Saturday, August 29, 2015
Caribbean Bay is a water park that is part of the Everland Resort in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do (the province surrounding the Seoul Capital Area).
It offers an assortment of rides with varying thrill levels, a large wave pool (in which one MUST wear a life jacket), a regular pool, a kiddie pool, a lazy river, indoor pools and slides, a surfing ride, diving pools, spas and more. To see a full list of the attractions, visit the website here. We had a really fun time and it was a completely authentic Korean experience. I don’t have many photos because we were at a water park after all. I’m going to write about some stories and observations from our day and will include some other important or interesting information in case you’re planning a visit or just want to further understand the culture.
Stories from the Day
- We were a group of 3 and had been standing in line for the tube ride for a very long time. When we got toward the front of the line, we realized we were in line to retrieve double tubes only. If you wanted to collect a single tube for the ride, you had to wait in a different horrendously long line. We think that’s what they kept announcing in Korean that we didn’t understand. Anyway, we had no other option but to take 2 doubles. We had a weird feeling that, Korea being Korea, we wouldn’t be able to put one person on the double tube without an argument. We do that at home all the time but they don’t break rules here. We got to the top of the stairs to go on the ride and had Kevin try to go first, by himself on the double. Sure enough, when the lifeguard realized it would just be one person, he asked Kevin to wait aside and made a phone call. After a couple minutes, he had Kevin sit in the back of the tube and surprised us all by jumping in the front! He couldn’t let Kevin go by himself in the double, but he could go for the ride with him. My friend and I were dying laughing the whole way down the ride behind them.
- We were in the lazy river and some young Korean girls were swimming in front of us. One had on a hat that said “Western Ethnic.” I read it out loud and said, “I don’t think so!” She and her friend swam away as quickly as possible.
- So many other crazy hats were out and about. We saw a girl wearing a hat that said “BOY,” a pre-teen or early teenage girl wearing a hat that said “DRUNKEN,” and a woman wearing a hat with multiple marijuana leaves on it and “marihuana” [sic] written on top. My friend tried to tell her it’s a bad hat about illegal drugs (so illegal in Korea!) but she didn’t get it.
- Every single hot tub we saw was filled to capacity – actually, they were probably overcapacity. Not one more person could fit into those hot tubs, and most people were still wearing their life jackets! It was a crazy sight to behold.
First and foremost, if you are planning a trip to Caribbean Bay and you are not Korean, check online for a foreigner discount coupon! We were able to get in for 50% off – yes 50%! The cost depends on the time of year and may vary by the week, ranging between 74,000 and 50,000 KRW. The price for the last week of August is 60,000 KRW, meaning we got in for 30,000, which we feel was a fair value for what we received.
If you peruse the website prior to visiting, you will find some very interesting guidelines. I’ve copied a few here that stood out to me the most.
1. Those who have the possibility of developing problems such as… skin diseases, hypothermia, pregnancy, and menstruation should be refrained from playing in the water.
2. For customers with excessive tattoos on larger part of their body, which can intimidate other customers, use of Caribbean bay can be restricted. Therefore please wear outer clothing.
3. Children under 10 years old and the elderly are required to be accompanied with guardians.
The ridiculousness and typicality of these just make me laugh. Feel free to share your thoughts on them in the comments.
In true Korean fashion, most people will be sporting rash guards, board shorts, and even regular clothes over their swimwear (like denim shorts – but really??). On top of that, most people will be wearing life jackets all around the park. You will find a few other people walking around with just their bathing suit, as we do at home in the US, and that’s what we did here, too. If you don’t mind a little staring, it’s not uncomfortable. Kevin definitely got some inquisitive eyes because in a swimsuit, he looks a lot different than Korean men [read: chest hair], not to mention his current mountain man beard. My girlfriend and I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. We all get stares regularly anyway. It’s part of being a foreigner here. It’s also funny to catch a child staring and then smile and say hello to them. They get so thrown off.
Get the bay coin wristband! It is really awesome and I give CB a lot of credit for providing this option. You pay at least 30,000 KRW to be transferred into your “bay coin” account. You wear a wristband with a barcode on it, and any time you buy something, the cashier just scans the barcode. It keeps the lines moving quickly and you don’t have to worry about keeping any money/wallets with you – keep it safe in your locker. Also, you get a refund of what you don’t use at the end of the day. This was really great.
This place is crowded. Mega crowded. I would suggest never going on a holiday and not going on a weekend if you can help it. We couldn’t help it. I would never go during the high-season ever again. You will get to ride max 3 rides because the lines are so long. Go in the off-season and go on the rides multiple times. Since we paid half price, we didn’t feel as bad and there is value to be had for getting to swim in a pool and lounge through the lazy river, but still..
There are plenty of food options here and they are not overpriced. That’s one good thing about Korea – venues that typically charge an extra premium on their food and drink (ballparks, amusement parks, movie theatres), don’t do that here. I got the cheapest Dippin’ Dots I’ve ever eaten – twice! There is easy food you can buy and eat while you stand in line (corn dogs, teriyaki chicken skewers, pizza rolls, fried squid, churros, pretzels) and there are restaurant areas where you can sit down at a proper table and eat your pork cutlet, udon soup, hamburger, etc. There is plenty of vitamin water, energy drinks, soda, water, and beer to go around.
All over Caribbean Bay there are different “villages” that have a bunch of cute cottage-like houses available for rent. If you just want your own private area to relax in, you can use one of these. I wish I could have gotten a photo because they really are cute looking. Don’t forget we are in Korea, though. Every little cottage comes equipped with a nice wooden floor.
The “Everline” is a light-rail, driverless train car (literally one car) that takes you straight to Everland/Caribbean Bay – well, to the parking lot shuttle bus pick-up point! The first stop of the Everline is at Giheung, located south of Bundang on the Seoul subway system. Alternatively, depending on where you live, you can take a bus to Yongin bus terminal, walk 2 long blocks from the bus terminal and get on the Everline at the Stadium-Songdam College stop. It’s a very quick ride from there, though the whole Everline journey from Giheung is only about 30 minutes of travel.