Indoor Pools – Gwangju

Last updated 19th July, 2014

Remember, you will need a swimming cap.

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1.) Woosan Dong Pool, Bukgu – updated !

2.) Opera Sports Center, Wolgok Dong

3.) Cheomdan Sports Center, Cheomdan Jigu

4.) Kia Swimming Pool, Naebang Dong – updated !

5.) Gwangju Physical Education High School Pool, Unam Dong

6.) Sunglok Sports Center, Nongseong Dong – updated !

7.) The Women’s Development Center, Chipyeong Dong

8.) Gwangju Education and Culture Center for Students, Sangcheon Dong

9.) Hyundae Department Store Pool, Sinan Dong – updated !

10.) Yeomju Gymnasium Pool, Pungam Dong

11.) World Swimming Pool, Munheung Dong

12.) Namgu Culture Center, Bongsun Dong

13.) Namggu Culture Center, Huk Dong

14.) Donggu Citizen’s Fitness Center, Jisan Dong

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1.) Woosan Dong Pool

Schedule for ‘free swimming’ entrance times
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat. 7.30-8.10am, 1-2.10pm, 3.30-5.10pm
Tues, Thurs. 7.30-8.10am, 1-2.10pm, 3.30-8.10pm
* Entrance finishes approximately one hour before pool closing times.

single swim, w4,000
1 month w60,000
3 months w171,000
5 months w270,000

Larger pool: 25 meters; 6 lanes.
Smaller pool: 3 wide lanes; depth of 65 cms.

Phone 062)267-8850

Directions Opposite the Woosan Dong Post Office

Special note
Thanks to Mike Lee for the tip off as to the existence and location of this pool.

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2.)  오페라 스포츠 센터
Opera Sports Center
Wolgok Dong
Ph.: 956-9402 / 1588-0046

This pool is part of a sauna/ spa [jymjilbang] complex. The management are fairly nice but speak no English at all. They do, however, offer nice late hours. They are also open over the lunch hour, and are only closed to lane swimming or “free swimming” for two single hours each day on only three days each week. Otherwise, the pool is yours to enjoy.. despite having the most expensive indoor pool daily swim entry fee.

Hours Open for “Free”/Lane Swimming:

Monday – Friday: 6am – 10pm
– except Mon/Wed/Fri. 7 – 8am, and 7 – 8pm (closed for lessons).
Saturdays 6am – 9pm
Sundays 9am – 6pm
Holidays 9am – 8pm

Single entry: w6,000
One month: w95,000
Three months: w248,000
Six months: w470,000

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3.) 첨단스포츠센터
Cheomdan Sports Center
Ssangam-dong, Gwangsan-gu
Ph.: 971-8888

– 3rd floor, same building as the bowling alley, just east of the Cheomdan Jonghap Hospital, and next to all the seedy love motels. [See images below.]

‘Free swimming’ schedule:
Mon., Wed., Fri.: 5.30 – 6am, 8 – 9am, 12 noon – 5.30pm.
Tues., Thurs., Sat.: 5.30 – 6am, 8 – 9am, 12 noon – 8pm
Sundays: 9am – 6pm

Fee: w5,000
One month’s membership: w80,000

Note: One month’s membership for women can include use of the sauna at no extra cost. Men, however, pay another w20,000. Presumably it’s because men are extra hairy and so just that little extra bit extra completely digusting.

One month’s membership including use of both the pool and health club (or weights room) is w112,000, and is the same price for all types of humans, dwarfs, elves, wizards, and even those filthy, filthy hobbits.


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4.) 기아수영장
Kia Swimming Pool
Naebang-dong, Seo-gu
Just north of the USquare Express Bus Terminal
and across the road from the big ugly new apartment complex.
Ph.: 1566-8430
457-5000 – manager 

Includes a gym or “health club” and a cafe on site.

‘Free swimming’ hours:
Mon. – Fri. 12 noon – 5pm
Saturday 6am – 7.30pm
Sunday 9am – 5.30pm

w4,000 – single visit, ‘free swimming’ (lane swimming)
w60,000 – 1 month – pool membership
[w80,000 – 1 month – pool and gym membership]
w180,000 – 3 months pool membership
w306,000 – 6 months pool membership
w540,000 – one year pool membership

– When cycling, walking, jogging, taking the bus, riding your horse, or even driving past Shinsegae and then the USquare Express Bus Terminal on your left, take the first right.

Pass all the tall new high-rise apartment blocks that replaced the nice school grounds that the girls protested about closing on your right-hand side for about 400 meters.

The first building on the left is the Kia workers’ building, with a collection of small stores through the one door on the right, just past the cafe on the ground floor. If you enter the car-park area, walk past and smile at the nice guard guy on your left, and then go past the shop entrance way, and go straight to the pool office which is now in the middle of the complex on the ground floor.

– The best times to swim here were in the mornings from 8-9am and 11.50-12.30pm M.,W.,F., and, any other time you like when it’s open and there are no classes (ie. Tues., Thurs., Sat. & Sun. mornings, and any afternoon after the lunch break when it gets invaded by squads of Kia factory workers who blast the lanes for 30 minutes or so before all promptly jumping out and then going back to work).

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5.) Gwangju Physical Education High School

One month – w60,000
Personal Locker – w10,000

Free swimming schedule (two lanes available):
6.00 – 6.50am,
7.00 – 7.50am,
10.30 – 11.20am,
6.30 – 7.20pm,
7.30 – 8.20pm.

This is the only pool in Gwangju which has a 50-meter length. It is also the only pool which does not accept single-day swims, but rather requires a minimum of one month’s ‘membership.’ No pressure or blackmail or anything though!

Though previously available for either of only two 50 minute sessions, their daily ‘free swimming’ schedule has graciously, benevolently been extended to your choice of five (50 minute) sessions per day.

This pool is not open on Saturdays.

The nice desk-staff person recommends the time slots of 7am and 6.30pm as having the least number of patrons ‘free-swimming’, averaging perhaps only about 20 people between the two lanes (as against about 40 people at the other times).

Furthermore, most ‘free swimmers’ at all available hours tend to swim for only the first 30 minutes or so, thereafter leaving the two lanes largely empty. (았사! – Yay!)

Near the Rainbow Bridge, to the left-hand side of the road when heading north out of town towards Damyang or Seoul, at the start of the motorway, behind the Biennale park area, and across from the cute lake.

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6.) 상록 수영장
Sunglok Sports Center Swimming Pool
Ph.: 350-5050

Mon. – Sat. 5.30am – 9.30pm
Sun. 9am – 7pm
NOTE: Now open EVERY Sunday (for single day swimming only).

Times when most if not all six lanes are available
(ie. no classes, therefore maximum space available):
Mon, Wed, Fri. 8am – 9am
Mon. – Sun. 12 – 2pm, 3 – 6pm
NOTE: on Tuesday, 7th August, at 4pm, only two lanes were available for “free swimming,” until 6pm.

Single swim entry w5,000
One month membership
(NB: for free swimming Mon – Sat only/ excludes Sundays) w65,000
Three months w185,000

– A sauna is available, as is a health club (weights room) at extra charge for a minimum of one month’s membership.
– This pool can really be very crowded. The best time to avoid the crowds is on an evening on the weekend, and earlier afternoons during the week, the closer to lunch time the better.
– Entry to this swimming pool is relatively expensive, but also provides a good range of hours in terms of both opening times and also a merciful lack of nonsensical ‘‘shut for lunch break’’ sessions. It is also the only pool in town to provide full sized lockers, which is valuable if, for example, you’re going there while wearing an expensive business suit,  chicken suit, or teddy bear costume.
– The children’s/ beginner’s pool is 60 centimeters deep.

Location: Between Yangdong Open Air Market and Kumho Electro World, up the drive next to the large three-way over bridge on “Kyoung Yeol Roh”. Tell a taxi driver you want to go to “Kyoung Yeol Roh Sumgorli, yoh!” (Kyoung Yeol Road three-way intersection, please!) If she/he doesn’t understand that, try “Sunglok Plaza, yoh!”

Alternatively, it’s just around the corner from Sinsegae and then Emart behind you on the right. Cross the road and carry on along the road further towards the southern part of town (about 600 meters past Emart), and turn sharp left at the main road with the underpass, and then go straight until you come to the large three-way intersection with the big foot-bridge (about 400 meters from the corner), passing the ‘Nongsung Dong’ subway station across the road on your right. Ask people around there for ‘Sunglok Plaza Suyoung Jung’ (Sunlok Plaza Swimming Pool) or just say ‘Sunglok Plaza ordi issoh yoh?’ (Where is the Sunlok Plaza?) The building with the pool is at the top of the drive.

Go to the car park at the top of that short drive, and in the building to your left. Go inside and turn right, away from the cheesy “restaurant” (hoff in disguise). Go through the door to the stairs down to the basement, or take the elevator down.

If you travel by subway then this pool is probably the most accessible within Gwangju. Take exit #7.

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7.) 여성발전센터 수영장
The Women’s Development Center Swimming Pool
상무지구 (Sungmu Jigu)
between 시민공원(Citizen’s Park) and 서부경찰서 (Western Suburbs Police Office),
across from 운천초등학교(Woon Chon Elementary School).
Go up the small circular driveway and look for the steps which lead down to the B1
(first level basement) on the left in front of the main door.
Phone (Korean language): 371-8855

요금 Cost: One swim w4,000
One month w50,000
Three months w142,000
Six months w270,000

Schedule: Mon-Fri., 5.30am – 9.30pm [*see below for details]
Saturdays, 5.30am – 7pm

Every first and third Sunday and public holidays, 5.30am – 7pm
NOTE: Closed every second and fourth Sunday.

6 – 8am Classes; women and men
8 – 9am Pool closed
9 – 12 noon Classes; women’s lessons only
12 -1pm Pool closed
1 – 4pm ‘Free swimming’ (lane swimming)

Mon., Wed., Fri.
4 – 6pm, Classes; children
6.30 – 9.30pm, Classes; women and men

Tue., Thurs., Sat.
4pm – closing time, “free swimming” (lane swimming)

– This swimming pool seems to be relatively undiscovered and under-utilised compared to most of the other pools around town.
– There is a small steam room next to the showers in both the men’s and women’s rooms.
– There is a smaller, more shallow pool next to the main one for children and beginners, with a depth of 0.8 meters.
– There is a nice sunny outdoor seating area for your own post-swim power-snacks, and a small restaurant/ snack shop next door within the complex.

NOTE: When viewing this map within the insert in the page here, drag down the map and look to the top left-hand corner to find the Korean wording for the Gwangju Women’s Development Center (여성발전센터).

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8.) 광주학생교육문화회관
Gwangju Education and Culture Center for Students
Ph: 380-8920, 1

Schedule: Mon. – Sat., 6am – 9pm (not including being closed for lunch, 12 – 1pm)
Sundays and public holidays, 9am – 7pm (not including being closed for lunch, 12 – 1pm)

Swimming lessons go on concurrently to ‘free’ (lane) swimming, so any number of lanes may be closed throughout the day, however, all afternoons from 1 – 4pm are completely open, and children’s lessons are from 4 – 4.50pm on Mon., Wed., and Fridays, so Tues., Thurs. and Saturdays are free right through until 6pm.

Location: 상무1동 (Sangmu 1 Dong), opposite the 상무고등학교 (Sangmu High School) on the same side of the road as the 518기념공원 (May 18 Memorial Park).

The pool is two levels downstairs (B2) below ground level (ie. the car park), and to the right.

Website (with good photos, but no English information) here.

요금 Cost:
One swim w4,000
One month w50,000
Three months w142,000
Six months w270,000
One year w510,000

– There is a good cheap Korean restaurant, snack shop and seating area at B1.
– The young woman at the front desk assured me that the stretching sessions at the side of the pool before classes were only for people taking lessons (and anyone else who wants to join in)
(ie. it is NOT compulsory for all people simply doing lane swimming to stop and join in the childish patronizing stretching sessions for 10 minutes before classes start, even if they’re not actually doing classes)
(unlike at the Seogu and Dongu Culture Center swimming pools).

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9.) 현대백화점 광주점 수영장
Hyundai Department Store
Sports Center swimming pool
Ph.: (062) 510-7909 

Free Swimming Hours
Mon/ Wed/ Fri. 8 – 9am, 12 – 3pm, 4 – 7pm.
Tues/ Thurs/ Sat. 8 – 10am, 12 – 10pm, 4 – 7pm.
Sundays and holidays 8am – 6pm

Entry Fee One swim – w7,000
One month membership – w85,000
Three months membership – w242,000

Swimming pool and health club combined membership also available.

NOTE: The department store including the swimming pool is shut for their monthly holiday usually one Monday every month. This Monday changes every month: sometimes it is the third week in the month, other times maybe it is the first week. This holiday date is not decided and publicised until the end of the preceding month.
For Chuseok 2010 the store and pool were shut for the two days of the Wednesday of Chuseok and the Thursday thereafter.

– Of all the swimming pools in town this is the warmest with a resultant murkiness and sometimes a slight lack of clarity of vision within the water.
– The children’s/ beginner’s pool is 80 centimeters deep.
– Hours quoted above are when some lanes of the pool are open to “free swimming”. Lessons are available in and outside those times.
– Pool reception is on the tenth floor inside the actual department store, and the pool is on the eleventh floor. There are relatively expensive but nice restaurants (with great views!) on the ninth level and the noisy bloody food court with the irritating electronic bell-type thing that goes “Ping!” is on the first level below ground (B1).
– In the male shower room there is a small steam room, and also a spa-style hot pool AND a cold water pool.
– Towels and soap are available free of charge in the shower rooms so u don’t have to use your smelly undies if you forget to bring your own.
– When you return your key the receptionist should give you a blue receipt or if you pay by credit card then she/ he [… nah, she] will give you a small white printed docket receipt. If you keep that receipt and collect ten of them (of either colour), you can return them all on your eleventh visit and swim for free. Huzzah! (Assaah!)

Hyundae Department store is on the right-hand side of the big road (when travelling towards the river) directly in front of Gwangju train station, and about 500 meters along. If you enter the main doors at ground level, turn right and take the elevators  to the 10th floor.
If you want to swim on a Monday the department store will likely be closed, so go around to the single door rear entrance/ exit down behind the right-hand side street and take the elevators up.

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10.) 염주수영장
Yeomju Gymnasium Swimming Pool
– AKA “광주실내수영장”
(Gwangju City Swimming Pool)
next to the World Cup Stadium,
between Pungam Jigu and Yeomju Dong
Ph.: 380-6800

Last updated: 7th August, 2012

Open hours
Mon. – Sat. – ‘Free swimming’ (lanes open) 1pm – 8.30pm.
Sundays & public holidays 5.30 –, 9 – 12 midday, 1 – 7pm.

– w4,000 for single entry
– w52,00 per month

Next to and east of the World Cup Stadium, and just around the corner from the Pungam Lotte Mart.

This is a 50 meter pool although unfortunately for the general public we can only swim width-wise across the pool; the length is only opened up for race events. The upside of this general setup is that it is the pool in town with the largest number of lanes, and so consequently it is typically the least cramped, or, least likely to have other swimmers competing for space in your lane.

A further side benefit to the large number of lanes coupled with the depth is that in the deeper end of the pool the swimmers tend to be of a more consistently high ability (and so thus are less likely to get in the way of other higher level swimmers).
– The pool in the room through the far side door is very deep, and is for spring-board diving and for scuba-diving lessons, although if there are no classes on it seems to be available for exploring and quiet, informal use.
– There is a small snack shop outside, and a covered, outdoor seating area for eating.
– Closed on the second Sunday of every month.

* * * * * * *

11.) 월드수영장
World Swimming Pool
Buk Gu
Right next to Dongshim Children’s Park
Ph.: 269-9998

Monday – Saturday 12 – 6pm
Sundays 9 – 6pm

Entry fee: w6,000 – includes sauna room

Notes: Ironically, despite the name, the owner of this pool is less than accommodating to an international clientèle. When I phoned to inquire about the pool, first of all someone I can only presume was the daughter answered and did not know about any swimming pool, and then when the person I guess is both the mother and owner/manager answered, despite understanding my broken Korean language skills enough to give me the times listed above, she did so in such bad grace that it involved shouting, speaking too fast despite my clear and obvious entreaties to speak slowly, and then eventually hanging up on me. That’s just not very nice now, is it?!


* * * * * * *


Lane swimmers beware:
The following pools listed below are the eastern and southern suburban community pools within which one may actually manage to have a nice swim session.
One may also, however, run the risk of either being rudely and quite literally man-handled out of the pool and forced to participate in an aerobics session with the entire rest of the clientèle, or to wait or leave, whether or not one is enlisted or registered for the swim school session which follows immediately after the nearly-naked calisthenics session. It doesn’t matter if your time is limited, or if you’d paid money to use your time for swimming, or if you’ve already done your own stretching exercises. And it doesn’t matter if the “life guards” or pool attendants are usually not actually in attendance within the pool for the majority of swimming hours; this is their job and their duty and they are doing it for your own good, so you will participate and obey and enjoy their ten minute long fast-paced whistle-blowing and stretching routine, or, you will find another pool listed above. Or, you will go back to hiking the local hillsides or watching the telly like everyone else who can’t be bothered with this kind of patronising nonsense.

* * * * * * *

12.) Namgu Culture Center swimming pool
Bongsun Dong

Daily, 6am – 12pm, 1pm – 9pm
Sundays and holidays 9am – 6pm
Note: closed for daily lunch break every day 12 – 1pm

‘Free swimming’ optimum times: Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat. 1.30 – 6pm
Tues., Thurs. 1.30 – 9pm

– One swim – w4,000
– One month – w60,000
– Membership for 3 and 6 months also available.

– The ”culture” center is at the top of the road and just next to Emart in Bongsun Dong, just opposite the Kenya Espresso Café. The front desk where you buy your ticket is just inside the front door on the ground level, and the pool is down stairs to the left of the main entrance.

– This pool is run on pretty much the same lines as the Dong Gu Culture Center in Huk Dong, ie. yes, they really will kick you out of the pool and ensure it is completely empty so that everyone does stretching together for 10 minutes before lessons … even if you are NOT a part of the swimming class.
As a result, the best times for uninterrupted and genuinely ‘’free” swimming are when there are no lessons about to be taught.

– You can pay for membership for a number of months.
– There is a children’s learner pool to one side.
– There is a seating section for the small, only occasionally open restaurant (lunch only I think) and a snack shop just inside the front door to the right. It would be quite a good place for studying enough Korean language so as to write a letter to the manager as to why you’ll never bother coming back here.

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13.) Southern suburbs/ Namgu Culture Center
Huk Dong

Fee Single day swim w4,000
One month w60,000
Membership for 3 and 6 months also available but my guess is that you’ll be sick of the place after a couple of attempts at swimming here. But don’t let my negativity get to you. By all means, go ahead; you can probably time it so that you have some fun times and good exercise before it becomes too drastically irritating. … Good luck!
One month including health club (weights room) membership w80,000

Schedule Mornings, Mon. – Sat. 6am – 1pm
Lessons daily at 9, 10, and 11am
(so compulsory group stretching for all in the pool for ten minutes at the top of those hours)

Afternoons Mon. – Sat. 2pm – 8pm
Lessons Mon., Wed., Fri. at 6, 7, and 8pm
(so compulsory warm-up stretching out of the water at the side of the pool for EVERYBODY for ten minutes at the tops of those hours – yes, including those NOT taking lessons).

On the main road through Huk Dong, on the left when headed from town towards Hwasoon, just past the lights by the bridge next to the river. It is a big yellow building set back from the road and pavement, with the reception desk and the pool on the second floor but the men’s changing rooms and the gym on the third floor.

– The best times for lane swimming are M.,W.,F. after lunch up until 6pm, or Tuesday and Thursday any time after lunch.
– During lesson times the total number of ‘free swimming’ lanes is reduced to one … which is usually full of many people (ten or more) doing walking exercise.
– Yes, they really will kick you out of the pool so that it is completely empty so that everyone can do stretching together for up to 10 minutes before lessons.
– There is a small free minibus which parks out front and travels the local suburbs dropping people off. This also provides a wonderful opportunity to practise Korean for free with very friendly, helpful and fit older housewives and grannies who will try to establish for the nice driver guy exactly the right point on his route for you to get out of the bus.
– There is a small toast and juice bar downstairs on the ground level, on the right as you enter the main doors.
– This is probably the worst-organised pool in which I’ve ever swum. It has the highest number of people per lane, with the biggest mix of levels, and yet there is rarely any lane speed defined by signs at either end, with the result that people of different levels constantly have to avoid each other. The attendants are instructors, not life guards, life coaches, and definitely not traffic wardens, and so tend to play computer games rather than keep an eye on the pool. The male changing-room attendant is a very nice gentleman; however, the rest of the staff only communicates in order to interrupt your swimming so as to kick you out of the pool because they want you to stretch with everyone else. Your fitness and exercise recreational time is better spent working on your stamp collection with some newly met invisible friends.

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14.) 동구국민체육센터
Eastern Suburbs/ Donggu Citizens Fitness Center
Jisan Dong, not far from Sangu 5-way intersection,
very near the city court building,
but towards the start of the road up Mudeung Mountain.

Free swimming:
Mondays – Fridays, (Saturdays pool closes at 6pm)
– one lane open 6 – 7.50, 9 – 9.50, 11 – 11.50am, 6 – 6.50pm,
– two lanes open 4 – 4.50pm,
– all lanes open 8 – 8.50am, 2 – 3.50pm

Free swimming, afternoons:
Mon., Wed., Fridays: 1 – 4pm
Tues., Thurs.:  1 – 9pm
Saturdays: 1 – 6pm

Holidays, Sundays
1 – 5.50pm,
and not open the last two Sundays of December, 2011.

single day swim: w4,000
one month: w59,000
pool and gym membership combined one month: w79,000

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