Jjimjilbang is a Korean Bath house, and at the top of the list for those is the most ‘outrageous’ one called Spa Land. It’s located right here in Busan South Korea and a measly 25 minute subway ride! of the 15+ people invited to go with our group, only 5 of us arrived at the meeting time, a 6th and 7th arriving and going to the bath house. So let’s start from the beginning and work our way through the day.
First, once you get into Shimsegae/Centium city mall you go to the first floor. There you head to the corner and will find Spa Land. It’s very much so tucked away as most bath houses are. Don’t let this fool you. Many families (children over 8) and couples, and singles too come to bath houses. You arrive and pay your entry fee (we went during the day on Sunday and paid 18000w. less than $18) for a 4 hour stay. You’ll take off your shoes and be given a number. Once you find a shoe locker, grab your key, insert your shoes and keep walking!
Rule of thumb, follow the Koreans! We did so and were given our bath house clothes (shirt and shorts that are very large but comfortable. They’re designed to keep in heat from the houses). Next youll take that key and go into your designated changing room. Be ready for Bare butts and more here! You’ll go in and locate your locker. Begin to place items in, take a deep breath, and do as the locals do. That is strip butt naked. It’s an awkward fee minutes as you watch to see where everyone is going and what to bring. Put your towels in a bucket and place it on a rack. Go inside and find a shower (sitting style on a stool other butts have been on or a standing shower). Get nice and clean! Seriously, its a no no to bring dirt into the baths. If you have long hair, use one of the towels to keep hair out of the water!
Choose your hot baths and soak for 30 minutes or so. C and I forgot to do that and signed up for our scrub first. Oops! Oh well. We signed up first and immediately were able to be seen. The Ajuumas (usually stern looking middle aged + woman with tight curly hair. Don’t make them mad but they can be quite lovely) wear black underwear and bras so you know they work there. You’ll lay on a washed down plastic wrapped table. And the fun begins! We got a facial mask( made from cucumber and seaweed) and the scrub began. It was…interesting. The mitts they wear do infact peel skin off. A lot of people say it hurts but it wasn’t that bad. It did take off layers though, so be prepared. She would tap the bed and tell me where to face. And she got up in there! They’ll go over you 2+ times and make sure they got all the top layers off. Once nice and clean and rinsed, go soak some more, especially the colder baths to close pores. All done? Shower off again, grab your towel and head out!
Go back to the locker room. There you can change into your bath house clothes and begin to meet up in the co-ed meeting area. Theres massage chairs (3000W for 15 minutes or so), lounge cushie chairs, tvs and more. A snack bar is a great place for a pick me up. I recommend a vinegar drink! They’re apparently a pretty big spa ‘thing’ here (as well as smoked eggs but I don’t like eggs that much). I got the Pineapple Vinegar drink, C got Pomegranate. It tasted…interesting! The more you drank it the more you liked it but vinegar is something my stomach is not used to. We went into multiple rooms. My personal favorites were the pyramid room, w/ 45 degree walls that meet into a pyramid. Very warm and pleasant. The other was the Hammand room, based on Turkish bath houses. Again, very warm and the floor was heated. It was so nice another patron had fallen asleep and was snoring! We also did a dream wave room, a SEC room, charcoal room (also nice) 2 saunas of various temps, the out door footbaths (it was raining but very pleasant). The boys said the Ice room and Salt rooms smelled pretty badly so I forgo’d on those.
We ended up leaving a bit early. Since it was mid day on a weekend day it was rather busy and hard to find room in the saunas to stay in. I think an early morning or later evening would be a better choice. That said, it was a wonderful experience! Sure being white we had some stairs in our nakedness, but you got over it pretty quickly. And for the women, try the outside baths! It felt so good to have cold air and hot water.
This is something I wish everyone would try at least once, and really recommend it. My skin and back feel amazing after going and I would love to take family members!
No pictures this time! pretty frowned upon in the naked areas and the saunas aren’t a great place either. Just google spa land for you picture needs!