Living in Seoul means that there are about a million different activities you can do. A couple of months ago, I first picked up tennis. I started on a bit of a whim, but enjoyed the lessons so much that I’ve continued since. It’s a great way to stay active while also keeping distance from other people, which looks like it will be a necessity for much longer with this pandemic.
Tennis in Korea is not one of the cheapest hobbies you can do, but if you know where to look then you can find lessons at very reasonable prices. By luck, I was able to come across a little indoor tennis academy called Bong Tennis, which is located in central Seoul, not far from Dongdaemun. The academy is open almost all day, from 5:30 to 22:00 without breaks. Lessons are 20 minutes long, followed by 20 minutes to practice with the ball machine. The academy accepts students for 1-1 lessons or 2-1 lessons.
The lessons are really accessible even for beginners – my tennis experience is limited, and my hand-eye coordination is not the greatest! Despite my setbacks, I was able to get into it quite quickly thanks to the instructor’s great coaching.
The instructor teaches at a fast pace. Don’t expect to catch your breath until the 20-minute lesson is over – though the lesson is short, you’ll make the most of every minute! At first the lessons were a little more forgiving, but about a month in, they turned into a real cardio workout.
As the academy provides racquets and tennis balls, it’s really convenient to simply swing by for a lesson. All you need is comfortable sportswear and a good amount of energy, and you’re good to go. As Korea’s weather can be quite intense, whether that’s the summer heat, rainy season, or the cold, cold winter, it’s a definite bonus that this is an indoor academy.
The instructor does a great job at teaching tennis, focusing on correct form from the beginning. This ensures that you build a solid foundation before moving onto more advanced aspects of tennis. He’s very animated and is not afraid to use colourful language…but always in a friendly way! The instructor is quite frank in his manner and will be honest with you if you ask about your progress. Once you’re ready to go out and play on the courts, he’ll let you know (I’m certainly not there yet…). I’m not sure if he speaks any English, so I’d recommend at least a basic level of Korean!
Although I’m sure there are a lot of great tennis studios all around Seoul, I’d definitely recommend this place if you don’t live too far away. It’s not easy to get a spot, as the schedule is often fully packed. If you’re lucky enough to snap up a spot, I wouldn’t hesitate!
The place is easy to find. The nearest station is called Cheonggu Station, to which you can walk from Dongdaemun. It’s located a couple of minutes on foot from the station. The place is hard to miss: there’s a lifesize (and oddly pixelated) cut-out of a tennis player in front of the entrance. At the entrance you can just head straight down the stairs and enter the academy.
Inside, there’s a changing room and a shower/bathroom – it’s certainly nothing fancy, but it does the job. Given the tight turnaround with the lessons, I’d recommend just showing up in your tennis gear, though. There’s no outdoor court here if that’s what you’re looking for, but it’s definitely a great option for indoor tennis lessons.
After your lesson, be sure to visit nearby Dongdaemun and enjoy the rest of your day. There’s plenty to do in the area. You could visit the Dongdaemum Design Plaza, the traditional market, or get even more exercise in the area.