Bigger than Macy’s? The World’s Largest Department Store
This weekend, amongst doing other awesome things, Ross, Kim and I went to the Shinsegae Centum City department store in Busan. As of 2009, it is the world’s largest department store as certified by the Guiness Book of World Records. This place is HUGE, at 293,904 square metres! We got off at the Centum City subway stop, and this is what we saw:
Now, Korean department stores differ from North American style malls, in that they have booths for different retailers rather then individual, blocked off stores. This is what makes them a department store I guess, the open floor concept. This place has everything though. 12 floors of magic! Let’s start from the top and work our way down, shall we?
The top three floors are taken up by a golf simulator. Screen golf simulators are very popular in Korea, as more and more Koreans enter the PGA and win tournaments. Koreans LOVE to idolize and follow after famous Koreans (like Park Ji Sung and Kim Yu Na, for example). We never went up there, because there just wasn’t any point.
Floor 9 has fancy restaurants (even a Macaroni Grill!) plus a ‘Sky Park’ – a view from the roof. It’s not the best view of Busan from up there (the view from the Lotte Department Store by the harbour is much better) but it was still nice to see.
The 8th-1st floors have clothes on one half of each floor, and something special on the second half. For example, the 7th floor has a very large 10 screen movie theatre, the 5th floor has a big book store (with a small but nice selection of English books) as well as ANOTHER movie theatre (this one you can eat a fancy dinner while you watch your movie, which is pretty neat), and the 4th floor has a food court and an ice rink. Yes, an ice rink! Kim and I wanted to skate SO bad, but as it turns out you have to wear a helmet when skating. Not gonna happen, seeing as how I’ve been skating since I was three.
There is also a large, fancy spa on the 1st-3rd floor, and we wanted to get information about what was offered, but they didn’t have brochures in English. Also, there was a notice posted of people who weren’t allowed in – one of them were people with tattoos. We both have them, so oh well. I doubt they can really enforce it, but we didn’t really have time to go to the spa anyways. If anyone with a tattoo tries to go in and is successful, let me know. I’d love to go back and sit in the warm waters of the spa!
One thing I love about Korean department stores is that they have luxury stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Coach, Tiffany and Prada on site. It makes me feel like I’m hobnobbing with the rich and famous. Then I see the price tags of the merchandise, and remember I’m just a lowly English teacher.
It was neat while we were in the book store, I found a copy of the 2011 Guiness Book of World Records, and found the entry for the record:
Oh, and something else crazy about this place – we ended up going over to where the employees go into the back, because Ross’s watch had stopped and we wanted to change the battery (did it at the Rolex Authorized Service place, for only 10,000 won!) Anyways, it was just past the employee line, and it’s the weirdest thing – there’s a ‘smile line’, and when an employee crosses it to enter into the store, they have to bow! It was the funniest thing. Can you imagine having to bow every time you went into work? Even if you were just returning from the bathroom?
So that’s a little bit about the world’s largest department store! It was worth going, just to say we’ve been in. (We tried to go last year but we went during Lunar New Year and it was closed.) I leave you with an image of the escalators in the middle of the building. It just baffles the mind at how big this place is!