The end is in sight for the Yeosu Expo,
but the excitement doesn’t seem to be dissipating as visitors continue
to flock to Yeosu for their last chance to see the Expo pavilions.
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
“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.”
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.
attractions such as the Lotte Pavilion have long lineups, but
organizers have sought to add entertainment to every part of the
“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.
can take refuge from the elements in the International Pavilion, which
has a huge LED ceiling with a wide repertoire of visuals.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Employees at the German Pavilion (left) and Swiss Pavilion (right) guide visitors around the attractions.
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
“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
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.
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.
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
performances are regularly scheduled around the Yeosu Expo, such as
this one by the Ivory Coast in the Atlantic Ocean Joint Pavilion.
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