Spa Girl Abroad: Onyang Hot Springs

Onyang Hot Springs South Korea

I’ve been feeling the pull to venture out for a solo daytrip for a couple weeks now…and what could be better than a day at the hot springs after dancing, singing, playing, “heavy-weight lifting” with 4 year olds all week???

So I ventured off in the AM, not quite settled on which hot spring to go to…I just headed out to Seoul Express Bus Terminal and figured I would wing it.
At the suggestion of my “Korea Sparkling” guidebook (a freebie I picked up at a tourist office), it was between Icheon Hot Springs and Onyang…both a little over an hour outside Seoul.
I asked the lady at the ticket window, “which better, Onyang or Icheon?”
She replies, “Onyang!”…and so I hopped on the 10:10am bus.
I was pretty excited to be off doing something on my own, and somehow got the idea that I was going to some rural area. I was a lot disappointed to see that Onyang looks a lot like… of Seoul! :/
Anyways, the actual Onyang Hot Springs are located inside the Onyang Hot Springs Hotel. I paid 5,500 won to get in, was handed towels and locker key, and in traditional Korean bathhouse style, stripped down to my birthday suit! The layout of the hotsprings is similar to any Korean bathhouse or jjimjilbang, with several baths of different temperatures and wet/dry saunas.
Onyang is the oldest hot spring in Korea, and is supposedly a tourist hotspot. However, I was the only Westerner there and could feel quite a few stares, but I just looked these ladies in the eyes and gave ’em a big smile that said, “don’t worry about me, I’ve done this Korean spa thing before”…
I beelined for the outdoor pool, where the sun was shining and I was thinking, “suntan suntan suntan”. Ahhhh the power of a little sun. I lazed in the pool for a while, then layed out on the ground around the hot spring pool. It felt so good to just allow the healing waters and sunlight do their magic. At one point, a Korean lady offered me her spot in the shade, which I politely declined. It’s so funny how they want to be whiter and us Westerners want to be darker.
My favorite part about the outdoor pool was what I want to call “massage waterfalls”. These are amazing! It was almost as good as getting a deep tissue massage. You just stand in the pool, underneath the waterfalls, and direct the water towards your shoulders, neck, back, tight hammies, anything. This week in particular, my stress had manifested itself in my neck. Fun. Been getting acupuncture all week for it. And I was able to get lots of those kinks out with the waterfall massage.
After a few hours at the springs, I hopped on another bus back to Seoul. Slept like a baby the whole ride home.

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