Hot and cold running water to spare

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Hot and cold running water to spare

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The rainy season is almost over, but soon after the monsoon season ends Korea endures days of scorching sun and unbearable humidity. One popular escape from the heat is to head for one of the nation’s water parks.
A number of water parks have already opened their outdoor facilities. These water parks are parts of larger theme parks or resorts and usually include water slides, children’s and babies’ pools, saunas, river-like pools with artificial currents, wave pools, hot springs, accommodation, and spas. Most water parks have both indoor and outdoor facilities and operate all year round. They often have a tropical atmosphere with palm trees, artificial rocks and waterfalls and exotic architecture.
Caribbean Bay, part of Everland Resort in Yongin city, Gyeonggi province, is the biggest water park in Korea and also the closest to Seoul. One of the biggest attractions here is an outdoor pool with artificially-created 1.5-meter-high waves. There is also an indoor pool with smaller waves, which visitors can enjoy all year round. Another attraction is the 80-meter-long (262 feet) river pool. The adventure pool has an artificial waterfall with 2.4 tons of water pouring from a skull-shaped container. Many people wait below to feel the water falling on their heads and shoulders.
The water slides include “water bobsleighs,” which riders can ride down from a 26-meter-high tower, the equivalent of a 10-story building. There are three types of bobsleigh and the fastest one lets the rider experience something similar to a free fall by reaching the bottom in only 10 seconds.
Less scary are the six different inflated tube rides, which allow one or two riders sitting or lying on tubes to travel up to 132 meters.
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If even that seems too adventurous, there are also pools where visitors can simply soak and relax. The “Virgin Island” in particular sits in the middle of a forest far from the other pools, making it much quieter.
An indoor kiddy pool has two water slides ― one for children between 80 centimeters (2.6 feet) and 100 centimeters in height and the other for children between 90 and 120 centimeters. There is also a toddler pool for children aged 3 or younger.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Caribbean Bay has had extensive renovations and added several new facilities including a spa village and three artificial hot springs.
Visitors can use “bay coins” in the water park, a type of electronic debit chip they can purchase at the entrance.
There are 30,000 won ($31), 50,000 won and 100,000 won bay coins available. Admission costs from 32,000 to 60,000 won per person depending on age and the time of visit. Discounts are available for those who pay with some domestic credit cards. Caribbean Bay is open from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. For more information, call (031) 320-5000 or visit www.everland.com.

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Located in Hongcheon, Gangwon province, Vivaldi Park Ocean World, which opened for the first time on Wednesday, is part of the Vivaldi Park ski resort. The water park has tried hard to appear more exotic than others in Korea by adopting the theme of an Egyptian desert and oasis. There are replicas of the Sphinx and pyramids. A 300-meter-long pool, called “Extreme River,” is designed to make swimmers feel as if they are rafting.
Other outdoor adventures include a “Family Raft slide,” in which four people can ride a large tube through sudden turns and drops. A 17-meter-high slide with a 45-degree angle offers speed thrills to the riders.
An indoor pool offers artificial waves and an indoor river pool connects to the one outside. The “Aqua pool” has water jets under high pressure to massage bathers’ shoulders and backs. The park also has extensive sauna and spa facilities as well as a toddler pool. Like Caribbean Bay, visitors use electronic chips called “ocean coins,” which they can recharge at the register using cash.
Vivaldi Park Ocean World has a 50 percent discount for every visitor until July 13. Admission normally costs 25,000 won to 50,000 won per person. The Ocean World water park opens at 9 p.m. and closes at 7 p.m.
The Vivaldi Park resort also has an 18-hole private golf course, a nine-hole public course and a driving range. There are lakes and mountains nearby for hiking and other leisure activities. The resort also has a shopping mall and games arcade and 1,800 condominiums. For more information, call 1588-4888 or visit www.vivaldioceanworld.com.

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Seorak Waterpia, located in Sokcho, Gangwon province, has three things the other two resorts lack: natural hot springs, numerous beaches on the eastern shore and the beautiful scenery of Mount Seorak within a half-hour drive. The water park uses 3,000 tons of hot spring water everyday gushing out from 680 meters underground. The water park has outdoor and indoor pools with artificial waves and slides, saunas and hot spring spas. The facility is well-known for its wide ranging spa facilities including both indoor and outdoor hot tubs and whirlpools. Outdoor hot spring spas offer a chance to feel the breeze from the mountains and the East Sea while relaxing in a hot spa. To create a natural atmosphere, many of the outdoor spas are built of rock and wood. Many of the indoor spas have water jets for massage.
There is also a 550-meter-long river swimming pool that twists in and out of the indoor facilities.
Seorak Waterpia opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. Admission costs 11,000 won to 30,000 won per person. For more information, call 1588-2299 or visit www.seorakwaterpia.co.kr.


by Limb Jae-un

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