Getting in the swim of things at Seoul’s outdoor pools
And now in some areas of Seoul, the smell of chlorine is filling the air, because the outdoor swimming pools dotting the Han River have opened.
But the question is, which one should you go to?
Many gigantic water parks thrive across the nation, but they are not nearly as accessible as the outdoor swimming pools.
A day ticket to the water park for an adult during peak season, which usually falls between mid-July and mid-August, is about 70,000 won ($69).
If a family of four wants to spend the day cooling off at one of these facilities, it will cost them nearly 300,000 won on admission alone.
From there the expenses increase even more. Outside food is not permitted, so visitors have to buy all their meals and drinks inside the vicinity of the park.
With the added cost of renting a life jacket, which is mandatory when using some of the slides, as well as transportation, because all the water parks are located outside of Seoul, the total could reach nearly 600,000 won.
It comes as no surprise that home-shopping channels promote discounted water park tickets around this time of year.
If you plan to beat the heat on a budget this summer, consider taking a trip to the outdoor swimming pools situated near the Han River.
They don’t have ultra-tall, fancy rides, but they are affordable and accessible.
The facilities have also been upgraded a lot over the past years.
“There will also be weekly events like speed watermelon-eating competitions and ice-sculpting performances. Some swimming pools will have new attractions,” Yu added.
The Han River’s outdoor swimming areas are far smaller than water parks, but they have pools for kids, teenagers and adults, along with a few slides, cold showers, lockers and fitting rooms.
The cold showers are free of charge but two types of fitting rooms are available; one is complimentary and the other, which comes with the use of a private locker, incurs a fee.
An admission ticket for adults is 5,000 won; for teenagers 4,000 won; for children 3,000 won; and kids under 6 are eligible for free entry.
When asked to provide tips for first-time visitors to the outdoor swimming pools, Yu said, “It’s better to visit the swimming pool early in the morning if you don’t want to queue for hours. Portable shade and picnic mats are a must.”
All bathers should wear swim caps to preserve the water quality. The parks prohibit visitors from bringing knives, alcohol or glass bottles into the pool for safety reasons.
Since all the outdoor swimming pools have their own features, it is better to check out the characteristics of each facility before you make a trip to one.
All the pools will operate until Aug. 24. Their opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
For more information, visit seoul.go.kr/event/hanriver.
Here are some details about each facility.
Nanji Gangbyeon Mulnorijang
Among the seven swimming pools along the Han, Nanji Gangbyeon Mulnorijang is classified as a mulnorijang, which is roughly translated to “a place to splash in shallow water.”
As it was designed for kids, the depth of the water hits the knees of adults, so you don’t have to wear a swimsuit to frolic in this pool.
Aqua jets that shoot water up to 10 meters (33 feet) into the air and music fountains entertain visitors, too.
Unlike other outdoor swimming pools, the mulnorijang charges 3,000 won for adults, 2,000 won for teenagers and 1,000 won for kids.
In order to get there, head to World Cup Stadium Station, line No. 6, exit 1.
Jamsil, Jamwon and Mangwon outdoor swimming pools
Several waterslides are available for use at Jamsil, Jamwon and Mangwon outdoor swimming pools. Each ride costs 500 won, or you can use the attractions all day if you purchase a 5,000 won ticket.
A new, tunnel-shaped water fountain has been added to Jamwon’s swimming pool this year, which is designed for children to play in.
The nearest subway station to Mangwon Outdoor Swimming Pool is either Hapjeong Station, lines No. 2 and No. 6, exit 1, or Mangwon Station, line No. 6, exit 1.
You will need to take the green community bus (No. 16 from Hapjeong or No. 9 from Mangwon) from each subway station to arrive at the swimming pools.
In order to get to Jamsil Outdoor Swimming Pool, leave Sincheon Station, line No. 2, at exit 7.
Jamwon Outdoor Swimming Pool is near Jamwon Station, line No. 3, exit 4.
Yeouido and Ttukseom outdoor swimming pools
Yeouido and Ttukseom outdoor swimming pools are recommended for those who are fond of waterslides.
Both pools have “aqua rings,” four-meter circular waterfalls that swimmers can stand under.
The Ttukseom swimming pool has a lazy river where water moves slowly so that swimmers can let their bodies float along with it.
The Yeouido swimming pool has water cannons, which children can use to shoot water into the air.
Yeouido Outdoor Swimming Pool is near National Assembly Station, line No. 9, exit 1. Ttukseom Outdoor Swimming Pool is located near Ttukseom Station, line No. 2, exit 2 or 3.
Gwangnaru Outdoor Swimming Pool
Gwangnaru Outdoor Swimming Pool is located in the eastern part of Seoul. It is probably the smallest and simplest pool among the seven at the Han River, but families love it for that reason because it means you can swim in cozy environment.
Gwangnaru Outdoor Swimming Pool is near Amsa Station, line No. 8, exit 3.
BY SUNG SO-YOUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]