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12 February 2009

I finally made my way to the ever talked about 찜질방 (jimjilbang).  A Korean tradition that is many times a foreigners’ apprehension– an apprehension due to the nudity clause that is observed in almost all jimjilbangs.

Being accustomed to nudity with experience in streaking and SFF, I was not  concerned by this bit and think I have found a new favorite Korean hot spot.

Upon arrival, you pay entrance of about 8,000 Won ($6) and receive an unappealing two piece pajama set and a couple of towels.

Emulating some sort of private club, you take an elevator up to the appropriate floor for the women’s/men’s locker rooms.  Straight away, you surrender your clothes to a locker and enter the single sex shower/bath/saunas sans clothing.

With showers along the walls, baths in the middle, and saunas on the edges you can hop from one to another detoxifying.  I think it is ideal to go from a hot bath to the sauna and back and forth until you can no longer handle it and finish off with a dip in a cold pool.

Taking a final rinse and wash in a shower prepares you for the next step in the jimjilbang adventure.  Climbing into the horrendously fitting pajamas offered to you at entrance you are now free to roam the other floors of the jimjilbang.

We made our way to co-ed area and the restaurant to have some bibimbap and watch a popular Korean drama where the acting is the most entertaining part.

From here you can enter a large room with ample floor space and Koreans sprawled about on pads or cushions doing everything from reading to watching TV to playing games to sleeping.  Here there are also saunas that you can enter (with clothes) and “take a rest.”  I hit up the 57C room (about 135F) that had a wood burning fireplace and did some asanas before succumbing to the floor to relax.

We  spent 3 hours there and could have easily stayed for another 2.  In addition to all this you can pay additional for a total sloughing of skin in the baths area, facials, manicures, full body massages, and all sorts of goodies including Hite beer and Soju.

This place is awesome.


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