Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Plunge: Woobang Tower Sky Jump

Woobang Tower (or Daegu Tower) defines the skyline of Daegu, South Korea. The tower is part of the Woobang Land amusement park complex and rises 202 meters above the city. The tower offers excellent views of the valley city, the fourth largest in Korea. It also offers the opportunity to hang suspended from a ramp jutting from its side and 123 meter drop to the ground. So of course, I had to do it.

A few of us decided to head to Woobang Land near Duryu Park on Saturday to take the leap. We made the obligatory Family Mart stop after a night out to quench our thirst and provide ourselves with the necessary caffeine to wake up. Then up the steep hill to the tower. The tower offers a few attractions, including a Western style restaurant, a bar, and some sort of sexual education center for kids (of course all of these things go together perfectly). But none of these things were of interest to us. We finally reached the observation deck level with Sky Jump tickets at the ready. After taking in the panoramic views of the city and after my trip to the "Sky Toilet" (which gives patrons an opportunity to use the restroom while enjoying the skyline of Daegu), we headed over to the Sky Jump desk to suit up.

Entrance to the Sky Toilet! Toilet of the Skies!

The moment I traded in my ticket in for a brightly colored sky suit, I could feel all of the focus in the room rerouted to me and my fellow jumpers. We were making the plunge and everyone was fascinated by our choice. One little boy, whose English was superb ("I lived in the US for 5 years. California and Michigan!") approached the group to voice his amazement at our choice. "Do you have parachuting experience?" he asked. When I replied I didn't his face reflected the intense worry he was experiencing. But I felt no fear.

The team!
Once completely suited and harnessed up we mozied over to the ramp leading into the Daegu air and to the ground below. The many Koreans visiting the observation deck of Woobang Tower crowded into the area near the ramp to watch these brave three foreigners jump off their local landmark. After taking a group picture on the platform, as the volunteer pioneer, it was my turn to hook-in and jump-down. Before I made my way to the end of the platform, I turned to see the huddle of spectators watching eagerly for my fall - peace signs and waves abounded and I felt the love and edge of nerves emanating from the crowd.

Two big thumbs up over Daegu.
As I let go of the ropes to hang suspended from 123 meters of Korean-built edifice, I spun around to look at the man with the camera to snap my moment of glory before heading straight down to the awaiting ground below me. I flashed a wide smile and heard a, "goodbye!" as I felt the air rushing around my body and I saw the target on the concrete below grow closer. Then my few seconds of adventure were over as my feet hit the ground and I felt a pain shoot up through my lower legs from the impact. The Korean catcher at the target didn't slow my fall as soon as he should have but I was safe on my two feet and the pain subsided fairly quickly.

I made my way to a bench near the target and watched as my comrades leapt as I just had. Down came Jez, then Dave followed. We giggled and discussed our latest conquest as we walked toward the elevator to return to the observation deck. (Yes, we have to take the elevator back up - this fact was fairly disconcerting to the little boy when we reached the top again.) We exited the elevator and as we un-suited the little boy from before came sprinting over to hear all about our jump:

"I am very jealous!"
"It wasn't so bad, there is a guide-wire so it isn't a free fall. You could definitely do it!"
"But I'm not tall enough..."
"You will grow! You're young - ask you parents for you next birthday."
"I don't think I can grow 15 cm in one year."
"I bet you can. Drink your milk!"
"Maybe. See you later!"
"Good luck!"

I am glad I made the plunge off of Woobang Tower - one other thing to check off on my bucket list. It wasn't terrifying but it was fun. It wasn't the jump I had expected, as there was no free-fall and it was a very reigned-in jump but we had fun, and now we have a story to tell. When I relate the story to Koreans I meet they are shocked that I would do something so bold, but in retrospect it really wasn't so adventuresome, considering the other experiences I have under my belt. It is a step, though, and I plan to bungee jump before I leave Korea. I love the feeling when your stomach catches in your throat as you make a leap. Updates to come if I make it down that road. But until then, I have the photos and experience of jumping off one of the tallest buildings in Daegu and it was definitely worth every won.

If you want to take the plunge off of Woobang Tower, head over to Woobang Land (accessible from various buses, the subway, and taxis across Daegu), head up the hill toward the tower and ask for Sky Jump. Tickets must be purchased around the ground level (from what I could see). A jump will run 40,000 won and if for some reason you get cold feet after purchasing a ticket, you can come back within 30 days (I think) and re-challenge yourself. Then head up a few floors and enjoy an ice cold Corona or a 5,000 won cup of coffee while taking in the best views of Daegu you can catch within the city. Godspeed!


  1. I tried this a few months ago, too! =] It wasn't as thrilling as I expected, but very much worth it (especially those photos - when I showed them to the Korean teachers at my school, they looked at me like I was the new James Bond, haha).

    But I found out afterwards that someone died on the skyjump a few years ago... =S Probably why it's so controlled and 'safe' now. Morbid, ne?

    (PS - ^^ lol, and because random comments are kinda strange - I had googled south korean blogs and was linked to yours. haha, looking for tips and other "only in Korea" stories. ^^)

  2. No worries! Thanks for reading!