Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea, Taiwan!

Day 25, parts 1-3: Lots MORE Shanghai CreHoing/sightseeing
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Archived Photo Trip Reports of Theme Parks, Roller Coasters, and Donkeys!
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Re: Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea

Postby David H » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:35 am

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out here who celebrates this holiday! And even to those who don't! ;-)

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Re: Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea

Postby David H » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:20 pm

No, I haven't forgotten this Photo TR. I've been busy with work and Black Friday/Cyber Week shopping!

Gyeongju World and Gyeongju sightseeing coming up very soon, for fans of Korea!

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Day 9: Gyeongju. Gyeongju World, sightseeing and culture!

Postby David H » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:20 pm

Day 9: Gyeongju. Gyeongju World, Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju National Museum.

Today was going to be another crowded, challenging day. Or more specifically, the afternoon was going to be crowded and challenging. My main goal was to get to Gyeongju World amusement park, but I also wanted to hit the major sightseeing sights in Gyeongju before I took the high speed rail (KTX) to Seoul. The problem is that I’d been warned that at least one of the coasters at the park doesn’t open until 1 PM. And the three major sights I wanted to visit all closed at 6 PM, with admission ending at 5:30. And they weren’t all that close to each other, either, especially by slow moving Asian busses.

By the way, a quick note for those trying to visit Gyeongju on your own. You can find most of the info out on your own. But there is a tourist desk right across from the two bus stations that usually have English speaking workers. They are very helpful and can give you maps with English, as well as lots of tips and the latest bus info. Also, when searching for info about Gyeongju (and just about anywhere in Korea) online, note that the English spellings of many cities and places was standardized and changed a few years back. So you might see Gyeongju listed as Kyongju or Kyungju or several other spellings – which makes Google searches more difficult.

Since time in the morning wasn’t tight, and I was correctly guessing the park wouldn’t be busy on a Tuesday in September, I slept a bit later than I might have. That might have turned out to be a big mistake, since as I was riding the bus to the park, it started raining lightly, despite the forecasts having something like a 20% chance of rain. In fact, when I got to the park, they seemed anxious to find someone who worked there who spoke a little English to tell me that if it rains, the big coaster (Phaethon) wouldn’t be open. They were trying to talk me into coming back the next day, but I was leaving for Seoul that night! I asked if it was open NOW, and they said yes, so I rushed over to it!

Gyeongju World is a mid-sized park with basically one claim to fame: Phaethon, a pretty good B&M inverted coaster with excellent theming. In fact, the theming is actually very similar to that of Dueling Dragons at Islands of Adventure, before they rethemed it to Harry Potter. They also have two other crappy coasters, a looper and an indoor coaster. The park has some excellent theming, mainly in the kiddie areas and for Phaethon. They have a decent selection of rides, including a freefall ride, a couple of water rides, a haunted house (which is a small upcharge from the POP, although you get a discount), a fun house, and a Tagada! In the winter, they have a big hill for sledding on. It’s outside the city’s downtown area, in the tourist area of the Bomun Lake resort, which is where ALL of the decent hotels in the city are located. Apparently, most of the tourists stay here. There are busses that run from all around the city, but it’s faster to take a taxi, which are quite cheap in Korea, unlike in Japan. You can get most places in the city, despite it being very spread out for under $10, and the taxi drivers are very happy to wait for you. You can even rent one for the day for around $70-80. If you go in the off-season, as I did, you can do most of the park in a few hours, though you may have to wait to ride for there to be enough people.

And that’s exactly what I encountered when I got to Phaethon. The park was very deserted, with a few dozen people walking around. And they don’t like to run their rides for only a few people. I’d seen Phaethon run once, which reassured me. But then when I got there, I had to sit in the station waiting for more people, all the while afraid it would really start raining, and they’d shut it down before I got to ride! Also, the ride ops also didn’t seem to understand why I’d want to sit in the back row, when they were loading from the front, but once they let me sit there, others wanted to sit there as well, which only confused them more! Each time I wanted to ride, I had to wait at least 5-15 minutes for more people, which was frustrating. But I got to ride. And it was a good B&M. Not as weak as some of the more recent ones, but not as powerful as Katun or Pyrenees or Montu. But B&M inverted coasters are my favorite kind of steel coaster, so even an average one is a good ride to me! Of course, but the time I was done riding for a bit, it had mostly stopped raining!

After a few rides, I walked around the park, taking pictures and riding what I could. I was REALLY disappointed to see the Tagada closed and to hear it wouldn’t open, because the park was so slow. It had looked like a crazy ride in the videos of the TPR Korea trip. I didn’t know if there were any others of this ride anywhere, but luckily, there’s was one later in the trip at Floraland with TPR. And it was as amazing as I’d hoped!

Of course, I headed straight to the other two coasters. Space 2000 wasn’t open yet. There was a sign saying that it would open at 1 PM. Space Tour, which I’d been told opens at 1 PM, was actually completely down. I’m not sure if it was seasonal maintenance or if it was broken down. But it was actually the first denied credit of the trip. Given that it was a week into the trip, I guess that’s not too bad, especially since it was supposedly an unremarkable coaster. Especially since there had just been the distinct chance I’d have missed the one important coaster that was the entire reason I was in Southern South Korea! And Dragon 2 Loop Coaster is actually just a typical powered Dragon “coaster”, which I don’t count, and don’t even always ride, unless I’m with TPR, and everyone is riding it, like I did often in China! The “loops” in the name were apparently just the helices, kind of like in those supposed “looping” water slides. The haunted house walkthrough was decent, with a lot of skeletons. The fun house was ok, but several things were broken.

After touring the park, I headed back to Phaethon for a bunch of rides, always in the back, except for one front seat ride. I also found an open gate on a path that led to the Bonham Lake, which was nice for taking pictures, both of the lake and of Phaethon. As 1 PM approached, I headed over to Space 2000, to find a decent sized line. It was probably half the people in the park, but it was still only a train or so worth of people. It was a painful looping Meisho coaster that I really didn’t need to ride again. After a few pictures, I left for sightseeing.

Now, it was going to be tricky. I had less than 5 hours to see three major sights, all of which were about 30 minutes away from each other by bus – IF I’d caught them all with perfect timing. I decided to take a taxi, since they’re cheap and it would save a lot of time. The driver even offered to sit and wait for me to visit the Seokguram Grotto and then take me to the Bulguksa Temple, without charging me a waiting fee. Andmission to both major tourist sites was under $4 each. The Seokguram Grotto is a temple that was built in the 8th century into the side of a mountain. It’s considered to be one of the finest examples of Buddhist art in the world, with a big Buddha and other statues and art around it. A wooden entrance that looks more like a traditional temple has recently been added, probably to make it more picturesque for the tourists. To get to the grotto, you have to walk a long, winding path through the woods. As I was walking, I passed several large groups of young students in their uniforms who get bussed in from all over the country and seemed very excited to see a white person (presumably American.) Many, many of them were very excited to show off their English skills by waving and saying “Herro” and “Hi” to me! It was kind of surreal. Korea doesn’t see a whole lot of white tourists outside of Seoul, although touristy Gueongju probably sees more than any other city. But these kids probably came from all over to see these temples that are major historic treasures for the country. And I was possibly the first white person they’d ever seen in person and not on TV. There was also another temple and the obligatory gifts shops, as well as a giant bell by the entrance of the area which you could pay a donation to ring to have your wishes come true. The temple was nice, but I didn’t honestly see what all the hubbub was about.

From there, the patiently waiting taxi driver took me to the Bulguksa Temple (also from the 8th century of the Silla dynasty era), which is actually a whole complex of temples and bridges and other structures. There’s actually a lot to see there. In one area, there were a whole ton of piles of rocks piled on top of each other, with what I assume was some religious significance. It was really neat, though it seemed a little creepy to me, for some reason.

Since it takes a while to see the temple complex, the driver had gone on his way, which presented a big problem to me. I hadn’t taken the bus there, so I didn’t know where the bus stop was, and there were no taxis anywhere in sight. I tried asking many people where I could find a bus or taxi by asking “bus” and “taxi” and shrugging my shoulders and looking around lost – with absolutely no luck. Tome was running out, since the Gyeongju National Museum was closing soon, and I had no way to get there. Eventually someone pointed in one direction, and I walked what had to have been 10 minutes to the bus stop. With time running out and the bus I needed not coming, I managed to hail a taxi, who got me to the museum 25 minutes before they closed, but 5 minutes after they stopped letting people in! I begged to be let in, and the nice guy did! I did a whirlwind tour of as much of the complex as I could see, before it closed. Inside were a lot of treasures from this area, mostly from the Silla era, including many of the treasures from the burial mounds I’d seen the day before. After the museum closed, I was still able to see the many outdoor displays of pagodas and statues and other art, including a weird display of headless Buddhas, which they weren’t sure if they were headless because the necks of the statues were fragile or if they were defaced my the later Confucians.

From there, I took the bus back to the bus station, stopped by the hotel to pick up my bags and took the bus back to the high speed rail station and the train to Seoul, catching up on the latest Doctor Who episode and audio stories on the train.

All in all, Gyeongju was a city I really enjoyed visiting. It gave me a chance to see a very different side of Korea, both in the important historical sites, and in seeing a much smaller city. I'm not sure I'd be in a hurry to go back. But I'm really glad I went. And a special thanks to Jeremy for insisting that I allow more than a day in the city. The history and culture of Gyeongju is more significant than anything in Seoul, and having seen this lessened the pressure I'd feel to do more sightseeing in Seoul in the following days.

Next installment: Seoul, a city I was mainly visiting for the coasters, but which I ended up enjoying quite a bit, although much of it for its western influences.
Asia '12 - Day 9 - Gyeongju 005.jpg
Strangely enough, on the bus to the park, I saw a bunch of different places selling replica statues of the area's sights. Unforunately, none of these would fit in my suitcase.
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I even ran into a replica of the observatory I saw yesterday that was covered with flowers.
More importantly, that unexpected rain was looking ominous for my chances for getting on the coasters!
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Pheathon dominates the whole park. You can even see it from the front, even though it's all the way in the back.
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Some nice fantasy theming.
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In Korea, I think "Americana" means hamburgers. Which, I guess makes me really Americana!
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Phaethon: B&M goodness with IOA-level theming.
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Not TOO IOA here! But hey, if the original isn't going to keep the awesome theming it had, there's always the one in Korea!
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This really is impressive theming for a mid-sized park! Certainly better than anything Six Flags has ever done!
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Even the station is well themed!
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The theming on the rapids ride looked funny, since it was drained.
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More wizard-y theming.
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Could someone who counts powered "coasters" as coasters please explain to me why you wouldn't count one of these too?
Isn't it just more or less a compact powered dragon "coaster"?
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Space Tour. AKA indoor closed credit I'm not getting!
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From the upcharge haunted house. Riding the painful looping coaster kind of felt like this!
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Dinner is served!
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Back to Phaethon. Near the entrance, they tell the story of the demi-god Phaethon, for those who aren't up on their Greek mythology.
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They have cartoonish drawings of many Greek gods in the station.
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Bomun Lake, a big tourist area where all of the nice hotels in town are, plus the amusement park and some other touristy stuff.
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This area allowed for some nice pictures of Phaethon, too!
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The park also had a decent freefall tower with nice views of Pheathon, the park and the lake.
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B&M inverted goodness!
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It's a fairly standard B&M inverted coaster, but that's a good thing!
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I like this angle.
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Like many parks in Asia, there's also a small zoo section.
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A neat way to serve a combo mini-meal. Mini chicken nuggets sitting on top of a cup of soda.
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I was so disappointed that the Tagada was closed, and I'd miss this relaly cool ride experience that I'd never had. Luckily, I'd get to ride one later on the trip with TPR at Floraland in China!
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An old-fashioned funhouse, the kind you rarely find in the US any more. Unfortunately, several of the tricks weren't working and the slides were closed.
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Space 2000. Aka painful looping thing I never need to ride again!
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Seokguram Grotto up above, and another temple below it.
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The facade was actually added somewhat recently, probably to make it more photogenic for the toursists, since pictures aren't allowed inside.
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Did I say pictures weren't allowed inside? Oops! I only discovered this after taking a few pictures! This is supposedly some of the finest Buddhist art in the world.
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The grotto was built into the side of a mountain. After taking a bus or cab or car way up past the Bulguksa temple, you have to walk 10-15 minutes through the woods on the mountain to get to it.
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Inside the other temple, where you are allowed to take pictures! ;-)
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The bell you can ring for a small donation (I think is was a couple of dollars) for good luck.
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With 6 more weeks to go, all outdoors, I could use all the luck I could get with the weather and my health!
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On to the Bulguksa Temple complex. I relaly liked these warriors/gods/whatever. Especially the little guys at their feet.
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The stone gates to the Bulguksa temple.
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The Bulguksa Dabotap, a stone pagoda from 751 AD.
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The bright colors and amazing details of the many Buddhist temples I visited on the trip were really impressive.
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I think this is the ACTUAL Bulguksa Temple, but there were a bunch of temples in the whole large complex, so I might have gotten them confused.
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Making use of my telephoto, since you can't take pictures inside the temple. Ok, so maybe I'm making use of a technicality. Sue me!
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There were hundreds, if not thousands, of these piles of stones all over this small area of the complex. You can even see them on the surrounding wall in the background in the upper right of the photo, and they were all around this area. I'm not sure what they were supposed to signify, but I found them kind of creepy.
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And on to the Gyeongju National Museumm which actually has more historic Korean artifacts than any other museum in Korea. I'm just glad they let me in, since they were closing soon, and stoped letting people in 5 minutes before I got there!
These were some of my favorite statues there.
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A crown from one of the burial mounds, like those i visited yesterday.
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A stone pagoda in the outdoor section of the museum.
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These headless Buddhas were kind of creepy. There were a whole bunch of them on display, too!
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At the Gyeongju high speed rail train station.
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For the train lovers out here. The Korean KTX/high speed rail was fast and efficient, and reasonably priced. Now if we could only get that in the US!
Last edited by David H on Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:45 pm.

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Day 10, part 1: Seoul, South Korea. Seoul Land.

Postby David H » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:29 am

Day 10, part 1: Seoul, South Korea. Seoul Land.

I’m going to backtrack for a bit to the end of the previous day. It made sense to talk about arriving in Seoul here, with the rest of Seoul. I arrived in Seoul on the high speed (KTX) train from Gyeongju. When I got there, it was lightly raining, which kind of dampened any enthusiasm I might have had for any of the sightseeing I’d hoped I might be able to get done that night. And to be honest, I’d already seen more history and touristy stuff in one day in Gyeongju that I’d be able to see in all of Seoul combined. But when I got out of Seoul’s main train station, I saw a sight for sore western eyes, after over a week in Asia: a Pizza Hut! Little did I know that I’d actually be eating pizza hut more times over the course of this trip than I have eaten in the past decade of my life! (There aren’t any pizza huts in high-rent downtown Boston, where I live, and I rarely venture out of the city.) I opted for a more “Korean” version of pizza hut with a sweet potato cheese stuffed-crust pizza that was half Hawaiian and half Korean barbeque, which oddly came with a béchamel style cream sauce for dipping the outer stuffed crust into. (See the picture below.)

Then I made my way by subway to the Itaewon train station, where my hotel was near. It was on this journey that I was amazed that two different Korean women at different times helped me up stairs with my bags without asking, even though they spoke no English and I spoke no Korean. I also want to point out that the Seoul Korean subway system, like its Japanese counterparts I’d already utilized on the trip, is very modern and efficient and very on-time. And what’s even better is that most of the stations have monitors that tell how long it will take for the next train to approach. And all of the trains have monitors that alternate English with the Korean. Not to mention English signs on the train maps and in the stations! And people were always willing to help a confused looking white person find his way, whether I needed help or not! All of these made it very easy to navigate Seoul’s extensive subway system.

My hotel for the next 5 nights would be Hotel D’Oro, which is technically a love motel, like my last one. But other than the signs which advertised the hourly rental possibilities, I don’t think most people would realize it. It certainly didn’t share any of the tackiness of its Gyeongju counterparts. I’d already decided I wanted to stay in the Itaewon area for two reasons. First, because of its relative proximity to a US military base, it is the main center for tourists, with a ton of hotels, restaurants and stores that cater to westerners. And secondly, because it’s one of the gay centers of the city, where many of the city’s gay bars and nightclubs are located. And I planned to do some clubbing, particularly on the weekend! I took a gamble with hotel D’Oro, because it was the most reasonably priced hotel that quite a few people online recommended, although it was harder to find information about it, because they have virtually NO online presence and are not listed on any of the hotel booking sites I’ve seen. But the nearby Hamilton Hotel that all of the tourists seem to stay in was nearly twice as expensive. And everything else I saw online in this area seemed to be either more of a hostel or a badly rated love motel. And honestly, having stayed there, I’d guess that 2/3 of the clientele these days are just regular tourists looking for a cheaper hotel. But if you want to book it, you’ll have to call the hotel directly, and don’t do it more than a month or so in advance! But on this night, I didn’t really explore the Itaewon neighborhood, since it was raining and I was tired.

The next day, I kind of putzed around, not getting up or out as quickly as I should have. I’d kind of hoped to try to get in three parks this day, but understood that that was a bit ambitious. I still kind of hoped to try for it, but it soon became clear that Seoul Land and Lotte World would be all that I could really visit, unless I wanted to rush through each park and not enjoy any of them. Which was fine, because my schedule was loose for this leg of the trip anyways. Everything I wanted to do was pretty close to downtown Seoul. So, I made my way by subway to Seoul Grand Park (which has a subway station that shares its name and is only around 20-30 minutes from most downtown areas) a giant park, which hosts a large zoo and Seoul Land amusement park. The park is actually a decent 20 minute or so walk from the subway station, but there are trams that run around the park. Unfortunately, they run in the wrong direction, so taking the tram probably wouldn’t have saved any time. And along the walk, I ate a couple of pieces of KFC that I got from the location near the station!

Seoul Land is a neat medium sized park, though it’s far from a destination park. But it’s definitely worth a stop if you’re going to Seoul, especially since it’s in the city (although across the river from the main downtown areas) and has 4-5 coaster credits, depending on whether you count powered coasters. But I doubt many traveling enthusiasts would spend more than an hour or two there. It’s actually a pretty big park space-wise, with a decent collection of rides, though nothing that’s an absolute don’t miss. There is also a lot of nice theming and plants, and the park overall looks really nice, especially the large long entranceway.

The coaster collection is fairly weak. Columbia Double Looping Coaster and Black Hole 2000 are two somewhat painful looping coasters, the former with two vertical loops, the latter with two corkscrews. Crazy Mouse was a weird hybrid of a mouse, but with the normal tubular track and cars with over the shoulder harnesses, much like any typical looping coaster. Kiddy Coaster was a credit with a winking Speedy Golzalez on the front of the train (which you’d think would be more appropriate for the mouse), which goes through “Maria’s House”, whoever Maria is. And for the credit whores, theres Rudolph 2 Loop Coaster, a powered Zamperla “coaster”, with (again) the two “loops” being just helices. Honestly, the coasters were so uninspiring that I actually forgot to get pictures of Columbia Looping and Crazy Mouse! The park also had a decent collection of small flat rides, but several of them were closed on this very slow day. Probably the most notable attraction in the park was the walkthrough haunted house, which involved going through an underground crypt, led by ghostly figures that tell you a story about the place in Korean, which I obviously didn’t understand. There weren’t that many scares, but the theming was pretty nice. They send groups through every so often, and don’t have anyone there to let you know what’s going on., Luckily, a young Korean couple explained I’d have to wait a few minutes to be let in, since it outwardly appeared that the house was closed, though it wasn’t. The park also has a shooting dark ride with the “Den of Lost Thieves” theme we’ve seen many times in the States.

The park was absolutely dead. I could walk through whole areas without seeing more than a couple of people. I basically went clockwise around the park, starting with the haunted house, and then hitting all the coasters, ending with the shooting dark ride. I’m trying to remember now if I even bothered to ride any of the coasters twice, even with no wait. I think I probably rode the two big coasters twice, but they obviously weren’t that memorable! On the way out of the park, I just happened to catch the tram as it was approaching, though I had to rush to get a ticket before it left, which is always a challenge when you don’t speak the language.

From there, I took the subway to Jamsil Station to visit Lotte World. But more on that in part 2....
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 001.jpg
Seoul's main train station. The KTX high speed rail and the airport train both stop here, and the subway station is right next door.
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Seoul is a huge modern city. This building across from the station had impressive LED lighting, at least at night.
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It was more sophisticated than just spelling out letters. I liked the moviing starfield the best, although I didn't manage to get any good pictures of it.
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Now we're seeing signs of REAL civilization! In Gueongju, I didn't see a single restaurant that I could identify. But right out of the Seoul train station, I ran into Pizza Hut! Little did I know how much Pizza Hut I'd be eating on the trip, mainly in China.
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This was my weird Pizza Hut pizza. The crust is sweet potato bread. The "stuffed crust" is that outer ring of stuffed ringy dingy ding-a-ling dings, with a creamy/cheesy dipping sauce for it. Half of the middle is Hawaiian pizza; the other half is Korean barbeque. Does this count as eating exotic local food? ;-)
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From my hotel window, I could see the N Seoul Tower, if I zoomed the picture in enough, where I'd be visiting in a few days.
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It was kind of weird seeing Dunkin' Donuts, which was founded and is based near where I grew up and where I live now in Korea! they have some of the usual flavors, and some unique creations that you won't find in the states, too.
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More signs of civilization! I gabbed a few pieces of chicken for the long walk to the park.
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The entrance to the zoo section of Seoul Grand Park.
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Tha tram can save you a lot of walking! Whic, of course, is why I didn't take it! ;-) Still, it's a scenic route, since Seoul and this area is surrounded by nice mountains.
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I spy with my little eye.... Could that be an amausement park?
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Here we are! I like the smiley face ticket booths!
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The park has a really nice entrance area.
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I want a ride!
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No, it's not Epcot! Read the buoy.
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Pretty flowers!
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Fountains and mountains.
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This about as close as I got to getting a picture of the Columbia Double Loop Coaster. This is the part of the entrance. You can see some teal track in the background.
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A closer look. I somehow completely forgot to get any other pictures of this or the fairly unique mouse. Oops!
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Black Hole 2000. A mediocre somewhat painful looping coaster.
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Both of the big coasters at the park are fairly big and spread out behind other attractions, which makes them hard ot get good pictures of, unless it's from above, on another ride.
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The coaster's signature corkscrews are behind some buildings.
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For the flat ride fans.
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The Hi Roller was closed. You know, I'm not sure if, with all my amusement park travels, I've ever actually managed or gotten around to riding one of these!
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Neat theming! Does this technically count as a carousel?
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 088.jpg
Rudolph 2 Loop Coaster. Aka a powered "coaster". The "loops" are just helices. Still, it's kind of funny that there are two coasters at the park that each have two loops in them, but the one named "2 loop coaster" isn't actually one of them!
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 089.jpg
Some floats for a parade that I doubt they'd be holding on such a slow day.
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 093.jpg
Yum! Butter baked dried cuttle fish! Too bad they were closed! NOT!
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 078.jpg
How cute!
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 097.jpg
Speedy Gonzalez on the Kiddy Coaster train.
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 094.jpg
Kiddy Coaster is brought to you by Pocari Sweat!
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 098.jpg
Den of Lost Theive should be familiar to many of us.
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 100.jpg
This Adventure Land kiddie play zone with ropes and nets and bridges and the like was the park's new attraction for 2012. I couldnt' tell if it wasn't open on this day, or if there just weren't any small kids there to play on it!
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 103.jpg
Theming! Not the first or last time I'd see Italy (one of my favorite countries) on this trip! The real thing doesn't lean quite so much!
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 106.jpg
More fountains and mountains on the way out of the park!
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 059.jpg
The park's haunted walkthrough attraction. Note that there is no one anywhere in sight. Not customers. Not staff. No one. They just come out when it's time to let people in. Most of the attraction is underground.
(This was supposed to be higher up, but I accidentally used the wrong picture. Does anyone know a way to move this up in the post?)
Asia '12 - Day 10 - Seoul 017.jpg
While it's nice to know that they're prepared for emergencies, it's kind of creepy to see gasmasks in every subway station! And I guess it's good to know that if there is ever an emergency that requires the use of gasmasks that 23 people in a busy train station will survive it! I'm guessing that more people will die in the fights over those 23 gasmasks than from whatever disaster is requiring those masks!
Last edited by David H on Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:29 am.

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Re: Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea

Postby cfc » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:46 am

This is the first Buddha I've ever seen with a pencil-thin mustache.

So, why did they use the name "Black Hole Coaster" for the looper? Is the loop painted black, or something?

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Re: Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea

Postby SharkTums » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:24 am

Mmm I miss Asian Pizza Hut!

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Re: Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea

Postby gisco » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:29 pm

SharkTums wrote:Mmm I miss Asian Pizza Hut!

The crazy pizza they have are cool. To bad the don't do some of those here in the States!

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Re: Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea

Postby Nrthwnd » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:35 pm

(seeing the pizza...)

Oh - my - - - damn!

I am immediately drooling and visualizing
the awesome PH creations we had while on
the recent China tour!

I luvs The Hut - but so far, ONLY in China!
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Re: Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea

Postby David H » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:23 pm

Chuck, no idea why they called it Black Hole 2000 coaster, since none of it is black, and there isn't any hole that I can remember! And it was built in 1990!

It's Korea. It doesn't have to make sense! ;-)

As for pizza hut, yeah, the weird creations were pretty cool. I think that the favorite at the tables I sat at with TPR during the China tour was the grilled steak one, which I believe also had corn and some other veggies in it for some reason. Some of us even had that at the knockoff pizza hut in the mall in Shanghai. I don't remember what the name of the pizza place was, but it had pretty much exactly the same menu as the Chinese Pizza Huts, but it had a different name. I'm not sure if it was a linked company or a Chinese knockoff!

Chinese knockoff pizza hut! ;-)

The funny thing for me is that I pretty much associate Pizza Hut with coaster trips in my mind. I live in downtown Boston, and we don't get a lot of low to middle end restaurants in the city, probably because rent is so expensive that they can't afford to operate and make a profit, while paying a franchise fee. There aren't any Pizza Huts in either Boston proper or in Cambridge. The nearest one is in Medford, which is only around 5 miles away. But when you don't have a car, that might as well be in another state. In fact, with a car, I could get to Canobie Lake amusement park in New Hampshire faster than i could get to the Pizza Hut 5 miles away from me by 2 subway lines, plus a bus or walk! The Boston subways aren't anywhere near as efficient as the ones in Korea or Japan.

Most of my previous Pizza Hut experiences were in Orlando, since there was one right down the street on International Drive from the hotel I used to stay at near Universal. I'd usually get a large pizza (or two, if they were running a second pizza for $5 special) and keep the leftovers in the hotel fridge for late night snacking all week when I got home. And sometimes I'd run into a Pizza Hut on the road on coaster trips. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a Pizza Hut pizza when NOT on a coaster trip!

But on this one trip to Asia, I easily had more PIzza Hut than I've had in the past 3-5 years combined!

For those who weren't on the China trip, you don't know how nice it was to have western food after day after day of Chinese food on spinning lazy susans! Not that the food was bad or anything. It was just nice to get a taste of home (even if for me, it's not really from "home") and something familiar.

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Re: Photo TR:David's EPIC Asia trip! TPR China +Japan, Korea

Postby larrygator » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Hey David, just want to let you know that I finally got caught up with this thread and the Park Index updates. Thanks for all the submissions and I look forward to following this thread on a regular basis once your busy season at work is over.
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