Destination: Siloam sauna (Seoul)
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.
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.
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:
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.
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