Not too many visitors to South Korea equate their visit with the ultimate spa experience, but truth be told there’s a lot more than meets the eye when it comes spas, detoxification and getting your body back in balance.
In our book ‘Seoul Sweet Seoul‘ (now in its second edition — hurray!) my co-author and I share some insights about Seoul’s spas: what to expect, why it’s good for you and where to go. Here’s a primer:
1. Spas or saunas are everywhere and they come in different shapes and sizes. Seoul’s a densely populated city and most residential blocks have their own neighborhood public bathhouse, or ‘mogyok-tang.’ The amenities are spare, but the admission is relatively cheap. A notch above is the Jjimjil-bang, which are open 24 hours a day, and offer a snack lounge, Internet cafe, and even Karaoke if you’re feeling musically inclined.
2. Korean spas have rules. When in Rome do as Romans do. Jjimjil-bangs are a must-visit destination when in Seoul — these spas usually come equipped with various kiln saunas touting minerals and atmospheric pressure designed to energize your body and restore your health. Just remember before you jump into a tub you’ll be required to take a pre-shower. Likewise put on the t-shirt and shorts they provide before you head out to the kiln saunas. (And while we’re at it, no splashing around like PSY in the above, especially if you’re over 18 years of age. Children however…)
3. Check out these spas. Korean women take their spas seriously, it’s not uncommon to find them lounging at these places for hours. Exfoliation, detoxifying in a steam room, or hanging out having snacks and chatting up their friends. It’s all part of the Seoul experience!
Hotel Prima Sauna. Hotel spa with indoor/outdoor jacuzzis, clean showers, and Internet.
Dragonhill Spa. Megaplex spa with different zones to fit your mood. The New York Times, ABC and CNN have all been there, done that.
Oh and before I forget, once you emerge spa goddess-like in your terry cloth towel, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Right now I am loving the Gentle Moist Aloe Gel by Klair’s available on WishTrend. It’s a clear gel, non-greasy, and includes Green Tea and Witch Hazel extract. Highly recommended!