Size of the Air Base
The base is pretty small because it is an unaccompanied assignment but many families (like mine) make it work. As it is a small unaccompanied base they don’t offer many on-base activities for families but things you can enjoy on base are… Swimming pool, heated tennis courts, library, and a relatively new gym. Also, the base does offer Korean language classes if you really want to learn to speak the native tongue as well as day trips to tour the country but your spouse/military member will have to sign you up.
Information about Base Housing
Being that it is unaccompanied, if you are going to live there you must have an apartment off base. The one many families live in is called “Dreamville” and it’s in walking distance to the main gate. When we were living in Kusan in 2015/2016 housing was pretty strict about spouses staying in the rooms. However, regulation is that you can stay in the room up to 30days and then you will have to “leave” (aka stay at “Dreamville”) for a while (but I’m not sure the exact number of days) before living in the room on base again. The rules kind of fluctuate depending on who is running housing at the time so just do your best inquiring to find out how housing is feeling about spouses at the moment.
Suggestions for Neighborhoods
Again, the best option is living in the Dreamville apartments if you cannot stay with your spouse/significant other on base. There is really no other options for Kunsan as it is a remote location.
Local School Information
There are not schooling options really at this time for Kunsan unless you can figure out how to enroll in a Korean school nearby. The best option if you have children in school is to homeschool them.
Employment Opportunities for Spouses
Employment opportunities are low but if you don’t mind traveling off base you can get a job teaching English at Korean schools. Also, if you have great connections, finding a job that lets you work remotely would be best!
Big Companies in the Area
As aforementioned, the area is fairly remote. If you head into town (Gusan) about a 15-20min car ride away that has shops like Lotte mart and Nike but no major companies nearby. Big companies are about a two-hour car ride away near Seoul, South Korea.
The best kid friendly activities are going to the library, playing at the park in the Dreamville apartments, swimming at the pool, and surprisingly shopping at the commissary. The Korean ladies who work at the commissary absolutely LOVE it when children come in. They’ll give them little treats and talk to them which makes the grocery shopping experience with kids much more pleasurable.
Attractions/Places to Visit in the Area
There aren’t many places in the area to visit since it is so remote. Every squadron will go to A-town which is a small place with “dvd guy” (someone who can get you any movie or show.. even before it’s released), “mama’s” restaurant and bars to drink.
Eunpa park also is a great spot to take a stroll or go for a jog. The park has many restaurants around it that are also delicious especially, Paradiso Perduto. It was the best Italian restaurant by far when you’re wanting food that is more familiar.
The best way to discover fun things to do by the base in my opinion is to get scooters with your squadron. When we were there, everyone in our squadron got scooters and we would go out many Saturdays and ride into the town of Gusan and drive until we found a restaurant or bar or a park, just something fun and we all would just hang out there. It may be simple and not thrilling but it was one of my most favorite memories because we never went to the same place twice.
Day Trip Destinations
If you can, head up to Osan AFB for the best food, shopping and access to a bigger commissary and BX. Osan has so much to offer literally right outside the gate of base.
I did not know many names to restaurants as we often would just walk by and try something since many signs are in Korean and not translated However, I do recommend trying Paradiso Perduto by Eunpa Park or “mama’s” Korean food in A-Town.
*disclaimer: The restaurant in A-Town may not be actually called “Mamas” but it’s what everyone calls it.
If you can make a trip up to Seoul/Itaewon South Korea they have the BEST restaurants like.. Linus’ Bama Style Barbecue for when you’re really missing American cuisine. Fun fact: it is owned by a retired American army man. Seoul also has great mexican called Vatos Urban Tacos.
Unfortunately, Korean’s do not do traditional breakfast. There is a café in the town of Gunsan called Drop Top that has fabulous coffee and dessert but you may be able to try your luck for some breakfast goodies. For a traditional American breakfast you will have to travel to Seoul and go to The Flying pan. Basically, Seoul has the best food and anytime you can make it happen.. Go up and visit.
Favorite Places to Shop
There are lots of shops if you head into the town of Gusan. The most popular shopping and my personal favorite is Lotte Mart. It’s a muliti-story shopping place. Basically, the Walmart of Korea but WAYYY better. They have a grocery floor, toys and pets supplies, clothing and shoes, restaurants, nail and hair salons and more.
Favorite Grocery Store
As aforementioned above Lotte Mart is the way to go!
Favorite Nail Salon
The base has a great nail salon just make sure you make an appointment.
Favorite Hair Stylist
There is a fabulous hair stylist right outside of Osan AFB. Trust me, she is worth the trip alone to just go get your hair done. Unfortunately, her shop name is in Korean and I never learned the name. Osan AFB BX has a book that wives have written called “outside the gate” – go buy it. In that book it has suggestions of the hair stylist that I went to. It has suggestions of a few others so trust me, GO BUY IT because it will give you the best options! The book will also tell you allll the fabulous things to do and see in Osan as well as other locations in Korea to visit.
Kusan AFB is definitely not like any other base. With the crazy “sleep shots” and living like college students in a dorm it can be exhausting but the closeness you will have with everyone is unlike anything I have yet to experience. Everyone becomes one crazy-dysfunctional family and it is truly wonderful.
3 Positives about the Base
- It is great spot because you have lots of opportunity to travel.
- The squadron is one big (crazy) family that gets into many shenanigans together.
- There are always many events to attend and the farewells are the most fun you will ever have!