Thursday, February 18, 2010

Busan, Millak-dong - Gwang An Haesuworld

This nice place is tucked away near the coast, north of the Gwangali Beach area but, unfortunately, a long walk from the subway (Gwangan station or Millak station will do). The good news is, it's right outside the Gwangan Amusement Park, Mi World. Bus number 210 will bring you right by the building and 38, 62, and 108 also come along one main street (closer than the subway line), stopping on this side of the Suyeong 2 Bridge. Find it here, or in the center of the wikimap below.

It is a full sauna and jjimjilbang with a swimming pool for the kid in you. (Or the kids you bring!) Expect a good experience at this large facility, though most of the sleeping areas are pretty warm. There is a lovely view of the sea out the windows; you can even see the beach and Gwangali Bridge from the jjimjilbang main area. The bathing area has large windows to bring in the daylight, though they are on the city-side of the building.

Their website shows interactive maps of the floors so you can click around to see pictures and get an idea of what to expect. My favorite place was the yellow soil room on the 4th floor (황토볼 황열정): there's seating around the curved window with a view to the bridge and you can sink your feet into small, warm, clay balls (sit down on them if you like).

Overall, a nice place to relax and escape the city. Because it's near Gwangali, you may find a lot of people sleeping here on Friday or Saturday nights, or during events in the area. Users on Naver rate this spa 8.0/10.0, and I'd be inclined to agree. ^^

부산 수영구 민락동 110-14번지
Busan, Suyeong-gu, Millak-dong, 110-14
Open 24 Hours

Sauna : Adults 7,000   Children 4,000
Sauna/Swimming pool : Adults 12,000   Children 10,000
Just the pool : Adults 10,000   Children 10,000

Add Jjimjilbang : Adults 2,000 extra   Children 1,000 extra *
* I think this is right.  It wasn't very clear on their website... ㅠ.ㅠ

Wikimapia of Gwangan Haesuworld

Monday, February 1, 2010

Busan, Oncheon-dong - Hurshimchung Spa

Said to be the largest hot spring spa in Asia, Hurshimchung can accommodate up to 3000 guests. It's located just up the street from Oncheon-jang subway stop on line 1. The hotel also houses a brauhaus, several restaurants, a wedding hall and a night club.  At the sauna's reception desk, you'll be given a key and instructed to pay upon leaving.  You can use this key to secure your shoes, open your locker, and pay for anything in the spa.  Towels and jjimjilbang clothes are available inside the locker room, then you can head to the sauna.

Facilities there include hot, lukewarm, and cool baths, dry sauna rooms, fountains, showers, a half-bath with tables, and massage and exfoliation services.  There's an open-air section with a couple baths and another shower area.  The alkali spring water emerges at 45°C to 56°C and has the highest concentration of magnesium in Korea.  Forty different bath types are available during different seasons, including cherry, pepper, champagne, lavender, or citrus water.  All baths use natural ingredients such as salts and medicinal herbs.  There's even a large cave-type bathing area with several tubs of different temperatures.  This large, open sauna is a wonderful place to relax.

From the locker room you'll find the entrance to the jjimjilbang area where you can enjoy laying on a heated floor and watching TV in the main room, relaxing in one of the smaller rooms, enjoying doctor fish foot treatment, or eating carefully prepared traditional Korean foods at the snack corner or restaurant.  The yellow ocher, jewelry, and charcoal rooms are all quite hot, but dry feeling.  The segregated sleeping rooms, found at the ends of the two halls, are dark and quiet, and a comfortable resting temperature.  There is room called the Aroma Room where you can lay below peaceful, if plastic, green bamboo and treat your lungs to highly oxygenated air.  Another small room is the igloo-shaped ice room; this is usually one of my favorite places to hang out.  Unfortunately, the ice room was closed due to H1N1 (swine flu) concerns this fall.  For an additional cost, you can indulge in mug-wort cauterizing therapy with moxa (moxibustion), which stimulates circulation and improves qi.

In my opinion, Hurshimchung's strength is clearly the sauna.  The jjimjilbang itself is cozy and I kept feeling like there should be more space.  (Where do those 3,000 people hang out?)  On the other hand, the sauna is spacious, appropriately lit, and has many different areas to explore.  Almost the opposite of other spas I've visited, I found the sauna offered greater variety than the jjimjilbang.  So, if you enjoy bathing in spas or want to check out a Korean sauna for the first time, Hurshimchung is sure to provide you with a great experience.

5:30 am until 10 pm everyday.

7,900 won for adults
5,000 for students aged 8-18
3,000 for kids aged 1-7 

부산시 동래구 온천동 137-7
Busan, Dongnae-gu, Oncheon-dong 137-7

Hotel Nongshim
Hurshimchung Spa