40-1 Jamsil-dong, Songpa-gu
HOURS: Mon.-Thurs. 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
COST: ₩26,000 adult, ₩20,000 child
SUBWAY: Jamsil (Lines 2, 8)
Less a venue than a city in its own right, Lotte World is a sprawling recreation complex just steps from the busy Jamsil subway station. It may be Korean, but its many entertainments are a mishmash of fairy tale, Egyptian, and Arabian Nights themes, with regular appearances by a pair of raccoon-like mascots known as “Lorry” and “Lotty.”
At its heart is the world’s largest indoor theme park, Adventureworld, which has no less than four stories of diversions under a dramatic glass dome. Some of the rides are designed for thrill-seekers, including high-octane roller coasters and swinging pirate ships, while bumper cars, carousels and “4D” theaters will appeal to the younger set.
An outdoor park known as Magic Island includes lake cruises, a haunted house, miniature train rides, and the heart-stopping Gyro Drop, which plunges lucky riders down a 70-meter tower in two seconds flat.
The more culturally inclined may appreciate Lotte World’s folk museum, which includes a hall exhibiting relics from Korea’s prehistory and five great dynasties, an impressive Joseon-era village in miniature, and a theater where traditional weddings, shamanistic ceremonies, and music and dance performances are regularly recreated.
Add in parades, seasonal festivals for events like Christmas, and a healthy array of on-site shopping and dining options, and Lotte World can credibly make the claim to appeal to visitors of all ages.
With over eight million guests per year, the park can get crowded. Weekends are particularly busy and see lines of two hours or more for the most popular attractions—try to visit relatively early on a weekday if possible, when you’ll basically have the run of the place.
© Jonathan Hopfner from Moon Seoul, 1st Edition