No, I’m not talking about any California Beach, but rather THE California Beach in Kyongju (or spelled Gyeongju) here in South Korea. Several posts ago, I wrote about how I was considering going to California Beach this weekend & despite almost falling asleep through the departure time, I threw my hurried & perspiring body into a cab to arrive at the bus to Kyongju on time (of course, after getting to the bus, we find they weren’t leaving until 40 minutes after the deadline they gave us this morning of 7:30a).
Despite only being powered by an hour and a half of sleep, I can’t seem to fall asleep. My adventure seeking friends can’t either & we get to the water park about an hour later. The actual place looks as vivid as the pictures in the post earlier. It probably helps that the park is only a month+ old having opened in June this year. It’s relatively quiet when we get there at a bit after 9a. Not all the tourists and water park crazed people have arrived yet.
Our tour guide doesn’t have much of a clue about most things, but he gets us our water park entry tickets & that’s the most important thing for us. After getting our bags searched for food & checking it in to their temporary check in service, we find we need to cash in some Korean won for credit on a bracelet to buy anything inside the park. We thought that the credit wasn’t refundable and neglected to do so before we got in. A few trips back and forth from the locker room and the park, we are finally ready to snack on a bite for lunch & then attack all the offerings of the park.
Most of the rides here at California Beach Water Park are located at the opposite end of the front entry gate. There’s not a large number of rides. And several of them require inner tubes – especially the better known X & Wipe out rides. We look for the ride that looks like a shorter wait & while I can’t think of the name of the ride, it allows for people in pairs or singles to go up with easier to access inner tubes. We ride down that first. After getting our first taste of the park, we start to take big chances right away and get in the VERY short lines for the water slides. There are 3 of them with each having a higher level of thrills from blue to orange to purple. The last one having the largest drop of them all — Jareb being our first brave soul to venture down this one.
We don’t know what to call it, but a ride that carries visitors via large bursts of waves each few minutes hurling riders on inner tubes sometimes into or against or even over one another via the extreme waves is our next target. This turns out to be one of the more entertaining rides for the day. We must had ridden this ride at least 5-10 times each by the end of the day. A lost hat, a pair of goggles exchanged for two other pairs and lots of water up our noses on top of all the fun we had on the ride turned out to be the gains (or losses) we got from taking this inner tube ride multiple times.
Finally, we decide to wait it out for the large inner tubes for 2 people and 4 to ride the X and Wipeout rides. In terms of thrill vs. waiting time, these aren’t 100% worth the wait, but since there aren’t a lot of rides, we decide to take the 45mins to 1 hr out of our day to at least give both of them a try. They both have a large drop at the beginning of each ride which makes them somewhat enjoyable.
Overall, it was a great day with really enjoyable people. Sometimes, having great people like Jareb, Laura, Niko, Minnie and David really make the day good. At the same time, the water park offered enough to make a day trip out to Kyongju worth it. I’d recommend it at least for 2008’s summer in Korea.
A few suggestions for future California Beach adventure seekers:
-BRING a head covering (whether hat, bandanna or otherwise) and you’ll be needing a life vest — these appear to be 2 requirements for every ride in the park
-get a locker closer to the back of the locker room near the showers. It makes it easier to go back and forth from the park to your actual locker to get anything you’ve forgotten or needed.
-don’t bring any food to the actual park unless you can hide it really well from the girls checking your bag; liquids are for the most part o.k. though
-get the bracelet after the entry gates which you can get credit denominations of 30,000, 50,000 and 100,000 won. It’s fully refundable at the end of the day.
-eat early & late; lines are HUGE after 11a/12p for all the food vendors. Expect to eat hot dogs or other snacks like pineapple or cantelope on a stick if you don’t get a burger before 11a or so.
-don’t expect a lot of variety in terms of food. Leave your true appetite at home or wait to satisfy it AFTER going to the park.
-things do appear to quiet down after 5p…so if it’s a hot summer day, find other transportation home & do most of your thrill seeking after 5p
-The X & Wipeout aren’t as worthy as other rides due to the wait times, but perhaps get on them early in the day or later.
-The water slides have a typical problem of having water shoot up your nose on the blue tube, hard surfaces on the two other sharper drops so be warned your back may take a beating or your nose
-hold onto your hat when you ride the wild waters ride that curls around the park; the huge bursts of water will rip your hat off easy — that’s why we lost a hat & a pair of goggles