Its winter in Seoul and unbearably cold. After walking the streets of Seoul one realizes pretty quick that its not fun walking around with your face frozen. So when I heard there were Korean bathhouses where people just hang out all day I was in.
The biggest battle with jjimjilbangs is finding the place. Since we didn’t speak Korean and places like this aren’t really written in English finding one is impossible. The street names are hard to find. And plus we were worried we’d get into a place that only offered “massage” with happy endings and while those are good for some situations…it wasn’t what we were looking for on snowy days.
Luckily we found two that I would highly recommend to anyone trying to get over jetlag, is tired of being frozen in Seoul or is just needing to get away from the crowds.
Riverside Spa Land
Take Seoul Subway Line 2 to Gangbyeon Station.
I couldn’t even explain how we found this place. Seriously. We walked around literally for 30 minutes trying to read signs. Best recommendation I can give you is get off at this station, walk around, find a hotel and ask them where it is. Its worth it. It cost approx $10 and you can be in this warm place where you can take hot baths, get a massage, eat ramen jigae, and watch Korean tv. There’s an area on the side where these ladies rub all the dead skin off your body. They’re naked. You’re naked. Its all good. Just let them do what they do. Its not sexual at all. And you feel incredibly clean after its all over. My lady was probably over 200 pounds and I “guess” I told her to give me a massage because she basically stood over me and stepped on my back giving me a very aggressive massage. She was great but for a moment I thought I was going to die because I really didn’t know what the hell was happening.
5 minute walk from Seoul Station. Exit in the back of Seoul Station (I think its Exit 3, the exit near the big Seoul Station sign that has a big wheelbarrow thingie), go down the stairs on the left, turn right and walk till you go under the underpass. As you’re walking look to your left and watch out for a sign that says Silloam on top of the buildings. You should be able to see it as you’re walking.
Busier then Riverside probably because its near Seoul Station. Riverside had more families and teenagers. Silloam seemed to have more 20somethings just hanging out. Great facilities, fantastic sleeping room. Had an icy cold room which is supposed to make you feel great but didn’t try it.
Before you go take notice of how to wrap your head in a towel Princess Leia style. That seemed to be the majority style in the jimjilbangs.