Exploring Korea: Walk, talk with animals at Alpaca World

Photos by Kyle Haney
Photos by Kyle Haney

Exploring Korea: Walk, talk with animals at Alpaca World

by Kyle Haney
globetrotterkyle.com

Are you stationed or living in South Korea and are in need of doing something other than eating Korean BBQ, Kimchi, or touring one of the millions of temples spread across the peninsula? Tired of spending your weekend doing the same old routine and need something unique, close to Seoul? Well, I have the place for you: South Korea’s Alpaca World!

Alpaca World is just like it sounds: a world where Alpacas rule and humans are only visitors! Located on a forested hillside in Hongcheon, Gangwon-do, South Korea, Alpaca world is a destination where Alpacas take center stage for an entire afternoon’s entertainment. Dubbed the first alpaca-themed emotional travel destination, this experience allows visitors to pet, feed, walk, and even hug some of the kindest, sweetest, and big-eyed animals in Korea; the prefect unique experience while staying in Korea for any length of time!

Before I begin, I have to give a huge shoutout to my awesome boss for tipping me off about this majestic place; so, thank you Maj Sherrod! Thanks to your recommendation, Ciara and I had one of the most memorable experiences in South Korea while she was out here.

Now, I know from experience that repeatedly visiting one of the plethora of temples and hiking one of the dozens of National Parks in Korea can easily create a callus on your appreciation for beauty in these things. Let me be clear: I’m not saying that every temple doesn’t offer something unique or that all trails in South Korea are the same. Rather, I’m simply saying that ‘when all there is to do is the same few things every single weekend’, it can almost feel like there’s no diversity in your experiences. Does that make any sense? It did to me at least lol.

Thanks to the still-prevalent fear of COVID from military leadership, military personnel are not allowed to visit certain areas of Korea where cases exceed some metric of….something; idk. Basically, if cases or numbers are too high, military leadership draws a line around that area, labels it red, and says military cannot go there. Well, luckily, my boss threw out a rather austere idea for my girlfriend and I to try while she was still here visiting and it just so happened to be in a green area so, we went!

As we arrived, Ciara and I were in awe of just how gorgeous of an area Alpaca World resides in. Between the amazing valley below and the towering mountainsides all around us, the park is truly situated within a prime location for the Alpacas. Teeming with excitement, Ciara and I paid the ~$13 for admission and entered the park.

The first thing that caught our eye was the large, open pen where people were running (literally, running) around with the gentle giants as they laughed and fed them right out of the palms of their hands! We couldn’t believe how unlike anything in the States this place was. Sure, the U.S. has goat yoga and cat cafes but, they sure don’t have anything like this!

We started making our way through the park by following the signs and our own intuition of where we would have the most fun. First stop: exchanging a few hundred won for some paca coin. Paca coin is Alpaca World currency that works by putting the coin in an alpaca food dispenser which will pour out some feed for you to give to your furry little friends within the park. Ciara and I both got a cup and headed over to the salivating alpacas.

These little buggers are smart though! Being that Ciara and I had never fed an alpaca in our lives, we weren’t sure how to hold the food to give to them. As Ciara edged closer to the first alpaca we encountered, she cautiously held out her hand with food in it but, the alpaca grabbed the whole cup right out of her other hand! It was hilarious! The alpaca knocked his head back and poured the entire cup’s worth of treats right into his mouth, grinning at us both as he munched down his dinner.

Having finally figured out that feeding them is as easy as holding your hand flat with a few feed pellets in it, we perused about the different areas feeding each alpaca that was hungry enough to trot up to us. From baby fur balls to tall alphas, Ciara and I laughed and laughed as we fed these bottomless pits until we ran out of pellets.

Moving along throughout the park, we realized that Alpaca World is more than just a home for alpacas–it’s a sanctuary for dozens of other animals like bunnies, deer, birds, and more bunnies. And yes: you’re able to feed all of them with the paca coin but, trust me when I say that no matter how much they eat, they seem to keep coming back for more lol.

So, when you find yourself either tired of visiting the tourist-y side of Korea or just lonely and in need of someone to hug, I highly recommend visiting Alpaca World for an amazing experience that is completely unique and full of love. For more information, simply drop me a comment below or visit their website here!

 

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