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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!

Basically, I'd say this place compares well. Since hearing about it and doing this first write up, I've been able to visit for a personal impression. I was there in the winter time so the outdoor swimming pool was closed but the rest of the spa lived up to my expectations.

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
02-792-0001

Rates: 11,000 won - Arriving between 5am and 8pm on weekdays (daytime)
13,000 won - Arriving between 8pm and 5am on weekdays (overnight)
11,000 won - Anytime on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays (day or overnight)
(This cost covers 12 hours from the time you arrive, as usual.)

Dragon Hill Spa website
Wikimap of Dragon Hill Spa

39 comments:

  1. I spent 3 days in Seoul just last week and Dragon Hill was recommended. I got my 10,000 won worth! Oh boy there are about 10 "hot" tubs of different temperatures, starting at early 30's C and ending at 45 C which is HOT. Some have jets. Then there is a large cold pool at 20 degrees C WOW. I kept making the rounds. I would have liked to have bought some services but I had a lot to figure out just to go there and there was a language barrier. I'm actually going back next week and I think I may figure out how to order a treatment or a package. IF you look on the web, and find a service you want, I suggest you get your hotel concierge to write it down in Hangul so you can buy it at the desk when you arrive. Another thing -- not much opens in Seoul until 10:00 a.m. and I always wake up at about 5:00 on this side of the world so this was a real nice way to spend a couple of hours.

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  2. Thanks for the great info! I'm sure readers will find it helpful and I'm really glad you enjoyed this place. I'm surprised that staff at Dragon Hill don't speak more English - it's located in a large foreigner area of Seoul. (Maybe you'd have been surprised by their English ability?) But, all the same, great advice about having someone write things down in Hangul for you. It's easy for me to forget how I got by before I learned to read ^^

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  3. I liked it so much, I bought a 3 month membership for about $375 USD. It comes out to be about $4 (USD) each day. I have been using it every day!

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  4. Hi! It s a great place, i have been there 3 times in July 2007, and now im coming back to Korea with my family. I ll go there again, no intention to try other jjimjilbang hahaha.
    Oh... please try the eggs, they are yummy!!!!

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  5. Great to hear it! If you're referencing the roasted eggs (similar to boiled eggs but they've been roasted on hot coals, lending a bit of a different flavor) they are customary sauna fare and can be found at any sauna/jjimjilbang cafe.
    I agree~ they are yummy^^

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  6. hey guys quick questin - can you sleep there overnight and if so is this recommended/achievable?

    thanks

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  7. Yes you can definitely sleep overnight and it is surely recommended. It can be a busy place, but there are many quiet corners to get some rest. Hope you have a great time!

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  8. hey guys quick question - is this spa better than the silloam spa to sleep in? i think this one sounds better to use but not sure if you can actually get some sleep in here of the same quality? any thoughts much appreciated :)

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  9. Basically, you're right on. Silloam will be much better for getting quality sleep ~ no other place I've been can beat their sleeping rooms. Two level bunked bed-like matresses with blankets, temperature & humidity controlled, and a separate snoring room? Awesome.

    But Dragon Hill is a better sauna/jjimjil for other purposes. I don't recall (and can't find on their website) if Dragon Hill has dedicated sleeping rooms, but I'd imagine they must. If they are anything like the usual sleeping rooms it's just a floor and maybe you can get a blanket.

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  10. i understand that the standard procedure for jjimjilbang is that you will be required to shower before using any hot tubs. however, if i'm only intending on going to the co-ed area, do i still need to shower beforehand? also, are we required to go "commando" under the clothes they provide or are undergarments allowed? thanks!

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  11. Great question! I'm actually going to do a short post about this soon since I haven't covered it in detail before.

    No, you are not required to shower before entering the co-ed jjimjilbang area. Different people have different preferences and I sometimes do the jjimjil first also.

    And no, you may wear whatever you wish under the provided outfit. In fact, I think I'd feel weird if I went without. Most people (the girls I've seen dressing) wear their bra & underwear; the clothes are often very loose-fitting so you'll likely want to have an extra layer of coverage! :)

    Thanks again for the excellent question.

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  12. Just wanted to say that although this place is huge and a great overall spa, it was a terrible place to sleep. I gave it a second chance last weekend and was disappointed to find it as busy and uncomfortable as the first time.

    The sleeping room for the women is small and not well ventilated. It is crowded and people were constantly coming in and out with their cell phones shining on your face. Even with an ipod and a pillow from home, I couldn't manage to sleep.

    All this to say that I gave this spa a second chance because it is a great place to soak and scrub. The restaurant is nice and if you go be sure to bring a bathing suit because the outdoor pool is sweet. In fact the only sleep I got was outside on a lawn chair in the early morning hours.

    *however I did discover that they are in the process of building new individual sleeping pods so in the future this place might be a great place to sleep but until then....

    Go here to soak.
    Do NOT go here to sleep!

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  13. As u mentioned that "Most people (the girls I've seen dressing) wear their bra & underwear; the clothes are often very loose-fitting so you'll likely want to have an extra layer of coverage! :)

    im wondering if i could wear bikini instead of the bra & underwear? thanks for the advise.

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  14. Oh, yes, of course you can wear whatever you want under the clothes. As long as you've got them on, and properly, there are no problems. :) Enjoy your trip to the spa!

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  15. Thanks Anonymous, for the comment about your sleepless experience. I'm sorry to hear that it's so busy here. I must have been lucky the times I stayed, or it's getting busier these days.

    So, there it is everyone. Definitely, Dragon Hill is a spa not to be missed in Korea, but is also a spa not to be slept in. (At least until they build the sleeping pods, which sound totally AMAZING! Look for those in the near future.)^^

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  16. Anyone know how much the different massages are at Dragon Hill?

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  17. Hi, I'd like to check with you, if we need to be in nude while in sauna and spa bath? Can we cover with towel?

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  18. I've certainly seen people holding their towels in front of them while they walk around the bathing area and sit in the saunas. Keep in mind that the towels are pretty small and will not wrap around you.

    Also, it depends on the situation in the baths. Some places you'll see women with the towels on their heads or in the water - then you'll know it's alright to drape your towel over you in the water as well. Some other places you can try it, but you may encounter someone who says not to do that (just a matter of their personal sense of manners... :/).

    Good luck!

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  19. Hi Sonja! thank you for your wonderful sharing! I wanted to sleep over at Siloam but it was a distance from the Dong seoul bus station to catch my early bus. Have u heard of Riverside spa land which is near dong seoul bus terminal? do u happen to have any idea on the sleeping room there? thks. Jan

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  20. Well Jan, I have no personal experience with the Riverside (Gangbyun) Spaland, but from what I can find on the internet it looks to be a very well-equipped place. I would recommend it at least for a visit, and I'd say it should be just fine for a sleep over. There are many individual cave-type floor beds and probably some sleeping rooms as well.

    Here's what Korea Tourism has to say: http://visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=669211

    And the Riverside spa's homepage (odd mix of English and Korean, just click around^^):
    http://www.ispaland.co.kr/zzimzilbang_01.html

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  21. I started going to the public bath with my friend in the city of Changwon at a small place near my home. I just love the public bath! The last time I went to Seoul, I went to the Dragon Hills Spa. I loved it so much, I went each day that I was in Seoul. The atmosphere is very nice, and the sheer number of pools to try in the sauna was amazing. Also, because there are so many pools, they were never crowded with people, even though there were a lot of people there. I didn't try the other facilities, just the sauna for women. I also really enjoyed the outside bath. It was a unique and refreshing experience. My only complaint has to do with the jjimjilbang uniforms. I am a plus sized lady, and they gave me a regular uniform, which was too small, so I had to use the men's uniform, which fit but not well. It made me a feel a bit self-conscious to wander around the public areas in it. Anyway, it's a great place and because the Koreans are used to foreigners, you don't feel uncomfortable. I think it's a great place for anybody to start who's always thought about going to the public bath but has never done so before. When I go to Seoul again, I'm making it a priority to visit Dragon Hill Spa.

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  22. Wow, Ms. Oct 30! Thank you so much for your great comment!! I do totally agree with you about their sauna - it's expansive and luxurious! I need to get back there for a refresher soon. And, good point about the uniforms. I should almost like to say something to them... I mean, they have loads of foreign clientele here, as you said, so they ought to get out of that unfortunate "one-size" mindset I often encounter in Asia.

    I so appreciate all your feedback and constructive remarks - thanks so much, and I hope you have a great trip back to Seoul! (Plus, if you know the name of your little place in Changwon please email me so I can check it!)

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  23. Hi there!! Detailed review you have there! I just want to ask, I know the bathing areas are gender specific. But what about the special themed rooms? Can couples use them together?

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  24. Thank you, this place warrants a good review. Yes, you're right the bathing areas are gender-specific, and the locker rooms of course, but all the other fun stuff is co-ed! Enjoy :)

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  25. I have been to many saunas in Korea, but this my hands-down favorite in Seoul due to the fabulous outdoor area! Also it is good for taking sauna first-timers to, as there are many foreigners and they won't feel so out of place. A little pricier than other places, but well worth it, due that lovely outdoor area!

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  26. Hi, by chance, am i allowed to take pictures anywhere in Dragon Hill spa to show my friends how wonderful it is!? especially the outdoor area...

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  27. Yes, absolutely! You can take photos anywhere you like in the co-ed (clothed) areas indoors and out. In regard to the bathing areas, it is possible if you are a little sneaky and don't capture anyone else in your photo. In Dragon Hill, it's probably too busy to accomplish this, but say you stay overnight - you could go for a shower at 1 am and probably have the area mostly to yourself! Hope this helps!

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  28. Hi, I found your blog interesting since im looking for revies on jimjilbang. this will be my first vist to Korea with my son(8yrs) and im wondering how will he do his bath,. Is there someone who can guide him what to do and to the co-ed place. Im afraid he might get lost. I really want to go to Dragon Hill and try the massage but the website was not written in english so i dont know how much they charge for spa and overnigth.

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    1. This is always an interesting point for me as well. I don't have kids, and the friends I've gone with have very young children (who are all allowed to join their adults regardless of gender). At 8, I think he would need to go into the men's side and I know the nicer spas (Dragon Hill definitely is one) have some chaperones who can help your son to stow his things, find the bathing areas, and meet you. Just ask at reception.

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  29. At 8, regular age, not Korean (which is more like 6) he probably will have to go to the mens side. If he is small for his age though, maybe not? if he does, I would say get the front desk (they speak good English and I think also Japanese, possibly Chinese and Russian) to have someone escort him to a locker, stow his things, and change. He may feel odd by himself in the baths, though my girls (then 9 and 12) were fine alone. If it's his first time, he may feel strange, so he can just change and come out to meet you. You can go shower, bathe, etc and he can hang out in the game room or whatever- there is so, so much for children to do at dragon hill! if you are not ethnically Korean, do not worry about getting lost- everyone will know where you both are, lol! I personally liked that, my girls were blonde American girls and it was impossible to lose them, everyone in town knows where they are all the time.

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  31. Please clarify, do I undress.....shower, bathe & get scrubbed?
    Than return back to the changing room and put on the uniform to proceed to other rooms?

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    1. Perfect! Some people prefer to put on the uniform and do the rooms first, but I always like to soak and clean up first. Then you can always have another rinse off before leaving if you feel like you sweat too much *^^*

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  32. Just wondering, how English friendly is it? I'm looking for somewhere for a scrub, maybe a facial if that's possible, but I don't speak Korean, I'm worried about getting the process wrong...

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    1. Don't be worried. Most anywhere in Seoul is English-friendly these days, and around Yongsan (military area) especially so! This jjimjilbang is very foreigner-friendly. Have a good time!

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  33. Hi, can I ask if the fitness facilities, cinema and facial facilities are opened 24 hours as well??

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    1. Hi there. I highly doubt those facilities are 24 hours. Typically the cinema room is open to sleep in, but only shows movies at certain times of the day. They probably have a late one. Facials are definitely not offered over night, and for safety/security reasons the fitness area is usually closed at night as well.

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  34. Sad to say, the Dragon Hill has gon e down hill since I last lived here. They were doing a large remodel when I left in 2012, but it is unclear what they worked on! The outdoor area still has a broke. Foot bath (I have never seen it working!) and now the salt water pool outside is closed "indefinitely". All that changed really in the womens sauna is addition of neon signs in chinese- not exactly an upgrade. The ceiling desperately needs a redo, rusty bits are hanging over the cold pool, and the cleanliness has gone way, way down hill. Dirty windows that appear not to have been cleaned sin ce I moved, the dressing area walls are covered in makeup, the restaurant on the first floor walls and windows are grungy. Everywhere something is broken, and they staff has had a turnover too and is quite rude and primarily Chinese speaking now (tough for us English and Korean speakers!).

    I used to go here every 1-2 weeks and spend hours but now...not so much. There are better spas in Seoul for sure. Ive been twice since returning to Seoul but will not be back as the pool closures have an indefinite timeline to be fixed and frankly, its dirty. Bummer!

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