A World of fun at Korea's Lotte Park
December is a popular time to travel in South Korea despite the wintery weather. With that in mind, I’ve rounded up a couple of hot places that are perfect for that winter escape: The tallest building in South Korea and the second largest indoor amusement park in the world. I’ve also included the best ways to book a cheap deal.
All options are easily accessible via Jamsil Subway and linked directly with the subway station, which is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants located in the same place, making them convenient and a great way to spend a winter day with your family.
Lotte World Park
Lotte World is divided into Lotte World Adventure, an indoor area, and the outdoor Magic Island. The indoor park is extremely convenient when the temperature drops below zero. It is very entertaining and has plenty of things to spend a day doing.
The indoor park is home to 22 different rides and parades, while Magic Island is built in the middle of the Seokchon Lake and boasts 17 different rides. It offers plenty of rides for all ages, countless shops, restaurants, shows and attractions.
Indoor Adventure (mostly for kids) is open all year and hosts a dazzling variety of seasonal festivals and parades. There’s even an ice skating rink with rentals available. If you don’t want to take the risk of falling on the ice, just stand there and watch professional Korean skaters doing their things!
The park is large, so I suggest picking four or five rides you definitely want to check out. Otherwise, it can be overwhelming walking around such a large park. Below are a few of my “must rides”.
French Revolution (indoor): The roller coaster rotates 360 or 540 degrees in some parts and is definitely a must for all adrenaline seekers. It goes through buildings, so there is always a near-crash feeling that adds to the thrill factor of this one.
Camelot Carousel (indoor): The beautiful Camelot Carousel will bring back childhood memories. Above all else, it is the most Instagram-able place in the park. Gain brownie points with your significant other or your kids by taking plenty of photos of them here.
Gyro Swing (outdoor): Gyro Swing is another adrenaline-seeker favorite, as it takes you through the sky while swinging side to side. The view of Seokchon Lake and its surrounding areas is an added bonus, so don’t shut your eyes in fear while riding it!
Giant Loop (indoor): If the Gyro Drop or Gyro Swing have been shut down due to the cold weather, Giant Loop could be a suitable alternative. It’s not as thrilling as the Gyro Swing, but it’s definitely one of the popular rides that gets many riders screaming.
World Monorail (indoor): This isn’t thrilling, but it is for those who really hate the long wait time. (Even though the park was packed on the day I went, it only took 10 minutes to get on the ride.) The Monorail will circle the indoor park at a speed that is neither fast nor slow, giving you another pleasure that you cannot feel from the thrilling rides. And it’s a great ride for couples to enjoy each other’s company and watch people below.
Lotte Folk Museum
If you have young kids, visit the history exhibition hall and check out the major artifacts and relics of Korean history gathered from across the nation. There are so many things to see, and some of you might recognize familiar exhibits from watching historical Korean dramas!
In addition, it offers a free opportunity to learn about and play a variety of Korean folk games, including Tu-ho, which involves throwing sticks into a narrow canister, which may sound easy, but trust me, it’s not!
Every Saturday the museum also provides an exciting traditional arts performance, where you can enjoy the distinctly beautiful sound of traditional musical instruments (percussion music) and songs like Pansori (musical storytelling).
Not only will you learn more about the lives of Koreans long ago, but the best part of the museum is the interactive exhibits!
It’s cold outside, traffic is bad and finding a parking space at the park can be tough.
So, let’s compromise. Unless you are looking for a fancy restaurant, the food court in the park is not a bad choice for dinner. This place is packed with major chains including family restaurants, which are a very common sight in Korea.
A placed called MIES Container is a chain restaurant that started in 1997. I used to visit the original location in Daegu, but they have since expanded across Korea.
It is famous for its unique interior, which looks like a construction site, including signs, safety helmets and tools. IT also serves up delicious dishes for youngsters. This location is a miniature version of the one I used to frequent as a child. The atmosphere isn’t the same, but the food was just as good as I remembered.
The staff recommended a pizza that can be eaten with a spoon, but I chose a chicken barbecue platter (11,000 won). It was perfect - the chicken was tender and soft, and the seats were suitable for eating alone.
After eating, don’t forget to try a Naricomo donut with cinnamon crumble and blueberry cream cheese (Nine types and all cost 13,000 won). The delightful dessert will help you gain more brownie points for sure! By the way, the original Naricomo Donut shop is located in Daegu. If you’re in Daegu, check it out!
Getting there by CAR
Camp Humphreys → Lotte World Park (1h 40 min.)
Osan Air Base → Lotte World Park (1h 30 min.)
Getting there by Bus
Pyeongtaek Intercity Bus Terminal → Seoul Express Bus Terminal → Take subway or taxi (35 min./about 1,3000 Won)
Departing from Seoul Express Bus Terminal Station
Express Bus Terminal Station (Line No. 3) → Seoul National University of Education Station (Transfer station for Line No. 2) → Jamsil Station (Lines No. 2 and 8) | About 23 minutes
Getting there by Train
Pyeongtaek Station → Seoul Station
-MUGUNGHWA: 50 min. / 4,900 won
-ITX-SAEMAUL: 50 min. / 7.200 won
Departing from Seoul Station
Seoul Station (Subway Line No. 4) → Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Transfer station for Line No. 2) → Jamsil Station (Lines No. 2 and 8) → Exit4 | About 32 minutes
There is direct underground access to Lotte World from Jamsil Subway Station.
Address: 240, Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul
Universal Pass (Lotte World + Folk Museum)
[1Day] Adults 55,000 won / Teenagers 48,000 won / Children 44,000 won / Babies 14,000 won
-Admission and rides for Adventure & Magic Island (excluding Fantasy Forest, game room, coin machines)
-Admission to Folk Museum (L.A. 7 p.m.)
[After4 – Admission tickets after 4 p.m.]
Adults 44,000 won / Teenagers 38,000 won / Children 34,000 won / Babies 14,000 won
Park Ticket (Lotte World only)
[1Day] Adults 52,000 won / Teenagers 46,000 won / Children 43,000 won / Babies 14,000 won
* Includes admission and rides for Adventure & Magic Island (excluding Fantasy Forest, game room, coin machines)
[After4 – Admission tickets after 4 p.m.]
Adults 41,000 won / Teenagers 36,000 won / Children 33,000 won / Babies 14,000 won
* Special price offers (must provide ID or to prove age)
Under 12 months: Free admission to park and infant playing facilities (e.g. Kidstoria, etc.)
12 - 36 months: Free admission to park. Can use the child playing facilities for a fee.
-Child: 3 - 12 years
-Youth: 13 - 18 years
-Senior: 65 or older - child ticket price applied
Perfect for kids
Adventure: Magic Boong Boong Car, Brother Moon and Sister Suns, Kid’s Bumper Car, Lotty’s Train, Swing Pang Pang, Eureka, Kidstoria, Beluga’s Talk Show, Dragon Train, Dream Boat
Magic Island: Kid’s Sightseeing Car, Petit Pang Pang
Discounted tickets and Magic Pass
You can buy a pass inside Lotte World, near the carousel. The ticket price for an adult is 57,000 won, youth is 50,000 won, child is 46,000 won.
NOTE: You can get a 50-percent discount if you show your own Military ID or civilian CAC card.
Or check out trazy.com for a discount coupon or download other ticket discount apps on your mobile phone.
Magic Pass is an extra express pass that allows you to skip the long lines of popular rides. It is really useful for attractions that have lines that near an hour long. The pass allows you to make advanced reservations for selected rides with an app on your phone. You can also use any of the Magic Pass kiosks located around the park. Register your validated ticket, select the attraction and desired time from the list and you’re all set. You will find a special entrance for Magic Pass holders. The Magic Pass is an extra 30,000 won for 5 attractions, and 100,000 won for the entire day.
If you don’t want to pay extra money for the Magic Pass, I strongly recommend going earlier to avoid the crowd, because as the day goes on you will see wait times increase. You can also buy the ‘After 4 p.m. or 7 p.m. entry ticket’ at a discounted price (about 10,000 won cheaper)
Check the official website for ride closures before you go! You can rent a locker or stroller if needed. (Locker Fee: 1000-2000 won; Stroller Rental: 3,000 won with 10,000 deposit)
Re-entry is not allowed.