Last week of Yeosu Expo
Aug 06, 2012
Running until Sunday, August 12, Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is expected to have welcomed 8 million visitors. As of July 31, the total number of visitors to the Expo was 6.09 million. In the final stretch leading up to the finish line, entry prices have been dropped for all foreign tourists, from KRW 33,000 for a standard day pass down to KRW 10,000. A discount is also offered to Korean students, now on their summer vacation.
“The Expo is great but as you may have heard it's getting really busy,” says Marisal Dobbins, who works at the American Pavilion, where she says the waiting time to get in has been steadily increasing. “There’s no way you can come to the Expo and see all of the great things it has to offer in one day -- but that doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t live the day out to the fullest.”
On July 30, the Expo received a record 275,000 visitors, amid record high temperatures. Most of the pavilions provide shade from the sun for the comfort of visitors waiting in line. The wait for the more popular pavilions may be as long as two or three hours depending on day of the week and time of day.
“My longest wait was for the Aquarium which was just under two hours,” says Patrick O’Dowd, a public school English teacher from America. “What really helped is that the lines kept moving so it gave you the illusion of it not being as long a wait as it was. Also most of the lines have some sort of shade which is a huge help given how hot it can get.”
O’Dowd recommends visitors learn how to use the online reservation system which can be used to bypass long lines at eight of the Yeosu Expo’s most popular pavilions, such as the Aquarium. He also suggests bringing sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to combat the heat. “While most of the waiting can be done in the shade, you're still going to be exposed to the sun while walking around, and the sun was rather intense during my visit,” he says.
For the hottest part of the day, the International Pavilion is a good place to take refuge, where there is ample shade and the lineups tend to be much shorter than the larger pavilions.
“This is a great way to beat the heat, avoid lines, and see a ton,” says O’Dowd. “I actually really enjoyed just wandering around random countries in the International Pavilions, hitting up countries with short or no lines.”
“They all have different ways in which they have connected to the Living Ocean and Coast theme while representing their culture,” says Dobbins, “so no matter where I go, I have fun looking at the International Pavilion themes and the face that they choose to put forward.”
Stephanie Meindl, who works for the German Pavilion, says that the waiting time has been steadily increasing as the Yeosu Expo reaches its climax. “Most of the visitors really enjoy the [German] Pavilion and it's quite a famous one,” she says. “That causes long queues for up to two hours. But when they leave the main show they all look happy and tell us how much they enjoyed it.”
Meindl advises that Expo visitors show up early and pack a lunch, as even the convenience stores may at times have a line in front. “You have to expect long waiting times for most of the really interesting pavilions,” she says. “But as soon as the K-pop concerts start the queues get shorter and you might be able to get in there after like 30 or 40 minutes.”
“Go to the main attractions later in the day,” agrees O’Dowd. “Everyone seems to hurry over to see the Aquarium right when the Expo opens so the line is massive. But by mid-afternoon it has really died down.”
Taking this advice might mean missing out on prime seating for the Big-O Show and other special performances. But visitors can see a lot more by going where the crowds aren’t.
“Of course the Big-O Show is really nice to see,” Meindl says, “but if you don’t get a seat in front of it it's not so good. In that case I would recommend going to Odongdo where you can enjoy the Big-O Show from the other side.” Odongdo is a small island off the coast of Yeosu, connected by a breakwater. It is easily accessible from the Expo grounds.
O’Dowd enjoyed his visit to the Expo. “Simply put, it was awesome,” he says. “It wasn't just that the pavilions and attractions were cool but also that it was so well-organized and run. Despite the mobs of people there was still plenty of room to get out and walk around and it didn't feel congested or overrun.”
When you come to the Expo, come with your eyes, ears, and heart open,” says Dobbins. “There are so many opportunities to learn not just about the importance of the main theme of the Expo, but also about people and places from all over the world. The Expo provides incredible potential for so many deeper and more meaningful experiences on top of the fun you would already have -- you just have to find and be ready to take advantage of those opportunities.”
To find out more about the Yeosu Expo, including ticket prices, reservations, and event calendar, visit the Yeosu Expo website (English, Korean, French, Japanese, Chinese).
By Jon Dunbar
Department Global Communication and Contents Division