Bringing Bali home: S.Koreans indulge in extreme staycationing

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Other couples considering extreme staycation ideas need not look so far afield for inspiration.

“Home-camping,” where people set up camping gear and barbecue at home just as they would in the woods or on the beach, has also become popular in South Korea.

A recent spike in coronavirus cases and a monsoon that has lasted nearly two months, the country’s longest on record, have spurred Che Min-hee and her husband Lee Seung-yoon to convert their Seoul flat into an indoor campsite.

They’re now on their second weekend home-camping trip. With folding chairs, picnicware and at least 15 different types of twinkling lanterns, the couple settled in on a rainy Saturday evening to enjoy cooking gambas al ajillo, a Spanish garlic shrimp dish, and pasta on a portable stove.

A crackling campfire video streaming behind them on the television gave the scene an atmosphere of authenticity.

“We were supposed to go on a week-long trip to New York this summer, which we canceled due to the prolonged coronavirus outbreak,” said Che. “Instead we spent that money on camping gear, which cost us around 10 million won ($8,405).”

Che and Lee had to wait two to three months to purchase their tents, folding table and stove, as South Koreans, normally among the top ten spenders on tourism globally according to the World Bank, splurged on equipment to make up for missed overseas trips.

Sales of camping equipment from April to mid-July jumped 51.6% year-on-year, according to South Korea’s retail giant E-Mart Inc.

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