When you have never pitched a tent or roughed it for a night, glamping -- a combination of glamor and camping -- might seem like the only way to give it a shot.
But it does not always have to be a “glamorous” version of camping with resort-like services for beginners to best enjoy pristine natural surroundings, argues Hwang Woo-jong, general manager of Kolon Sport Camping Park.
Kolon Sport Camping Park is located in Goesan County, North Chungcheong Province. Photo: Kolon Sport
“The first thing kids do when they ramble through the glamping tent is look for a remote control -- and as an avid camper myself that’s hardly traditional camping,” said Hwang in an interview with The Korea Herald at the camping site in North Chungcheong Province, some 140 kilometers south of Seoul.
“What’s similar between this place and glamping is that all customers have to bring here is food. But the difference is that we try to do away with as many digital devices or hotel-like services as possible in the tent to disconnect from technology and reconnect more with nature around us,” Hwang said.
“We’d like to show them what it really means to camp out in nature. We provide the complete set up of camping equipment, and they have to figure out how to stay a night with the equipment,” Hwang said.
Children walk around the forest within the Kolon campground. Photo: Kolon Sport
Unlike upscale camping that usually comes furnished with a queen-size bed, a flat-screen television and even a personal butler upon request, the Kolon Sport Camping Park run by leading local outdoors brand Kolon simply offers raw natural beauty and the luxury of silence amid overtourism and noise.
While glamping is for those who love being outside in nature with luxury and comfort at hand, the Kolon park is intended for outdoor purists who would like to hone their survival skills without having to purchase anything.
At the park, a total of 52 five-person traditional outdoor tents are set up on land surrounded by a forest. Guests are only provided with a full camping kit and other grilling equipment, and they have to figure out how to use them during a stay.
Photo: Kolon Sport
The 15-minute-long camping education session that guests must attend on arrival is yet another unique feature provided by Kolon. It aims to help beginners learn and understand the culture of camping, Hwang explains.
A group of elementary school students and teachers took the mandatory education session when they visited the campground on Thursday as part of a school trip.
“Camping is supposed to be a relaxing time away from home, but sometimes it can go horribly wrong without learning the proper etiquette,” said Hwang.
Photo: Kolon Sport
“In the last decade, South Korea saw dramatic growth in the camping industry with the ever-growing camping population of the country. New campgrounds have begun to pop up everywhere, built on artificial forest, while so many disputes also occur between campers who are unhappy about noise or excessive alcohol consumption within campsites,” Hwang said.
The purpose of camping is to “go home safe” after all, added Hwang.
“Through the short education program designed for first timers, we teach them the essential part of camping, from how to fire up the stove to cooking rice.
“And most importantly, we demonstrate camping etiquette and regulations for campers -- which is to always be responsible while staying in the forest and leave no trace,” Hwang emphasized.
A view inside a tent set up in the Kolon campground. Bak Se-hwan/The Korea Herald
During a stay at Kolon Sport Camping Park, campers have opportunities to try tour programs and in-house entertainment kits to keep occupied. They can also enjoy some time by a pool, hike and travel to nearby historical sites.
The campground is popular as it offers some of the most picturesque scenes in South Korea including waterfalls, mountains, trees and birds. Reservations have to be made weeks before visiting.
By Bak Se-hwan (firstname.lastname@example.org)