Destination: Siloam sauna (Seoul)

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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.

Upon arriving, I realized there was plenty more going on here than just your typical bath and hot room. Six floors cover everything from the gender-segregated bathing areas to a sleeping room just for snoring people.



The 황토찜질방 (hwang-to jjim-jil-bang), or yellow soil fomentation room. Watch out - this room is very hot - that thermometer reads about 80 Celsius, or about 176 degrees Fahrenheit.



The 소금찜질방 (so-geum-jjim-jil-bang), or the 'salt fomentation room'. Use the wooden 'pillow' to rest your head and wallow in the large salt granules.



Next is the jade (옥, or ok) fomentation room - and yes, that's the same sort of rough-cut jade stones you might find about ten steps before reaching a jeweler's shop. It's a bit hot on the feet, but otherwise it'll be warm at about 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit).

Not pictured is a natural balance to all these hot rooms - a charcoal cold room (참숯 냉 방, or cham-sut naeng bang) which supposedly purifies the air. There's also a cold room not unlike walking into a walk-in freezer - at -17 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit), it's particularly great to go from that into one of the warmer rooms. It's good for your circulation, or so the locals say.

It was at this point when the camera got put away and I decided to enjoy myself. The third floor contains a fitness center freely open to paying guests, a couple different noraebang rooms depending on the size of your party, and some snacks able to stave off those hunger pangs. Go back to the second floor for a full-fledged Korean restaurant, or up to the fifth floor if it's time to sleep. There's plenty of bunkbeds in gender-segregated rooms, along with a 'snore' room (코골이방, or ko-gol-ee-bang) if you're one of those sleepers.

As far as jimjilbang, I'm sorry I didn't discover this one sooner. There's plenty to see, plenty to do, and is quite relaxing for those needing a break from reality. The location is great, and if you want to curl up with your significant other, there's a yeogwan (mom-and-pop hotel) just across the street.

Ratings (out of 5 taeguks):
Ease to arrive:


Foreigner-friendly:

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Worth the visit:

Directions to Siloam sauna: Get to Seoul Station in central Seoul (serviced by line 1, line 4, and the Gyeongui line on the Seoul subway system). If coming by bus, take any of dozens of buses to Seoul Station and head into the subway station. Take exit 1 to street level and walk as though you're transferring to the Gyeongui line. After walking down the stairs, turn right and walk along the sidewalk. After about 100 meters, cross the road to your left and begin looking for the classic sauna logo: three rays of steam above a bowl. Bear left, then look right. Admission to both bath & sauna: 9,000 won during the day (until 8pm) and 12,000 won during the evening (after 8pm). For more information, check out the official website.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe - 2010

This post was originally published on my blog,Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.



 


 

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