South Koreans embrace camping with perks

South Koreans embrace camping with perks

LEADIN:
Glamping – or glamorous camping – is fast becoming popular in South Korea.
Sites offering all the luxuries of a hotel, with the unique outdoor vibe of a camping trip, are springing up around the country and locals say they’re a hit.
STORYLINE:
Glamping isn’t about packing heavy tents, sleeping bags, pegs and mallets. All of the essentials are provided and already set-up for campers.
Shivering in the cold or sweltering in the summer are things of the past, with the latest glamping sites offering amenities like air-conditioning and king-size beds.
Some tents even come with HD television sets.
The days of sharing dirty shower blocks are also consigned to history – ensuite bathrooms often come as standard.
With so much luxury – it hardly feels like the rugged outdoor spirit of a camping trip.
But South Korean glampers aren’t concerned by a lack of authenticity. They say it’s the perfect balance between a hotel and a tent.
English instructor Lee So-hee says she wanted to enjoy nature by doing outdoor activities, but still wanted a clean and private bathroom.
She says: “Sometimes, I want to enjoy outdoor activities, but staying in a pension makes me feel too stuffy and staying in tents lacks amenities like bathroom. Then, I found out about Glamping which a mixture of the two. That is why I came to experience Glamping.”
Lee came to the site with her boyfriend, equipped with only a bottle of champagne, several beer cans and seafood for a barbecue.
One-night at the Sang Sang Glamping site costs KRW240,000 (USD $240) for two people and KRW20,000 (USD $20) charge per additional person during non-holiday season. This costs three times more than renting a regular tent for six to seven people.
Despite the expense, there are still plenty of people wanting to experience glamping.
Glamping site director Ko Duck-sung says Glamping is perfect for busy people.
“When customers try to go on a camping trip, a lot of money is necessary as camping equipment is expensive. We have everything already set up, so when customers come, they just bring food. They can just comfortably enjoy camping and experience staying in caravans. Since not many people are still aware of glamping, we have prepared this to offer our customers a luxurious camping experience,” he says.
Yangpyeong Glamping and Caravan offers a one-night Glamping reservation for KRW130,000 (USD $130) and a Caravan for KRW200,000 (USD $200) for two people.
17 year-old student, Eom Tae-ho is visiting the site with his family.
He says: “Rather than staying in a hotel room, like we used to, staying in a big tent and feeling the outdoor-vibe was amazing and, at the same time, unfamiliar.”
And if you can’t get away camping or glamping for the weekend, there are always camping-style restaurants in the city.
Base Camp in Seoul lures busy who can’t escape the city but still want to enjoy a moment of relaxation in a camping environment.
The owner, Park Kwang-hyun, says he likes camping and wants to share the experience with other people.
“Because it is not easy for normal customers to experience camping, I wondered how people can enjoy that vibe together, and I ended up opening this restaurant,” says Park.
22-year-old undergraduate student, Son Mi-Jeoung, says Base Camp is the closest thing to camping in a big city.
“It is not easy to go camping because I am busy and due to heavy traffic in Seoul. I usually go eat at a normal barbecue restaurant, but these days, I see many camping-themed restaurants. So I can just come here for dinner between my work hours and eat in a camping environment. There is a small artificial pond and trees right beside me, so I really feel like I am on a camping trip. I really like it,” says Son.

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