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Camping rises among people seeking stress relief in Korea Updated: 2013-10-23 00:00:00 KST

Camping rises among people seeking stress relief in Korea
It's that time of year when a growing number of Koreans head outdoors to take in the changing of the leaves.
And more are choosing to fully immerse themselves in nature.
Our Yoo Li-an reports on the recent camping boom here in Korea.

This campground… is right in the middle of Seoul.
Due to its location and its spaciousness, it has become a favorite spot for weary urbanites, who no longer have to venture out of the city to get a breath of fresh air.

"It's nearly impossible to book a campsite here, because the spots fill up so quickly. I was lucky enough to get in today because someone canceled at the last minute."

Those who have camped out here say it feels like a well-earned break from the daily grind.

"We live in an extremely fierce and competitive world. Coming out here in nature, I feel a sense of healing. So I keep coming back."

These urban campers aren't alone.
Camping has fast become a popular leisure activity here in Korea.
The number of campers in Korea has doubled since 2010, to 1.3 million this year.
That in turn has given rise to a boom in the camping supplies market, which is expected to reach 560 million U.S. dollars this year -- a more than three-fold increase since 2010.
In fact, the whole camping experience has gotten more comfortable in the last three years, as campgrounds evolve to better accommodate their guests.

"Each campsite even has a mini kiosk like this, so campers can easily get access to electricity."

Experts say the camping boom comes as part of a rising trend toward mental health and wellness, as more people feel the need to relax and escape from their daily routines.

"What we're seeing now is youth unemployment, a rise in the number of homeless people, and early retirements. It's hard to get a job, and those who have one are under pressure to retire early. This is creating a lot of anxiety and stress. People are hurting, and they want a sense of healing through leisure activities like camping."

From outdoor enthusiasts to office workers, many people are trading in a typical evening out in the urban jungle for a night out under the stars.
Yoo Li-an, Arirang News.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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