Summer—it has officially arrived. For many Seoulites, the word conjures up imagery of sandy beaches, rooftop barbeques and sweltering hot afternoons spent slurping down jumbo-sized bowls of icy patbingsu. For thrill-seekers, the best part of the season is the excitement experienced while plunging down a waterslide into a chlorinated utopia. For others, lounging pool-side under an oversized umbrella is enough to survive the stifling temperatures. Whether you’re a daredevil or you prefer to simply chill out, the water parks near the Seoul metropolitan region include something for everyone and will help you beat the summer heat when a cold glass of Cass just won’t cut it. Read on for our top picks.
Caribbean Bay 용인 캐리비안 베이
The 50,000-acre Caribbean Bay has certainly earned its long-standing reputation as the king of Korean water parks, with a notable variety of slides, rides, pools and play areas that can accommodate up to 20,000 people. In addition to being known for its excellent facilities, Caribbean Bay is arguably the most thrill-inducing park in the city.
Brace yourself for a liquid adrenaline rush on the AquaLoop body slide, where riders are dropped into an 18-meter near free fall and then defy gravity as they are shot through a 360-degree loop at knuckle-whitening speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour. Equally terrifying is the Water Bobsleigh, a high-speed slide that features a 26-meter drop.
Other park highlights include the gargantuan Wave Pool, which produces waves as high as 2.4 meters, the pirate-themed children’s Adventure Pool and River Way, one of the world’s longest lazy rivers. Caribbean Bay’s attention to detail and commitment to theme (think artificial waterfalls, cabana huts, sandy beaches and tropical music) make it a perfect getaway to escape the neon and concrete of the city center. Additionally, its convenient location just next to Everland Theme Park makes it possible to experience even more fun before heading home on one of the park’s efficient shuttle buses.
FYI> T. 031-320-5000, www.everland.com/caribbean
GO> Jeondae.Everland Station 전대에버랜드역 (Everline),
Exit 3.Take the shuttle
Icheon Termeden 이천 테르메덴
Nestled in the heart of Icheon, a Seoul satellite city famed for its hot springs, Termeden Spa and Resort attracts visitors from all over the country with its acclaimed water quality, which is believed to possess a number of health benefits. Although the resort’s spas make it a particularly popular winter destination, the complex transforms into a water park wonderland during the warmer months.
Termeden boasts a number of pools and slides but the most popular attraction is the 30-meter wide Bade Pool, which uses an assortment of underwater jets that are perfect for massaging sore muscles and easing fatigue. The pool’s aesthetics are as equally impressive and despite the pool’s being indoors, there’s plenty of natural light to create an open, airy space.
Do as the Koreans do by beating the heat with heat at the themed hot spring pools. Here, natural ingredients such as ginseng, rice (another famed product of the area) and honey are added to the water to produce healing effects on the body and mind. Afterwards, consider a doctor fish pedicure. Garra rufa, a special breed of fish, will nibble the dead skin off your feet, ensuring that your toes are sandal-ready for the summer.
FYI> T. 031-645-2000, www.termeden.com
GO> Buses to Termedan depart from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal twice a day.
Woongjin Playdoci 부천 웅진 플레이도시
Bucheon’s Woongjin Playdoci may have been put on the map for boasting Korea’s first indoor ski slope, but the facility is also celebrated for its water park beloved by Seoulites of all ages.
The water park section of the complex was designed to give visitors easy access to the complex’s network of pools, tunnels and body and speed slides. The Space Ball, which is essentially a giant funnel, shoots riders around and around until they are sucked into the center and spit out in the pool below. There are also plenty of kiddy slides and play areas to keep the younger ones entertained.
In addition to the more traditional water park attractions, Woongjin Playdoci contains a spa area of baths, foot soaks and massage rooms, all of which provide a restful experience. Be sure to keep yourself hydrated at the park’s Aqua Bar, where you can enjoy non-alcoholic beverages in a semi-submerged resting area under the canopy of artificial trees. You might be in the center of the city, but you’ll feel worlds away.
FYI> T. 02-1577-5773, www.playdoci.com
GO> Sangdong Station 상동역 (Line 7), Exit 3.Take bus no.52.
One Mount 일산 원마운트
Located inside Hallyu World and KINTEX Land in Ilsan in northeastern Seoul, One Mount is a multi-story urban water park that offers visitors the chance to make some great summer memories with its indoor and outdoor attractions.
The high ceilings and bright, whimsical decor of the indoor section of One Mount is reminiscent of Lotte World Amusement Park, while the outdoor area exudes a beachy vibe that embodies everything summer should be. One Mount is particularly popular with children, made obvious by the sheer number of waterlogged tots that tend to overrun the place. Despite the crowds, the park’s spaciousness and number of rest areas keep it comfortable.
Recreational facilities include slides, a wave pool, a children’s area and a lazy river that wraps around the complex. The park also focuses much attention on entertainment and hosts a number of parties, festivals and performing arts events that can accommodate up to 10,000 people. Facilities are well-maintained and clean, and ensure a safe, family-friendly environment.
FYI> T. 02-1566-2232, www.onemount.co.kr
GO> Juyeop Station 주엽역 (Line 3), Exit 2. Walk 15 minutes.
Sealala 영등포 씨랄라
Inspired by the elegant architecture and stunning vistas of Greece, Sealala Spa and Water Park gives off a more tranquil ambiance than its competitors. Tall white columns, exquisite tile mosaics, Greek sculptures and domed structures emulate a Mediterranean vibe. Even the park pools’ water is a deep, Santorini blue.
In addition to the park’s exotic decor, it also has some decent slides, pools and sauna facilities. Couples will enjoy the park’s Cave Pool, a more private swimming space of boulders and waterfalls. When hunger strikes, Sealala’s roomy food court offers up basic Korean amusement park fare—pork cutlets, odeng and hot dogs. Sealala might not be the most impressive park on the list, but its central location in Mullae-dong makes it easily accessible by subway any day of the week.
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