Seoul day 6 (part 2) – Jamsil Shopping and Lotte World

Posted on March 4, 2011

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(You can read about my other days in Seoul HERE)

A fair distance away from my hotel was the Korean version of “where all of your dreams can come true”- think the Korean version of Disneyland and you’ll get the picture!

Lotte World is one of many long-standing ventures owned by “Lotte,” and is situated south of the Han river in the Jamsil district (also famous for its olympic and concert buildings.) Our journey to the ‘world’ took nearly an hour via subway and luckily for us, we were able to snag a seat for our journey!

Jamsil underground shopping

Before we even entered Lotte world, through its underground passage link with Jamsil station, temptation played a big trick on us that meant we nearly spent all our money before we had bought our entry tickets!

Within Jamsil station was another underground shopping arcade (like Anguk near our hotel) and they had a great mix of beauty and fashion stores. One of my favourite stores in Seoul is one called “Red eye,” who have stores dotted on highstreets and in underground stations; they stock hundreds of beautiful/fashionable jewellery and hair accessories for as little as 1,000 won. After splashing our cash here, we faced even more financial drought when we came across a Missha and Nature Republic store. I’ve mentioned in a past post about Seoul’s freebie culture when it comes to beauty purchases, well, at this small Nature Republic store they gave us more freebies than the larger store in Myeongdong- it was as if they appreciated our custom more.

After an hour of blitzing around the shops it suddenly dawned on us that we hadn’t budgeted for this sudden shopping spree- it being our last few days we had set a budget based on how much we had left and how much we were allowed to spend in the days left. After a quick rush to the toilets and check of our money belts, we found that we luckily had enough left for our Lotte world tickets! Phew!

Lotte World- the start.

The underground passageways in Jamsil are large and packed full of shops so it was a bit of a trek and trip to get to Lotte world, luckily, they have a tourist information booth slap bang in the middle amongst the shops which proved to be very useful in many ways; in 6 days this was the first time I could comfortably converse with someone (other than my sister) in English, furthermore the lady at the desk told us that we were able to purchase our Lotte world tickets at two reduced prices- firstly because it was after 4pm and secondly, because we had a Seoul sale card (which we picked up in Insadong and had proved useless thus far,) so in the end we only had to pay 24,000 won for entry!

I should point out something about the tickets that you can buy for Lotte World; at the time that I went, there were two types of tickets you could buy- one that was all inclusive (so you could ride every ride) and one that only allowed to ride some (I don’t know the specifics I’m afraid.) As a result, you have to keep your ticket at hand for every ride you ride on because the staff will check to see if you have to pay to ride that particular ride!

Arriving at Lotte world there was a queue snaking around, but the wait was short because the people working there were so efficient- different to my normal UK experiences I tell you!

The grand entry

Dunno if Sis will appreciate me posting this pic- but behind her is Lotte World!

The entry into Lotte world was enough to put you into a childlike state; an escalator mysteriously leads you up a cloud painted tunnel and then… you are there. This indoor world of carousels, giant decorative masks, hot air balloons ‘flying’ above and the occasional screams from people on exhilarating rides. Our jaws dropped and we both let out an “eeek” sound- this place was going to be awesome!

No visit to a theme park can be successfully carried out until you can get hold of a map- pushing through the crowds, near the carousel, we were able to pick up our English map, the place was huge- especially since it was split over 3 floors and had an outdoor ‘world.’

The fear

Going to a theme park is wasted on me, and I was beginning to suspect my sister too; after a visit to LA way back when I was 13 years old, I literally rode every single ride in the theme parks we visited and it consequently ingrained a fear for similar things in me…I am definitely more of a carousel than roller coaster person!

Luckily this world had distractions other than the kids corner rides; we planned to ride the hot air balloon, play a few arcade games, sing in the karaoke booth and ride any of the more tamer rides. First though, we had to hunt down a locker to bung in all our shopping and wet umbrellas; luckily we found loads of lockers behind the ‘big fake tree,’ they were of varying size and price, with the 1,000 won locker being the perfect fit for all our stuff.

Queues and rides

A given for any theme park you visit is queuing, Lotte world is no different, and it seemed like it became more packed as the evening went on. Consequently, our goal to ride the hot air balloons on the top floor of the theme park, was left unfulfilled; after 40 minutes of queuing, we hadn’t even managed to move a quarter of the way down the LONG queue and, because of my bad back, we gave up and left.

The Hot Air Balloons and Mono- Rail (soz for bad pic quality)

4D ride

But all was not bad cos hereafter our luck really shot up; we managed to just make the cut for experiencing the 4D ride (they only had 2 seats left to fill and there was a group of 3 people ahead of us) and we only queued 10 minutes for that! This 4D ride is one of those that moves, shakes and touches your other senses whilst your watching a 3D movie on the big screen; this one had an Egyptian, treasure hunters theme and I found it more laugh-out-loud fun then terrifying, even when we ‘fell’ down a cliff. A good ride to check out!

Monorail

A ride that could be overlooked if you’re dead set on riding the hot air balloon is the monorail! In my opinion the queue for this ride tends to be quicker (because they can fit more people on it compared to the 6 a time per hot air balloon), and just as exciting- in fact maybe more so! For the monorail, a carriage can hold four people in two sets of seats for two. The ride itself runs (obviously) in a loop, navigating the circumference of the indoor theme park (apparently there is also an outdoor monorail), and it’s only one floor down from the hot air balloons so you get a good view. Funnily enough, there are a few small dips in the ride, which at times, might tease your mind into thinking that you’ve mistakenly stepped on a roller-coaster ride (nothing majorly heart pounding though) and a few sudden turns which make it all the more fun! I particularly liked when we road past the roller-coaster and heard screams coming from it and seeing the theme park twinkling below.

Prince of Persia ride

The last of the ‘rides’ which we went on. This ride felt kind of like Disney’s “it’s a small world” ride; you sit on a boat and are taken into the ‘world’ of the Prince of Persia who is fighting off an evil enemy in order to rescue his princess. The queue for this ride was pretty quick (10 minutes wait) and made even more bearable because there were screens that showed a video telling the whole story of the Prince of Persia (and what you should expect from the ride), with Caucasian actors and Korean dubs… Very entertaining, especially with the mismatched lip syncing!

I was surprised at how long this ride lasted, it wasn’t boringly long because there were things that caught your attention at every corner and it all felt as if I got my ‘money’s worth’ by taking this ride. The only thing I was worried whilst taking this ride was the metal bar that had to be folded down in front of me before we departed- that wasn’t a good sign, did it mean we’d be experiencing a sudden drop or something scary that would require such security?! Thankfully, no, it was there for kids really and the only scary thing were the occasional shoots of fog that might come at you. Overall good!

The parade

In Lotte world, there was one thing I really wanted to hang around and see- the parade! We actually caught the parade by chance when we left the Prince of Persia ride; our path was blocked when theme park workers suddenly appeared and put up a rope that we weren’t allowed to cross, it was beginning!

The Parade begin-eth

We were at the beginning of the parades path- which turned out to be good and bad in some ways, I’ll explain the Bad later.

Hundreds of costumed workers passed us; dressed as Venetian courtage, pirates, cuddly bears, belly dancers and their floats had all the usual glitter and lights. The procession danced and acted to match their character. Funnily enough, if you’re wondering where all the foreigners in Seoul are then I can tell you that A LOT of them are probably working at Lotte World for this parade LOL I swear I’ve never seen so many White people…

The parade was fun, especially when a ‘pirate’ came up to my sister and draw his swords at her- something she didn’t anticipate because she was busy filming with her camera!

Men had better eye-candy compared to us Women 😉

Now, all the glamour of  the parade is all well and good but the ‘bad’ thing is waiting for it to finish! We were stuck at the beginning end of the parade and as a result our path was blocked by it, consequently we couldn’t go to the opposite side of the park (to other rides) because we had been roped off and so we had to watch the parade for a 2nd(!) time before we could go where we wanted! Yeah, the parade is only fun the first time you see it, it certainly gets tiresome after 20 minutes of repeat performance LOL.

Outdoor ‘world’

Unfortunately our immortal enemy, the rain, killed all chances of us visiting the outdoor portion of the theme park; people did venture outside (we did to take a photo), but most then scampered back in when they found that most rides were closed. The outdoor world is probably so cool when the sun is shining because (looking at the map) there are so many rides and even a Disney-esque castle to boot.

We bought awesome hair accessories!

Oh well- we soon found comfort in making a few obligatory purchases of fun headgear- namely a giant ass red bow and top hat, both were my sis’ but we wore one each to fill us with childlike glee 😉

Arcade and Noreabang

Woot woot! After hours of queueing and a shoddy dinner break at one of the eateries called “Speedy Gonzalez,” we decided to take things down a notch and find comfort and calm in the arcade!

I LOVE the arcade! Simply because of one game- “Taiko no tatsujin,” which is the Japanese equivalent of Wii’s guitar hero except you play on BIG Japanese drums and to Japanese pop songs! We came across this game by chance and had no idea how to play it because we don’t know Korean or Japanese but we soon picked up the general jist of things; you pick a song (out of a choice of hundreds) depending on your ‘skills’ and the difficulty level of the song, the song plays and you have to hit the drum the correct way (you are taught the ways at the beginning) as the dots pass your ‘hit’ line. Such an addictive game, which we just had to play over and over! We went head to head with our song choice of the “Mario bros” theme tune, which actually required more skills than first thought and, overall, gave our arms a really good workout! If I could buy myself this massive arcade game then I would’ve!

We tried all the other games in the area, killing a good 2 hours there, before we came across the holy Grail….”aaaaaahhhh,” the Noreabang (karaoke) booths!!!! Yes! We had been wanting to try out Korean karaoke but had not dared to venture to find a place- here in Lotte world, you can choose one of three booths to sit in and sing to your heart’s content, for only 500won a song!!!

Can you guess what song we're singing here?!

My sister and I felt as if we were singing pros (looking back at videos we filmed, we aren’t) and made our way through song after song. Our set list included hits by Maroon 5, Katy Perry, My Chem, Moulin Rouge and other voice breaking songs!

Our long day ended at 10pm; before our dash back to the hotel (we didn’t know when the subway would stop running), we popped by the local Lotte mart (also within Jamsil) and picked up a few last-minute souvenirs. I kicked myself when we got back to the hotel and I realised that I had completely forgot that we could’ve visited “Star avenue,” the KPop equivalent of our Madame Tussaud’s, for FREE because of our Lotte World tickets! Gah! Oh well, another reason to return to Seoul! Hehe 🙂

Overall though, this had been a fab end to our packed day 🙂

 

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Posted in: Seoul