Our last day of road tripping was to Asan Spavis….. I wrote an article for the Stripes about this one, here it is!
Half Off at Asan Spavis
Recently Molla Korea posted a series of discounts on their Facebook page; most designated just for USFK (United States Forces Korea) members. Ever looking out for my comrades here on the ROK, I decided to try using my privileges at Asan Spavis. Verified! I received 50% off as Asan Spavis ! When checking in with my two children I showed my ration card with its giant USFK logo to ask for the discount. I don’t believe there is currently an expiration date for the discount; as far as I could tell it is the new policy. They also offer a 30% off Pyeongtaek resident discount. This could change with the seasons, so go now!
Asan Spavis is a large indoor / outdoor waterpark and Korean sauna using oncheon (hot spring) waters. There is no jjimjil, however, so if you are used to the Korean relaxation halls accompanying your sauna experience don’t expect it here.
On a Thursday morning in March my two children and I were the ONLY people in the women’s locker room and sauna. If you’ve not been to a Korean sauna, this is a wonderful one to start. As with all Korean saunas, genders are segregated and you are expected to be nude; children 4 and under can go in the women’s with mom. Bring a little basket of bathing supplies, go in and find a shower head (seated or standing) and scrub, scrub, scrub. Get CLEAN! Once you are spotless, and pulled up your hair, you can get into the many hot tubs and dry rooms. Asan Spavis had seven indoor tubs, two outside and four dry rooms. Some were themed like the ginseng bath or the green tea bath, while most were simply the oncheon waters at different levels of hot. There is also a freezing cold tub for dipping. My children love the sauna; it is a very family friendly activity.
a snarky pic inside the sauna because it was empty.
After a bit of sauna lounging, we put on our swim suits and found ourselves to be the only people swimming and playing at the waterpark! There is a large indoor kids water play structure with warm water and slides. There is also a large adjacent bade pool where I did my water workout circuit while the kids played. Actually, I mostly sat on the underwater massage jets with my ball cap on. Yes, like other Korean pools, you need a head covering. Kids should have a swim cap (you can buy them at the facility), but grownups can get by with a ball cap keeping any long hair pulled into a bun.
the bade pool
Outside is a large oncheon area with multilevel hot tubs, a large swimming pool, a small baby pool, a swim-in cave, and a couple short slides under construction. The kids and I ran out through the freezing air to hop in the warm water, and it felt so good. Again, we had the place to ourself except for the lifeguard who was obliged to follow us around.
Back through the indoor area is the outdoor waterpark; half of which was surprisingly open in the winter! The large pirate ship themed spray-play-slide complex was shooting warmish water into the freezing air. My daughter found it refreshing and fun until she joined my son and I in the area hot tubs; after that it felt too cold. There is also a short, covered, sometimes-wave-pool lazy river around this area, but we needed life vests. Inside, I shelled out W6,000 (W4,000 + W 2,000 deposit) to rent a couple for the kids and we went back to try it. The guard then indicated that I also needed a life jacket, which I regarded as simply idiotic; the water is waist deep and there are gigantic yellow inner tubes floating around. He shrugged and laughed at my, “nope, I can swim” as I jumped in with the kids for a loop around. Later, I wasn’t so lucky when a different guard insisted I stay out and freeze as I watched my kiddo’s head off into the churning river. I suppose there is always something “not quite right” here in Korea. My suggestion is to just skip it. It is short and not worth the money paid for renting life jackets.
Sufficiently frozen, we went back inside for some food. During our mid-week visit the cafeteria was closed, so the food options were limited and overpriced. Without a choice, we dressed and got some lunch out in the common area while our skin recovered from its pruning. If you go mid-week it would be prudent to simply pack a small lunch.
We then did it all over again! By the afternoon, a handful of Korean people had joined us, but none with such enthusiasm as my kids.
The discount made this place a really good value. I would not deep it worth paying full price. The usual fee is W37,000 adult, W28,000 for kids, but the discount brings it to a reasonable 18,500 for adults and 14,000 for kids. You may choose the sauna only for W9,000 adult, W7,000 kids before the discount, and that would make a lovely cheap relaxing afternoon. Prices go up during peak season in the summer when an expanded outdoor waterpark with a beachy wave pool and large slides is in operation.
Asan Spavis is easy to get to from Camp Humphreys or Osan Air Base. Drive south on route 45 (there is a right entrance from little 1 just south of Songtan), be sure to take note of the two ramps route 45 takes to join and then depart 38 and 34, follow signs for Asan Spa and turn right onto dinky road 628. Don’t follow signs for Asan – it is a city a bit further south, while Asan Spa is a tiny town with Asan Spavis and a ton of hotels. Coordinates: [36.855644, 126.98059]
If you want to stay over for an early start, the Woowa 우 와 Hotel at the top of the hill has a wonderfully new feeling with lots of amenities in the room and oncheon water in the bath, plus the attendant spoke English and offered us a great walk in rate. We paid W40,000 on a Wednesday evening in March for one of the semi suites; each room has its own art theme. Most of the hotels have their own small oncheon sauna in the basement that is included in your nights stay.