Thursday, August 09, 2012

Korea X2 ~ Part II ~ Yeosu EXPO 2012


Korea X2
Part II
Yeosu EXPO 2012

UPDATED 12th August 2012


Part of our Korea X2 trip, we visited the EXPO 2012 at Yeosu, which opens during the period May 12 – August 12, 2012. The Yeosu Expo provides an opportunity to enhance the international community’s perception of the function and value of the ocean and coast, share knowledge on the proper use of the ocean and coast and recognize the need for cooperation in the marine sector. It will also serve as a venue to learn about the achievements of and future models for the marine sector and offer a valuable chance to promote state-of-the-art marine science and technology and marine industries.

Getting to the EXPO. Go onto the official website and book your EXPO tickets. One day is definitely not sufficient. I believe 3 days will be good. Then head on to the Korail website to book train tickets from Seoul. It is not easy to get seats and a good timing on the Economy class, so be prepared to book First Class tickets. If you are using KR Pass, you cannot book seats and will likely have to find empty seats in the Economy cabin or stand. The train ride from Seoul Station is around 3h on the KTX high-speed train or 4h plus on the Mugunghwa train. A special Yeosu-EXPO station has been built for this event, so you alight directly at the EXPO entrance. Train ticket are made by registration and reservation. You will only make payment when you collect the tickets.

Getting around the EXPO. The EXPO grounds is very big, but is possible to be covered by foot within a day. However, since the EXPO is packed with tourists and locals, you will actually spend plenty of time queuing up to enter the Pavilions. Standard waiting times are around 1h to 2h. If you have purchased tickets online, you can do reservations for 2 pavilions. The reservations allow you to jump the queue and enter the pavilions at stipulated times via an express lane. Do your due diligence and decide where to utilize your reservations. I reserved the Aquarium and Climate and Environment Pavilion.

A panoramic view of the EXPO grounds.

This is the layout of the Yeosu EXPO grounds.


We took a 2-day pass for the EXPO. We managed to catch a 7 A.M. train from Seoul and arrive at the Yeosu-EXPO station at around 10:20 A.M. Since we got our tickets purchased online, we were able to change for our entry tickets. The entry tickets are flash cards which records information of your pass as well as your pavilion reservations.
You should find yourself arriving at the EXPO Digital Gallery, which is where the international pavilions are located. The ceiling is a huge display screens which constantly shows photos and videos from various participating countries.

We visited the EXPO for 2 full days and was unable to visit all Pavilions. Since each Pavilion expects a 1.5h queue to enter, we shortlisted only a few to visit.
One of the corporate pavilion is the Hyundai Pavilion, which we did not enter this Pavilion.

We managed to get in into one of the popular DSME Marine Robot Pavilion.
This Pavilion showcases the advances in robot technology and how it can be implemented in marine exploration in the near future.
Greetings from a life-like fembot.
You have probably seen this small guy on television programmes.
These dancing bots move to the songs of Super Junior.
The highlight of the exhibit is the marine exploration team.
The marine exploration team includes smaller robots that can take on tasks such as underwater construction and scavenging.

This is the GS Caltex Energy Field, where these long 'bamboo-like' rods light up in the evening.

Are you a user of LINE app by NAVER?
Step into the NAVER Pavilion and learn how NAVER apps can enhance your mobile experience.
NAVER provide social networking apps that are popular among Koreans and Japanese.

Visit to the SAMSUNG Pavilion is a must.
SAMSUNG possesses a deep sense of responsibility towards environmental and humanistic issues, which shows in its carefully organized exhibit. In particular, its multimedia show, a statement on the dire state of our Earth, follows a group of characters as they join forces to save the green planet. This show is timely, exciting and moving all at the same time. As you watch these characters make brave efforts to rescue Earth, you too become invested in this mission, rooting for them to succeed. It also allows us to reflect on the current threats to our environment and what we can do to save it – for ourselves and the future generation.
Be prepared to queue for around 1.5h to get into the Samsung Pavilion. There is no reservation for this pavilion.
Be captivated by the acrobatic performances that tells a fantasy story of the interaction between man and nature.
The dance floor constantly changes to portray different scenes.
The success of Galaxy Note globally deserves incorporating the Note in the Pavilion.

The Sky Tower is a symbolic construction made by transforming a pair of industrialization-period abandoned silos into a beautiful artistic masterpiece. On the outside of the Sky Tower installed is a pipe organ named ‘Vox Maris’ (meaning ‘the sound of the sea’ in Latin) which makes the greatest sound in the world. The pipe organ, based on the Expo’s marine concept, was created after a boat horn (referred to the sound of the sea). It has 80 scales similar to a piano and the maximum sound of 138.4 decibels so it delivers its sound as far as 6 kilometers away. The silo No. 1 has a theater showing a film of wonderful scenery of the south coast. The silo No. 2 houses a facility that holds 12 tons of desalinated seawater prepared for you to try. On the observation deck, you can watch the entire Expo site, downtown Yeosu and even Odong Island at one sight.

Take a stroll down the streets of the EXPO site.

The International Pavilions usually have a shorter waiting time.
You might just want to jump-in and have a look at some interesting exhibits.
This is the DENMARK Pavilion with one of its sponsor, LEGO.
Inside the ARGENTINA Pavilion.
Check out the Amber showcased at Lithuania Pavilion.
I guess many did not know that Amber are form from the solidified sap of the pine tree.
Some of these fossils are dated back to pre-historic age.
Watch open-air performances outside pavilions.
The EXPO Digital Gallery links up all the International Pavilions.

The surprising popular SINGAPORE Pavilion.
Interestingly, we are the very rare Singapore visitors to the Yeosu EXPO, according to the Marketing Director.

Take a walk onto the bridge that links to the man-made island with the Theme Pavilion and OCBPA.
This is a 360 view around the OCBPA.


The Theme Pavilion is constructed on the ocean, making it as significant and striking architecturally as the exhibitions it contains. Seen from the sea, the pavilion looks like small islands scattered along the coast. Seen from the land, the pavilion resembles the back of a whale rising above the waves.

Right from the entrance to the Theme Pavilion, visitors are immersed in the mystery of our oceans and their importance to the survival of humankind. The lobby leads you to Exhibition Hall 1, 2, and 3, and the Main Show Room, which features touching and memorable friendship between a dugong (a mammal near extinction) and a human boy.

Inside the Theme Pavilion, there is a Caffe Bene too!

The Korea Pavilion lighted up in the evening.

In anticipation for the Big-O Show.
The show is so popular that it runs twice in the evening, at 8 P.M. and 9 P.M. every night.
The Big-O was constructed to connect the breakwater with the Expo site. Many important events will be held at the Big-O, deemed as the heart of Yeosu Expo. The Big-O, a gigantic structure resembling the letter O produces special effects with water jets and a stage that goes up and down freely. It is 120 meters wide and consists of three fan shaped structures in a row. It has 345 fountain nozzles in total which shoot water going as high as 70 meters. The Big-O also presents a mix of laser show, holograms and a water fountain show. The fountain show will be presented every hour on weekdays. The Big-O is a perfect place to visit with family for it is an open area and you can feel the nature while watching the show.
The laser and light show from the Theme Pavilion accompanies the Big-O in the show.
The Big-O impressed the audience with its display of water jets, laser and light display.

Jump on board the hot-air balloon inside the Lotte Pavilion.
LG Pavilion.
This is the view of the area around the corporate pavilions and the Sky Tower at night.

We spend the night in the suburban area of Yeosu.
If you are trying to find an affordable and comfortable accommodation which is near the EXPO site,
you can consider Elena Hotel.
From the hotel to the EXPO site, take a taxi. The fare is around 5000 won.

Back at the EXPO on our second day, we were greeted by different street performances.





Cultural performances and a traditional Korean wedding can be witnessed daily at the Traditional Stage.

This is the most popular Pavilion, the Aquarium. Expect to wait for at least 2h before getting a chance to enter the Pavilion. It is recommended to make reservations for this Pavilion.
This is the biggest indoor Aquarium in Korea, where you can observe 34,000 marine animals from 281 species including rare species such as Baikal seal and Russian beluga. The Aquarium consists of a 360 degree 'Aquadome' and a large-sized water tank, in which about 20,000 sardines move around. The Aquarium also has a 3-D theater, equipped with 41 separately operated seats, that displays a thrilling 3-D animation of small fishes’ running away from a shark. The Aquarium displays an exciting array of marine mammals including beluga whales, Baikal seals, and sea dragons. The aquarium has 360-degree views that vividly capture the underwater world of over 34,000 fish.
That is a mean looking golden piranha!

The Climate and Environment Pavilion is another popular Pavilion, which is quickly reserved online. This Pavilion is not big, and the visit time is very short. However, the Pavilion givings you a sub-zero experience. Start at the lobby and take a few moments to learn about the relationship between the ocean, climate and environment. Then move on to the Blizzard section and the Arctic Ice Adventure Room, where you can experience the extreme weather conditions of the Antarctic and Arctic and learn how severe climatic environments are actually evidence of the Earth’s health. Your final stop is the Panoramic Theater, where you can watch a powerful film full of spectacular images and amazing sound and lighting effects that warns of the dangers of global warming. This pavilion enlightens visitors about the ocean and Earth under threat, inviting you to become active participants in keeping our Earth alive. 

The Korea Pavilion proudly relates the stories of Korea’s maritime heritage, offers a glimpse into present oceanic research being undertaken in the country, and proposes a vision for Korea’s future in the maritime field. The pavilion’s design was modeled on the elegant taeguk (yin-yang) symbol, which signifies the coming together of opposites – like the land and the sea – in the natural world. The traditional Korean shapes and colors add great beauty to this green building, which is the first in the world to employ a carbon-free hydrogen fuel cell system. The exhibitions here expose visitors to the maritime culture and spirit of the Korean people, who have long lived by a philosophy espousing peaceful co-existence with the ocean, and give many opportunities to appreciate the beauty of Korea’s waters. 
The Korea Pavilion is an exemplary pavilion that represents the theme and spirit of Yeosu Expo. The Korean people subscribe to the philosophy that peaceful coexistence between humans and the ocean is an ideal state of living, and this belief is compellingly presented at the Korea Pavilion. Start at Exhibition Hall 1, Sea of Miracles, where you can experience the Korean people’s respect and admiration of the ocean through videos, dioramas, and the Gang-gang-sulae performance. Move on to Exhibition Hall 2, Sea of Hope, where films on the ocean and environment are screened on the world’s largest dome screen and presented in 12.1 Ch audio.

A photo with Yeony and Suny, the mascots of Yeosu EXPO 2012.


POSCO Pavilion showcases exhibits and inventions by Korean national steel manufacturer.
The Big Man makes his appearance on the walls before appearing in real form as inflatable dancing Big Man.

Finding affordable food at the EXPO is easily with many food courts and cafeteria scattered within the EXPO site.
I had a Samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) with an abalone, at 13000 won only ( around SGD$13 only)!

Catching another Big-O Show. This time round, we did not make it to the front of the Big-O again.
So we decided to view it from the back.

Watch the entire sequence of  the Big-O Show.
Nothing beats the experience of watching it live!

We were very blessed to meet the Marketing Director of the YEOSU EXPO 2012, who sent us to our accommodation after our first day, when we had difficulty with getting a taxi. He also shared with us about the details of the planning of the EXPO and what is going to happen after the EXPO. With only 3 more days till the ending of the Yeosu EXPO 2012 on 12th of August 2012. Make sure you catch it if you are in Korea at this very moment!

Remember to check our Part I of Korea X2 ~ Seoul

Friends can check out the complete gallery of photos on Facebook! 

 Photos shot using Nikon D90 with Tamron 18-270mm VC, Panasonic Lumix-LX5. 
©William Tan 2012


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