Donghae, Chun-gok-dong - Hwajungwon Sauna

The weather in Ulleung Island turned rough and I had a hard time getting a boat back to the mainland. All the ships were canceled on Monday which caused a slight backup in the number of people leaving on Tuesday, and on top of all this Wednesday, being the last day of the holiday, was booked full. I chose to depart the island to a different city than where I arrived from (in lieu of staying an extra 2-3 days) and that's how I wound up in Donghae... thankfully!

Friends I met on the island had heard about a great 24-hour jjimjilbang and they thought it wasn't too far from the Mukho Ferry Terminal. About halfway between Donghae and Mukho railway stations in Gangwondo, I found the spa that had been recommended to me - Hwajungwon. Firstly, I wasn't even sure of the name and my taxi driver immediately knew what sauna I wanted - large, well-known in the city, I had started out well. Secondly, upon arriving I could tell this place had it all. It boasts a fitness center with yoga, "Wellness Center" and has a large exposed bulgama sweating cave right in the front. So even before going in I knew I'd love this place.

Within the bathing area there are several dry/humid sauna rooms, one round wooden room called the Finland Sauna and another Germanium Sauna (a type of metalloid said to benefit the immune system and combat bacteria). Typical hot, warm and cool baths and shower areas are also here of course. When I was there, this waterfall bath was turned off (but it was later in the evening afterall).

In the jjimjilbang, there's the usual yellow soil, charcoal, ice, lucky stone (geode) rooms, in addition to the large bulgama (fire-pot) sweating cave and another Gemanium room. This bulgama is one of the most traditional ones I've seen lately - it has 2 tiny doors to climb through and several warnings against entering if you have any health concerns. It is VERY hot in here, you've been warned!

Other facilities include men's and women's sleeping rooms, a restaurant, cafe, PC room, singing room, kids play area, sports massage and a hair shop. You can pay for everything inside with your key so you don't need to worry about losing any cash while you're there. Overall, this is a really great place to spend the day or stay the night.

The sports center has a full line of treadmills, spinning bikes, weight training machines, and free weights, and it seems they offer stretching yoga, dance, and spinning classes (probably in response to demand).

Hwajungwon Sauna
강원 동해시 천곡동 878
Gangwon-do, Donghae, Chun-gok-dong 878
Open 24 Hours

Day Rates (Enter before 7 pm) : Adults 7,000 Children* 5,500
Night Rates (Enter 7pm~5am) : Adults 8,000 Children* 6,000
(*Children 3 to 7-yrs old)

Wikimapia of Hwajungwon Sauna