If you’re a fan of rest, relaxation, and generally just being pampered, then Seoul has a treat for you! Jjimjilbangs
, or Korean saunas, may be a bit intimidating for first-timers, but for those brave enough to strip down to their birthday suits, these must-visit locales
are chock full of amenities that promise to relax body and soothe mind. Here are some of the best.
Itaewon may be known for its raucous nightlife, but tucked away just off the main strip of bars and restaurants is Itaewon Land, a five-story jjimjilbang made famous after its appearance in the body-swapping scene of Secret Garden, a popular K-drama.
Its various relaxation rooms such as the pine room and salt room are sure to help you de-stress while its traditional sauna’s red clay room, and flat stone room will most certainly allow you to sweat out all the toxins from last night’s soju session. With a number of guest rooms available for overnight stays, Itaewon Land is also a great (and affordable) place to crash after an evening out on the town.
34 Usadan-ro 14-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 749 4122
After shopping the day away in the Gangnam district of Sinsa-dong, soothe your aching shopping arms at Spa Lei. Unlike most Korean spas, Spa Lei is for girls only and goes out of its way to accommodate female guests.
The rock sauna, a bed of heated stones that contour to the curves of the body, is particularly relaxing, and the massaging jets of the hot tubs will have you and your gal pals wanting to stay at this sanctuary for the rest of your trip. From a nail salon and powder rooms to an outdoor cafe and small shops selling jewelry and lingerie, Spa Lei brings beauty, fitness, health and fashion together into one package.
5, Gangnam-daero 107-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 545 4002
The Spa in Garden 5
Located on the 10th floor of the Garden 5 shopping center, this ultra-modern spa features all the amenities you’d expect to find at a traditional jjimjilbang, with tons of extras like a library, luxurious lounge rooms, an arcade, theater and yoga classes. When hunger strikes, head to the spa’s in-house bar for some tasty Korean treats, like shikhye, a sweet rice beverage often consumed at jjimjilbangs.
10, Chungmin-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 404 2700
If you’re on a long layover or only have a limited amount of time to spend in Seoul, then Siloam Sauna is the place for you. Located near Seoul Station, the jjimjilbang is easily accessible, not to mention foreigner-friendly.
The no-frills sauna uses natural, high-quality Germanuim water from 300 meters underground, which supplies the spa’s hot baths, sauna rooms and sleeping rooms. With clean facilities and personable staff, Siloam is a fantastic sleeping option if you’re on a shoestring budget and need a place to stay for a night.
49, Jungnim-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 2 364 3944
Dragon Hill Spa
Perhaps the most famous jjimjilbang in Seoul, Dragon Hill Spa is spread out across eight floors fully equipped with various spa zones and entertainment facilities ranging from aromatherapy rooms, a swimming pool, saunas, fitness areas, karaoke cubbies and rooftop gardens.
Dragon Hill Spa can get quite packed on the weekends, meaning it isn’t exactly the quietest spa on this list, but it certainly has everything you need to chill out with your travel buddies and “soak up” some Korean culture. As an added bonus, the facility caters to international visitors, and has plenty of information, including prices for the various skin treatments on offer in English on their website.
40, Hangang-daero 21na-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 10 4223 0001