Thursday, June 25, 2009

Onyang-oncheon (Asan)

Lodging: Yes, walk to the left when leaving the station
Tourist Office: Yes, in the square in front of the station
Of Interest: Multiple spas based around the local hot springs, City Tour (really county tour, on weekends)
ATM: To get to the nearest station, walk straight out from the station
Computer in station: No

Oncheon is Korean for hot springs. Onyang oncheon is one of the more famous hot springs areas in Korea. It is also one of the hottest. The local hotels in the area all have hot springs in their basements. There is also a famous sauna near the train station. The train station and the hot springs are at the edges of Onyang's small downtown. There is a pedestrian area that starts one block north of the station.

The tourist office is in the plaza to the right of the train station. A tour of the Asan area leaves from this plaza on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The most significant stops are at the local folk museum and a confucian shrine which is partly dedicated to Yi Sun Shin, an admiral who is famous for repeatedly defeating the Japanese when they attempted to invade Korea between 1592 and 1598. He grew up in Asan. There are several monuments dedicated to him in the area as well as a yearly festival.

Onyang-Oncheon is on the Janghang Line that runs south from Seoul and then curves west at Cheonan to run through South Chungcheong Province to the coast then south to Gunsan, then east again to Iksan where it turns north to Daejeon (Seodaejeon Station). The line almost makes a circle around the Geum River. If you are going to Iksan or Daejeon, it is quicker to go to Cheonan-Asan (KTX) or Cheonan Stations (Saemaueul and Mugungwha) and change trains. Cheonan is fifteen minutes away, Pyeongtaek half an hour, and Suwon forty-five minutes. This trains stops at two locations within Seoul, Yeongdeungpo (an hour and fifteen minutes) and Yongsan (an hour and a half). These are most of the stops on this train. Korail assumes that people will take the metro within cities in Gyeonggi-do.

Going away from Seoul, Yesan is fifteen minutes away. From here there start to be significant differences between the time by mugungwha and samaeul as the mugunghwa stops at some of the smaller locations that are served by the metro closer to Seoul. Hongseong is half an hour by saemeul and forty-five minutes by mugunghwa. Trains to Daecheon take an hour to an hour an a half to get to that coastal town. Janghang used to be the end of the Janghang line, and it takes between an hour and a half and two hours to get there. Add fifteen minutes to that time to get to Gunsan.

Onyang-Oncheon is also on line 1 of the Seoul Metro. This line runs alongside the Janghang line from here to Yongsan Station. Sinchang, one stop away, is the end of the line and the location of Soon Chun Hyang University. (I used to work for them.)

No comments: