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Escape the blazing heat or grab it by the horns

The dog days of summer aren’t quite over yet and the hot and sticky climate is enough to make anyone want to stay at home in nothing but their shorts, planted in front of a fully cranked-up air conditioner, just waiting for autumn to arrive.

However, for those who are looking for more exciting ways to pass the time, there are a number of options available. Whether you opt to beat the heat in the shade or fight fire with fire by sweating it out in even more scorching temperatures, you don’t need to escape the country to feel refreshed and cool. 

After seven years in the making, the Goyang Onemount sports complex and shopping center has opened its doors over the summer and features two opposing and separate concept theme parks of water and snow.

Both the Water and Snow Parks are an ideal and affordable way for friends or families to spend time away from the sweltering heat and enjoy the paradise of year-round cooler climates.

Splish splash

Located less than an hour outside of Seoul in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, is the nation’s third-largest urban water park, featuring both outdoor and indoor sectors. Open year-round, Onemount’s “Water Park” features nine thrilling waterslides and 18 different swimming pools, including the country’s largest indoor wave pool “Carnival Beach.”

Some of the park’s most highlighted attractions include the height-defying “Sky Boomerang” waterslide ― where riders ascend up a slide at high speed before being whisked back down to the pool area ― and the “Colorado Ride” ― where one can experience the thrills of a bungee-jump-like 40-meter waterslide drop while being continuously rotated. For those who are not keen on heights and being plunged toward the water, the “Ventura River” is a 300-meter-long watercourse that runs through the indoor area of the park where visitors can enjoy a more conservative version of white water rafting.

“The basic concept of this park is to provide people with a place where friends and families can enjoy spending time together while giving them the most opportunities to just have fun in the water,” said Onemount Marketing Communication Manager Park In-sun.

“One of the best things about this place is that unlike attractions such as Caribbean Bay and Ocean World, Onemount is only a short distance from Seoul, making it both easily accessible and very affordable.”

Aside from the many water adventures offered here, a giant movie screen is being built where customers will be able to lounge on beach chairs and enjoy a cold drink while watching a film on the facility’s rooftop.

Winter wonderland

Onemount’s indoor “Snow Park” is a Nordic winter-themed park. Also open all-year round, the “Snow Park” is the North Pole come to life with a large ice rink and snow-covered hills. With the entire park resembling something that came straight out of a Norman Rockwell Christmas, it is a dream come true for those who have wondered what it would be like to experience a snowy, Christmas-like atmosphere during the summer holidays. 
Visitors have fun in the snow-themed park “Snow Park,” located in the Goyang Onemount in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province. (Onemount)
Visitors have fun in the snow-themed park “Snow Park,” located in the Goyang Onemount in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province. (Onemount)

“There’s nothing else like it in Korea,” said Park. “Not only can you come here to ice skate or sled, we also have eight Siberian huskies so people can also experience the thrills of dog sledding on the ice.”

However, it’s not just ice skating, sledding or even ice bowling that can be experienced on the rink. The facility also provides customers with tricycles that can be ridden on the ice. Aside from the park’s central rink, the other big attraction is “Snow Hill.”

“Snow Hill” gives visitors the chance to go downhill sledding or inner tubing on man-made snow. Children can come and engage in harmless school-yard-like snowball fights as well as construct their own life-size snowman or sprawl out on the ground making snow angels.

The park is equipped with its own aerial snow machine, creating a snowfall effect throughout the dimly, yet colorfully lit park, creating a nighttime ski lodge atmosphere.

Admission to the Snow Park is listed at 25,000 won, while admission for the Water Park is 50,000 won.

Sweet heat

Much like the seemingly contradictory notions of warming up cold hands by running them under cold water, another popular way of dealing with the summertime heat it to take the temperature head-on by visiting one of Korea’s trendy jjimjilbang or spas.

“We actually have more customers visiting during the summer season than we do in the winter,” said Sang Hyun-kyun of the Dragon Hill Spa & Resort in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. “One of the ways you can rejuvenate yourself when it’s hot outside is to get rid of all your sweat by visiting a sauna or steam room.”
Visitors sweat it out in the heat at the Dragon Hill Spa & Resort in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. (Dragon Hill Spa & Resort)
Visitors sweat it out in the heat at the Dragon Hill Spa & Resort in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. (Dragon Hill Spa & Resort)

The Dragon Hill Spa & Resort is one of the city’s largest jjimjilbangs with seven stories of spa, bathing and health facilities that are fully equipped to drench every ounce of sweat out of one’s body. The spa houses more than a dozen saunas and steam rooms, including a 100-degree sauna that will surely shock the system.

“Some people may think, ‘why go to a sauna when its already so hot outside?’ But think about it, when most people are sweaty and sticky, they say they want to take a cold shower, but they don’t actually bathe in cold water,” said Sang.

“When you go to a jjimjilbang, you typically come in, take a relaxing steam, let all the sweat run out of you and then take a warm shower,” he said. “And despite how it may sound, it is actually very cooling to both the mind and body.”

One of the best ways to use the jjimjilbang is to avoid spending more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time inside the saunas; long stays at such high temperatures may result in serious health problems. Rather, Sang advises that visitors continuously rotate between hot and cool areas to keep one’s body temperature in check and not to overly exhaust one’s self.

One-time admission to the Dragon Hill Spa & Resort costs 11,000 won on weekdays and 13,000 won on weekends.

By Julie Jackson (
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Korea Herald daum