Annyeong, chingudeul! I’m shl, from Singapore. My daughter, Tabitha (‘Tabs’ for short) and I took a short trip to Seoul in October this year to celebrate the end of her Primary 6 examinations (these are a very BIG DEAL in Singapore), and Snoopy’s Twinkie has kindly invited me to share our experiences on her blog!
We were in Seoul for 4 days and 3 nights. We took an overnight flight from Singapore to Korea, arrived early on Friday morning, and took the KAL Limousine bus into the city. On our way in, we had our first ‘tourist experience’ – we passed by these statues:
And, to my amazement, I could recognise them! On the left, King Sejong (I assumed it had to be him as there were hangeul characters all around his throne); on the right, Admiral Yi Sun-sin. Good grief, I have been watching Korean dramas for too long; I actually know something about both these esteemed men! On that note, I highly recommend the 24-episode sageuk,Tree with Deep Roots, revolving around King Sejong’s creation of hangeul, and the movie, Roaring Currents/ The Admiral, about one of Yi Sun-sin’s most famous naval battles. (Pics courtesy of Google; didn’t have the presence of mind to snap pics myself).
The bus let us off at Lotte Hotel, and we trotted another 20 minutes to our hotel, the Ibis Styles Ambassador Myeongdong. We found this an excellent location – at the periphery of the Myeongdong cosmetics/ shopping district, and in between 2 subway stations. We were able to check in early, so ,after a quick wash up, we headed for our destination for the day – Lotte World Amusement Park. We took the train to Jamsil, and were able to view the Han River as we crossed over it on the way.
If you’ve been to any of the mega amusement parks such as Disneyland or Universal Studios, Lotte World is tame in comparison, but we still had a good time. I think the park makes excellent use of space! Most rides are indoor, and there is an outdoor area with more rides – Magic Island, renamed ‘Zombie Island’ in honour of Halloween. There is an entire area dedicated to younger children, with ‘milder’ versions of many of the rides, and an ice-skating rink on the lowest level.
We went several times on the ‘Wild’ rides: ‘Wild Wings’, ‘Wild Valley’, and ‘Wild Jungle’ – 3D rides featuring high velocity winds, strong waves, and a chase through the jungle; tried the Giant Loop, where we hung upside down as the loop rotated through 360 degrees, Pharaoh’s Fury, an Egyptian-themed roller-coaster ride, and French Revolution, a crazy roller-coaster ride with 360 degree revolutions and 540 degree turns. In between rides, we sampled the food, watched skaters on the ice-rink and walked around a LOT.
For some reason, although it was Friday, Lotte World was full of students, and the crowds were tremendous. We waited in line for the French Revolution ride for nearly 2 hours. Gave us lots of time to people watch – courting couples, student groups, tourists . . .
When asked if she would like to wear a uniform similar to those the students we saw we wearing, Tabs protested that the skirts were way too short. Hmmm . . .
We also wanted to try out some of the rides on Zombie Island, but it started to rain, and the lines were tremendous, so we decided against it.
Lotte World is beautifully lit up at night. We stood and watched the crowds, soaking in the atmosphere, for quite a while, before deciding to have dinner (more pizza, Tabs really liked it) and heading back to the hotel.
While Tabs washed up for the night, I went out to explore the area for future excursions, and, I confess, in order to head for a music store to pick up the ‘W’ OST 😎 Found it! That was a nice end to Day 1.