|FlyStation Korea in Yongin, Gyeonggi, allows visitors to try out indoor skydiving within a wind tunnel, left. Below right, a visitor receives lessons from a staff member. [FLYSTATION KOREA]
Temperatures have fallen quickly over the past few weeks and people are heading indoors when they meet up with friends and family over the weekend. There are many ways to enjoy yourself indoors, spanning from watching movies to seeing small animals at indoor zoos, but in the recent months, a number of more thrilling options have opened up in the capital region.
From shooting BB guns and arrows at targets to flying in the air and speeding past your friends on the race tack, there is plenty of fun in and outside of Seoul for people to enjoy. Here are a few recommendations.
|The go karts at K1 Speed Korea in Gangwon run on electricity.[K1 SPEED]
Spread your wings
You may never be able to touch the sky, but at FlyStation Korea, you can get the chance to fly.
The only indoor skydiving facility in Korea, FlyStation had its grand opening this January in Yongin, Gyeonggi. Since then, it has been featured on many of Korea’s major TV channels as the go-to place on weekends with friends and family, including KBS’s “The Return of Superman,” SBS’s “My Ugly Duckling” and “Running Man” and MBC’s “Welcome, First Time in Korea?”
According to the company, indoor skydiving is a popular sport in Europe and America, and the World Indoor Skydiving Championships have been a hot event since its launch in 2015 by The World Air Sports Federation.
“We own a professional and safe facility, with global business insight and a pool of top coaches to spread the extreme sports culture,” FlyStation Korea said in a press release.
“At FlyStation Korea, everyone will get to experience skydiving easily and safely. In a way you’ve never felt before, you will get to free yourself from the pressures and burdens of everyday life.”
It is crucial that you’re overseen by a professional coach every step of the way, and FlyStation limits the number of people who can use the wind tunnel to 12 each day, from 1:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Necessary equipment such as helmets, suits, goggles and shoes are available on site, but you must bring your own socks. Visitors are recommended to arrive an hour early to check in, put on their gear and go through training. Children must be over 4 years old, and adults must weigh less than 125 kilograms (276 pounds). Anyone who has ever had neck, shoulder or back injuries in the past and pregnant women cannot participate.
Reservations can be made online (flystation.kr) or on the phone (1855-3946). Onsite reservations are also possible, but prior booking is recommended. Prices range from 66,000 won ($55) for a two-minute course on weekdays to 114,000 for a four-minute course on weekends. On-site restaurant Querencia is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and coffee shop Windigo is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
|Top: Visitors try out shooting arrows at shooting range Real Shot in Hongdae, western Seoul. Above: Gyoyang Fishery in Sinnonhyeon, southern Seoul, allows visitors to fish indoors. Those who feel a little squeamish about catching a real fish can try out VR fishing games, left. [REAL SHOT, GYOYANG FISHERY]
Eyes on the prize
You wouldn’t be blamed for assuming that the majority of visitors to local indoor shooting galleries are young men showing off their skills learned in the military. But in Seoul, BB gun shooting galleries are a hit with women in their 20s and 30s. This summer, actor Chun Woo-hee posted a picture of herself at a Seoul shooting gallery and singer Suzy uploaded a photo of herself holding a fake gun in a shooting gallery.
“Just two years ago, we couldn’t find any shooting galleries that offered BB guns, but just last year we saw 10 more in Seoul alone,” said an owner of a shooting gallery in Jongno, central Seoul. “Around 300 people come on weekends, and more than half of them are women in the 20s and 30s.”
Searching for the hashtag #BBtan, which means BB bullets in Korean, brings up hundreds of posts on Instagram describing experiences at the shooting ranges as “stress-relieving” and “thrilling.”
“Compared to how screen golf is targeted toward those in their 40s and screen baseball is targeted to people in their 30s, shooting galleries are being targeted toward the unique game culture of people in their 20s, which can also be enjoyed by people of other generations,” said a representative of Real Shot, a popular shooting gallery franchise.
“We not only have four types of guns, we also offer two types of bows that can be enjoyed in one space.”
At Real Shot Hongdae in western Seoul, prices differ depending on which type of gun or bow you choose. For 24 shots with a pistol, the cost is 3,500 won, while 14 shots with the compound bow costs 8,000 won. Other packages are offered on the site. For those who are looking for something safer, Killing Space, another shooting gallery franchise, offers a digital shooting experience without any bullets, as well as darts and a mini baseball shooting game.
If you’re looking for something a little more extreme, the Gyeonggido Shooting Theme Park in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, allows those aged 14 and over to try out both indoor and outdoor shooting, but you must bring a form of ID. The Mokdong Shooting Range in Mokdong, western Seoul, also offers visitors a chance to shoot real bullets, as long as your bring an ID.
Fast and furious
Vivaldi Park resort in Hongcheon, Gangwon, is popular for all things leisure, including skiing, golfing and Ocean World - its signature water park. But what many people don’t know is that it’s also home to K1 Speed, an indoor kart racing center.
K1 Speed is an American franchise that started in California in 2003 and currently runs 42 racing centers around the world. All karts at K1 Speed run on electricity and offer everyone a chance to get behind the wheel and speed down the track. The route is laid out in asphalt, which allows for a safer ride, and is shaped similarly to a professional racing lane. There are guard rails from start to finish to minimize any damage.
K1 Speed Korea spans across about 3,000 square meters (32,292 square feet), offering a 202-meter-long (663-foot-long) track for visitors to enjoy. Visitors must be aged 8 and over, and taller than 130 centimeters (4 feet, 3 inches). Everyone must go through training about safety precautions and the rules of the road before taking a seat in the kart.
“Indoor cart racing is racing indoors, not just for leisure,” reads the rules.
After you’ve taken part in the race, K1 Speed will send the results of your race to your email, including your time and rank. Separate races are prepared just for children.
The racing center is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and until 10 p.m. on weekends. It costs 33,000 won for one race with 12 laps and 59,000 won for two races, or 24 laps. Prices are the same for both adults and children, but discounts are available if you are a member of the Vivaldi Park or a resident of a nearby neighborhood.
For more information, visit www.k1speed.co.kr or call 1588-4888.
An easy catch
For some, there’s nothing more thrilling than waiting for a fish to bite their bait, pulling it out of the water to feel the weight of the fish with their arms.
While enthusiasts journey to nearby rivers or set up camp by the sea, there’s a chance for people to enjoy fishing right in the middle of Seoul, in the warmth and convenience of an indoor facility. At Gyoyang Fishery, located near Sinnonhyeon Station, Line No. 9, you can fish, have a drink at the cafe and still not have to buy any gear yourself.
There are four main sections inside: the indoor fishing zone, the virtual reality (VR) fishing zone, kid’s zone and the cafe.
The indoor fishing zone is undoubtedly the main attraction of Gyoyang Fishery. Using a life support system for its fish tank, it has a sand filter, a UV sterilizer and a bio filter tower that allows the fish to live in a safe environment, and also keeps the water from smelling bad. The nitrification process, achieved by the three filters, allows for the water to stay clean for the fish.
“Our life support system is good enough to be used in an aquarium,” Gyoyang Fishery said.
After a short briefing, visitors are given their bait, which is made of wheat flour and other grains that are safe for people to touch with their hands. Plus, it’s a lot more user-friendly than a wiggling worm. If you catch a fish, you can weigh it and try to set a new record. And if you’re feeling a little squeamish about touching the fish with your own hands, staff members are always on hand to pull out the hook for you.
The VR fishing zone offers a VR fishing game on seats shaped like a boat, while the kid’s zone provides board games and a Nintendo for kids to play with. The cafe carries the usual coffee and drinks, as well as beer, wine and other snacks. You can’t take the fish home, unfortunately.
Entrance is free, but fishing costs 2,000 for every 10 minutes for adults and 1,500 for children. Packages are available on site, such as 100,000 won for 10 hours. You can also get a discount if you make a booking through Naver. It is closed on the first Tuesday of every month, but opens from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]