jjimjilbang

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.

Busan, Jung-dong, Dalmaji (Haeundae) - Vesta Spa & Fitness

Vesta Spa & Fitness is currently under construction. It is scheduled to be completed on June 1, 2010. I believe they are closed for business during this time; I'd recommend calling ahead if you plan on visiting this month.

This large, well-located spa has a long reputation among foreigners and Koreans alike in Busan. Since I've heard so many good things about the place, I had high expectations. Luckily, I had the treat of visiting with someone who had been there many times before, including once long ago. She was able to offer some well-needed insight on my experience.

Busan, Gwangan - KA (Kwang An) Sporex


Recently, a friend of mine told me his parents own a jjimjilbang near Gwangan. We got to talking about it and I decided I ought to check it out for you. I mean, I have a list of places I need to visit, but he is my friend after all, and I wanted to see what kind of place it was.


Seoul, KTX Station - Silloam Sauna & Jjimjil

I would never have found this place for you guys if I hadn't missed my train back to Busan recently. Just so you know, the last Busan-bound KTX leaving Seoul on any given night is at 10:30. Anyway, 10:40 is too late ㅠ.ㅠ


Fortunately, the helpful lady at the information desk in Seoul Station was able to direct me out the back of the station to Silloam Sauna, which I definitely had my doubts about. I mean, how many cheap and still nice places have you ever seen around a big station? Though I was worried, my other option was to stay in a motel, and I'm really glad I took the chance on Silloam.

Busan, Millak-dong - Gwang An Haesuworld


This nice place is tucked away near the coast, north of the Gwangali Beach area but, unfortunately, a long walk from the subway (Gwangan station or Millak station will do). The good news is, it's right outside the Gwangan Amusement Park, Mi World. Bus number 210 will bring you right by the building and 38, 62, and 108 also come along one main street (closer than the subway line), stopping on this side of the Suyeong 2 Bridge. Find it here, or in the center of the wikimap below.



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. 

Busan, Centum City, Shinsegae Department Store - SpaLand

====** For the month of December, parts of the sauna are being renovated (repaired?) so some discounts or time extensions may be offered**==== 
It is advertised that regular service will resume on December 29th.

Unfortunately for them, Spa Land has no English website.  Unimaginable, I know.  I mean, after all Shinsegae is one of the world's largest department stores.  Whatever guys, don't worry about it...

Actually that's one of the few complaints I had about this place.  5 to be exact; shall we get them out of the way, in a classic bad-news-first way?
1.  The aforementioned lack of a comprehensive English website.
2.  Not enough showers.  Maybe 30 sit-down and only 12 standing ones.  Even on a Thursday evening, there was a short queue at times to rinse off.

Daegu, Sinam-dong - Goongjeon Lavender (궁전라벤더)



This is a nice, big jjimjilbang near Dong Daegu KTX station (동대구역).  Just by the looks of the exterior I have wanted to go inside since I first saw it a few months ago.  Quite a few bus lines pass by this building including 156, 401, 414, 521, 618, 650, 708, 808, 937, 980, or the express #1 (급행1).  It's quite a walk from the subway, but would be a basic cost ride from either Sincheon station (신천역) or Dongdaegu station on Line 1.

Busan, Haeundae, Jung-dong - Rodeo Jjimjil Town

I'm expanding the overview on Haeundae.  This entry will include a personal review and more details.

Rodeo Jjimjil Town (로데오찜질타운)
You can find this place in the Rodeo Outlet shopping area south of the Jung-dong subway station. Naver users rated this place 10.0 out of 10 (17 ratings)!

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