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Kangwon Land's wellness facilities offer quiet retreat

Oct. 21, 2023 - 16:01 By Kim Hae-yeon
Kangwon Land in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)

JEONGSEON, Gangwon Province -- Nestled in the pristine landscape of Gangwon Province, Kangwon Land is an enticing oasis for those seeking an adventure-filled escape from city life.

Set in the rugged mountains and lush valleys and offering a plethora of recreational activities, the resort is an unforgettable experience.

Established in 1998 with the objective of repurposing abandoned mines into family-friendly entertainment hubs, Kangwon Land is a large-scale integrated resort with a casino, a golf course, a ski lodge and a theme park. During the pandemic, Kangwon Land decided to place greater focus on its wellness and detox therapy facilities.

High Healing1

Situated in the lush forests of Yeongwol, an hour's drive from Kangwon Land's Hi1 Resort, High Healing1 opened as a wellness center in November 2019 under Kangwon Land's Forest Healing Foundation.

Since its opening, an average of 38,000 visitors per year have visited the center, seeking healing even during the pandemic.

Occupying an area of more than 191,000 square meters, the facility encompasses five distinct zones, each designed to foster a connection with the forest. These zones include a space for healing programs, accommodation, forests, ponds and other open spaces harmoniously interwoven with the natural surroundings. Overnight stay is optional for the visitors.

A distinguishing aspect of High Healing1 is its comprehensive program, which offers a blend of both complementary and paid experiences. The free programs extend support to socially vulnerable groups and leisure enthusiasts, while the paid programs generate revenue for reinvestment into the facility.

What sets the facility apart is its team of experts, comprising forest, music and art therapists.

The programs are broadly categorized into four segments: behavioral addiction detox, forest education, forest healing and general healing.

Wood Burning is a popular program, which entails etching intricate designs or text onto a wooden cutting board using an iron, for a meditative experience.

Other popular programs include Starlight Emission, which involves taking photos of stars with smartphones, and Healing Tool Therapy, a muscle-relaxation session using special tools.

Reservations are accepted via phone and on the resort’s official website.

Children participate in a smartphone dependency treatment program offered at High Healing1 in Yeongwol, Gangwon Province. (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)
Participants take part in Wood Burning, an activity program at High Healing1. (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)

Mountain hikes and trails

Kangwon Land's surroundings include numerous scenic walking trails.

Just a short stroll from the hotel and the resort buildings are signs that guide visitors to easy trails, such as the Gowon Forest Trail, the Dullegil Trail and the Untangodo Trail.

Along these paths, one can discover remnants of closed mine shafts, serene ponds where villagers once prayed for the safety of the miners, and an array of vibrant wildflowers.

A must-visit destination, especially in autumn, is Mindungsan, which is a 10-minute drive from the resort. Standing at an elevation of 1,119 meters, the gently sloping mountain with little vegetation is ideal for hikers of all levels.

Villagers historically practiced slash-and-burn farming, resulting in the mountain's distinctive appearance. The locals also refer to the mountain as Eoksaesan, or silver grass mountain, as the mountain is covered with tall silver grass during the fall season.

The annual Silver Grass Festival held on Mindungsan is scheduled to take place from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5 this year.

The Snail Forest Trail from Kangwon Land to the High1 Wellness Center (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)
A photo spot at the peak of Kangwon Land's SKY 1340 overlooking the surrounding mountains (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)

High1 Wellness Center

For those seeking a personal wellness retreat within walking distance from the resort and casino facility, the High1 Wellness Center offers a tranquil haven.

A 15-minute stroll from the resort, this sanctuary is a soothing space that opened in May, turning a forest book cafe into a relaxing refuge.

Open from early in the morning until evening, the center hosts a range of wellness classes, including forest walking meditation, tension-relieving meditation, yoga, fascia relaxation yoga, natural forest experiences and starlight sessions.

Different scents are on display at the High1 Wellness Center. (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)
A space used for singing bowl meditation at the High1 Wellness Center (Kim Hae-yeon/ The Korea Herald)

One of the most sought-after experiences is the scent design program, in which the participants explore around 50 unique scents and create their own bottle of perfume.

On one side of the wall are carefully arranged art books, an inviting space for those looking to unwind and read.

To secure a spot in the classes, reservations must be made exclusively through the High1 Resort. The center's manager recommends booking a month in advance.