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Posts Tagged ‘South Korea

Seoul, City of Love

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Love takes many different forms in Seoul, from the sensuous to the scary. Here are three of them:

1) Love terrace

seoul love terrace

A wonderfully romantic spot on the way up to the Seoul Tower, this terrace is designed to celebrate love. It even has specially sloped benches, so that when you sit on them you’re pulled close to one another. Awww.

2) Love motel

love motel korea

Pretty much what it says in the description. A motel for lovin’ – you can hand the money over to an anonymous pair of hands behind the frosted glass reception desk and buy anything from a 2 hour “rest” to an overnight stay. Rumour has it the rooms are fully kitted out for their purpose, though if you’re looking for flowers and champagne you may be disappointed: it’s more likely to be adult movies and mirrors on the ceiling. Did we stay in one? Certainly not! (My mother is reading this).

3) Love of foreign women

Seoul old man

Even more frightening than the concept of a love motel is a certain old man who spends his time hanging around tourist spots in Seoul to con unwitting foreign women into posing for photos for him. After some innocuous-seeming conversation outside Gyeongbukgong Palace about how much we liked Seoul, he asked me to stand still and look upwards at a tree. As I did so, his camera appeared and before I knew it I had been added to his photo gallery, which he then proceeded to show us. He’d collected photos of various beauties from locations as diverse as Germany, Sweden, Canada, China and Japan. The only criteria for receiving the dubious honour of being in the old man’s gallery appeared to be as follows: young(ish), non-Korean, and female. Ick!

Written by Emily

November 19, 2011 at 8:09 am

Emily and Adrian’s Korean Adventure, Sponsored by Lotte

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Lotte is everywhere in South Korea. Literally everywhere. What began life as a fledgling enterprise selling chewing gum to schoolkids in post-war Japan is now South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, employing more than 60,000 people.

What amused us was the way in which this company – which is still run by its founder’s family – has managed to grab a slice of just about every market. Sort of like Virgin, but much more ubiquitous. If you go to South Korea, you can stay in Lotte Hotel, shop in Lotte department store, watch a movie in Lotte cinema, eat a Lotteria burger … and pay for all of it with a Lottecard. You can even watch the Lotte Giants play baseball, and buy some Lotte insurance in case you’re unlucky enough to get smacked on the head by the ball.

By far the best Lotte money-spinner, however, has got to be Lotteworld, in Seoul – South Korea’s answer to Disneyland, and in some ways very reminiscent indeed (see photo!). Lotteworld is an indoor theme park set over 4 floors with an ice-rink in the basement and a bridge leading to an outdoors ‘island’ with yet more exciting rides.

Magic Kingdom, anyone?

Magic Kingdom, anyone?

We were astonished that Lotteworld was in fact a proper theme park – being indoors we assumed it was probably more like a fairground, with a waltzer, a carousel and not much else. Well, it had a waltzer, it had a carousel … but it also had some seriously impressive rollercoasters, a ghost house, several ‘gyro drop’ contraptions, an indoor boat ride through Pharaoh’s temple (yes, really) and, possibly best of all, a balloon ride suspended from the ceiling which circled the perimeter of the park.

Look down for ice rink, up for balloons!

Look down for ice rink, up for balloons!

Even though we visited on a Friday, Lotteworld was packed with schoolkids who were clearly having a marvellous time. A group of them even cajoled us into posing for a picture for them outside the Ghost House. [Directorial instructions: “Make a scary face. No – more scary! No – even more scary!”]

By about 4pm, the kids were marched away and we enjoyed an evening of many rollercoasters with reasonably short queues. Unlike the UK, Korea has the sense to keep its theme parks open until 11pm, because there’s nothing quite like strapping your exhausted body into a motorbike-style coaster seat and plummeting face-first into a terrifying abyss … go Lotteworld!

Written by Emily

October 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm

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