Dreaming of a quick getaway to one of the most relaxing destinations in Korea, featuring hot springs, cultural sites, and natural beauty? Asan, South Korea is an underrated destination that’s known for its hot springs spas but also has so much more to offer. It’s less than 2 hours from Seoul, making it the perfect day or weekend trip to escape the city for nature and relaxation. This travel guide to the top 8 things to do in Asan will set you up for a memorable trip to Korea’s city of spas.
Top things to do in Asan: FAQs
Why should I visit Asan?
Less than 2 hours outside of Seoul, Korea’s city of spas blends cultural richness, natural wonders, and relaxing experiences. Whether you’re seeking tranquility at one of Asan’s famous hot springs, exploring a traditional Korean village and shrine, or looking for scenic outdoor adventures, Asan has something for you. Although it’s often overlooked by international tourists, Asan provides the perfect relaxing day trip for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Korea’s more popular tourist destinations.
Wondering where else to go on your trip to Korea? Check out my ultimate South Korea travel guide & itinerary, written by a local.
When should I visit Asan?
If you’re visiting Asan for its outdoor adventures, the best time to visit for great weather is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the rainy season is over. In the fall, the Asan Gingko Tree Road comes alive with its bright yellow leaves, and fall colors provide a beautiful backdrop for its many attractions. The Oeam Folk Village has fall festivals that reenact the market from the Joseon period, with performances and local food. If you time it right in the spring, you can even see cherry blossoms adorning the city.
Asan is also a great place to visit in the winter. Korea experiences harsh winters, but Asan has great indoor attractions to warm you up. Its famous hot springs are the best in winter when you can escape the cold by soaking in warm pools.
Winter is a cold but magical time to visit Korea. Check out my guide to 25 unmissable things to do in Korea in winter to see what else awaits you on a winter trip to Korea.
How to get to Asan?
Asan is well-connected by public transportation, making it easily accessible from major cities such as Seoul and Busan. Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel preferences, there are many transportation options to choose from.
- By train: The fastest way to reach Asan is by taking a KTX (high-speed train) from Seoul, Busan, or other major cities to Asan Station. From Seoul, the journey only takes 1 hour. You can book KTX tickets here. They go on sale exactly a month in advance and often sell out, so make sure to be on top of it!
- By bus: Intercity and express buses also connect Asan with major cities in South Korea. The journey takes about 2 to 2.5 hours from Seoul. You can book express bus tickets here and intercity bus tickets here.
- By car: Renting a car is the most convenient way to reach Asan and have maximum flexibility during your stay. Keep in mind that all foreign travelers must have an International Drivers Permit (IDP) to drive a car in Korea.
There is reliable public transportation in Asan, but it isn’t as frequent or well-connected as in larger cities. If you arrive in Asan on a train or bus, you’ll most likely want to take taxis from destination to destination within the city.
How long to spend in Asan?
Asan is ideal for a day or weekend trip. To visit every top sight on this list, you’ll need 2 to 3 days, especially if you’re relying on public transportation. If you want to visit a few of the sights on this list and have private transportation, you can do it on a day trip.
Where to stay in Asan?
If your main goal for your stay in Asan is to rest and relax, consider staying near the spa resorts. You’ll have easy access to the spas and the environment is relaxing since it’s away from the city center.
If you’re relying on public transportation, consider staying in the downtown area near Asan Station or Asan Intercity Bus Terminal. You’ll be well-connected and within walking distance of nearby markets, shops, and restaurants.
Is Asan safe for solo female travelers?
Asan, like many other cities in South Korea, is very safe for solo female travelers. Like the rest of Korea, it has low crime rates and is a welcoming environment for women traveling alone. You should always exercise the usual precautions and be aware of your surroundings, but you should experience a trouble-free visit to this relaxing city.
Top things to do in Asan
1. Soak in hot springs at Paradise Spa Dogo
Asan is known for its many hot springs, renowned for their excellent water quality. Paradise Spa Dogo is one of the best spas to experience Asan’s hot springs, with different waterpark attractions. There are pools of varying temperatures, minerals, and health benefits, along with attractions such as a lazy river and wave pool.
2. Explore Korea’s largest greenhouse garden
The World Flower Botanical Garden is Korea’s largest greenhouse garden, with over 3000 species of plants and flowers from around the world. This is a paradise for plant and flower lovers, with colorful themed gardens at every turn.
3. Stroll down the Asan Gingko Tree Road
Gingko trees are one of the oldest living tree species in the world, commonly seen today in Korea, Japan, and China. They’re beautiful, huge trees with unique fan-shaped leaves. The Asan Gingko Tree Road is lined with gingkos that are beautiful year-round, but especially in the fall.
4. Visit Oeam Folk Village, a traditional Korean village
This living museum showcases traditional Korean architecture, with well-preserved hanoks lining its charming streets. Visitors can immerse themselves in a 500-year-old traditional Korean village by exploring homes, workshops, and communal spaces that offer an authentic glimpse into Korean village life from the Joseon Dynasty.
5. Find serenity at Hyeonchungsa Shrine
Set against lush greenery, Hyeonchungsa Shrine is a tribute to Admiral Yi, a naval hero known for his remarkable victories during the Joseon Dynasty. The shrine complex includes a memorial hall and statues commemorating Yi Sun-sin’s contributions to Korean history. Visitors can explore the serene grounds, enjoying its peaceful atmosphere.
6. Go hiking for great views at Yeonginsan Natural Recreational Forest
Yeonginsan Natural Recreational Forest offers scenic and tranquil landscapes with lush greenery, winding trails, and stunning viewpoints. The most popular activity is hiking on one of its many scenic trails of varying difficulty, but the area also has a swimming pool, playground, zipline, obstacle course, rental cabins, badminton court, and walking trails.
7. See the beautiful grounds at Gongseri Catholic Church
Known for its distinctive architectural style, Gongseri Catholic Church was the first Catholic church in the region. On a stroll around the church, you can admire the architectural details and surrounding lush forest. Spring and summer bring beautiful flowers, fall brings colorful leaves, and winter brings Christmas decorations that enhance the already stunning facade.
8. Have a black-and-white self-photography experience
At 52-stop Self Studio, visitors can have a self-photography experience that goes beyond the typical Korean photobooth. You’ll be in charge of taking your own black-and-white photos in a quaint studio, and then be able to choose which ones you want to be printed in a frame to take home. You can also try writing a letter to yourself on a typewriter that will be delivered to your home via postcard after the experience.
Which of these stunning sights and unique experiences will you fit into your trip to Asan? No matter what you’re traveling for, from relaxing in hot springs to taking in natural beauty, Asan has something to offer every traveler. You won’t regret taking the path less traveled and visiting this underrated South Korean city.
Need help planning the rest of your South Korea trip? Check out my ultimate South Korea travel guide & itinerary, written by a local.