, tears, and misery” – yup. I got that. I always thought that if I had just stopped and actually watched things play out, I’d understand the characters better, but maybe not based on your description. (I was shocked and appalled at Ha Ji won’s character admittedly being with Zo In sung for his money because up until then, I’d only watched Kdramas with classic Candy’s (sweet & cheery 29 year-old virgins with 5 part-time jobs, waiting on Mr. Tunsundre Perfectly-Mean-But-Will-Change-For-You-Because-You-Are-Special-To-Him.)

    So I don’t feel like I can really give an opinion on if this is a good drama or not since I didn’t really watch it. But I’m impressed that you liked it. Which brings me to another show that everyone else hated (but luckily didn’t spoil the ending for me) – I’m off to search your site to see if you ever reviewed Fashion King and if you liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I did! I loved this drama, hehe 🙂

      Ah, that it is too bad about how this drama went down for you! Learning the ending of this drama is terrible no matter what, but learning the wrong ending even more so. And with your So Ji Sub love, I can see why you would hesitate to watch. Although the characters are a disaster, I do think the drama gives a very good understanding of them as people and what motivates them. It does humanize them despite the many bad things they do.

      And yes, Ha Ji Won’s character was definitely very different from the typical candy. A very interesting character for sure.

      I haven’t got around to Fashion King yet, but I do have it on my list. I’m always super curious when people hate shows so much what I will think of them. Because I do like old school dramas from the soaps to the romance cliches, there are a lot of dramas I love that most people hate. So Fashion King should be interesting 🙂


  9. beez says:

    Kay, let me ask recommend, if you haven’t already seen it, The Last Empress with Jang Nara. I usually avoid melos like the plague but this show made me laugh so hard and totally changed my opinion of melos and Jang Nara. She totally carried this show on her own (with a little help from Shin Sung-Rok).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I have seen The Last Empress, and I absolutely loved it! 10/10! That drama is the definition of what I like in soap, over-the-top kdramas. And yes, Jang Na Ra was fantastic in it right along with Shin Sung Rok who is made for those kind of roles 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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