Seoul has a small but pleasing range of ways to keep sport nuts entertained, as well as simple exercise equipment on almost every mountainside, as well as in parks, and dotting the banks of the Hangang and other waterways.
Seoul has two main professional teams: LG Twins and the Doosan Bears, long-time rivals who both play in Jamsil Baseball Stadium. Games take place most days from April to October, and tickets can cost as little as W3000. Avid players can get some practice at a number of batting cages dotted around the city, particularly in student areas.
If you want to watch some K-League action, catch FC Seoul at the World Cup Stadium (wwww.fcseoul.com; weekends March–Oct); every now and then foreigners can buy special tickets that include a free beer. Seongnam and Suwon, the two most dominant Korean teams, also play near Seoul; the atmosphere at all grounds is fun but they can be on the empty side, unless you’re lucky enough to be around for a major international game (wwww.fifa.com). Those who prefer to play rather than watch can try their luck with the highly competitive foreigners’ football league (wwww.leaguelineup.com/kffl).
In winter you can skate outdoors at various points in the city: Seoul Plaza and Gwanghwamun Plaza turn into a gigantic ice-rinks for the season (usually mid-Dec to Feb; 10am–10pm). There’s also a year-round rink in Lotte World (10am–9.30pm). The cheapest option is the Olympic-size rink at Korea National University (2–6pm); it’s within walking distance of Korea University subway station.
Unless you’re staying at a higher-end hotel or serviced apartment, you may find it tricky to get a swim in Seoul. There are municipal pools in most parts of the city; enquire at a tourist office for your nearest option. In summer, a number of outdoor pools open up around the Hangang; most convenient are those on Yeouido.
There are a number of ways in which foreign visitors can have a go at the Korean martial art of taekwondo. Training sessions have in the past taken place at Gyeonghuigung palace, but had been shelved at the time of writing. Tourist information offices are the best places to ask about taekwondo action, including longer programmes. There are also occasional performances and tournaments at the home of Korea’s national sport, Kukkiwon (Mon–Fri 9am–5pm; free), a hall near Gangnam station.