While South Korea may not have been on your bucket list or travel radar before, it’s an overlooked gem. South Korea is an amazing destination that the FlowRider® attraction and sport of Flowboarding will maybe soon take you, hopefully end of October.
With the sport and attraction becoming vastly popular in the Asia nations over the last few years, it is only fitting that the 2019
Flow House Seoul, partners of FlowRider, Inc., have been operating for over 5 years and have increased their local ridership steadily since; The FlowRider mobile attraction that has been traveling around Korea the past couple years has definitely helped spread more awareness.
Now, with Lotte’s Flow House Yongin, and plans to build another Flow House on the beaches of Yang Yang, South Korea soon, this upcoming event will play a huge role for the future of artificial wave riding in Korea. Believe it or not, Korea has a large surf culture and they are very passionate about board sports.
Additionally, we continue to see a strong flowboarders community come together. Some serious top level riding is overflowing from the competitors on the Asia FLOW Tour circuit.
Along with the talented athletes, according to Wikipedia, South Korea is equally known for its green, hilly countryside dotted with cherry trees and centuries-old Buddhist temples, plus its coastal fishing villages, sub-tropical islands and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the capital.
So, if you are smart, you will make plans accordingly, on and off the wave during your trip. Here are a few trip guidelines and helpful tips for traveling to South Korea.
1.) Travel Details
It’s recommended for riders to fly into Incheon International Airport (ICN). You should already have your flights booked, if not, get on that now before the prices jack up! Either way, it’s always smart to double check flight details. You don’t want to show up at the wrong times or the wrong airport for departure or arrival.
It’s going to be a long journey for most competitors, so be sure to check your flight details, select your seats, know the luggage allowance and check in ahead of time.
Also, to state the obvious, don’t forget your passport! Make sure you always pack your passport and keep your important credentials safe when traveling.
We would also suggest trying to get some sleep on the long flights, it may take some time to get adjusted to the time change and to get your body acclimated before the competition.
Once you land, you will have some options to get to your hotel or the Lotte Premium Outlets in Yongin.
Taking a taxi to the Lotte Outlets will cost you roughly $100 USD. Beware of Black Cabs, they are known as “deluxe taxis” and are way more expensive. Probably best to reserve a bus or shuttle and split it with a group of people. The other option would be to take public transportation. You can take a bus to Folk Village and then take a shorter taxi ride over to the mall, all in you are looking at about $30 USD, but be sure to check the bus timing and routes when planning. Additionally, the subway system sounds surprisingly easy to navigate, is clean, and affordable.
Book accommodations in advance and confirm reservations before arrival. If you haven’t reserved accommodations yet and are looking for recommendations, be sure to stay social with the FlowRider World Flowboarding Championships events page as we continue to post available options located near the hosting venue.
For those traveling on a tight budget, do some searching and you will able to find accommodations that offer complimentary breakfast and other deals to cut costs. It’s also a good idea to travel in groups to help split costs across the board. Additionally, food can be found easily and there are plenty of options around the Flow House venue. Street food is also always abundant. From soups to sweets and everything in between, Koreans hold dear an endless array of food rituals. They are most sentimental about their street snacks.
The event is open to all competitors who want to showcase their skills on the FlowRider attraction and take on the world’s best @flowboarders for a chance to win the World Title.
There will be a qualifying event (Friday, October 25th) for non-tour/team representative winners and registered pro riders.
ALL Riders, including Qualified Regional Teams, must fill out entry forms and pay entry fees prior to practice sessions and competition start. Online Entry deadline 10/23/19 and payment is due October 24th at Flow House Yongin.
Entry fee includes scheduled practice sessions, so be sure to check the event pages and scheduling to plan accordingly.
Also, all riders are encouraged to download the Stact App and create your FREE Rider Profile before filling out the entry form. The Stact App will allow you to view live scoring and follow the event updates in real time.
October is a great time to visit South Korea; the weather is generally warm during the day but becomes a bit chilling after dark in the evenings (avg temp: 13-21°C). The event will run practice sessions in the morning and competition heats in the early evenings, but not expected to run after 7pm.
With that said, we suggest packing a wetsuit or wet top for riding and to bring some warm/comfortable clothes to change into between competition heats to keep the blood flowing. Again, to state the obvious, make sure you pack a towel, can’t tell you how many times we have stepped off the wave and not have towel.
5.) Currency Exchange and Money
Korea uses the won, and 1,000 KRW is roughly $1 USD. There are 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 50,000 notes and 500, 100, 50, and 10 coins.
You can use a credit card mostly anywhere in the country, though smaller places may prefer cash. Every convenience store should have an ATM that works with a foreign card.
6.) Learn some key phrases
Korean + English = Konglish
Konglish is basically mash ups of words and the slang will come in handy. Some words will have a direct translation but other can take on a totally different meaning. So, it’s not as easy as it may seem. NOTE: download Google Translate App and pre-install the Korean language as you will be in a rural countryside area and not many people speak English.
Some phrases to learn:
Hello/ Goodbye – Ann Yong
No Problem – Ken Cha Na
Let’s Go – Ka Zaaa
Thank You – Kam Sa Ha Mee Da
I Love You – Sa Rang Hay
Go Please – Ka Juseyo
The Mall – Shopping late at night -apparently it’s a big deal. Be sure to cruise around the Premium Outlets and support the local sponsors.
Seoul – Visit the Korean Capital. While it may be a trek from the venue, you should definitely schedule some time to check out all this exciting city has to offer. Seoul has some of the largest buildings in the world – We recommend going up in the Seoul Tower for a panoramicview of the city. Seoul also has other offerings such as historical museums, cultural parks and much more displaying their own unique servings of history, landscaping and beauty.Don’t go off the beaten track, per se and please follow all the rules; this is no place to fool around, as its only 90 minutes away from what is known as the most dangerous border in the world.
Lotte World Theme Park – Whether you are traveling with family or friends, you may want to check out Lotte World, the world’s largest indoor theme park.Lotte World is a massive indoor recreation complex that includes a theme park, shopping malls, luxury hotels, a folk museum, entertainment, and much more. Located in downtown Seoul, the park is especially popular with kids, but has plenty to entertain grown-ups too.
Travel to another destination- After the event, don’t forget to keep in mind that Korea is neighbors to Japan and China, this could be an epic leg of travel to add to your trip.
Koreans are very patriotic, be sure to show your respects to their country and culture. This will go a long way.
No Tipping Culture – Tipping is not expected or common on most transactions.
Korean food tends to be on the spicy side but also very yummy!
Consider a SIM Card for your phone – Wi-Fi is almost everywhere, but best to get a local SIM card so that you won’t come back to a massive phone bill. (Approx. $27 USD)
Soju is as cheap as water.
You can also check out this Flowboarders Blog from January 2017 when flowoarders and FlowRider representatives took a visit to explore future potential venue locations.