Along with Chuseok, Seollal (Lunar New Year) is one of the major holidays in Korea. It is widely celebrated in Asia too and it is a 5 day weekend. For this holiday we had hoped to visit somewhere in South East Asia but unfortunately due to hiked plane tickets and late planning we didn't manage to. We still made the most of the days off and spent some fun days in Seoul with friends.
On the actual day of Seollal, Koreans spend time with their families and so this was a perfect opportunity to visit Everland, the largest theme park in Korea. Everland is ranked number 13th of the most popular theme parks in the world and every year 6.6 million people visit. It's much more impressive than Cape Towns local theme park and it has some pretty extreme rides.
Everland was full with only foreigners and the queues were so short. I think the longest we waited for anything was 10 minutes. My students had told me that waiting for rides at Everland can be as long as a couple of hours. Apparently they normally wait about 2 hours for the T-express (the most awesome rollar coaster). This seems crazy to me and I definitely wouldn't go if I had to spend hours in queues. The weather was lovely and mild, making things much more pleasant. Luckily our faces didn't ice up too much on the rides. In the park there aren't only rides but a variety of other entertainment options. There is a huge safari area (which we didn't do) and a 4D screening of Rio (which was great), to mention a few. We really had a great day out and it was well worth it because of short queues. One thing that was kind of annoying, was the lack of food options. The same kind of restaurant and food option was scattered around the park. We ended up eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant, one of the few indoor eating places.
The highlight of the park is definitely the T-express roller coaster. It is the world's steepest wooden roller coaster with a first drop of 77 degrees and it reaches a top speed of 104km/hr. It was so so thrilling.
The most peculiar things about Everland are the cleaners that walk around looking like snowmen, and the way the staff greet you at every possible opportunity with a 2 handed comic wave.
There was a great special on tickets for foreigners meaning we only paid 23 000 won entrance. This definitely made our visit worthwhile as tickets are normally 46 000 won. Be sure to check their website for any specials and discount coupons.
As Everland closes at 10pm, it was too late to head back to Seoul so we stayed the night in the nearest town of Yongin. We stayed at the Q Hotel (more like a motel) there. There didn't seem to be much in the area so we went back to Seoul early the next morning.
How to get there
There are different ways you can get to Everland (see here) but we decided to catch the subway. I think it took about 2 hours from Hongdae and was only 3300 won.