Friday, January 27, 2012

Jeonju, Joonghwasan-dong, Hyoja Bridge – Spa LaQua

Wow. I will have a lot of words for this Spa, and “wow” is a good place to start. Firstly, it’s hard to get to by bus. I would not really recommend that since Jeonju is so small anyway. I just took a taxi from the Gaeksa Area (main old downtown, not far from Hanok Village and the fun walking streets). If you cab it, just say “Hyoja da-ri, Gwang-jin Het-bi-chan Apart” and get out near building #101 (효자다리, 광진햇비찬 아파트 101동). I know that's not easy, but it will be well worth it. You can’t miss the giant orange rectangular building on your right from there!

Once you get inside, you can tell it’s a nice place from the carpeted stairs that lead you up to the sauna areas on the second floor. Plus, for your 9-10,000 won you’ll receive a little tote bag with the jjimjilbang outfit and THREE towels! (Guys often have unlimited towels inside the sauna but us women usually only get 1 or 2.) Plus, notice that one of the towels is plush and large enough to mostly wrap around you! This is a novelty here in Korea – it’s the little things, sometimes, isn’t it?

There are typical lockers and counters inside and you’ll head back down to the first floor to bathe. In the women’s spa I found a lovely area with deep baths and lots of showers. At least 20 standing and even more sitting showers, and they seem well-maintained; I never had a problem with the water pressure or temperature. The hot and warm baths are nice, then there’s a little cove with a really cold tub and a nice cool one (~25 deg.C). The cool tub is over a meter deep and has several different massaging bays as well as 2 waterfall massagers. (Watch out, they’re strong!) There’s a little place to lie down and enjoy the heat, and 2 sauna rooms – one Elvan and stone hot room and one hot humid Hinoki wooden room. The special thing about the Hinoki sauna room is there’s a little tub there too! Finally, there is an open-air bath – a simple, stone pond around 40 degrees with a slatted roof and wooden walls. The perfect place to relax on a cool sunny day!

In the jjimjilbang, there is the normal restaurant, PC room, relaxing areas, singing booths… well, that’s about where the normality ends. Just out from the saunas on the 2nd floor is a beautiful wine and coffee bar (no wine was listed on the menu though…?), bookshelves, and a pool table. The entrance for the health club is here near the sauna as well. Then upstairs is the restaurant and entertainment area (complete with an air-hockey table!) which features colorful paper lamps and entirely Western table-chair seating. At the far end is the GX room where spa patrons and health club members alike can participate in yoga or aerobics classes each morning and evening. Did I mention you can pay for everything with your key bracelet? Yes, even swipe it at the PC room for internet time!

Out in the main area, it’s very sunny and they provide many beds to relax on (similar to those in Shinsegae’s SpaLand) around the traditionally decorated pagodas. The jjimjil rooms available on this 3rd-4th floor area include a salt-light room with hot floor, Hinoki dry sauna, cool room and warm tiled anion room (both so similar to SpaLand it’s shocking), a small sleeping room for men & women mixed, and near the roof entrance an Elvan “body sweating” room. Up on the roof, the swimming pool wasn’t filled for my visit, but I did enjoy a small foot bath in the sunlight.

All in all, I love this spa. If I lived in Jeonju, this is certainly where I’d go to relax and recommend my friends to stay over. If you are visiting Jeonju, it’s not to be missed. The décor is so fittingly matched to the traditional slow-city way of life here that you can’t help but feel at ease. My only complaints (there’s no PERFECT spa, is there?) are that the sun-room main area can be pretty echo-ey and noisy at times; depending on who’s at the spa during your stay you might not have the quietest jjimjil experience ever. (This is compounded by the fact that the sleeping room has merely thin shades to wall it off from the main area and any of the smaller specialty rooms are too warm really to sleep in.) Also, in the baths, the water level was a bit low I think which resulted in a not-very-calming sucking sound from the filter/drain on some tubs.

Considering everything I give this place 9/10. That’s pretty good coming from me!

전북 전주시 완산구 중화산동2가 784-1
Jeollabuk-do, Jeonju, Wonsan-gu Joonghwasan-dong 2, 784-1
Open 24 Hours

Day hours: enter 4AM to 6PM
Adults 9,000  Children 6,000

Overnight: enter 6PM to 4AM
Adults 10,000  Children 7,000

There is an extra charge for going to the "creek," maybe meaning the pool? And they offer monthly memberships and group discounts.

Wikimapia of Spa LaQua


  1. Hi^^ thanks for having such a helpfull blog^^ ouch, have you go to gaehwasan land?? it's jimjilbang near gimpo airport. do you have some info about that jimjilbang? or do you know any jimjilbang near gimpo airport? need your help :D big thanks before ^^

    1. Thanks for the comment anglicious! There is one place called Golf Court Soot-gama Jjimjilbang which I think is inside (or very very near) Gimpo Airport (

      Gaehwasan Land looks like a nice, large 24 hour sauna/jjimjilbang from the street view & map. It gets alright reviews/ratings on Naver, and is connected with Total Fitness which also has yoga and dance classes. I'd say give it a try, and write me about your experience!

  2. Hi! I was just wondering if it's possible to stay overnight at the spa as we wait for our flight to Jeju? If yes, do they allow big luggages to be stored int heir lockers? I really hope you can answer my query. Thanks!

    1. Hi there - Sorry for the delay in my reply. As stated in the review, it is open for overnight stays. As for the luggage, I'll say what I usually do: You can try, because a lot of places will offer to stow your suitcases at the front desk, but they will not be locked up. It's rare to find large lockers in your average jjimjilbang, so there probably aren't any here.