Camping in Korea

Camping with the family at a site near Gangreung. Photo: Eldin Husic

Camping with the family at a site near Gangreung.
Photo: Eldin Husic

When I think of camping, I see two people sitting on a blanket in front of a small tent, sipping on wine, and looking at a sunset. It is a peaceful and relaxing sight.

In my experience, camping in Korea has never, ever, been anything like this…

I am sure one can find a place like this and spend some quality time with a loved one, in peace and quiet. But what my family is looking for is fun, excitement, safety, and convenience. Now, is it possible to find all that at a camping site?

My answer is: “Yes, it is!”

Camping in Korea is all about these four elements mentioned above. Most camping sites have playgrounds, play zones, and are usually located near some interesting and popular landmarks or amusements parks. At camping sites, you can usually rent boats, bicycles, or even ride horses. Talk about fun and excitement!

The camping sites are usually enclosed properties which means that someone is there looking out for you. If you visit a place where you can camp for free there might not be a security guard or a fence in place. But in my experience, camping in Korea is a very safe activity. I do remember one incident in Yeoju when all of our food had been stolen while we were sleeping. We called the police in the morning. The police arrived and quickly found out that a bunch of middle and high school kids in the tent next to ours had stolen our food. They called their parents, who apologized for their actions and reimbursed us for the stolen food. It was a very nice gesture by the police and the parents.

Apart from that event, in my six years of camping experience, it has been smooth sailing. Thank you very much!

When it comes to convenience, nothing beats a Korean camping site. There are toilets, shower rooms, electrical outlets, convenience stores, restaurants, coffee shops, and other amenities. In case you forget something, don’t worry about it! You can find it at your camping site.

It sounds too good to be true?! Well, all of it comes with a price tag. A spot at a camping site can be anywhere from W5,000 to W100,000. It depends on the location and the facility itself. There are free camping sites but they are hit-and-miss, as we might say. Some of them are decent, and one might have a wonderful time there. Some are best avoided. My advice is to do an internet search about the place you would like to visit beforehand. Someone has already been there and has written about it. After all, this is Korea. You can find everything and anything online.

When I think of camping. Photo: Eldin Husic

When I think of camping.
Photo: Eldin Husic

Finally, the best part of camping for me and my family is meeting new people. At night, campsites turn into party zones. Everyone is enjoying their food and drinks. Kids are running around shooting fireworks and playing their games. All people are having a great time. Those not having a great time are the ones that have drunk too much. They are the ones that can spoil a good thing. That is life! There is always something, but you should not let that stop you!

So, go. get a tent, a blanket, a loved one and find yourself a nice place under the stars or near the sea. Enjoy camping your own way! I know I will.

And, please clean up, don’t be too loud, don’t steal other people’s food, don’t drink too much, and stay safe!!!

Eldin Husic

Department of Liberal Arts, Kangnam University

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