Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Relaxing in a Jimjilbang: Experiences in a Korean Sauna

On Sunday I tried my first Korean sauna. It took me eight months to finally get around to going because I had a few hang-ups about the whole thing; namely, you have to be naked in the sauna with a bunch of Korean women.

It took one hard weekend of exercise- bootcamp had been really tough, and we had been training hard to prepare to go to Jeju for the Ultimate tournament. I was really sore and everything hurt. All I wanted was to go sit in a hot tub for a few hours and relax. Ding ding! Jimjilbang time!

We went to the Dragon Hill Spa (here is a map). This is arguably the most famous jimjilbang I have heard of in Seoul because it is so foreigner friendly. For about 10$ (add on more for extra services), you have unlimited access to 6 floors of relaxation! (and you only have to be naked on one of those floors). It includes hot tubs, saunas, massages, manicures, a movie theater, wood and clay heat rooms, an ice room, a swimming pool (bring your bathing suit), a roof top pool, restaurants, among other things.

When you arrive, you pay the entrance fee and get a key and a change of cotton shorts and tshirt (your standard issue clothes that you wear once inside). This key is for your shoe locker first. Next you go to your clothes locker within the change room and commence sauna time in the women's only area. From there you can get dressed in the uniform and go to the co-ed room that everyone hangs out in.

We ended up staying there for 2 hours and left feeling squeaky clean and very sleepy. Success!

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