Asia,  Destinations,  South Korea,  Travel Diary

Phantom of the Opera in Busan, South Korea (2023)

One of my FAVORITE things to do is go see musicals in other countries. And my favorite musical just happens to be a super popular one with productions all over the world: Phantom of the Opera!

When I visited Busan in 2023, they had the local South Korean production running. I managed to snag a ticket! Here’s my experience going to the theater and watching the show.

A rainy day in Busan!

The Phantom of the Opera

I’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera musical (Andrew Lloyd Webber version) four times in three different countries, and this show makes viewing number five in country number four!

South Korea is a fairly regular tour stop for the English-language world tour production, but it’s been 14 years since the last Korean-language version. This newest production just started last month and will be here in Busan through June 18th. Then it’ll move up to Seoul for another run there.

Buying tickets online is a little bit roundabout; you have to use a third party website, basically, and they all seem to have slightly different seat selections. I got my ticket through Interpark, which accepts international credit cards and sends an email confirmation quickly. Once tickets are purchased, you pick them up from the box office on the day of the show.

The box office opens 1.5 hours before the show, and all you need to show them is the confirmation email (though it SAYS to bring an ID and the credit card used to book the ticket…but they didn’t ask me for mine).

View from my seat. See that leftmost bunch of fabric? Anything behind there is unviewable.

I splurged and got a seat in the orchestra, though I couldn’t splurge enough to get a REALLY good seat in the middle. Mine was slightly to the left, which normally wouldn’t be bad but the Dream Theatre has a short, but deep, stage. Action on the far left and BACK was totally cut off, including the Phantom’s box seat and anything else over there. However, if the actors came to the front of the stage they were perfectly visible.

Anyway, it’s a really good production! Very strong singers, great acting, and fantastic costumes. The staging is (I think) close to the original West End/Broadway productions, with some slight changes. My favorite of this particular show was Song Eun-hye who played Christine. Wonderful singer, and her characterization of Christine was less fluttery (/wimpy) than some others I’ve seen.

They had the standard merchandise for sale, including a souvenir program for ₩12,000 / $9 USD– probably the most cost-effective souvenir program I’ve ever gotten, considering how chunky it is. There’s not as many stage photos as I’ve seen in other booklets, but there’s a lot of good info about the history of the show, the individual actors, costume design, and so on.

Well worth the money, though now of course I have to fit it into my backpack for the next few weeks…

Post-show Activities

After the show, I went out to do a little shopping and grab dinner.

First, I went into Olive Young! It’s a Sephora equivalent, basically, and all the hip young kids love going there for stuff. I wanted to see what kind of sunscreen they had: many kinds, and all of them $15+ for tiny bottles. Talk about a price shock! Found some Sensodyne toothpaste for $3 USD though.

Next I visited Daiso, one of my favorite discount stores. The Japan Daiso’s are priced at ¥110 for every item, but internationally they vary in prices. Usually that means they have a wider selection of goods, though, including electronic bits and bobs, clothing, dishware, food, laundry stuff, and so on. I got some masks, hand sanitizer (finally!), some candy, and a few other bits.

Dinner was McDonalds, my first visit in Korea! I got my usual double cheeseburger meal and subbed in a seasonal drink, Plum Peach Chiller. Honestly, the drink was good but the rest wasn’t that great. It actually reminded me of the subpar stuff in America, ha!

I may go back for a regional food option some other time, but for basic cheeseburgers and fries I’ll probably go somewhere else.

Asia 2023 Travel Diaries

Journal date: April 29, 2023

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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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