Thursday, December 3, 2009

Korean-style Spa Towel Hat

Hey, sissy! Just come over here! Let me fix your hat...

The towel hat - a necessity for looking like you belong in the jjimjilbang.
Now you can enjoy the benefits of this hat anywhere you are!
BLOG: K-Popped spa towel hat post with instructions

Friday, November 20, 2009

Busan, Centum City, Shinsegae Department Store - SpaLand

Unfortunately for them, Spa Land has no English website.  Unimaginable, I know.  I mean, after all Shinsegae is one of the world's largest department stores.  Whatever guys, don't worry about it...

Actually that's one of the few complaints I had about this place.  5 to be exact; shall we get them out of the way, in a classic bad-news-first way?
1.  The aforementioned lack of a comprehensive English website.
2.  Not enough showers.  Maybe 30 sit-down and only 12 standing ones.  Even on a Thursday evening, there was a short queue at times to rinse off.
3.  Sauna is well-lit...  A little too well.  It's like a doctor's exam room in there! Though I've heard this varies- some have had a similar experience, and I have friends who go often and report sometimes it's your normal dimly-lit bath area.
4.  A couple of times while in the jjimjilbang rooms, I heard water rushing through pipes somewhere.  Not so relaxing.
5.  Minor, but there's nowhere in the jjimjilbang to fill up a water bottle.  Get yours filled in the sauna.

OK, there.  The band-aid's off.  Now for the good stuff.  This place is (as expected) gorgeous.  What I didn't expect was for it to be so different from any other jjimjilbang I'd been to.  Instead of being just an up-scale version of a nice jjimjilbang, this is like stepping into a 5-star, ultra-modern hotel.  Cool, flat stone; glass partitions; restrained decorative appearance; and plentiful meditation areas distinguish both the sauna and jjimjilbang from others I've reviewed.  An open floor plan and high glass ceilings also lend themselves to the modern aesthetic.

At first, you'll notice the grand lobby welcoming you to buy a ticket.  It will cost you 12,000 won for a visit on a weekday, 14,000 on Saturday or Sunday (4 hour limit).  You may notice the lack of screaming, running rugrats.  The first real advantage of this spa: no children under 13 are allowed in.  This most certainly improves the overall peace.  As a side note, there's no sauna-only ticket option, so everyone gets 3 extra fluffy towels and a set of clothes. The locker room isn't really much different from another nice sauna's locker room.  The lockers are full-size, and have shelves and a jewelry rack inside.

In the bathing area you'll start to notice the stark beauty and opulence of the place: lots of small baths, each of a different temperature.  In the center of the room are the naturally-fed hot springs.  One is sodium chloride (salt, benefiting the muscles and joints, as well as other body systems), the second is sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, said to "improve beauty of the skin").  Both have the added benefit of reducing the amount of water absorbed by the skin due to higher concentrations of salts in the water, so you don't prune up!  Now that's nice-uh!

There are also a massaging tub (around 38* with varied positions and a cave), a cool tub (~25*), a cold tub (18*), 2 dry sauna rooms, and an outdoor spa (women's sauna only).  Outdoors are two more naturally fed pools.  They are pretty hot - welcome this time of year, though.  The outdoor area is covered by a slatted wood dome to maintain privacy.  Hint 1: Next to the entrance from the locker room, they provide soaps and natural sea salt to scrub or soak your skin with, and all showers are stocked with shampoo and body wash.

Hint 2: You can pay for anything in the jjimjilbang with your locker key, so don't bother bringing any money up.  Once you venture down the hall towards the jjimjilbang you'll be transported to the hotel I was talking about before.  Let me just list the rooms available to you here, with some description.
Charcoal Room -참숯방
Ice Room - 아이스방 / 어름방
Yellow Ocher Room - Hwang-to / 황토방.  Hot, but comfortably dry.
Hammam Room - 하맘룸, meant to replicate a Turkish-style bath sauna.
Bali Room - 발리룸, an open area with soft floor-mattresses where you can congregate with your friends and loved ones and talk freely.
Pyramid room - angled walls for a relaxing mood, or something.
Roman Room - 로만룸, replicates the feeling of a traditional Roman sauna room.  Warm and very humid, like Korean summers.  Stand over the steamer in the center with your towel over your head for max effect.
Body Sound Room -raised platforms which vibrate with the bass in the calming background music.  Bonus fake bamboo along the walls.
Wave Dream Room - places to lay along the sides, and from the middle lights are reflected through water waves for a meditative, colourful view on the ceiling.
SEV Room - therapeutic ions emitted into semi-private, wooden 2-seater benches lit by dim coloured lights.
Relax Room - an amazing 3-tiered arc-shaped space with reclining leather chairs together by two's, each one equipped with it's own mini TV!
Outdoor foot spa - In the chilly months, don one of the quilted jackets at the entrance to this patio with various temperatures of walking- and soaking-foot-tubs with seats for small or large groups, singles, or couples.
Massage & Therapy, nail shop, cafe & beverages, restaurant, DVD, PC, business rooms.
Turkish Hammam Room - smells A-mazing in here

Yeah, that's all.  Ha!  I only got lost a couple of times.  The restaurant is opulent and offers some great cuisine other jjimjilbang don't (udon with fried Japanese things, bulgogi stew, even the simple Korean foods are high-quality) the therapy room looks top-notch, and the DVD theatre is also fitted with reclining chairs.  Premium.  I highly recommend this place for a special treat - best enjoyed with friends, guests, or in a couple.  Off you go!

                Below: Resting areas in the connecting hall              Relax room's individual TV chairs
Lounging beds in Bali Room                                  Steamy Roman Room                     

Shinsegae Spa Land - right outside the Centum City subway stop on line 2, exit 12.
부산광역시 해운대구 우1동 1495 센텀시티, 1-3층
Busan, Haeundae Gu, Woo 1-dong, 1495 Centum City, 1st-3rd floor
6:00 - 24:00  **Not open 24 hours - closes at midnight - cannot sleep overnight here!**

Basic: weekday - 12,000 / weekend* - 14,000
Early Bird (before 8AM): weekday - 7,000 / weekend* - 9,000
Night Owl: after 8PM Sun-Thurs -7,000 / after 10PM Fri, Sat - 9,000
* means Sat, Sun, & holidays

CNN article about SpaLand (updated 2015)
Sweet Forest: Korean blog entry about SpaLand (start from pic #6, then continue down to see photos of the jjimjilbang)
Shinsegae Department Store (Centum City location) - English, basic, but has a cute map.

Wikimapia of Shinsegae Spa Land

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Daegu, Sinam-dong - Goongjeon Lavender (궁전라벤더)

This is a nice, big jjimjilbang near Dong Daegu KTX station (동대구역).  Just by the looks of the exterior I have wanted to go inside since I first saw it a few months ago.  Quite a few bus lines pass by this building including 156, 401, 414, 521, 618, 650, 708, 808, 937, 980, or the express #1 (급행1).  It's quite a walk from the subway, but would be a basic cost ride from either Sincheon station (신천역) or Dongdaegu station on Line 1.

The jjimjilbang entry fee is 8,000 (5,000 for kids 7 and under) then you head in.  Drop off your shoes then get your clothes and towels inside the sauna.  It's big, don't be alarmed.  Lockers to the left, sauna and counters to the right.  The lockers are in smaller coves to keep some privacy, and the prep area isn't too public.  Inside the sauna it was clear that the building is older, but well kept.  Some of the showers don't have hot water working, but even on Sunday afternoon it wasn't too busy to find one that did.  (There are 30 standing showers and even more sit-down style ones.)

It's a typical sauna: you can relax in various hot tubs, a couple warm massaging tubs, 2 dry sauna rooms or a cold-water tub.  Popular with children, the large cold tub runs the width of the sauna along the back wall and is surrounded in a dark, cave-like atmosphere.  It even has stalactites descending from the ceiling and odd rock formations on the walls (pictured at left).  Their website shows an ice room as part of the wet sauna area.  That's unusual and I didn't notice it while I was there, but I guess it might work.

On a special note, there's a dead sea salt tub (사해탕) that is separated from the main area by floor-to-ceiling glass walls.  Due to the high salt concentration, it's recommended you only spend 10 minutes at at time in the therapeutic, dark blue waters - enjoy it!

You'll have to step out into the cool hallway, uncomfortably barefooted, to get up to the 4th floor jjimjilbang area, but it's worth it.  Up there, the age of the building is less apparent.  The main area is warmly lit and cozy, with a couple of small rooms around corners to provide quiet places for rest.  The mens' and womens' segregated sleeping areas are separated by glass sliding doors, so it seems they may be a bit bright during the night.  All the heated rooms have a twist:  A heavenly-scented lavender room, open lounge-style yellow soil room (황토방), and the usual sleeping caves are instead a roomful of 4" high platforms which have adjustable under-floor(ondol) heating!  Genius, aside from the loss of cave-y privacy.  Even the need for an ice room has been mitigated by the existence of an ultra-cool passageway between the 5th floor lounge and the restaurant/PC room/DVD room/singing room wing.  The restaurant is big and has windows looking out to the smoking area, which is a large patio with resting places and vegetation to keep your mind at ease.  I think there may even be an artificial putting green up there!

궁전라벤더 - Goongjeon Lavender
대구 동구 신암3동 214-12
Daegu, Dong Gu, Sinam 3 Dong 214-12

Rates: 8,000 won for adult
          5,000 won for child

Wikimapia of Goongjeon Lavender Spa

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Busan, Haeundae, Jung-dong - Rodeo Jjimjil Town

I'm expanding the overview on Haeundae.  This entry will include a personal review and more details.

Rodeo Jjimjil Town (로데오찜질타운)
You can find this place in the Rodeo Outlet shopping area south of the Jung-dong subway station. Naver users rated this place 10.0 out of 10 (17 ratings)!

Rodeo is a great place to shop, there are a few good places to eat, and also this little gem.  On the top floor of the outlet stores, a large reception desk greets you.  The dressing room is a long hall with lots of little nooks for the lockers.  That keeps the place cozy and quiet.  It is overall a small place, but very nice and super clean.  When I walked into the bath area, I was greeted by an amazing woodsy smell.  Pine maybe?  Or cedar?  I'm not sure, but it was great.  There are 3 tubs, cold, warm, and hot, and a dry sauna room.  Lots of sit-down showers and 6 standing stalls.  The standing showers are those huge, rainfall shower heads - stellar!
So, like I said, the facilities are a bit limited but what's there was really done right.

To get to the jjimjilbang, you walk through a long skyway across to the other building.  There's an outdoor area with foot spas and doctor fish, but it wasn't open when I was there.  (More info on that coming soon.)  The main jjimjilbang area is a long rectangle with the TV positioned at one end.  Although things are packed in pretty tightly, it seemed to stay quiet - maybe the high ceilings help dissipate sounds.  Anyway, here you'll find the typical cafe, restaurant, rooms of varying temperatures, sleeping caves, and gender-segregated sleeping rooms.  There's a second level on each side of the hall; on one side the stairs go up to the sleeping caves.  Being up above keeps them very quiet.  The other side's stairs lead to the skin care & massage, PC room, children's play area, and the singing rooms.  Also, there were a couple rooms at or just above room-temperature.  I hate it when there are only hot or super hot rooms to choose from.  One room in particular was distinctive:  room-temperature, and the walls are lined with trees.  The outside parts of the tree, like a log cabin but with the bark on.  Surprisingly, it wasn't that uncomfortable to lean up against either, and this room smelled like your grandparent's lake cabin in the summer.

Probably the best part is the fact that this jjimjilbang utilizes the fact that it's on the top floor.  Just outside the entrance from the skyway into the jjimjilbang area there is a garden with platforms to relax on in good weather (pictured below).  Also, the smoking area is a lovely patio with picnic tables out on the other corner.  Because it's open-air and large enough, I could enjoy some time out there as well, without getting second-hand smoke.

I had a nice time there, and will definitely be going back.  Remember everyone:  if you take my advice and visit any of these saunas, please come back and comment or rate them for other readers!

부산 해운대구 중동 1775-7 해운대비치아울렛 401호
Map of Rodeo Jjimjil Town Haeundae

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seoul, Itaewon (Hanam-dong) - Itaewon Land (이태원랜드) Jjimjilbang & Boolgama

Itaewon is a tough area for jjimjilbang or saunas.  I recently went out there and just resorted to the Happy Day spa near Hongdae.  I don't even care to try out the love motels in Itaewon, since there are so many seedy areas around there.  So, I vowed to search for some places you can utilize next time you're in this popular shopping and night-life district.

The first of these entries is Itaewon Land (이태원랜드) just south of the Itaewon station. If you walk straight out of exit 3, take your second right and you'll be staring at Hilltop Yeogwan (힐탑여관).  There will be a large set of stairs up to a traditional Korean building front.   The 5-story Itaewon Land houses basic jjimjilbang rooms (salt, yellow soil, charcoal, ice...) and a nice-looking sauna with wooden baths as well as tile ones.  You'll also find the standard PC room, singing rooms, DVD room, sports massage, restaurant, cafe, and sleeping rooms.  Finally, their website claims 13 small-group meeting or party rooms.

서울시 용산구 한남동 732-20
Seoul, Yongsan Gu, Hanam-dong 732-20
Open 24 hours a day

Rates: 10,000 won

Wikimapia of Itaewon Land Jjimjilbang

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I have now embedded the Share on Facebook link to help all of you easily share this blog with your friends and family. The link is on the left column under the search bar. Enjoy it :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Haeundae Area Jjimjilbang Overview

In this post, I will give you an overview of 6 saunas and jjimjilbang in the Haeundae, Jung-dong, and Jangsan area of Busan.  I'm looking for ratings, and comments about these places as I haven't been able to go to all of them yet.
This map link below will show the whole area with all places tagged.  (The individual map links below will show a zoomed-in view of each building.)

Map of Haeundae area spas

1. Vesta Sauna & Resort (베스타 사우나 & 리조트)

Excellent spa on Dalmaji Hill just north of Haeundae Beach.  A bit off the beaten path, but once you see it you won't regret the walk.
부산 해운대구 중동 1509-6
Map of Vesta Resort Haeundae

2. Haeundae Oncheon Center (해운대 온천센터)
Well-traveled, nice place to stay near the beach.  No ice room, but otherwise well-equipped.  Super convenient location between beach and Sfunz/Haeundae Station.
부산 해운대구 중동 1378-18
Map of Haeundae Oncheon Center

3. Rodeo Jjimjil Town (로데오찜질타운)
You can find this place near the Rodeo Outlet shopping area south of the Jung-dong subway station.
부산 해운대구 중동 1775-7 해운대비치아울렛 401호
Map of Rodeo Jjimjil Town Haeundae

4. Beach Leisure-Tel Jjimjilbang (비치레저텔해수이온찜질방)
This one is quite a ways up the beach, past Paradise Hotel.  If you will be in this area, or if everywhere else is full, it will serve it's purpose though.  It is next to the ferry terminal for harbor tours and overlooks the beach and sea.  I'll have to visit on a nice day and check out the view!
부산 해운대구 중1동 957-2
Map of Beach Leisure-Tel Jjimjilbang Haeundae

5. Haeundae Leisure (해운대 레저)
This looks to be a really nice place spanning 3 floors (5th -7th) of the Sejong World Plaza.  It's conveniently located just outside the Jangsan subway station, exit 3 or 5.  It is next to Primus Theatre, and across from 2001 Outlet and Cinus Theatre.
부산 해운대구 좌동 1479-3 세종월드프라자 5, 6, 7층
Map of Haeundae Leisure/ Sejong World Plaza Building

6. Daeha Ga-jok Gungang Land (대하가족건강랜드)
To get to this place, use exit 10 from Jangsan subway station.  Just walk straight a few minutes to the 5-way intersection.  It will be on your right, before you cross the intersection.  Users on Naver give this sauna a high rating and it covers 3 floors in the building.  Seems to me like this may be a good alternative to the busy Haeundae Leisure at Jangsan.
부산 해운대구 좌동 1461-4 대하프라자 9-12층
Map of 대하가족건강랜드

Thanks!  Please rate or comment below.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seoul, Ja-yang Dong - Happy Day Spa

Another Happy Day jjimjilbang. I found this one while searching for more resources to add to my previous post, Hongdae - Happy Day Jjimjilbang. This spa is located near Gu-eui subway station on Line 2. Take exit 4 and turn right at the first large intersection you arrive at (Jayang Sageori / 자양사거리). After walking about 10 min (~800 meters) you pass the Jayang Apartments (자양아파트) on your right, then you'll see the sauna on your left just ahead.

This 7-story sauna looks equally as nice as the one in Hongdae, certainly with greater space and more services to offer. Firstly, it boasts 365 days (which is not unusual for saunas) of excellent services that include fitness and an indoor screen golf system with pose clinic.

Hinoki wood bath found both in men's and women's saunas

The basement contains a Chinese medicine tea shop. In the main saunas there are Mediterranean-style mineral water baths, a ginseng tub, steam saunas, and a special hinoki (Japanese cypress) wood bath. I didn't know before that these wood baths have a sterilizing effect on the water - interesting! In the jjimjil area, you can relax in various hot and ice rooms as usual, or enjoy the yellow-soil and charcoal kilns. The rooftop is also the site of various aqua-therapy facilities. Closed until further notice.
7th floor: Foot wailing sauna Aqua-therapy baths Closed until further notice

서울시 광진구 자양동 685번지
Seoul, Gwang-jin Gu, Ja-yang Dong 685
Open 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week/ 365 days a year

Rates: 6,000 won - If you arrive between 5am & 8pm
8,000 won - If you arrive between 8pm & 5am
There is also a 1,000 won deposit for robes.
(This cost covers 15 hours from the time you arrive, instead of the usual 12.)

Parking rates: 1,000 won for the first 4 hours
Additional 1,000 per hour for every hour after that

Wikimap of Happy Day Spa

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Seoul, Yongsan - Dragon Hill Spa

This jjimjilbang is on the top of my list for Seoul. I found out about it from a reader who emailed me a while back. She said she can't compare it because since her first visit, she's never bothered to go to another sauna! That's quite the compliment, and from a look at their website, this place deserves it.

It's conveniently located just south of Yongsan Station and boasts 6 floors and a rooftop area. The building also contains the Royal Orchid Spa, featuring a full aesthetics program, the Manhattan Fitness Club, and a large heated outdoor pool. From the photos, it looks to be the epitome of calm and peaceful relaxation. It appears that there may even be a mud bath!

The sauna area has multiple baths including herbal waters and a ginseng pool. Both men's & women's areas have outdoor bathing with several baths available.

Basically, I'd say this place has every amenity you could want. It's definitely also one of the easier spas to experience if you don't speak or read any Korean, since everything is in English (and Chinese & Japanese) too. Since hearing about it and doing this first write up, I've been able to visit for a personal impression. When I was there in the winter, the outdoor swimming pool was closed but the rest of the spa lived up to my expectations. Be sure you bring a swimming suit, as the outdoor pool area looks fantastic!

The sauna and bath area is very clean and modern with lots of sunlight on a bright day. There are so many different places to explore in the co-ed jjimjilbang area you'll never get bored here! The design incorporates the modern with traditional Asian styles to give you a sense of calm while surrounded by historical beauty. Being so popular, this is a busy spa and it was a bit loud to spend the night in most common areas. Luckily with all the space in this place you're bound to find a more private corner to curl up in if you wish.

서울 용산구 한강로동 40-713
Seoul, Yongsan Gu, Hangang-ro Dong 40-713
Open 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

Arriving between 5am and 8pm on weekdays (daytime)
Adult: 12,000 won   Child: 6,000 won

Arriving between 5am and 8pm weekends or holidays (daytime)
Adult: 14,000 won   Child: 6,000 won

Arriving between 8pm and 5am any day (overnight)
Adult: 15,000 won   Child: 6,000 won

Parking and other details can be found in English on their website:
Dragon Hill Spa website

Wikimap of Dragon Hill Spa

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jjimjilbang Videos

To give you more of an idea of what the saunas in Korea are like if you've never been, you can check out these videos.
First is a news report from Al-Arabiya TV showing one that has just opened in Virginia! The only difference I noticed were the tables outside the cafe - western style with chairs, as opposed to floor cushions and foot-high tables.

This one is a Korean commercial for a jjimjilbang. Might want to turn the volume down. (This is a typical Korean commercial, by the way!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Boseong, Yulpo Beach - Yulpo Haesu Nokchatang *Green Tea Bath*

This one is a little secret on the coast just south of Boseong. If you want to see some green in Korea, you must visit the green tea fields (녹차밭 "Nokcha Baht") near Boseong. Then you can take the same city bus farther south to Yulpo beach. The beach was on the small side, a bit grey and full of shells. Maybe not so good for swimming, but then again, I was there in May - before bikini season had begun. It looks from the skyview map that there is a small waterpark on the beach now so you may not even have to get sandy if you don't want to!

Anyway, on to the sauna. Just a sauna, you and your opposite-sexed traveling companions will need to spend a bit of time apart to enjoy this place. It's reasonably priced and incredibly well located. As you enter, you can choose your own locker (some are worn) then head into the baths. Shower off all the sand and sweat, then hop in.

There's a nice, bathwater temp saltwater tub just beyond the ice tub, also saltwater. (You'll likely think it's too cold, but after spending as much time as you can stand steeping in the green tea bath, it will feel great!) The tea was around 41*C when I was there. But I enjoyed going back and forth between green tea and ice water, and I also used a towel soaked in cold water to chill my face.

I saw many women rubbing the green tea foam on their face, so I suppose it's good for your skin. The green tea and warm tubs are on the ocean-side of the building, and the walls are tub-to-ceiling glass so you can steam away while staring out at the receding tide. Sooooo relaxing!

Enjoy the pretty tea fields and various green tea products, and cap it off with a soak, my kittens!

전라남도 보성군 회천면 동율리 678 (율포해수욕장)
Jeollanam Do, Boseong Gu, Hoecheon Myeon, Dong Yulri #678 (Yulpo Beach Area)
Open 6:00 - 20:00 Daily

Adults: 6,000 won
Kids (7 and under): 4,000 won
Seniors (over 65): 4,000 won

Water Park (low season / high season)
Adults: 20,000 / 25,000 won
Kids & Seniors: 15,000 / 20,000 won

(Groups of 20+ can enter the waterpark or sauna at discounted rates)

Yulpo Pool/Waterpark & Haesu Nokchatang website

Wikimap of Yulpo Green Tea Spa

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daejeon, Seodaejeon (Moonhwa 1 Dong) - Sinchon Sauna

This one is tough. I'll be visiting it soon, so more details are yet to come. I scoured the internet, only to find brief references to this place with no real info given. For now, I'll post a map and you can head over to check it out yourself.

I can tell you that via word-of-mouth, I hear this place is decent, and my boss goes there rather often since it's near our school. The building looks big, but I'm not sure how much is occupied by the sauna. Anyway, like I said - more to come soon :)

So, I went there on Thursday evening. Had the place to myself, (save for a few old ladies and two other people in the jjimjilbang!) and just spent enough time to check it out. I'll be going back though.
The Sauna is basic. Basic basic. Just a couple warm tubs, an ice tub, a dry sauna room, and a lot of showers. I gather the main purpose of most peoples' visit is to scrub oneself. The distinctive feature is that the tubs themselves were built with beautiful, natural stones. Instead of enjoying them on the walls, you can feel them right under you.
The jjimjilbang is also basic, but really pretty as well. There is one central area with a TV and snack bar, the ice room (with a cute door like a walk-in freezer!) is on one corner, and the restaurant is in another corner. The segregated sleeping areas can be found lofted in the other corners, and along one wall of that main room is glass with a door. Through that door you'll find the warmer area: an anteroom with TV and 3 stunningly-tiled dome-ceilinged hot rooms.
Overall, it was small, but had such a nice look I'd love to visit again for the cozy feeling.

대전 중구 문화1동 1-182
Daejeon, Jung Gu, Moonhwa Dong 1, Building 1-182

Wikimap of Sinchon Sauna

Monday, May 25, 2009

Daejeon, Manyeon Dong - Dongbangsak Leports

This place is great. It's the biggest jjimjilbang in Daejeon, and not only that - it's one of the loveliest!
Though not exceedingly easy to find at first, it's totally worth the search. If you get the bus towards the Primus cinema, then walk up the road (north-south running Daedeok Dae Ro - 대덕대로) to the very big, very noticeable modern church on the east side of that road (north of Primus cinema, south of the KBS Tower). Turn in at the S-Oil station, putting Chowon Apart. #110 behind you, and walk east for 2 minutes. You'll see the large building on the left side just ahead.

Spaning 7 floors (large floors, not just little spaces), this establishment has done it right. Aside from a couple little things, like some broken toilet-door-locks and no soap in most of the bathrooms, I love it here. The first impression is good - many staff people to assist people coming, going, and getting lockers and clothing. Plus you can see Leports is the only business in this building - must be a good sign. The women's and men's saunas are on separate floors, 2nd and 5th respectively.
Inside the sauna, you'll find a clean area with many lockers, a hydrotherapy room (sitz-bath), nice vanity area, and then the baths. This is where the lovely-ness starts: it's decorated with pretty tiles and agates. There are tubs of all different temperatures (each with its own spout to massage your shoulders), a cooler massage tub, and an ice bath. Then, two drier sauna rooms, the scrub/shower area, and even sleeping caves with infrared lighting! That's unusual in the sauna area. Also, from the locker room, you can access a small loft sleeping area so you can spend the night for only the price of the sauna.
Moving out to the jjimjilbang, you can go back down to the 1st floor to find the first (and quietest) sleeping area and the super-hot cave-rooms. The lovely-ness continues through the building as the stairwells are decorated with historic items, themed pictures, and nice carpets. All the rooms are thoughtfully finished as well.
Back up to the 3rd floor you'll find one of the main areas. This floor has most of the hot rooms, the ice room (small but effective), a large body-temp oxygen room, the snack bar (which has a great variety of drinks, the typical snacks, and lots of cheeses strangely enough), and sports massage. Around this area flows a small stream of water with some waterfalls and landscape dioramas to keep the sound relaxing and natural.

The 4th floor is the theme area, with the PC room, PlayStation room, singing rooms, movie room, children's play area, Korean food restaurant, nail art, and main area (where the free yoga class is held once a day for jjimjilbang guests). This is also one of the central sleeping areas at night.

The 6th floor is the entrance to the fitness center (to use this, you need to be a paying member) and the swimming pool. Typically only for fitness members, the pool is open to jjimjilbang guests during daytime hours on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. It has a waterslide! The last level is essentially the roof, where you can walk on a sole-stimulating stone path, catch some sun, listen to water flowing, and watch the fish. When I've been there, though, the fish pond hasn't been filled. Maybe come summer? Lovely anyway.

Dongbangsak Leports
대전 서구 만년동 330
Daejeon, Seo Gu, Manyeon Dong 330

Open 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

Sauna (day): Adults 7,000  Children 5,000
Sauna (overnight): Adults 8,000  Children 5,000
Sauna & Jjimjil: Add 2,000 won to rates above

Wikimap of Dongbangsak Lesports

Dongbangsak Leports Website
(Best viewed in IE, sorry Firefox/Opera users!)

Daegu, Yongsan Dong - Samjeong Oasis

This is a place I know my friends have gone to. I need more info about it because I only went there once myself (ages ago), though I did walk by it everyday! From their online presence, it seems not to have a jjimjilbang area, so could be only bathing. Also, I would assume it is not open 24 hours, though there is not very much information online about it.

I was told that this place has a nicer sauna area than Hwang-so in neighboring Seongseo. Go find out, and report back. ^^

Yongsan Dong Bup-jo Building Samjeong Oasis
대구 달서구 용산동 230-21
Daegu, Dalseo Gu, Yongsan Dong 230-21

Wikimap of Samjeong Oasis

Daegu, Seongseo (Igok-dong) - Hwang-So 25 Hour Sauna

Hwang-so means "bull" or "ox" in English. When I moved to Seongseo, this was the first sauna I managed to find in my new area. Thank god, because I finally discovered how great it is to get a body scrub! As usual, some of the scrubbers are better than others, but I liked this place in general.

The wet area is basic, with a few different temperature tubs, cold bath, a couple sauna rooms, and a nice wooden bathtub. There's almost always a lot of children in this busy sauna (women's side anyway). Upstairs, the co-ed dry areas are pretty nice. There's a decently-sized free fitness center for use only by jjimjilbang-goers, a good Korean food restaurant, and one large central room with a TV. All of the hot or cool rooms are located just off the central area, and many of them have their own TVs, which makes them a bit loud. I would NOT recommend this place for day-time naps unless you're not bothered by noise.
Most of the rooms are pretty warm, but there is a large ante-room before the ice room where people lay to cool off and watch comedy shows. The sleeping areas are just at the end of the main area and are not protected from sound by any walls. They are super warm too, you won't need any blankets!

Overall, if you like being warm, this is a good place. Plus the location is good, and easy to find. Walk out of Seongseo station exit 7, straight ahead for 2 blocks. It's on your right, just after Lotte Cinema.

황소 25시구들방사우나
대구 달서구 이곡동 1244
Daegu, Dalseo Gu, Igok Dong 1244
Open 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

Wikimap of Hwang-So Sauna

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Seoul, Seoul National University, Bong-cheon Dong - Cheong Ryong Sauna

The Cheong Ryong sauna is very close to the Seoul National University subway stop on Line 2 (지하철2호선, 서울대입구). Take exit 3, walk straight 3 blocks then take a right (in front of the 관악구청/Gwanak Gu chung-office). Walk another 5-8 minutes and you'll see the sauna on your left. It is marked with a blue sign that reads "청룡 24시 불한증막 사우나."

It was a decent place that takes up 2 floors in the building. The saunas for men and women are on the same floor, then you can meet one floor up in the jjimjilbang. This is really one main room with sleeping areas in the corners. Only the typical services are offered inside, but there is a PC room and foot massage machines.
My major complaint here is there are two large TV's on opposing walls of the main room which makes it very loud during the day hours. The night we were there, some people insisted on watching TV very late, and again very early in the morning; even at a low volume it disturbed our sleep.
I would not recommend this jjimjilbang for overnight stay if you plan to get any sleep, but it would be a nice place for a sauna or afternoon relaxation.

서울 관악구 봉천동 1574-1
Seoul, Gwanak Gu, Bong-cheon Dong 1574-1
Open 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

Wikimap of Cheong Ryong Sauna

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seoul, Hongdae - Happy Day Jjimjilbang

This sauna is exceedingly easy to find. Despite this, my bf and I wandered around for over an hour trying to remember where it was! Now we know, and we will never stay anywhere else in Hongdae.  If you leave the Hongik University subway stop (Hongdae-ip-gu, line 2) from exit 9, just walk straight along that street until you get to the large, tall Benikea Premier Marigold Hotel building (베니키아프리미어메리골드호텔) about 10 min, on your left. Alternately, exit Hapjeong station exit 3, walk the same distance, it will be on your right. The jjimjilbang is down one level. Easy.

Inside, you'll find some 3 floors of decent rooms and baths, areas to sleep, and separate levels for the sauna and jjimjil. If you're staying overnight, I'd recommend getting there earlier as it can fill up on weekend nights. I find that the yoga room is the quietest, darkest place and they often leave it last for morning cleaning.

2017 edit:
Recently, there are a lot of negative reviews on Korean sites, mainly because it is so popular with young people for a cheap night over in Hongdae and as a result, super noisy and crowded at night. I would caution against spending the night here unless you really have no other option, or you just want to clean up and stay up all night. Also seems you may need to pay extra for mats/bedding now too :(

서울시 마포구 서교동 371-10 번지 B1층
Seoul, Mapo Gu, Seo-gyo Dong 371-10, B1
Open 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week

(note: This information has been provided by recent visitors. All web sources seem to be out of date.)
Sauna + Jjimjilbang:
12,000 won - If you arrive between 5am & 8pm (for daytime or overnight use)
15,000 won - If you arrive between 8pm & 5am (for overnight use)
***Weekend costs may be slightly higher, no information available***

This cost covers 12 hours from the time you arrive, as usual. They also offer 4 hours free parking near the building.

Wikimap of Happy Day Jjimjilbang

Busan, Songjeong Beach - Songjeong Haesurak (송정해수락 )

(© 2014 Sonja Jean Photography)

This jjimjilbang was my first FAVORITE out of all the jjimjil's and saunas I'd been to in Korea, and that's saying a lot. This particular one is huge, beautiful, and has all the amenities you could ask for. First advantage is it's amazing location right on a great beach in Busan. (For those of you who don't know, Songjeong Beach is less than 10 min north of Haeundae by taxi, and is cleaner and much quieter. It's lovely.) When you walk along Songjeong beach, head to the north end (towards the left if you're facing the ocean, towards the point with the little park/historic site Jukdo). You'll be able to see Haesurak just up the hill from the beach through a few winding alleys. It's a wide, yellow building that's easily visible in the area. You can get there through the seemingly direct but winding alleys, or you could walk up to the end of the beach, veer left at the 3-way intersection, then within 5 min walking you'll find the front of the building on your left.

(2009) North section of Songjeong Beach. Haesurak Jjimjilbang is circled.

(2009) You can see the yellow building here in the middle of the photo.

The sauna area is striking, as the walls are nearly all tiled or decorated with stones. My favorite tub is a moderately cool one with a massaging waterfall. If you head outside the wet areas, Haesurak has many types of rooms (including special ones like Gold Room and O2 Room), and their ice room is the most beautiful one I've seen. There are gender-segregated and mixed sleeping areas, all of which are far from the main areas and TV's, secluded and quiet.

(© 2014 Sonja Jean Photography)

There is a library, PC room, singing rooms, movie-screening room, cafe, foot massage machines, and the typical hot, moderate, and cool relaxation rooms spread over 3 floors. Each of these rooms are cleanly decorated or beautifully tiled along the walls. On the top floor, there's a nice open-air garden and smoking area, with a fish pond which overlooks the beach. (Gorgeous sunsets!)

부산광역시 해운대구 송정동 265
Busan, Haeundae Gu, Songjeong Dong 265
Open 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Costs (according to their website, may be out of date):
Sauna only 
Adults: 4,000 won / Kids: 3,000 won
Sauna & Jjimjilbang
4am ~ 9pm (day use) : Adults:  6,500 won / Kids: 4,000 won
9pm ~ 4am (overnight use) : Adults:  8,000 won / Kids: 5,000 won
*Kids= 6 and under

Wikimap of this location

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Daegu, Chilgok - Gangbuk Well-being Land

Well-being Land is a very nice, new jjimjilbang in Buk-gu, Daegu. It has many rooms and a nice sauna area with a variety of baths. I haven't been there in a while, but I remember being impressed. The sauna, jjimjilbang, and screen golf are open 24 hours!

You can find this sauna easily, by walking out of Palgeo Station exit 2. About a block and a half up the street, you will see Well-being Land on the left. (It's not far from the HomePlus in Chilgok.)

대구광역시 북구 학정동 825번지
Daegu, Buk Gu, Hak-jeong Dong 825

Open 24 hours


Wikimap of this location

Posting Guidelines

The title of a post should be as follows:
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Welcome to all you searching for jjimjilbang or saunas in Korea. I am just a simple English teacher with over 2 years in the country behind me (as of 2009), but I recently got the inspiration to share what little knowledge I have with you. Also, I encourage you to share your knowledge with me and others via this blog. I'm just beginning to compile information such as wikimaps, photos, addresses, and basic bits and bops about the saunas I've attended and over the next few weeks I hope to get this site whipped into shape for you.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find this blog useful to you in your travels.