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Lotte World Tower: Dining in South Korea’s highest restaurant

Lotte World Tower: Dining in South Korea’s highest restaurant

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — The journey to the highest cafe in South Korea begins with a whale display screen.

The airy 123F Lounge sits on the top flooring of the Lotte Earth Tower in Seoul, 555 meters (about 1,820 feet) above floor. The tower is the tallest developing in the country — and the fifth tallest creating in the globe, in accordance to its official website.

But it turns out, getting to the cafe isn’t as uncomplicated as hopping on and off an elevator it is really a full encounter that can effortlessly get up to an hour.

Soon after obtaining an entry ticket — 27,000 Korean gained (approximately $20) for grown ups, and 24,000 gained ($18) for kids — people enter a waiting corridor, awash in blue light as whales swim throughout a huge monitor on the ceiling.

Several distinct rooms adhere to — some with chances for experienced photographs, some others exhibiting the setting up products that make up the tower — ahead of a puzzling series of whale-themed spaces.

A temporary exhibit showcasing whale-themed multimedia displays in the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea.

A short-term show showcasing whale-themed multimedia displays in the Lotte Globe Tower in Seoul, South Korea.

Jessie Yeung/CNN

There are two lengthy hallways — one particular illuminated dim blue as whales swim beside you on wall-size screens, the other with LED ceiling panels rotating by colorful mosaic styles, in sharp contrast with black-and-white whale photos on the wall. Vaguely whale-sounding calls include to the underwater ambiance. An additional home has fake clouds suspended midair and whales painted on the wall, showing mid-flight.

(I afterwards discover this is all component of a short-term exhibition celebrating the do the job of whale photographer Jang Nam-gained.)

Sunset from the Sky Seoul observatory, located in the Lotte World Tower.

Sunset from the Sky Seoul observatory, found in the Lotte Planet Tower.

Jessie Yeung/CNN

Stepping out, website visitors are guided to sit in a dark space as a online video, apparently an inventive rendering of the background of Seoul and the Lotte Earth Tower, performs — prior to the monitor splits into two giant panels, bit by bit lifting like a curtain to expose the spectacular look at of Seoul via flooring-to-ceiling home windows.

The observatory spans a number of floors, with huge windows that make it possible for a sweeping 360-diploma see of the metropolis. 1 can spot the iconic N Seoul Tower perched on Namsan mountain, bridges stretching throughout the river, parks and sporting activities stadiums and even the rides at the close by Lotte Entire world concept park.

Every floor features distinctive points of interest, such as small cafes on the 119th and 122th flooring. There is certainly the Sky Deck on the 118th ground, with a glass flooring that allows you see all 478 meters (1,568 ft) amongst your footwear and the road significantly down below. There’s the Sky Terrace on the 120th ground, an outdoor balcony with a ideal look at of the winding Han River.

The Sky Deck on the 118th floor of Seoul Sky, with a glass floor.

The Sky Deck on the 118th ground of Seoul Sky, with a glass floor.

Jessie Yeung/CNN

Soon after the appropriate amount of ooh-ing and aah-ing, you eventually reach the lounge on the 123rd ground.

The cafe is equally spacious and cozy, with cushy chairs and lamps on just about every desk. Home windows make up an full wall, stretching up to the high ceiling to flood the room with heat gentle throughout sunset. A free of charge viewfinder will allow you to zoom in on the landscape.

The menu is on the pricey aspect by Korean criteria — $28 for a beef stew, $19 for tomato spaghetti and $18 for a Caesar salad — but we took our time, viewing the solar dip beneath the horizon, briefly turning the sky fiery orange.

The cafe also delivers pizza, sandwiches, steak and appetizers like a cheese collection.

Window seats at the 123F Lounge boast sweeping views of the Han River in Seoul.

Window seats at the 123F Lounge boast sweeping sights of the Han River in Seoul.

Gawon Bae/CNN

The view was just as breathtaking in the dark, the town a grid of light-weight distribute out prior to us.

Although the 123F Lounge is a great location for a intimate meal or distinctive date, there ended up also people with young children and young adult pal groups when we visited. The lounge can also be rented for particular functions these kinds of as wedding day receptions and product or service launches.

The Lotte Globe Tower is located in the Jamsil community of Seoul’s southeastern Songpa-gu district. It is open up all 7 days, while hrs count on the working day, and is available by subway, bus or personal car.