Health and Well-Being in Oncheondong

Local legend says an old woman with a disabled leg lived here about 1500 years ago. One day she saw a crane limping in a rice paddy. Surprisingly, after 3 days the crane recovered full use of its legs and flew away. Being curious, the woman went to the paddy where the crane had stayed and found a hot spring. After dipping her leg in the hot water as the crane had done, her leg was completely cured.

According to historic records, the Dongnae Hot Springs near Busan, South Korea were hot enough to boil an egg.

The original hot spring house was built in 1691. This replica of a large bathhouse built in 1765 containing two public baths, one for men and one for women, gate and caretaker’s house.

The entire area developed into a village specializing in hot springs. The Spa City of Oncheondong in the Dongnae Province is a popular local tourist destination and has around 3000 restaurants, 222 accommodation facilities and 25 bathhouses.

While out walking around the neighborhood we saw people sitting outside with their feet in the water. It was the Outdoor Footbath.

They remove their shoes, rinse their feet, and take a mat to sit on while soaking their feet in the pool. It is free!

I was curious and gawking obviously so the attendant welcomed me in. A 20 minute soak in the hot springs is the suggested time period to enjoy the benefits: improves blood circulation, helps relax muscles and relieve fatigue, relieves colds and headaches, and is stimulating.

Healthy Options From the Street Market 


This stand was quite aromatic smelling like the Chinese 5 Spice seasoning.

Live shrimp for sale!

Fitness Along the River Parkway

A parkway along the river and under the Metro train tracks is popular with all ages.

There are sports courts and exercise stations intermittently spaced along the trail in use by the local population.

I could barely tolerate the accupressure foot path the first time. The second time was a bit easier. The locals walk it with ease.

Along the river trail.

There was no charge to borrow some bikes.

“…ever slept in the motel “Dream” that kills you…” Not sure what they’re trying to say. Thankfully we are NOT staying at the Dream Motel.

Our motel is in a lane off of this street in Oncheondong. Inside the the large building at the end of the street is Starbucks, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Dunkin’ Donuts as well as several small local cafes.

The hiker craze has overtaken the Busan population. You see them dressed head to toe in their hiker gear with walking sticks.

A Visit to a Jjimjilbang – The Korean Bathhouse

I visited Hershimchung Spa, one of the largest bathhouses in Korea. Korean bathhouses are made of up of two parts: the bathing area called the Sauna – separated by the sexes –  and the coed Jjimjilbang with saunas and resting rooms.  Facilities include hot, lukewarm, and cool baths, dry sauna rooms, fountains, and massage and exfoliation services. The alkali spring water emerges at 110°F to 135°F and has the highest concentration of magnesium in Korea. I have no photos. For obvious reasons, cameras are not allowed.

“Old school” community bulletin board in one of the most technologically advanced nations of the world.

What We Found on the Hill Overlooking Oncheondong

We came upon a temple. The lanterns are for the Buddha’s upcoming birthday celebration.

A colorfully painted pagoda housing a huge bell and drum.

Detail of colorful pagoda.

Detail of beautiful old carved temple door.

The view over Oncheongdong shows the old and the new.

The winter of 1983-1984 my husband and I were three months in Korea visiting missionaries. There has been so much change in the 32 years since then.

Meet You in the Morning next time with more photos from Busan, South Korea.

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