The South Korean port city of Busan has long been associated with its mild climate, beautiful beaches, abundant seafood and its own international film festival, but with some 450 spas—the most of any metropolitan city on the peninsula—it is also a great place to ‘soak up’ the country’s jjimjilbang culture. So, if you’re looking for the perfect place to relax, look to one of Busan’s best spas, listed below.
Spa Land Centum City
Located in Centum City, the world’s largest department store, Spa Land is Busan’s biggest and most famous spa. Although it was originally intended to be a water park, plans were changed when workers discovered the underground hot springs during the building’s construction. While Spa Land boasts over 20 spas fed by all-natural spring water, its differentiating factor is its vast array of themed rooms that each offer unique healing properties. The SEV Room, for example, emits electrons that are believed to promote health, while visitors can de-stress in the Wave Dream Room by watching undulating waves of water.
35, Centumnam-daero, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82-51-745-2900
Hurshimchung (also spelled Heosimcheong) is one of the oldest spas in Busan’s Dongnae district and, after several recent renovations, is also one of the largest, with a capacity of 3,000. With a name that literally translates to “cleaning one’s mind”, the facility aims to improve the health of visitors through the curative power of its hot spring baths. And with over 40 different baths to choose from, such as the Longevity Bath, the Cave Bath and the Outdoor Bath, there’s something for everyone.
23, Geumganggongwon-ro 20beon-gil, Dongnae-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82-51-550-2200
Haeundae Spa Center
Originally opened as Halmaetang (“Grandma Bathtub”), the present-day Haeundae Spa Center was once widely known for its mineral water that promised to heal a variety of ailments, from skin diseases to arthritis. Since its renovation in 2003, however, it has become a favorite destination for visitors wanting a special spa experience. The 24-hour complex boasts fairly standard spa facilities, but its cheap price and convenient location near the beach make it a great place to rinse off the sand and get ready for a night out on the town.
16, Jungdong 2-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 48096, South Korea, +82-51-740-7000
Dongnae Outdoor Footbath
The Dongnae District in northern Busan has been synonymous with spas since as early as the Silla dynasty (57 B.C.E.–935 C.E.), when kings and aristocrats are said to have visited the area for the hot springs. The neighborhood’s open-air foot spa, which was opened in 2005 by the Dongnae District Office, pumps in about 25 tons of hot spring water every day for the public to enjoy for free. The water is well-known for its health benefits and is believed to alleviate rheumatic conditions, neuralgia, arthritis and circulation disorders.
21, Geumganggongwon-ro 26beon-gil, Dongnae-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82-51-550-6601
The Haeundae District may be best known for its beach, but it’s also packed with tourists who flock to its spas in the winter. Of its 19 spas, Cimer Spa in Paradise Hotel is considered to be one of the most luxurious. Twelve of its themed hot springs are located outdoors, where hotel guests can soak in the rejuvenating spring waters while soaking up gorgeous ocean views. Depending on the season, various ingredients such as honey, sea salt or coffee are added to the spas to help improve bathers’ skin health.
1408-5, Joong-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82-51-742-2121
Hotel Aqua Palace
Operated in association with the hotel of the same name, Aqua Palace is Korea’s only seaside water park, and features a 90-meter-long water slide, a wave pool, and a variety of Bade pools that are filled with water drawn from 2,624 ft. (800m) underground. Since the park is indoors, guests can enjoy the facilities at any time of the year.
225, Gwanganhaebyeon-ro, Suyeong-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82-51-756-0202
Hill Spa (formerly Vesta Spa) has over the years become a popular spot with tourists looking for an affordable place to stay during the annual Busan International Film Festival. Of the jjimjilbang’s facilities, the most popular are its open-air spas that offer a panoramic view of Haeundae Beach and Gwangan Bridge. On a clear day, visitors can even see as far as Japan’s Tsushima Island.
17-7 Dalmaji-gil 117beon-gil, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82-51-743-5705
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Haeundae Hot Spring Footbath
Need to rest your tired legs after a long day of sightseeing? There’s no better place to do it than at the public hot spring footbath situated near the Haeundae Beach Tourist Information Center. With seating capacity for up to 80 people, the footbath makes for a great spot to sit back and relax with friends while taking in the beautiful views of Busan’s most popular beach.
264, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82-51-749-7622