Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Yeoso World Expo 2012 - The Logistics

We took off this week for a 4-day weekend to head to the World Expo in Yeosu (pronounced yo - sue) from Osan Air Base. We've already had several ask us all about the trip so this post is also a bit of a guide - feel free to ask us any additional questions in the comments below. I'll be posting the fun post with pics and such soon!

Travel: Yeosu is on the southern coast South Korea so we took the train and utilized taxi's while in-town. There was the option of the KTX fast train but we would have had to take a train to the fast train and it only saves 40 minutes so we just took the regular train out of the Pyeongtaek station. Tickets were purchased online at Korail. The train ride was about 4 hours and drops you off right at the entrance to the Expo. 

Lodging: We would have liked to stay at the MLV hotel on the Expo campus, and even considered it but with a price tag of about $260/night before taxes it was just too expensive for 3 nights. The next best options were all about a 15-20 minute cab away but well worth it for 4 and 5 star hotels - in Korea you don't really want to stay in anything less. 

We stayed at The Ocean Hotel & Resort but also strongly considered HiddenBay but we were a tad late on the booking. Reservations can be made online via the Expo site. Our hotel was new, clean and Westernized which were important factors for us. The ocean view is worth the extra $25 - we were on the 14th floor and the view was absolutely stunning. The amenities were something to be left desired but we were in Yeosu for the Expo so that really wasn't an issue. The cost with taxes for 3 nights was $560 USD.

We only had a couple of semi-complaints that might be considered: 
1) They didn't have a playyard/crib for Cooper and they said it was "impossible" to give us one extra blanket for a pallet on the floor - so we had to get creative on his sleeping situation. 


2) Also, the restaurant breakfast buffet is 22,000 each and is mostly comprised of Korean breakfast - kimchi, salad, bulgogi, etc. but they did have a live egg/omelet station, bacon, scrambled eggs, fruit, cereal, and toast so it was just fine and really the best bet for anything close to a Westernized breakfast. And the dinner menu only included about 8 choices as well. 


Notes:
  • The Ocean Resort talks up their waterpark but it was closed while we were there.  
  • When you arrive The Ocean Hotel is on the left and the resort is on the right - unless you paid and exorbitant amount for the resort's condominiums you'll be on your left at the hotel. 
  • Make sure to have your hotel's address ready to show your taxi cab. The fare is about 13,000 each way. 
Expo
Check out my upcoming Yeosu World Expo 2012 post for specifics on places to go and things not to miss. 


Notes:
  • You can purchase your tickets right at one of the 3 gates. 
  • We found that the most convenient gate/entrance was Gate 3 by the train station.
  • Any of the information desks will provide you an English map and for the most part those working the desks can speak English. 
  • Bathrooms are abundant and for the most part clean which is a bonus!
  • We were able to do almost everything in a 2-day period - note: our days were 12 and 13 hour days - but in 3, during the week, you could do it at a much more leisurely pace.  
  • If you bring your children just note that the attention they will draw can get daunting by the end of your trip. For example at one point Cooper was playing in the water spouts and there were at least 10 people taking his video or picture and another 25 watching him while ooing and awwing at every move... They won't ask permission to touch them (even while sleeping), give them food, eat their food, or take their pic/video so just be prepared. Our best defense the further along in the trip we got was to not make eye contact with those "tracking" us. 
Food/Drink Notes:
  • There are snack, icecream and drink stands throughout the park on almost every corner. The most Westernized snack item you'll find is hotdogs and for Western fast food there is a Lotteria (food similar to McDonalds), a Baskin Robbins, Starbucks, and Dunkin' Donuts. Also, many of the international pavillions have themed restaurants - we had Vietnamese Pho and Italian that were both excellent. There was also German, Chinese, and Uruguay as well as a sleu of Korean choices. 
  • Water is only 1,000 so don't worry with dragging bottles into the park. We did make sure to carry plenty of snacks with us - especially for Cooper. 
Clothing Notes:
  • All of the pavillions and attractions are inside buildings so there is little time spent outside. The most you'll spend in the sun is walking from attraction to attraction. Even the waiting lines (which can sometimes be quite long) are covered and some are misted. Still sunblock, sunglasses/hats, and layers are recommended. 
  • If you stay for the 9 or 10pm Big O finale show (recommended) then you might consider bringing light rain ponchos or an umbrella - it is a water show and depending on the wind you can get quite wet with sea water. 
Exhibit Notes:
  • Aquarium: It's worth an hour wait, maybe, but typically the wait time was 3 hours. If you have a stroller though make sure one of the worker's find you - we were automatically taken to the very front of the line without even waiting a minute. The aquarium was absolutely packed with people touching us on almost all sides, in every exhibit. Take a deep breath before going in! 
  • Robot Pavillion: I don't think there is anyway around a 3 hour wait for this one. We just couldn't do it with a toddler (but we really, really wanted to). If you can't make it there are some great YouTube videos. 
  • International Pavillion: Some of the most popular international pavillions are Germany, China, and Japan - if you can catch these during the week or first thing in the morning you'll minimize your wait time. If there is a wait at the USA pavillion and you are military you can show your ID to move to the front of the line. 
  • Big O show: There is a Big O that creates a fireworks, water and laser finale show at night. On Friday there was only one show but on Saturday there were 2 shows - your best bet is to check with information in the morning for exact show times. Also, people started getting there seats 2 hours ahead of time - 1 hour ahead on Saturday wasn't enough for us so plan accordingly. We had to wait for a taxi after the show for about an hour - so either rush back or take your sweet time. 
  • Lotte: This exhibit typically had a 1-2 hour wait. It was worth an hour wait, especially if you have kids, as it was the only exhibit that actually takes you on a ride. You stand on a moving platform and it simulates a hot air balloon ride through different environments and situations.  
Have fun! 

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