sauna

Jimjilbanging: It’s kind of like eating kimchi, but you’ve got to get naked.

 

ktfac
photo credit

Korea is lovingly known as The Land of Kimchi, but I argue the slogan could lose kimchi and replace it with jimjilbang and no one would throw a fit. Kimchi and jimjilbangs are both well-known elements of Korean culture. Jimjilbangs are large public bath houses (mostly gender-segregated) and can be found on almost every street in Korea. Some are more fancy than others, but most have a handful of hot baths, showers, saunas, massage tables, lockers, sleeping areas and social meeting spaces. Jimjilbangs are usually open 24 hours a day and many people visit them to bathe, relax and sleep. Most rooms, including the saunas, have special minerals, woods and stones to create a soothing sanctuary and provide elements of traditional Korean medicine. The Korean jimjilbang is a familiar and calming oasis for all Koreans. Each is a mini spa that caters to your every need. They are more prevalent than Starbucks shops and you can spend a day in one for the cost of a latte and a snack. They sound perfect, right?


Seoul, Sinchon - Sinchon Rest

Sinchon Rest has a very old feel to it.  For some reason they don't give the women keys at the desk, but the give the men some.  Instead you go in, find a locker, and grab the key from the locker.  The wet area had an assortment of standing and sitting showers.  There were two saunas, one stone and one wood.  For bathes there was a hot, a hotter, and a freezing.

In terms of sleeping this jjimjilbang is amazing, especially for women.  There were sleeping areas right there in the wet area if you didn't feel comfortable going to the mixed area to sleep.  The sleeping room was on the fourth floor and had a large mixed area, as well as a glassed off area with bunks for women only.  There was a small room just for men on the floor below next to the gym and nail/hair salon.

Oncheon’s Heosimcheong – The Largest Spa in Asia


Find A Spa Near You

For our second Korean jimjilbang experience, we decided to go big. The Heomsimcheong Spa in the neighborhood of Oncheon claims to be the largest spa fed by a natural hot spring in Asia. The popular complex, which also bills itself the Grand Hot Spring, includes a full hotel, an excellent brewery on the bottom floor and of course, a full array of baths and saunas.


Shinsegae’s Spa Land


Relax At Home: Premium Massage Chairs

For our first trip to a Korean spa, we choose one of Busan’s biggest and most modern — Spa Land, in the Shinsegae department store. Twenty-two baths, thirteen distinctively-designed saunas, relaxation rooms, steam rooms, foot baths and more were ours to enjoy for four blissful hours.


Dear Korea #064 - Please Stop Staring

Dear Korea #064

Oh jeez, this is really late. I do apologize for that! I hope the not-so-cleverly censored nudity in  the second panel of this comic helps make up for it!


Gyeong-nam, Tongyeong, Hangnam-dong - Tongyeong Haesu Land


Gangwon-do, Sokcho - Cheoksan Hot Springs

Seoul, Gu-eui dong - Gangbyun (Riverside) SpaLand

After reviewing a post and comments from you lovely readers I found a new 24-hour jjimjilbang not far from the Jayang-dong Happy Day Spa. This new find is called Riverside SpaLand (강변스파랜드) and gets 10 stars on Daum, but only 5/10 on Naver. You can find it just behind the East-Seoul intercity bus terminal (동서울 종합터미날), out exit 4 from Gangbyun Station. From the looks of the building it seems like a nice, large facility. The jjimjilbang shares the building with Sungjin Leisure Sports health facility. Check out the Official Site of Korea Tourism's page about Riverside SpaLand as well.

Jeonju, Joonghwasan-dong, Hyoja Bridge – Spa LaQua


Wow. I will have a lot of words for this Spa, and “wow” is a good place to start. Firstly, it’s hard to get to by bus. I would not really recommend that since Jeonju is so small anyway. I just took a taxi from the Gaeksa Area (main old downtown, not far from Hanok Village and the fun walking streets). If you cab it, just say “Hyoja da-ri, Gwang-jin Het-bi-chan Apart” and get out near building #101 (효자다리, 광진햇비찬 아파트 101동). I know that's not easy, but it will be well worth it. You can’t miss the giant orange rectangular building on your right from there!

Jeonju, Deokjin-dong, Jeonbuk University - Lespia Sauna


This sauna didn’t look like much from Daum Maps’ street view, nor did it when Iwalked up the street in person, but it’s in a great location just off tons ofbus lines and on the skirts of the busy, popular Jeonbuk University area. But Ithought I’d give it a try~ and I’m glad I did! It turns out it’s a nice,neighborhood jjimjilbang with friendly staff and quiet weeknights.

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