Hello! It’s spring, my favourite season in Korea and we’re here in Jamsil, where the beautiful Seokcheon Lake is located. It is known to be one of the best places in Seoul to see Cherry Blossom, but today we’re here for the nation’s tallest, and the world’s 5th tallest building — the Lotte World Tower 롯데월드타워.
I’d say it will be the next popular tourist destination in the country, as it has quite a few record-breaking titles under its belt: It is the world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck in a building; it owns the world’s fastest elevator and did I mentioned their swimming pool located at 85th floor is the world’s highest swimming pool in a building? This latest landmark of South Korea will surely become a popular tourist destination in no time.
With 123 floors in total, this brand new landmark is the home to Avenuel, the largest luxurious department store in Korea, Lotte duty free store, a shopping mall, HiMart, Lotte Mart, a cinema, an aquarium, a concert hall, a 6 stars premium hotel, a high-end and prime office space for rent, residential units as well as a posh observatory which stretch across 5 floors.
The building stands at 556 meters high on top of Jamsil Station (잠실역). Every spring, you’ll get a wonderful bird’s eye view from the observatory. A pink petal ring near the building awaits as the cherry blossom trees bloom along Seokchon, making it one of the most valid reasons to visit the Seoul Sky Observatory (서울 스카이 전망대).
The entrance is located at basement 1, where visitors could purchase tickets and proceed to the lobby for the “sky shuttle”, an elevator that transfers you to and fro the basement and the observatory at the 117th floor.
It wasn’t the best day to visit an observatory on the day I visited this place. It was cloudy and the fine dust particles in Seoul was high but we decided to go ahead anyway. If you want to see clear views, and for your picture’s sake, especially when you are paying almost SGD30 for single entrance, I suggest ONLY visit the observatory when the weather is great.
Every entrance ticket comes with a QR code. You’ll only use it if you want to have your photos taken professionally at the various photo zones inside the observatory. It works as a code for the staffs to scan and register your photos so that you’ll be able to retrieve and pay for it should you decided to purchase them on the 120th floor or at the basement 1 ticketing counter.
You should also take note at the time listed on the ticket. There’s a 30 min time frame printed onto the ticket. I thought it was a limited time frame imposed on all visitors, but there wasn’t any emphasis on it during our entire 1.5hrs there at the observatory. However, during peak seasons, you might have to purchase the ticket earlier to make sure it doesn’t affect your travel itinerary. Luckily we didn’t have to do that when we were there as the crowd was manageable.
B1 – Seoul Sky Lobby & Sky Shuttle
We’re greeted by this nicely illuminated LED corridor before taking the sky shuttle. It feels kind of surreal when you’re standing in a dimmed space watching the LED light show. These Korean palace themed installations were quite impressive as it gives off a traditional atmosphere while retaining a techno-feel in it.
We were ushered to a waiting area later, where we wait for our sky shuttle. It shoot us up from the basement to the 117th floor in just less than a minute. They made sure the ride from Basement 1 to the 117th floor isn’t a boring one: The 4-walled screen and the ceiling of the elevator will tell a story of how Seoul and the Hangang (Han River) have changed over time, I’d say the whole journey up was a spectacular one.
The elevator will only operate from basement 1 straight to level 117th. You’ll have to do the climbing after the 117th floor as you check out the entire observatory up to the 120th. Each level has a different feature and I’ll go really brief, as the best is to witness and experience all of these personally. 🙂
117F – Observation Deck
And so here’s the view from the 117th floor, where you’ll be able to see the 360-degree panoramic view of Seoul. Right below the building is Lotte World and the Seokchon lake, which I believe many are familiar with.
118F – The Sky Deck
The Sky Deck at the 118th floor is a popular spot to check out. You get to view the world beneath your feet as you walk across the transparent glass floor. The total area of the glass flooring isn’t huge, though. Visitors have to queue and get into this area in batch, and you have to quickly snap some photos before time’s up for the next batch of visitors to come in.
I like how they allow us to stand on the glasses which were all shaded in white initially and made us count down as the glasses transform to totally transparent, enable you to see the bird’s eye view of a very busy Seoul intersection beneath. Quite gimmicky but it does the trick. I got quite giddy after starring top down for awhile.
120F – Sky Terrace
You’ll be given a chance to inhale the fresh air at the Sky Terrace on the 120th floor, some 483 meters high in the sky. Standing on the metal parapet is not allowed, though you can stay outdoor for as long as you wished. Interestingly, the temperature up here has no much difference from below! I didn’t have to wear a jacket out.
121F – Seoul Sky Shop
If you like some souvenirs from the world’s 5th tallest building, you may do some shopping here on the 121st floor. You’ll also find an escalator to the lounge at the 123rd floor, where the tallest spot of the building is located. While there is no admission fee charged for entrance to the lounge, each guest is expected to get a drink at the lounge.
122F – Seoul Sky Cafe
The 122nd floor is a small cafe operated by Angel-in-Us Coffee and an ice-cream chain. There aren’t many seats so I guess the drinks and ice-cream are more for take-out. Washroom here at the observatory is pretty cool too if you’re into Star Wars/ spaceship kind of stuff.
123F – 123 Lounge
Champagne on the 123rd floor, why not? The lounge located on the 123rd floor is probably the most exclusive spot in the entire building. Your KRW27,000 ticket does not cover the entrance to the lounge. Yeap, you paid that ridiculous amount for the observatory in the world’s 5th highest building, but you’re not allowed to the highest point of the building. lolx. The key to the lounge? Buy a drink.
Seoul Sky Observatory is really one of the best observatories in a modern building I have visited, and certainly the best in South Korea. The concept, the facilities, and the crowd controlling, everything is perfect! Anyone who’s interested, please visit this place soon. (You won’t want to come here when it is invaded by tour groups.)
The best time to visit would be 5pm-6pm as you get to see the day view and the night view all together at once. Please note that the sun sets earlier during winter, so you might have to adjust your itinerary accordingly. The ticket price was quite steep though. If it is your 1st time visiting Seoul and juggling between Namsan Seoul Tower, 63 Building Seoul or Lotte World Tower, I’d recommend Seoul World Tower as the view is the best out of all.
Another interesting function you may find at the Lotte World Mall right below the observatory: There’s a message tree where you can print whatever thing you wrote from the tablets provided onto a small piece of paper in the Lotte World Mall. Have fun!
Lotte World Tower (Seoul Sky Observatory) 서울 스카이 전망대
29 Sincheon-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea.
서울특별시 송파구 신천동 29.
Adult: KRW 27,ooo
Child: KRW 24,000
Fast Pass: all ages 50,000
Nearest Subway Station: Jamsil, Exit No.2
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