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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.

HOURS:
5:30 am until 10 pm everyday.

RATES:
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
051-555-1121

Hotel Nongshim
Hurshimchung Spa

6 comments:

  1. Looking Interesting Place! I will give it a Try!
    Lather Cloths

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  2. Loved this one. I found it really clean. I went on a Saturday afternoon and it was surprisingly not very busy at all.
    A bit wonky to find but taking a taxi was easy and cheep.
    I will definitely be going back.

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  3. Question: apparently Nongshim Hotel is underoing renovation (even their and Hurshimching web site is down) this summer, and supposedly Hurshimchung is going to be renovated also.

    We'll be stopping in Busan for a few days in late June/early July and were really looking forward to visiting Hurshimchung.

    Anyone local to Busan able to check and let us know, will Hurshimchung be open this June/July or no?

    And if not, what are other recommended places with a big sauna area (we really don't care for jimjilbang - who wants to sweat up while wearing warm clothes?) in Busan? (Sort of like Spa World in Osaka. It seems that Hurshimchung is the only one of that type - big and spacious sauna area, inside and out, where one can easily spend a few hours without being bored or getting too hot.)

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  4. Anyone able to check/confirm when and for how long Hurshimchung will be closed for the renovation this year (that it is undergoing alongide with the Nongshim Hotel)?

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  5. I was there in May and it was not closed, so presumably renovations are done?

    This place is the *best*. If only I lived in Pusan-! We went to Pusan for a wedding and on a whim decided to go to this spa. I thought my teenage daughter and husband would be aghast, and only stay in the jimjilbang portion, but they got over their shyness and loved the baths, too! In fact we went 2 days in a row, because my husband wanted to. Its super clean, and has so much variety of baths, its great! An outdoor area, a cave like pool...just incredible. I personally like the soaking aspect the best, so the small jimjilbang was not a problem, since the wet sauna was so huge and varied.

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  6. That's a great story! I'm so glad to hear your family went out on a limb, and it sounds like they are glad they did also! Thanks for the comments, and I apologize to you and other readers for not getting more information about the renovations... I meant to. (>_<) Anyway, great to hear they're all up and running again. Thanks!

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