Previously, I have recommended various ski resort to visit when winter comes in South Korea. But unfortunately, not every people fall in love with snow (and it would be a shame too if you go to ski resort just to make a snowman). So, if you are not interested to play in the snow, don’t worry. There are still other fun places to visit during wintertime in South Korea.
Just like the recommendation of activities on winter that I wrote here, this time I would like to invite you all to the hot spring bath and spa tourism. Yes, tourism to a hot spring bath (which is called as “onsen” in Japanese) is one of the favorite activity in winter, especially if you have just cold up your body in the snowy area beforehand.
What makes this hot spring bath and spa interesting, is the locations that are easy to find in various provinces. Other reason is because there are many types of such facilities to choose as we like it, starting from the outdoor hot spring, the indoor ones, to the ones with concept of resort spa or water parks, and much more.
What I would recommend here are just the ones that are really popular amongst foreign tourists. Most are the outdoor type. Meaning, the hot spring bath is really an open space so visitors could be soaking in the hot water while enjoying the surrounding views. How fun could that be to soak in while enjoying the snow?
Here are a few of favorite hot springs, which interestingly, not all of them are located on secluded places. For example there is Paradise Hotel in Busan which is located right on the Haeundae Beach. On the 4th floor of the hotel, there are 5 hot spring pool on temperature around 40-44 degree Celcius.
As it is located on height, while soaking in the hot water, tourists could also enjoy the scenery towards the ocean. The province of Gyeongsangnam-do also has an outdoor hot spring pool, it is Bugok Hot Spring in Changnyeong, which is said to have the hottest temperature of water in all South Korea. It is not a joke, the temperature could reach up to 78 degree Celcius!
Other open spa is located on the province of Chungcheongnam-do. One of the most popular ones is Resom Ocean Castle, the first spa in South Korea which adopted the concept of oceanic spa resort. So besides soaking in the hot water, tourists can also enjoy the sunset and the resort atmosphere. Other favorite place is Onyang Hot Spring in Asan.
The place is said to be regularly visited by the royal family since 1300 years ago, because the water has a lot of benefits. There are 120 hotels and motels at this area, so it would suit perfectly to be visited by anyone who intentioanlly wants to have some hot spring tourism.
Paradise Spa Dogo which is also located in Asan, is also interesting to visit as it doesn’t only has the hot spring bath, but also has several water-themed programs, such as aqua yoga, aqua dance, aqua stretching, and much more.
The province of Gangwon-do also has several hot spring bath places. The first one that I’d like to mention is Cheoksan Hot Spring in Sokcho. This place has the hot spring that is not only mild on skin, but also has the benefits to cure various diseases, starting form fatigue up to eye disease. Other place would be Samcheok Hot Spring Hotel which is in Samcheok-si.
Go on to the province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, there is Deokgu Hot Spring in Uljin which has the hot spring in the temperature of 41 degree Celcius. The water is also believed to have various benefits for health. And the most fun thing is, this place also has the outdoor hot spring bath with sceneries toward the valley (because the location is on the mountain).
Besides Deokgu Hot Spring, Sail Spa Land in Yeongcheon-si in the province of Gyeongsangbuk-do also has the hot spring baths with outdoor concept.
Other than places above, there are still a few others of cool places such as Sanbangsan Mountain Tansan Hot Springs which is quite popular in Jeju Island.
At the province of Chungcheongbuk-do there is Suanbo Hot Spring in Chungju that offers natural hot spring in the temperature of 53 degree Celcius. And in Daejeon, there is Yuseong Hot Spring which has been regularly visited by the royal family since the era of King Taejo (1392-1398) from the Joseon Dinasty.
Do you wanna be soaked in a different places than the places above? Just come around to various water parks that double as hot spring baths. One of the popular water park is Seorak Waterpia (which I mentioned here and here), a water-themed park which features the natural hot spring pools and spa that are good for skin.
This Seorak Waterpia is quite interesting, so next time I would write more detailedly about it. I actually have ever mentioned about a few other water parks here, such as Caribbean Bay in Yongin and Termeden in Icheon, both are in the province of Gyeongi-do; and Ocean World Vivaldi Park in Hongcheon, province of Gangwon-do. So I would not going to write too much about those water parks here.
More or less, those were the places for soaking in that are interesting to visit when winter comes. Places where the festivals take place are usually popular places to visit when winter time comes. So don’t just come around the festivals only, but explore the surrounding area as well.
* All pictures were taken through creative commons. There are no editting from the original pictures. Name credits are based on the username on flickr/wikimedia.
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