Chuseok 2016

Chuseok is an important holiday in Korea. It is a major harvest festival celebrated with a three-day public holiday – Wednesday to Friday – which means that you end up with 5 days off in a row. It is likened to American Thanksgiving, but you find some people take offence at that comparison as Chuseok is said to have existed for hundreds of years before Thanksgiving.

This year the GCF gave 2 days off for Chuseok and there was another international holiday earlier in the week, so with a mere 2 days h0liday days booked, Raj and I had a full week to do something. Unfortunately, circumstance dictated that he did have to do some work and we couldn’t get out of the country as all our friends did but instead, we spent 3 days and 2 nights in Seoul to visit Lotte Adventure World and The Lotte Aquarium, in Jamsil.

Now a word about Jamsil. It is basically a big homage to Lotte. There is the Lotte Hotel (where we stayed) the Lotte World Mall, the Lotte World Department Store, Lotte’s head office, the Charlotte Theatre (Lotte comes from the name Charlotte) and Lotte Adventure World. In fact, while wandering around, we failed to find anything that wasn’t Lotte-branded.

The Lotte Hotel is a very nice 5* hotel, if ever so slightly dated. From the hotel itself, you can access the mall and department store without even stepping outside – it is a bit Vegas-y in that respect. Breakfast was yum but a word to the wise – the hotel gets immensely busy around Chuseok and on our final morning there, we went to the breakfast place at 9.30am and there were so many people that we had to wait 20 minutes to be seated!

Lotte Adventure World is the largest indoor theme park in the world. The majority of the rides are undercover, which makes it a great winter option, but the bigger, faster rides are outdoors. We had a great deal from the hotel with which we booked accommodation, breakfast and park tickets. We headed to the park at 10am (it opens at 930) wary of potential crowds, but as it was the day before Chuseok, it was still manageable. After getting our bearings we queued for the log flume – not being very smart, we queued before we discovered the fast pass process. Similar to Disney, you can ‘book slots’ for a few of the rides. By the time we went on our first ride and went to use the fast pass, we could only book a time on one ride – Comet Express – which was definitely a hidden gem for the speed lovers amongst you all! Atlantis is the largest rollercoaster and SO much fun and we queued for 2 hours to have a ride – worth it.

Food is your typical theme park fare, with the ever present beer and your usual candy floss, ice cream, churros etc. After 4pm you can buy discounted tickets for the park, and that’s when the high school contingent turn up – UBER dressed up and arriving in throngs. We made a hasty exit as the numbers in the park swelled and it probably a well timed one.

Just behind the Lotte World Mall runs the river where they have annual installations and this year is was the colour-changing SuperMoon.

Dinners were eaten in the extensive food court of the mall – California Pizza Kitchen for him one day, P.F Changs for me the next. Yummy. We also made a trip down to Gangnam to check out the Kloud 21 bar at the Mercure Hotel – one of the few actual rooftop bars in Seoul, which was a rather pleasant and fun way to end the evening.

The next day, we made our way over to the Lotte World Aquarium (having bought tickets at the hotel) which is located in the basement of the Mall. After whiling away a couple of hours looking at all the fishes it was time for a quick lunch and a hop skip and jump back to Songdo.

All in all, a lovely mid-week-long-weekend in Seoul to celebrate Chuseok! And oh yeah, because we booked 2 nights at the hotel, we still have another 2 tickets for another day at the theme park – YAY!


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