Friday, April 3, 2015

Summer In The City

Spas And Camping Around Daegu

As soon as May comes around, many people get the ‘theme park itch’ and search for the nearest roller coaster or water park. Instead of trekking up to Everland or Lotte World in Seoul, there are some great summer options in Daegu worth checking out, all a fraction of the cost of the more expensive options available in Seoul or elsewhere.

The Elybaden facility in Sang-In may call itself a “spa,” but seems more like an indoor amusement park. Twelve hours of access to all the amenities in this huge, ultramodern complex costs only 23,000 won. Whether seeking leisure, thrills or both, no one goes home disappointed.

After paying the entry fee, visitors receive a locker key on a rubber bracelet. This bracelet doubles as your wallet for the day. After quickly changing in the locker room, the facility is yours to explore. The main pool is a gigantic oval. Its entire circumference is an array of water massage gadgetry; one could spend the entire day swimming from station to station, enjoying the unique benefits of each. Swimming through a small tunnel at the far side of the pool leads outdoors, where a riptide carries swimmers around a big, looped track. Also in the pool area are hot tubs, water slides, a kiddie area, and a small obstacle course.

As much fun as there is to be had in the pool, it accounts for less than half of what you can do at Spa Elybaden. After changing into jimjilbok (pajamas), guests can head to the third floor and become lost in a sea of relaxing options. The main room has a lineup of massage chairs and tables. Floor mats are available for resting anywhere one pleases, including a darkened tunnel for two, three different scented “sleeping rooms, or just anywhere on the floor.

Also on the third floor are six separate saunas, each with its own temperature and theme. The salt room, kept at about 55 degrees Celsius (130 degrees Fahrenheit), is covered with salt rocks for burying or throwing at friends as they try to unwind. The teepee shaped sauna is kept at a brutal 65 degrees Celsius (150 degrees Fahrenheit)! Luckily it’s attached to the ice room.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Within the facility is an arcade, PC room, noraebang, and movie theater. On the third floor is a food court with Korean, Chinese, and Western options. For salon treatment, Elybaden covers it all. Manicures, pedicures, facials, and massages are all available for between 10,000-70,000 won.

The easiest way to get there is by car or taxi.  To reduce travel expenses, take the red line to Sang-In Station and take a ten-minute cab ride from there.

 If you’re game for a slightly longer excursion out of town, you’ll find that the options are even more limitless. In the scenic mountains of southern Daegu lies Spa Valley.  With its outdoor waterpark (open in May), indoor spas and saunas, Spa Valley provides both excitement and relaxation for all ages. And now the hills above are home to ForRest, a beautiful park and camping ground. Make it a weekend and stay the night next door to the waterpark.

At ForRest’s main desk, visitors choose a time to have their BBQ delivered then hop in a van for a ride to their tent. Amenities include a large JEEP tent that easily sleeps up to four people with chairs and a table, a netted socializing area, a matted sleeping area and a cozy wooden deck. No need to haul your own gear; tents include a 5-plug power strip and a light, two sleeping bags, four air pillows and two blankets. Each site is conveniently located less than 5 minutes from bathroom and shower facilities. Also nearby are snack bars, arts and craft centers for the kids, boat rides, horseback rides, wildlife, and a nature trail of fascinating sculptures. Swimmers can drift beneath 30-foot waterfalls in the luxurious, emerald waters of the Jade Pool, also nearby.

After exploring the surroundings and settling in to the campsite, it’ll be BBQ dinner time! For 80,000 won, campers receive an ice chest packed with food  for four people, including onions, mushrooms, peppers, lettuce leaves, sauces and heaps of meat, including four servings of pork belly, three servings of pork shoulder (목살), two servings of beef tenderloin and five styles of sausage. There may be some seasonal variations, such as the addition of shrimp or other vegetables.  Either way, hungry campers will certainly be satisfied!

As nighttime falls upon the hillside tent village, it’s time to enjoy the “ForRest Garden of Lights”! All along the beautiful nature trails are sculptures and plants decorated in colorful lights. This season’s theme is “Red Riding Hood and Flowers.
At the Spa Valley waterpark, the fun can begin as early as 9am.  Like at Elybaden, visitors first stop at the ticket desk for their wristbands and locker number, then head up to the 3rd floor for their convenient ‘One-Key’ which is a locker key and credit card (tied to your own credit card) all in one.

Experience Spa Valley’s seven exciting slides including the Boomerang, Superbowl, and the all-time favorite thriller, the Speed Slide.  Impress onlookers at the high-diving tank, or challenge others to a game of water polo.  Those seeking serenity can float along the Amazon lazy river or relax in the hot tubs. Kids can enjoy the watery playgrounds while parents lounge in their private, rentable tanning beds or tiki huts.
Another major attraction lies along Spa Valley’s central beach—the Gold Coast wave pool.  Face off against 1.5-meter waves in this treacherous pool of thrills! Life vests and hats are required in the wave pool.

After a day of waterpark excitement it may be time to head indoors and enjoy the spa facilities.  This massive, modern complex spans four floors of therapeutic relaxation.  The 2nd floor offers a variety of massage pools, Jacuzzis and Jjimjilbangs. The 4th floor offers more herbal spas and children’s slides, as well as an outdoor tanning and jacuzzi area that overlooks Spa Valley’s performance stage below.  In the lobby of the 1st floor visitors can cleanse their feet with Dr. Fish or have dinner in Spa Valley’s cafeteria—a satisfying finish to a full weekend of excitement and relaxation!

Spa Valley is located on the southern outskirts of Daegu city.  Take one of the following buses to the ‘Spa Valley’ stop: Rapid 2, 405, 449, 452, 704, Gachang1 and Gachang2. If taking a taxi, tell the driver “suh-pa-bael-li ga-ju-se-yo”, meaning “Please go to Spa Valley.”(Address: 891, Gachang-ro, Gachang-myeon, Dalseong-gun, Daegu, Korea)

1 comment:

  1. Even though there are no pictures in this post, I appreciate that you are very detailed with your narration. I had no problems picturing what it’s like there. Trying out new things at a foreign land might be scary for some, especially if they don’t speak the language, but I am glad you went through this smoothly, and that it was an overall enjoyable experience. Thanks for sharing!

    Ronni Casilas @ JNH Lige Styles