Something for everyone awaits at airfield, ostrich ranch, dairy farm and mud flats just hours from Seoul
Nine out of 10 South Korean office workers have decided to spend their vacation within the country this summer instead of flying overseas, according to a recent survey by Korean Chamber of Commerce.
Sure, the Korean Peninsula is full of beautiful tourist spots. But what to do if you are tired of the usual summer destinations like beaches teeming with vacationers or the same old mountain creeks?
Here are some suggestions for dynamic and unusual activities available only a few hours away from Seoul. Armed with something for every family member to enjoy, the one-day ventures promise a memorable summer day.
Fly in a light airplane
An instructor and a rider enjoy a ride on a light airplane. (Hwaseong City)
If you have had enough of the sea and the land, about a half-hour up in the sky may do the trick.
You need a pilot license to steer a light airplane ― for which you have to go through a 20-hour training session and pass the qualification test held every two months ― but not for a 15- or 25-minute ride with a professional instructor at the steering wheel.
Anyone can hop on a ride at the airfield in Osum, in Hwaseong city, Gyeonggi Province. The place used to be an island but is now connected to the land after a reclamation project.
The airplanes available at the airfield are below 225 kg, which allows riders to really feel the turbulence. One instructor and one passenger share a ride which starts at Osum, circles around nearby Daebu Island and Jebu Island, and then returns to the airfield.
You need to make a reservation at least three days in advance so that the organizers can identify you as a rider at the Federation of Korea Aeronautics.
On Anmyeon Island in Chungcheong Province, a popular tourist spot, there are several airfields that offer short rides to travelers.
They offer various kinds of aircrafts like ultra light planes, hang-gliders, paragliding and more. Anyone above the age of 6 will be able to enjoy the spectacular view of the beaches and the forest lodges, looking down from the sky.
If you would like to learn more about the aircrafts, the Taean Airfield in Taean-gun, South Chungcheong Province, would be a good choice. The airfield, which is a part of the Flight Education Center run by Hanseo University, offers not only rides but also educational programs on aircrafts overall.
At Osum, a 15-minute ride costs 50,000 won and a 25-minute ride is 80,000 won. Reservations are necessary. For more information on the airfield in Osum, call (031) 357-2535 or visit www.osum.co.kr.
The airfields in Anmyeon Island charge about 40,000 won to 100,000 won per ride. For details about the airfields there, visit www.leisurehunter.co.kr, www.amair.co.kr or www.asiasports.co.kr.
At Taean Airfield, a 10-minute ride costs 40,000 won and a 20-minute ride costs 10,000 won. For information, visit www.hanseoflight.com. Enjoy an ostrich-back ride
In the Ostrich Safari in Hwaseong city, Gyeonggi Province, about 50 ostriches are not caged in but freely roam about, ready to give humans a ride on their backs.
Not every one is suitable for the extraordinary ride though. Those over 70 kg are only allowed to step back and watch, for the ostriches’ sake.
The 100,000- square-kilometer ranch offers everything that to do with ostriches. The basic program there includes watching ostriches lay eggs, babies hatching, feeding them and even play bowling with the eggs.
Optional programs include the ostrich-back riding ― or pony riding for those who do not feel like riding on the tall birds ―, ostrich egg craft and cuisine. Other friendly farm animals like horses and rabbits are around to keep you entertained.
The Ostrich Safari is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The basic program costs 10,000 won for individuals and 8,000 won for a group. No reservation is required. For more information, call (031) 351-7734 or visit www.ostrichsafari.com. Milk a cow
A day in a dairy farm, milking a cow and mingling with the cows would be an unforgettable experience especially for milk-loving kids. Jinju Stock Farm in Hwaseong city, Gyeonggi Province offers a day-experience package on the farm which the whole family can enjoy together.
The day-package starts around 10 a.m. with a tour around the farm where 170 milk calves and cows are being raised. A skillful guide will accompany the group to deliver details about the cows, on how they are raised and even on how their excrements are reused in the farm. Participants can feed milk to the calves and hay to the cows, and of course, try milking them.
A tractor ride around the farm is a popular course even among adult participants ― it is much faster and wobblier than expectations, according to the organizers. Ice cream-making course is included in the basic package, using the just-milked milk. If you wish, you add an optional cheese-making class to your schedule as well.
The program runs based on reservations. Admission is 22,000 won per each member when a family is participating together. For details, call (031) 356-0073 or visit www.jinjufarm.com.
Explore mud flats
Kids learn how the salt farm works in Byeotgari maeul. (Taean-gun)
Exploring the many kinds of creatures living in mud flats would excite any kid, especially one growing up in the city. If you do not mind too much about getting your legs stuck in the mud, it would be a refreshing experience for adults as well.
Jebu Island in Hwaseong city, Gyeonggi Province, which is known for the amazing sea-parting twice a day that enables visitors to walk to the island, which works naturally according to the ebb and flow of the tide of course, has a great mud flat to explore.
For about 1,000 won to 2,000 won, visitors can borrow boots and tools to stir around and catch clams in the mud. A variety of programs are prepared on site, like catching fish by hand, sea fishing, drying seaweed and more.
For more information, call (031) 357-8616 or visit www.jebumud.co.kr.
Participants experience “doksal,” a traditional way of fishing in Byeoljubu maeul. (Taean-gun)
Byeoljubu “maeul,” or village, and Byeotgari maeul in Taean-gun, South Chungcheong Province are also ideal places to play in the mud flats. Visitors can also experience “doksal,” a traditional way of fishing in the area, in Byeoljubu maeul and look around the salt farm in Byeotgari maeul. For details on Byeoljubu maeul, visit byuljubu.invil.org, and on Byeotgari maeul, byutgari.invil.org.
By Park Min-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)