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Thread: Badminton In Seoul
08-19-2007, 04:34 AM #1
Badminton In Seoul
I was in South Korea this week and I must thank BC member 'event' for making it a great visit. I was desperately seeking a place to play and, unless you know Korean, it's quite difficult to even begin searching for a place to play 'baeduminton' in Seoul.
I think it's a good idea to share with everyone in BC what 'event' told me:
This place is likely the closest to you and the easiest considering the language barrier. However, I don't know whether the club is still going nor whether there are any good players. The best chance to find good players is to stick with a Korean club and try to get by the language barrier. I'll include some links here to Korean sites with phone numbers and, in some cases, maps just in case you have a helpful concierge or someone else to help.
Another place to try might be the Shin Yeon Club, which plays a little farther up the same road at Shin Yeon middle school. That is a club with 90 members and they play from 7-10PM.
Another place that is the same distance away is the Seodaemoon-gu Moonhwa Hwoe-gwan(서대문구문화회관/西大門區文化會官). It is has a listed club that plays in the mornings. I thought there was a club that played there in the evenings too, though. The gym is on the 3rd floor of that facility.
Probably the easiest one for you to find would be the one at Hongik University, which is within walking distance (a few hundred metres). I can't see when it plays, though.
The other one is this place. It is a dedicated badminton gym with 12 courts. I think you get in with a 3000 or 4000 won fee and it's open from 6 to 11 each day. It's a little far but it's big and you don't have to feel uncomfortable about showing up at a club. To get there, just hop on bus #6712 going toward the river (should be a bus stop opposite your hotel). It's 12km and should take about 45min.
Most clubs will let you play once or twice without troubling you about membership so that shouldn't be a problem as a visitor. If you're good, you should have absolutely no problems getting games regardless of the language barrier. The clubs generally have membership fees, which contribute toward both gym rental and monthly drinking excursions but I've never heard of a club trying to recoup anything from a visitor in the form of a guest fee. Instead, they generally just let you play once or twice and then the treasurer takes you aside for a membership pitch. The Magok badminton gym is different. It is a public facility that is operated by the city and charges an entry fee that is likely subsidized.
The place I went to was the Shin Yeon Club (be warned that no one speaks English). There are 9 courts, good changing facilities, an endless supply of cool water, plenty of good shuttles and an abundance of good players, including a couple of excellent women players. If you're the run-a-lot type, please note that the courts are drawn so close to each other that there isn't even room to walk between the courts.
I played there for 3 nights and got along absolutely fine with just the language of badminton. They play the old point system but with game point at 21.
Although the entry fee was KWN 2,000 per session (just over USD 2.00), they refused to take any money. I believe it was because I obliged just about everyone who asked for a game . However, I did drop KWN 10,000 in the collection box at the club - come on, USD 10 for 3 sessions isn't a big deal. The ladies even took turns to give me a lift back to my hotel every night. Thanks a ton to my Korean friends for the warmth and courtesy.
Thank you Event for making all this possible.
08-19-2007, 12:17 PM #2
Well thank you, oldhand, for the feedback. It's good to know that it wasn't too difficult to find and fit in. I myself play so rarely in Seoul so I have to rely on online listings plus my knowledge of the geography and what I know of clubs in general to give any advice, which I've done many times. You are the first to tell me of your experiences. I'm just glad they were positive.
08-19-2007, 02:33 PM #3
11-12-2007, 06:36 AM #4
I'm going to be in Seoul in Dec (from 3rd to 22nd), and will be desperate to play, so if anyone wants to let me tag along to their club, I'd be very grateful
I play at a reasonable league standard and don't mind travelling a bit.
Cheers and thanks
11-13-2007, 02:18 AM #5
If you manage to find a place to play close to where you stay, remember to give yourself at least 10 minutes to hail a cab, 30 minutes to reach the location and another 30 minutes to find the exact place.
A few on-court tips:
1. Pay the entrance fee (if there's one) upfront - there might be a collection box
2. Wait to be invited to play - else you might be breaking up a family game
3. Do not reject a partner - play with whoever steps on to court with you
4. Remember to bow to everyone on court after the warm-up and before the game
5. Most players have a habit of knocking your racquet with theirs after winning a point - use your cheapest racquet if you're sensitive about this (I am)... if you're the lose-always sort, this doesn't apply
6. Do not change clothes in the open areas - no one likes Tarzan anyway
Finally, DO NOT take a taxi from the airport to anywhere.
Use the bus.
It's grossly cheaper, as comfortable and as fast as the cabs.
(PS: As a foreigner, I could be wrong or prejudiced on many counts - event is the best guy to explain.)
11-13-2007, 04:29 AM #6
Playing is always possible but if you'd like to be a spectator too, unfortunately you'll miss the Suwon International Challenge by a day. The nationals might be on while you're here, too, but then they might end up being later because of the SS finals.
Last edited by event; 11-13-2007 at 04:32 AM.
11-13-2007, 07:01 AM #7
Thank you very much for the replies guys, shame about missing the Suwon Int'l, maybe I can change my flight
Event, I'll let you know closer to the time where I'm going to be.
11-14-2007, 06:06 AM #8
About the Suwon International Challenge - if you or anyone makes it - it is extremely easy to get to from Seoul. Just go to Sadang Station on the #4 or #2 line, go out exit #4, and keep walking until you see the 7-11 (See first .jpg), in front of which you hop on the 7770 bus (there could be a huge lineup for the bus but you won't wait long as the buses are very frequent). The bus shouldn't take much more than 30min from Sadang.
As for where to get off, it is right after a popular stop, Hanil Town, for which the announcement should sound the same in Korean as in English - "han-eel ta-oon" and "Sam-sung home peu-luh-seu" - basically English. Once you hear that and see the department store on the left with its big pyramid-shaped spire, push the button for the next stop as the bus turns right and you see the sports complex on your left. See the second jpeg for the location of Suwon Indoor Gymnasium, the tournament venue.
Last edited by event; 11-14-2007 at 06:09 AM.
12-04-2007, 07:43 PM #9
I'm here in Seoul, at last! Unfortunately, I'm quite far from Suwon, the other end of the city in fact so I don't think I will get out to play at your club. And I just missed the big tournament too! Too bad, I love watching top internationals play live.
Anyway, I'm staying in Dongdaemun-gu, in Jang-an-dong, so if you know of any clubs that play near here, I'd be very grateful for any information.
Thanks, and hope you enjoyed the tournament.
12-05-2007, 05:16 AM #10
Yes, the tournament was thoroughly enjoyable, thank you.
The nationals were to have been held next week but they have apparently been cancelled, so you won't even have the opportunity to catch the best in Korea play each other.
As for clubs in Dongdaemun-gu, unfortunately, the best listing of clubs has disappeared since Oldhand came to town and so I have only a bit of information for you from this short list, all in Korean, of course.
One option, if you're available during the day, is the Dongdaemun-gu Indoor Gymnasium in Jangan-dong. You can play there from 9AM to 1PM with the Sky Club members. There are apparently 9 courts and 50 members in the club, which probably means that other non-club members or another unlisted club share the facility. The directions are here (in Korean, of course) but it's near Janganpyung Stn on the #5 line.
12-05-2007, 05:24 AM #11
hey dave, good to see you're not slacking off on your badminton even though you're on holiday.
see you back in london in the new year!
12-05-2007, 05:29 AM #12
12-05-2007, 07:09 AM #13
12-05-2007, 07:30 AM #14
The YMCA club on that list is also in Jang-an dong. It is at the Goomin Chaeyook Centre (directions in Korean again) right near Anpyung Elem. School. There are 4 courts there and they play in the evenings from 7 to 10.
Again, I have to reiterate that I have no firsthand experience with these clubs. The only person I've heard from who's played in Seoul is Oldhand and the club he played at is a fair piece (about 15 subway stops incl one transfer) from Dongdaemoon.
Last edited by event; 12-05-2007 at 07:35 AM.
12-05-2007, 11:40 AM #15
12-05-2007, 07:14 PM #16
Thanks for the info, Event. I will try the two clubs you mentioned. I'm sure they'll be fine.
Anytime you're in London, you're more than welcome to come with me if you'd like a game. And don't bother about bringing a racket, I have plenty you can borrow.
12-05-2007, 07:25 PM #17
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