To Get Into the Swim of Things, Try Out a Water Park or PoolWho says the summer's already over? According to forecasters, the monsoon season has ended and all that's left to deal with is the heat.
Korean summers can be like sweating in a sauna, with the unbearable heat and humidity clinging to your body all day and night. Sitting in front of an air conditioner or electric fan for too long, for days on end, can make you sick. So what's a person to do? Fleeing to one of the many great pools around Seoul is a fun way to cool down and relax.
There are plenty of places to pool-hop in Korea. However, there can be some difficulties, such as membership fees or high costs. Nonetheless, from water parks to public pools and even hotel pools, choices exist to fit all budgets and needs.
Caribbean Bay － Everland
Next to the beaches, which in Korea can be so packed they risk collapsing into a black hole, this water park is perhaps the most crowded swimming spot in the nation. But the reason it is so popular is because of the many rides that can bring out the adventurous kid in all of us. The indoor and outdoor complex allows for both excitement and relaxation － from kiddie pools to wave pools to water slides. This year-round water park also provides restaurants and cafes. For those who prefer to spend a calm day rejuvenating the body, you can take advantage of the spa, sauna, and suntanning facilities.
Hours: Until Aug. 19, open weekdays, holidays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays until 10 p.m.
Cost: Adults 45,000 won ($35) and children 30,000 won. How to get there: From Yangjae station (No. 3 subway line), take bus 500-1 or 1500, or from the Express Bus Terminal, Nambu Terminal or East Seoul Terminal take a direct bus.
Information: 031-320-5000 (English available)
Grand Hyatt Seoul
This luxurious pool is probably one of the most exclusive, available only to members of the fitness club and hotel guests. However, if you are a privileged friend of a member, entrance can be gained with the use of a coupon. Designed around embedded stones, the Hyatt boasts a large outdoor pool, an outdoor children's pool and an indoor pool. There is also a grassy area for suntanning where guests can be seen dripping with oil. You can also spend your hours working out at the gym, getting a massage or sitting in a hot sauna.
Hours: Outdoor pools 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., indoor pool 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., gym 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., sauna and lockers 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Cost: If you check into a room, all facilities are included, except the sauna, which is 29,000 won extra.
How to get there: Take bus 83 or 83-1 over Mt. Namsan.
Information: 02-797-1234 (English available).
Han River Swimming Pools
There are pools located in seven different areas along the Han river: Jamwon, Ttukseom, Mangwon, Jamsil, Yeouido, Icheon, and Gwangnaru. Although there are tiny stores nearby, it may be wise to bring along a cooler or a sack lunch. Bring your own towels, and be sure to slap on the SPF 40 from time to time. You can also sweat it out in a game of basketball at nearby courts, or take a romantic walk along the river with that special someone.
Hours: From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults 1,500 won, teens 1,200 won, and children 500 won.
How to get there: Take a taxi or bus to the closest pool, then just follow the white and blue signs.
Information: Jamwon 02-536-8263, Ttukseom 02-454-2094, Mangwon 02-323-0076, Jamsil 02-421-2574, Yeouido 02-785-1093, Icheon 02-796-9306, and Gwangnaru 02-470-9561.
by Kim Bo-ra