Bathing like a King and Queen
The best thing to do after hiking is to find a jjimjilbong (찜질방). A jjimjilbong is a spa and sauna that is divided into male and female bath houses. They give you shorts, a shirt and a few towels, and then you go into the respective locker rooms and get naked. The first thing you must do before you step into the steaming jet stream bath is take a shower. Although everyone bathes in the same bath, Koreans don’t want you to contaminate the water, so you must wash off before entering any of the baths. Koreans also scrub each other in jjimjilbongs to get all of the dead skin off. After this, you are able to bathe in the hot bath, cold bath or salt bath. But, a jjimjilbong is much more than openly bathing with other people. After you’ve scrubbed your body to full freshness, you relocate to the sauna area in the clothes provided to meet other people, males and females. There are thousands of jjimjilbongs in Korea. But, one of the best jjimjilbongs we have visited is located in Busan.
Anyone who visits Korea and does not visit SpaLand in Shinsegae is doing a great disservice to your Korean experience. This place reminds me of how kings and queens must have lived. What we didn't expect was for it to be so different from any other jjimjilbong we have visited. It has a variety of different baths and so many different saunas. Within your four hours, you can watch a movie in the DVD room on huge recliners, watch TV in the relaxation room, enjoy the sun from the indoors, go outside in the freezing cold and be warmed by stepping into a bath of hot water and you can experience all types of saunas to relax in or even take a nap. They have snack bars everywhere and you can pay with your key! Your ticket to pure relaxation will cost you 12,000 won for a visit on a weekday, 14,000 won on Saturday or Sunday with a 4-hour limit.
In the bathing area you'll start to notice the stark beauty and opulence of the place with many small baths, each of a different temperature. In the center of the room is the naturally-fed hot springs. One is sodium chloride (salt, benefiting the muscles and joints, as well as other body systems), the second is sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, said to "improve beauty of the skin"). There is a massaging tub (38 degrees C), a cool tub (25 degrees C), a cold tub (18 degrees C) and four dry sauna rooms. After you are finished bathing with your respective gender, you can put on the provided clothes and go to the “Meeting Area,” where you can meet the other men or women. Below are the different saunas that you can experience:
Charcoal Room -참숯방
Ice Room - 아이스방 / 어름방
Yellow Ocher Room - Hwang-to / 황토방. Hot, but dry, comfortable.
Hammam Room - 하맘룸, meant to replicate a Turkish-style bath sauna.
Bali Room - 발리룸, an open area with soft reclining floor mattresses where you can congregate with your friends and loved ones and talk freely.
Pyramid room - angled walls for a relaxing mood.
Roman Room - 로만룸, replicates the feeling of a traditional Roman sauna room.
Body Sound Room – fake bamboo along the walls and raised platforms that vibrate with the bass of the calming background music.
Wave Dream Room- place to lay along the sides, and from the middle lights are reflected through water waves for a meditative, colorful view on the ceiling.
SEV Room - therapeutic ions emitted into semi-private, wooden 2-seater benches lit by dim colored lights.
Relaxation Room - an amazing 3-tiered arc-shaped space with reclining leather chairs together in pairs, each one equipped with its own mini TV!
Spaland also includes a massage and therapy room, nail salon, cafe and beverages, a restaurant, DVD, PC and business rooms. This is one of our favorite Korean experiences and we highly recommend making the trip to Shinsegae Department Store in Busan, the largest department store in the world.
After a few months of living in Korea, we are beginning to learn about the Korean way of life. Everyday we learn a little bit more on how Koreans enrich their lives by incorporating healthy habits in their lifestyle. When will the rest of the world catch on?
How to get there. Take line 2 on the subway toward Heaundae and stop at Centum City, exit 12. Spaland is on the first floor next to Prada in the Shinsegae Department Store in Busan, South Korea. Click here to see a map.