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Friday, February 17, 2012

Skates & Smiles at Shinsegae Ice Rink in Busan

Even though Busan is a few degrees warmer than its sister cities to the north, it's still winter here, and occasionally you need to escape the chill. Well, Shinsegae Department Store offers the perfect solution to the dilemma of whether to venture outside or to stay indoors. Shinsegae, the world's largest department store, is also home to a lovely indoor ice rink, located on the 4th floor. It's open from 10:30 AM until 8:00 PM, seven days a week, and it's a popular activity with locals and tourists alike. A two-hour entry costs 7,000 won for adults and 5,000 for children, and skate rental is an additional 3,000 won. You must wear gloves and the rental helmets when skating. 





I joined two friends on a Thursday morning at 10:30 AM and was surprised to see a line of eager shoppers waiting for the store to open. When I got upstairs only a minute or two later, I was surprised again to find that a gaggle of teenage girls had beaten us to the ticketing booth, and that we actually had to wait a moment or two to get our gear. The entry and rental was quick and painless, although I'd advise that you know your Korean shoe size (measured in centimeters) in advance. Key lockers are available for 500 won.



When you hit the ice, you'll quickly get into the counter-clockwise groove with the sounds of K-Pop ringing in your ears, and videos of teary-eyed figure skaters like Korean hero Kim Yuna twirling their way to gold medals.You'll be on your way to Olympic glory in no time! 




The rink closes every two hours for a 15-minute ice-resurfacing, during which time you may wish to refuel with a treat from the snack bar, or take a moment to pose in the photo zone.

Shark Zamboni!
Schoolchildren + Snacks + Skates
So excited to get back on that fresh ice!
While early weekdays are definitely best as you can enjoy the rink to yourselves, weekends provide some good people watching and a more family-oriented crowd. Weekdays also appear to attract middle-schoolers in droves, so it's an amusing peek into the young dating scene. All in all, a fun experience and good way to pass the time if your friends are more into browsing the shops than you are!

Middle school students skate in their uniforms


Catch you next time, cool dudes!
Busan's Shinsegae Department Store is located at the Centum City subway stop (green line, stop # 206). Exit the subway turnstiles, and use the indoor entrance to store. Elevators are immediately to the right of the main entrance. The ice rink is open year-round.

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