jimjilbang

Destination: Wolgok Land (jimjilbang)


Author's note: this is the 2nd in a series of jimjilbang (day spas or saunas) worth visiting in Korea.

Wolgok Land (월곡건강랜드) - Don't knock a place just because it's far off the tourist track. With modern facilities, plenty of room, and some English signage, this place wins the 'most variety' award. In addition to the plentiful saunas and multiple ice rooms, there's a salt room to lay down in, a phytoncide room (산림욕방, or a slightly humid room) and a Loess oxygen room to breathe deeply in.

The jimjilbang lifestyle

I was naked, yet I felt no shame. After emerging from a HOT hot tub, I cooled off by jumping into a tub of cold water - it's great for the circulation. Quick! Jump back into the hot tub to really get your blood moving. Put some clothes on, then head into a dry sauna guaranteed to make you sweat. Welcome to the jimjilbang - a bathing experience unlike any other.

Not all public baths are created equal. Enter a 목욕탕 (mok-yok-tang) and you'll find little more than bathing areas. A 사우나 (sa-u-na) will offer saunas / steam rooms as well as the bathing experience. A 찜진방 (jjim-jil-bang) earns top marks for offering bathing areas, saunas, as well as common areas for snacking, watching TV, napping, or any number of other things. Some are open 24 hours (look for the 24 시 on the sign), which enables overnight stays and a cheap place to rest your head.

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