Seoul, KTX Station - Silloam Sauna & Jjimjil
I would never have found this place for you guys if I hadn't missed my train back to Busan recently. Just so you know, the last Busan-bound KTX leaving Seoul on any given night is at 10:30. Anyway, 10:40 is too late ㅠ.ㅠ
Fortunately, the helpful lady at the information desk in Seoul Station was able to direct me out the back of the station to Silloam Sauna, which I definitely had my doubts about. I mean, how many cheap and still nice places have you ever seen around a big station? Though I was worried, my other option was to stay in a motel, and I'm really glad I took the chance on Silloam.
From the outside, Silloam is unassuming, you might even miss it if you're not looking for it. From Seoul Station, you should exit to the northwest (sort of the back, to the right if you're looking at the ticket windows) and walk through or around Lotte Mart. From there, you'll see the overpass at the large 4-way intersection to the right just ahead of you - you should be able to see the sign on the side of the Silloam building as well. Walk across and then up the ramp and you're there.
Inside, the sauna is nice but, when I was there, not the cleanest. I entered around 11pm so I'm sure they clean at night, but anyway, it gets the job done. There are quite a few interesting tubs (yellow soil, wormwood, charcoal) and "sweating rooms" (infrared, jade, super-hot salt scrub room) inside the sauna, though I didn't take the time to enjoy them when I was there. One strange thing is that you can't adjust the temperature of any of the standing showers!
The real surprise came when I ascended the stairs into the jjimjilbang area: there's a LOT here! Again, the rooms contain many unusual materials and are located around the edges of a central room on 3 different floors. The charcoal, yellow-soil, salt, and oxygen rooms are typical, as are the dens (caves, pictured at the left); you can also find something they call elvan (maybe quartz or something?), loose gravel, and a cold charcoal room. There's a singing room, cafe, coffee shop, restaurant, snack bar, PC & game room, movie room, salon/barber shop, shoe repair place, and a little store. You can even participate in yoga free of charge.
I quickly scanned the jjimjilbang for some nice place to sleep and found quite a few nooks and rooms that would have been well-suited (you can get a sleeping pad and blanket from an old guy in one of the main rooms if you sleep here), but figured I ought to head up to the top floor and at least take a look at the sleeping rooms. First of all, cell phones must not be used (or at least activate silent mode) in the sleeping rooms and there's also a "Snorer's room," to minimize disruption to other sleepers! The men's and women's sleeping rooms have 400 and over 300 beds respectively. You'll never have some ajumma's arm flop over you in this place! Each bed is separated by at least a low railing and some have a small wall between them. There are lower and upper bunks each made up with a really thick sleeping pad, pillow, and pile of blankets. Some upper bunks even have curtains for full privacy. Plus the rooms are slightly air-conditioned, humidified, purified, and all the other -ieds you could dream of. It's bliss. I had the best jjimjilbang sleep of my life here, even though it was only 5 hours worth!
Finally, Silloam offers some special services to visitors since they are located near Seoul Station. You can leave your larger suitcases or baggage in a parcel room - ask about this at reception. They will also wash or dry clean your clothes! If you need this service, be sure to allow 2 hours for the cleaning.
서울 중구 중림동 128-104
Seoul, Joong-gu, Joongrim-dong 128-104
Enter from 5am-8pm (use from 5am til 12midnight that day)
Sauna: Adults 7,000 Children 5,000
Sauna & Jjimjil: Adults 9,000 Children 6,000
*5 hours free parking
Enter from 8pm-5am (use from 8pm til 12noon the following day)
Sauna: Adults 9,000 Children 6,000
Sauna & Jjimjil: Adults 12,000 Children 8,000
*free parking for full usage time
Wikimapia of Silloam Fire Pot Sauna
English, Korean, and Japanese available on the Silloam Bulgama (Fire Pot) Sauna website