jjimjilbang

Donghae, Chun-gok-dong - Hwajungwon Sauna

The weather in Ulleung Island turned rough and I had a hard time getting a boat back to the mainland. All the ships were canceled on Monday which caused a slight backup in the number of people leaving on Tuesday, and on top of all this Wednesday, being the last day of the holiday, was booked full. I chose to depart the island to a different city than where I arrived from (in lieu of staying an extra 2-3 days) and that's how I wound up in Donghae... thankfully!

Pohang, Buk-gu, Jangsung-dong - Pohang Oncheon

I was overnight in Pohang recently before my trip to Ulleung Island - 울릉도 - and took the chance to find a local hot spot. After dinner and some drinks with a friend, I headed up to see what this large oncheon had to offer. It was just an overnight with an early morning, but it was a nice one. I'd highly recommend anyone spending time around Bukbu Beach in Pohang to check out this place. It is large, clean, with all the usual amenities for a very usual price.

Life in Korea: enjoying the jimjilbang to the fullest

Author’s note: ‘Life in Korea’ posts are dedicated to the newer expats among us. If you have a more experienced perspective to offer, the comments are wide open!

Ask the average foreigner what they think of the 찜질방 (jjim-jil-bang, or Korean’s public baths / spas), and you’ll get a polarized response. Some foreigners (like myself) love them, while others have either avoided them or had a bad experience in the few times they’ve gone. I’ve already written about how to get around the jimjilbang – if you’ve never been to one, read that article first. If you’ve gone a few times and are wondering what ELSE there might be to do, read on.

How to enjoy the jimjilbang to the fullest


Destination: Damyang Spa (Damyang-gun, Jeollanam-do)

It’s a rare place that offers an outdoor hot spa for the naked people and a pool for the swimsuited.

Beyond the Juknokwon bamboo forest, Damyang Spa (담양온천, or Dam-yang on-cheon) is one highlight of visiting the Damyang area in Jeollanam-do. The spa isn’t open 24 hours a day, however. The connected tourist hotel is a bit on the fancy side but convenient.

Pay your way in (note that the jimjilbang portion of the spa is only open on Saturdays and Sundays), then figure out whether you’d prefer to get hot and steamy (in the jimjilbang) or cool off in the outdoor pool.


The Road Home

The road back home after any trip abroad is often one filled with mixed feelings. Part of you is probably happy to be returning home and another part, often larger, is sad to be leaving behind what has hopefully been an eventful and enjoyable time in your life. Even in the case of my four months in Korea, which had definitely been more pain than pleasure, I left Korea with a great deal of sadness.

 


Dog Café

I found something new!  Well, experienced something new anyway.  I read about these “dog cafés” in an ESL text book with one of my classes a few months back.  Sounded brilliant!  I tried with all I had to make my middle school boys care about people drinking coffee with other people’s dogs in English – a futile attempt that could make an unanesthetized leg amputation feel like afternoon tea.  Though it did get me excited about the prospect of one day coming across one.

I had a terrible dream last night that I was out to dinner with some people who decided to order dog meat soup.


Destination: Siloam sauna (Seoul)


After a recent post about jimjilbang, I was informed of another excellent place worth checking out. Two trips later, I'm happy to say this is a place I'll be headed back to a third time. Located within walking distance of Seoul Station, it's a great place to crash if you're on a budget. Above is a 산소방 (san-so-bang), or oxygen room - a room-temperature relax-on-the-floor place.

Greenvill Jjimjilbang & Sauna - Banwoldang, Jung Gu, Daegu

In my search for new jjimjilbang I found a nice place conveniently located just outside of the Banwoldang subway stop (transfer) in downtown Daegu. The staff were helpful and spoke a bit of English, even put my extra baggage behind the counter for safekeeping since it wouldn't fit in the locker!

As you exit the subway at gate 1, you'll see the Samjung Greencore Apartments (삼정 그린코어) and a sign for the Greenvill Jjimjilbang entrance.


Question from a reader: hygiene at the jimjilbang

A reader writes in about my recent article on enjoying the jimjilbang:
great article on jjimjjilbangs! i have been wanting to go for such a long time, and your article just moved it to the top of my list of things to do. the single reason why i have not yet gone, however, is that i am really concerned about hygiene - more specifically, i'm concerned about catching a skin illness such as a foot fungus or even something like an STD....

Destination: The Spa in Garden Five



Author's note: this is the 4th in a series of jimjilbang (day spas or saunas) worth visiting in Korea.

The Spa in Garden Five (더스파인가든파이브) - one of the newest jimjilbang in Korea, the brand new modern facility delivers everything you'd expect. Constructed as part of the Garden Five behemoth-to-be, this area offers much of the standard stuff in a high-class way.


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