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A Day at the Racetrack in Busan

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Bet On Horse Online

One of South Korea’s three horse-racing tracks is found just outside Busan, and we decided to check it out on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We knew that we’d have fun, since we have fun anywhere that gambling is involved, but the Busan Gyeongnam Racecourse Park exceeded our expectations.

Horse Race Track in Busan

To reach the racetrack, we took a free shuttle bus from the Jurye Metro Station (Green Line) and, upon arriving, were surprised by how large and how full the parking lot was. This is apparently a popular weekend activity among Busanites. The park is new, clean and well thought-out; it’s been designed as a entertainment zone for the whole family, and not just hard-core gamblers.

Koreans bet differently than Americans. In the main building, which felt more like an airport terminal than a betting hall, we waded through hundreds of people crouched down over racing papers and notebooks. The mood was quite serious — each bettor seemed to have their own formula for predicting winners, requiring advanced calculations and intense concentration. Whereas in the States you’d have people drinking, laughing and sharing tips, here it was like being in an office full of nervous physicists puzzling out some quantum mechanics problem.

Jürgen and I eschewed such careful logic, and went with the trusty old “look at the horse” method of betting… and ended 0-4 for the day. But our bets were just ₩1000 ($0.90) apiece, so no biggie. It’s safe to assume that most of the sweating Horse Physicists at the track, emboldened by foolproof calculations, make somewhat larger bets. The stairwell, we noticed, is protected by a net, to prevent any big loser from ending it all.

The racing and gambling was fun, but what really sets Busan’s racetrack apart was the family fun park called “Horstory Land”. (Obviously named by someone without a full grasp on English. I know what they were going for… “HORSE-stery”, but I couldn’t divorce my mind from the idea of children running around Whore Story Land. And why would I want to?)

There were rides and horse-themed activities, such as a Wild West theater where each kid sat in a saddle and was equipped with a gun to shoot at the screen. A giant slide with eight separate lanes so that kids could race each other down. International sections dedicated to the history of Italian, American and Mongolian whores horses. And the genius bit: betting stations conveniently spaced all about the park, so that Mom and Dad could continue betting while the brats amuse themselves.

The center of the racing track was also a part of the park, accessed via tunnel. Here, you can bike or rollerblade around a lovely pond while the horses gallop around you. After we were done betting, we sat down in a gazebo in this section of the park and watched the races from the inside out.

For particulars such as transportation and a full list of facilities at the park, check out the comprehensive article at Horse Racing in Korea. Even if you’re not a gambler, you can still have a great day at the races in Busan.

Location on our Busan Map
Our Visit To The Buenos Aires Race Track

Busan Shuttle Bus
Luck Gate
Things To do IN Busan
Human and Building
Horse Racing Statue
Race Track Busan
Betting Hall in Korea
Family Betting
Betting-Strategy
Showing Off Horses
Horse Hotel
Korean Betting Slip
Foreigners-Exclusive
Korean Horse Jockey
Real Korean Cowboy
Sit and Watch
Super Exciting Horse Race
Horse Race Busan
Racing Horses
Suicide-Prevention
Best Food For Children
Horse-Race-Fountain
Busan-Fountain
Do-Not-Ask-Do-Not-Tell
Sledding-in-Busan
Waiting For Santa
HorstoryLand
Horse Gate
Horse-Fountain
Seabiscuit-Saloon
Horse Balls
Horse-Princess
Korean-Horse-Posing
Peace Horse
UK in Korea
Italian Horse House
Mangolian-Whores
Korean Betting Office
So Much Fun
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July 8, 2012 at 2:50 am Comments (2)

A Day at Sajik Stadium – Lotte Giants Baseball

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Baseball Gear

Among the best experiences we’ve had in Busan have been our visits to Sajik Stadium to watch the Giants. Any American baseball fan who’s ever complained about their team’s high ticket prices, expensive food and drink, or paltry attendance, should definitely pencil in a day at the park while in Busan. This is the stadium experience perfected.

Sajik-Stadium-Busan

First off, tickets are super cheap. We paid ₩7000 ($6.30) for seats in the outfield. Better seats down the lines aren’t much more, though they can be difficult to get ahold of. The Giants are incredibly popular, and home games sell out quickly. On a sunny Saturday, we showed up two hours early and tickets were already gone. Luckily, plenty of scalpers hang around and we were able to score a couple tickets for a big markup (₩15,000 instead of 7000).

You can get tickets at Busan Bank on the day before the game (note: not the day of). They only sell general admission (outfield) entries, but at least you’ll have them in advance and not have to wait in the frustratingly long lines at Sajik. Alternatively, you can get tickets on the Lotte Giants website, but only if you’re a Korean or have a Korean friend who can do it for you. It’s not just the language — they actually restrict online sales to citizens.

Once you’ve got your tickets, you might want to do some shopping before entering the stadium. This was the single most shocking thing to me about baseball in Korea. Spectators are allowed to carry in whatever food and drink they want, and everybody does so. We watched in awe as fans arrived with stacks of pizza, cases of beer, plates of sushi, buckets of chicken. Compared to the US, where they’ll search your backpack and confiscate half-empty water bottles, this is amazing. I couldn’t get over it.

Pizza Hut Busan

We didn’t bring anything on our first trip to Sajik, but were well prepared on the second. There’s a superstore called Home Plus near the stadium, and inside is a chain called “Redcap” which has stacks of pizzas ready to go for hungry fans on their way to the game. We got one, and picked up beer and chicken in the supermarket. And now, properly supplied, we could march into the stadium like pros.

But even if you show up to the stadium without any of your own beer, there’s no worry. Inside the park, they only cost ₩2000 a can ($1.80). Food is cheap, too.

So, we’re already having a great time before any players take the field, but the atmosphere really improves once the game gets going. The Giants are the most popular team in Korea, continually setting attendance records, and their fans are wild about them. Jerseys and hats are requisite gear; based on the numbers worn in our immediate vicinity, the most popular players seemed to be #12 (Kim Joo Chan) and #47 (Kang Min Ho). We also saw a weird amount of Cleveland Indians t-shirts and hats. Busan-born Shin-Soo Choo is their right fielder, and Busanites have accordingly turned themselves into boosters of the Tribe. Hey Cleveland, did you know you’ve got a big fan base in southern Korea?!

We seem to be good luck charms for the Giants, who’ve won both games we’ve attended. In the first inning of the match against the Nexen Heroes, they even hit a grand slam. And we got a video of it! There were three home runs in this 8-0 blowout, and the crowd was going wild. The atmosphere inside the stadium rocks. People dancing in their seats, cheering on the big stars, watching the sexy cheerleaders jiggle to K-Pop between innings, booing opposing pitchers when they check the runner at first, and doing the wave.

I’ve never seen a slow-motion wave, and in fact have never heard of one; I wouldn’t have considered such a thing possible and, in the US, it probably wouldn’t be. But here, the crowd fully participates in this amazing feat of coordination, slowly standing out of their seats when the snail-paced wave finally reaches them. Then, when the wave hits the “Exciting Section” (really, that’s its name), it kicks into super-speed. It’s fun, especially when the game is an 8-0 blowout which doesn’t require a lot of attention.

“Lotte”, by the way, is the name of a major company here in Korea. In the US, we might name our stadiums after corporations, but not our teams! It’s kind of weird to see a crowd full of happy families and impressionable children singing “Lot-te Lotte LOTTTT-te!”; the company’s coporate overlords must be delighted about the mass brainwashing going on in Sajik. Towards the end of the game, plastic orange Lotte shopping bags are distributed throughout the crowd, who tie them onto their heads. Again: a tradition of putting plastic bags onto childrens’ heads? It would never happen in the States.

So, though I never would have expected it, baseball in Korea turns out to be an amazing experience. Don’t pass up a chance to visit Sajik Stadium, when in Busan.

Location on our Busan Map
Hotels in Busan

Korea-Baseball-Pre-Gaming
Home Plus Busan
Baseball Feast
Pizza Baseball
Beer Transportation
Giants 2012
Secret Lotte Fans
Mega Lotte Lotte Lotte
Super Fly Korean Baseball Player
Lotte Giants Walk
Baseball in Korea
Stadium Lights
Our Baseball Snacks
Holy Pizza
Baseball Stonker
Famous-Korean-Baseball-Player
Lotte Giants Pitch
Lotte-Giants-Number-1
Giants Kids Fan
Very-Special-Baseball-Fan
Baseball Pizza
Lotte Giants Win
Lotte King
Lotte Card
Lotte-Giants-Business-Men
Sajik-Fans
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June 4, 2012 at 6:50 am Comments (7)
A Day at the Racetrack in Busan One of South Korea's three horse-racing tracks is found just outside Busan, and we decided to check it out on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We knew that we'd have fun, since we have fun anywhere that gambling is involved, but the Busan Gyeongnam Racecourse Park exceeded our expectations.
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