Time travel stories are universally loved around the world! Hollywood is overflowing with them: the famed Back to the Future series, sci-fi films like Star Trek and X-Men, or rom-coms such as Hugh Jackman’s Kate & Leopold. Time travel Asian dramas have also grown popular.
My favorite aspect of these time-bending tales is the fish-out-of-water fun ensuing when a person deals with the inevitable time-shock from visiting the past or the future.
Time travel stories are especially perfect for the romance genre. After all, it brings out the angsty and heart-rending idea that time is literally opposing two people from being together. Over the years I’ve seen many Korean/Chinese variations of time-travel romances – so now I can share seven exciting, crazy and fun time travel Asian dramas!
Update: We updated streaming availability in July 2019.
7 Fun and Romantic Time Travel Asian Dramas
(in alphabetical order)
Other Titles: Scarlet Heart, Startling by Each Step
Synopsis: Zhang Xiao didn’t ask to be transported back to the Xing Dynasty. But after a terrible accident, she awakens in the body of a girl named Ruo Xi.
Set during the 18th century of Emperor Kangxi’s reign, Ruo Xi becomes entangled in a battle for the throne amongst Kangxi’s many sons. Will Ruo Xi fall for the kind, quiet 8th prince destined to die early or the enigmatic, intense 4th Prince who will take his father’s throne no matter the cost?
Why You Should Check It Out: This extremely popular Chinese time travel drama is gorgeously filmed, subtly acted, and epically dramatic.
Ruo Xi is a likable heroine and her struggles feel relatable as she strives to fit in the harsh royal palace. This is definitely more of an angsty drama with a gray storyline that refuses to define any characters as merely good or bad.
The rain scene with Ruo Xi kneeling outside and 4th prince covering her with his cloak is one of many striking scenes in the drama and my favorite. What’s not to love in this reverse harem drama?
Where You Can Find It: Viki, DVD.
Other Titles: The Great Doctor
Synopsis: When Queen Noguk is gravely wounded, King Gongmin sends his best warrior, Choi Young, through a mysterious portal into what they believe is “heaven” in search of a heavenly doctor.
Choi Young finds Dr. Yoo Eun-Soo a plastic surgeon and takes her back to the past. Yoo Eun-Soo becomes trapped in the past until the portal opens again. But with a hunky warrior love interest and deadly political enemies after her, will she be able to return?
Why You Should Check It Out: Faith is a super fun, exciting romp set during the 14th century of Korea with sword fights, intense political intrigue, poisoning baddies, and more.
I loved both of the romantic love stories with spunky Eun-Soo and stoic Choi Young and between the arranged marriage of Queen Noguk and King Gongmin.
I love the acting choices and feel like each actor suited his/her role. My biggest fault with this drama was the baddies could’ve been more menacing. And a few anticlimactic fight scenes left me wanting more.
However, I love the characters and romance in this drama and have re-watched my favorite scenes more times than I will admit!
Where You Can Find It: Viki. You can also buy on Amazon Video or DVD.
Synopsis: Luo Qingchuan is a sweet, history-loving girl who accidentally gets transported in time to the 18th century during Emperor Kangxi’s reign. She gets caught in a love triangle between the 4th and 8th prince. Will she choose the man with all the power or the prince who won’t survive for long?
Why You Should Check It Out: Okay, so yes this is almost the exact same story as Bu Bu Jing Xin. Only Palace feels like night and day difference as it’s a much zanier, light-hearted fare.
This version, though, is pretty manic and exaggerated. And worse there aren’t as many princes who fall for Quingchan! Honestly, I watched this drama for Feng Shaofeng who is adorable even as he plays the often self-centered 8th Prince.
This one definitely has more laughs and cheerful moments than Bu Bu Jing Xin. And amazingly enough, it does end happily. Now, how did they pull that off?
Where You Can Find It: Currently Unavailable
Synopsis: Kim Boong-Do is a young nobleman in the 17th century, protecting the deposed Queen In-Hyun. A friend gives Boong-Do a protection charm and Boong-Do is magically transported to modern Korea anytime he’s in life-threatening danger.
There he meets Choi Hee-Jin, a struggling actress, and a relationship starts to blossom. Can they truly be together, though? Or will fate intervene?
Why You Should Check It Out: Oh my goodness, this is probably my number one choice for an entertaining, romantic time travel drama!!
Queen In-Hyun’s Man is a wonderful blend of intense historical drama and light, breezy rom-com. The story bounces back and forth between the 17th century with the scholar Kim Boong-Do and in modern times with adorable, spunky actress Choi Hee-Jin, yet never feels unbalanced.
The romantic chemistry is absolutely crackling in this drama and leaves us with a PERFECT couple.
Where You Can Find It: DVD
Synopsis: The Crown Prince of Joseon desperately searches for his wife’s killer along with three loyal servants and gets transported into the future. He meets Park Ha and ends up staying at her apartment with his three servants.
Things complicate when the Crown Prince is mistaken for a rich business heir and he finds a girl who may be the reincarnation of his wife. Will he be able to untangle this mystery? And before he falls in love with Park Ha?
Why You Should Check It Out: This is a hilarious, off-beat time travel drama that totally won me over with its cute and crazy fish-out-of-water story.
The Crown Prince and his three buddies are absolutely golden, reacting to modern-day wonders such as zippers on jackets and TV.
Sadly, the show turned more melodramatic in the second half almost transforming into an office drama. The super-cute romance between Park Ha and the Crown Prince kept me around even with all the reincarnations going on which left viewers with some ambiguous moments near the end.
I’ve re-watched Episode Two a handful of times and it doesn’t fail to put a smile on my face.
Where You Can Find It: Viki, DVD
Other Titles: Splish Splash Love
Synopsis: Dan Bi has been prepping for her college aptitude test but stress forces her to not show up for the test. She ends up slipping through time to the 15th century where a young King Sejong rules.
She helps the king who has an unquestionable thirst for science and it’s not long before serious romantic feelings start brewing. But Dan Bi has to return to her home and her mom who’s waiting for her…
Why You Should Check It Out: With only two episodes, Splash Splash Love is more like a delightful 2-hour movie. Hilarious, emotional and unabashedly romantic, this drama blew past my expectations and left me with a lot of happy feels.
Dan Bi and the king bring together a fun if not adorable romance. Everything came together perfectly, including the secondary characters. This is a K-drama at its sweetest and finest.
Where You Can Find It: Viki
Other Titles: Dr. Jin
Synopsis: Jin Hyuk is an extremely skilled doctor with a pretty girlfriend. But life takes a turn when his girlfriend gets in an accident and Jin Hyuk gets transported to the 19th century.
There he associates with a nobleman who turns out to be the future Royal Prince Regent and an idealist girl who might be the reincarnation of his girlfriend. This doctor has his hands full of plagues, sicknesses, rudimentary medical tools and war brewing in the air.
Why You Should Check It Out: The pros of this time travel drama – a look at a fascinating time during the Joseon dynasty in the late 1800s with the 1871 Battle of Ganghwa with American forces, early persecution of Catholics, and the rise of the Prince Regent Heungseon into power.
However, the drama itself is manic and confusing with really no resolution by the end. The main leads are boring and difficult to empathize with. But the supporting cast fascinates with the clever, multi-layered Prince Regent, the charming lady Gisaeng (similar to a geisha), the angsty, tortured police captain and his best friend who’s secretly a rebellion leader.
Sadly, the ridiculous and unbelievable overshadows much of the good in this drama. But overall, it’s still a fun watch.
Where You Can Find It: Tubi
Do any of these Asian time travel dramas interest you? Have you seen another time travel drama you loved or hated? I’d love to hear about it!
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