This is not the first time that I have been to a spa , but yes it is still my first time doing it Korean style. I have always wondered how different does it feel like from a Japanese Style Onsen that I went to when I was in Taiwan, well aside from the fact that you can lazy all you want the whole day I was really interested on how Koreans bath differently from the former.
I was suppose to go to the Jimjjilbang the night before as my plans for that day falter because of rain that as per weather forecasts were soon to turn into snow ugh! Then again I fell asleep so I went in the next morning. Seoul’s weather at that time was kinda crazy it was all cloudy but with little rain and strong winds that would just make you hands feel numb if you don’t have the proper gear for the weather.
Bong the hostel owner recommended to me the jimjjilbang near Dongdaemun rather than the one near our hostel because it wasn’t that good. So I took a train ride and hopped off the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station and searched for the Good Morning City bldg. Most of the bldg, which is a shopping mall as well, is closed but you can go in and take the elevator going down to the 24 hour jimjjilbang on its basement, SPAREX.
Stepping inside the jimjillbang was like heaven for a late fall weather, it was warm and comfy, you don’t have to hug your self and put your hands inside your pockets alternately just to keep warm. I paid ₩ 8,000 at the front desk, in return they gave me a locker key where I can put my things and my Jimjjilbang outfit for the day.
Before going to the main lockers where you can leave your stuff you have to take off your shoes and leave them in one of the shoe lockers, sooo Asian right? Well I like it! hahaha! The main locker area is where you’ll have access to the hot pools, so I undressed and went straight to the hot baths in the pool area.
The Jimjillbang is quite different from a Japanese onsen because of so many things, here are some that I noticed.
- Jimjjilbangs have sleeping areas where you could just lay on the floor all day.
- They have different pools that are infused with herbal concoctions and temperatures vary from one pool to another
- They have these chambers where you could just hangout and sweat or even shiver!
- Onsens usually comes from natural springs, Jimjjilbangs don’t need those.
- There are a lot more activities that you can do in a Jimjjilbang like watch kdramas and get a massage. They have a whole bunch of activity areas that you can try I even saw someone having his haircut naked in the lockers area! Quirky? Not really -at least for me.
I spent a lot of time in the pool area trying to gather and enjoy the much needed warmth of the water then I went to just lay around the area that I call lazy area hahaha… well that is what you do there you just do your best to be lazy! hahaha….
After a couple of hours of sleep I woke up with a grumbling tummy so I head out to the spa’s restaurant. They have quite affordable meals that you could feast on, but I don’t know if it was just the food that they served or the food was just kinda bland for my taste. Nevertheless I enjoyed their ice cream which was really good!
Anyways I went back to the my favorite area, the lazy area -thank you lol- and lay around for about an hour more I actually don’t want to get up anymore and just sleep all day but this wasn’t all that I was here for. I got up and went back to the pools, took a dip and readied my self for my next adventure.
The Jimjillbang surely is one thing that you should not miss when in Korea, its part of the culture and it’s an experience of its own. It is liberating and gives you some sense of peace and open mindedness like you feel as if you are ready for he World! Just make sure that you have enough will power to get your ass off that “lazy area” so that you won’t spend your entire day in the spa -not that it’s bad-hahaha!
Do you have similar experiences or you have a version of this kind of public bath in your own country? let us know at the comments section! =)
How To Get To This Jimjjilbang (Sparex)
Hop on a train get off at the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park station (This is not the same as the Dongdaemun station) and look for the Good Morning City building (see pictures below)
Want more? See more of my South Korea Adventure Here