Ahh, yes. In my childhood, I was surrounded by pools, or at the very least, ways to keep cool in the summer. There were private pools, town pools, pools at friends houses, rivers, lakes, and the shore. My personal favorite, though, was water parks. Although I have never been a strong swimmer, I prefer water parks over amusement parks any day.
When I first arrived to Korea, it was late May and already sweltering. The summer of 2015 felt brutal. I was lucky to have had the opportunities that summer to be in water in Taiwan and Thailand. However, back in Korea, all I could find was Caribbean Bay. Lucky for me, tickets were *relatively* cheap as a foreigner, but a minimum of 40,000 won each trip definitely added up.
Fast forward three years. I had been lucky to experience Caribbean Bay and the beach at Boryeong. However, it wasn’t enough. Perhaps I might be the last to know, but a friend told me about the pool in Jamwon. I went last weekend, and I’m officially obsessed.
Getting there wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Once you get off at Jamwon station (line 3, orange line), get out at exit 5 and follow this map.
You’re going to need to go through a tunnel. I posted this because it was a little hard for me to see at first when I was going.
Once you arrive, you can use cash or card for admission. If you go before 2:00, it’s 10,000 but after 2:00, it’s only 5,000. I went slightly after 2:00 and stayed until closing. I definitely felt as if I got my money’s worth.
It’s worth mentioning that you must (no exceptions) wear a swimming cap in the pool at all times. They definitely are on the look out for this, so come prepared. I didn’t go out of my way looking for it, but I’m sure you can buy one there upon arrival in case you forget. You also can’t wear sunglasses in the water, which was a bit frustrating as I’m super light sensitive. Oh, well. For 5,000 won, I’ll take what I can get even if it means I have to squint and look like a massive dork.
While anyone in Korea knows how people-y places get, whoever planned this pool was very smart. There are three giant pools, and one (which is super big) is for adults only. No, it’s not just for swimming laps. Hooray for lazy people like me! It also doesn’t really have varying depths or a diving board like many pools back in the states do.
You can get a chair (good luck), score a spot on the ground (plenty of available umbrellas for that), and you can even bring your own tent. See? This is what I love about Korea. I love the whole tent thing. I wish I thought this through before going, but we were in the water so much, that where we put our stuff didn’t really matter. I left my bag under my umbrella (like everyone else), and it was fine. Obviously, practice common sense and leave your valuables tucked away deep in your bag. Bathrooms are meh (think typical park trailer bathrooms), there is a large tent for changing, and showers are outside. It was very common for people to bring all their shower stuff and just shower outside with their bathing suits on.
Did I mention it has this really cool thing?
After every 45 minutes, you have to get out of the pool for 15. This is a perfect opportunity to grab some food. There are snacks, coffee, gelato, sandwiches/wraps, and of course, fishcake. I was surprised at the western options. I got a chicken wrap for 5,000, and it was quite delicious.
Other than the bathroom (which they really did their best with restocking, it just smells awful because of the kind of toilets they have), the pool was super clean. I would say it was even cleaner than public pools I remember going to in the states.
What I loved most of all was how scenic it was. On the 15 minute breaks, it was great to walk around and check out the view.
Because of its location, I recommend sticking around to watch the sunset.
The pool closes at 7:00, but it’s only a 20 minute walk from Banpo Bridge, It was amazing to see the light show, and grab a cheap meal at one of the many convenience stores on the river. If you aren’t on a strict budget like me, when you get to Banpo Bridge, there’s an awesome food truck rodeo where you can get all sorts of foods, drinks, and snacks. Bonus points for the cute craft tables!
All in all, this is the perfect way to beat the heat in Seoul, and it’s perfect because it’s affordable. Although the pool is only open until the end of August, I plan on going as much as I can before it closes.
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