Saturday, November 24, 2007


After leaving our motel we went to Lotte World, which is according to Wikipedia is currently the largest indoor theme park in the world. It's cheaper to enter after 5pm which is odd considering that when it's lit up it seems a much more interesting place than in the daytime.

The building consists of a large central area consisting of shops, rides and places to eat, covered by a glass roof, and while there is a folk museum and more to explore in its recesses, it's only a little bigger than a football field, so I'm not quite convinced about its claims to fame in the size department. But even if it may initially appear small, it probably took us an hour to explore the three floors within it.

The rides are, on the whole, what you might expect from a small fun fair - though the balloons circuiting the roof with their passengers was something I hadn't seen before. That must offer excellent views and produce great photos especially at night, but unfortunately as I'm going through another rough patch with Meniere's I was in no condition to do anything remotely adventurous.

In addition to the indoor attractions, Lotte World also has an adjoining outdoor area called Magic Island, which really is situated on a lake. It's connected to the indoor area by a monorail, although it is possible to walk there as we did. Perhaps fittingly, at the end of the bridge to the island is a white castle, though not the kind that sells burgers, and beyond that are the more challenging rides, from roller-coasters to tall towers which people are dropped from at great speed. It's may be a little cold in winter, but this does mean the hot food sellers have a captive audience and prices to match.

We were back inside by 8pm to see a live show, of what we weren't entirely clear. It transpired to be a Filipino group singing a few English Christmas songs, but things soon took off when they unexpectedly launched into a string of popular Korean pop songs. The audience was boosted by a large party of Chinese tourists who at one point, desperate to get a photograph with one of the singers, stopped her from returning to the stage when she had unwisely left its safety. It's said that Korean audiences don't know how to behave at certain events, but on this evidence China has them beaten. The presence of the tourists also undoubtedly means that by this time next year, the largest indoor theme park will be situated outside Shanghai, and called Zhotte World.

The middle of the indoor kingdom is open and overlooks an ice rink and more restaurants two floors below. Above this hangs a globe of the Earth which provides the focal point of the laser show which is held nightly at 9.30pm. Strictly speaking, it's more accurately a laser and fire show, which is my way of warning you not to stand too close to the torches situated around the balcony areas because the heat wave from them can be quite a shock to the system. The show is only 15 minutes long but not a bad way to round off the evening in Lotte World.

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