Known for K-pop, kimchi and all things cool, the increasingly popular east Asian nation of South Korea has in recent years attracted attention with unique skincare routines and beauty traditions. Among them include traditional Korean bath houses. Called jjimjilbangs, these spas/entertainment complexes are a huge part of the way of life and visiting one is a great way to soak up some Korean culture. Here are the best on offer.
Aquafield Jimjil Spa
The Cypress Room, for example, boasts an eco-themed interior complete with video displays of forests and wooden cypress elements that release phytoncide to relax the mind. Or, if you find yourself needing some fresh air, the outdoor foot spa provides beautiful views of the Han River and warm water to soothe achy feet. It’s the perfect place to rest after a day of shopping at the Starfield Hanam megamall.
Spa Land Centum City
Located in Centum City, the world’s largest department store, Spa Land is Busan’s biggest and most well-known spa.
The spa was originally intended to be a water park, but plans were changed when workers discovered the nearby underground hot springs during the building’s construction. While the facility features over 20 spas fed by all-natural spring water, it sets itself apart from other jjimjilbangs with its vast array of themed rooms that each provide different healing properties. The SEV Room, for instance, emits electrons that are said to promote health, while the Wave Dream Room allows visitors to de-stress by watching undulating waves of water.
35, Centumnam-daero, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82 51 745 2900
Cheoksan Spa World
Known for its enchanting blue radiance, the water of the Cheoksan region’s hot springs is believed to be particularly beneficial for people with skin disorders, eye diseases, and neuralgia, and is known for its ability to beautify the skin and improve circulation.
939-7 Nohak-dong, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea, +82 33 636 4000
Dragon Hill Spa
Looking to spa in Seoul? Look no further than the Korean capital’s most famous jjimjilbang, Dragon Hill Spa. Located conveniently just outside Yongsan Station, the facility is spread across eight floors of spa zones and entertainment facilities that include aromatherapy rooms, a swimming pool, fitness areas, and rooftop cafes.
Seemingly plucked from the Las Vegas Strip, the flashy facility caters to international visitors and has plenty of information, including prices for the various skin treatments they offer in English on their website.
40, Hangang-daero 21na-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea, +82 10 4223 0001
While Busan’s Haeundae district may be best known for its white, sandy beaches, it’s also a popular destination in the colder months among tourists looking to wash away their winter blues at a spa.
Cimer Spa in the Paradise Hotel is considered to be one of the most luxurious. 12 of its themed hot springs are situated outdoors, where guests can soak in rejuvenating hot spring waters while enjoying stunning ocean views. Depending on the season, different food items such as honey, sea salt or coffee are added to the spas to provide additional skin benefits.
1408-5, Joong-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan, South Korea, +82 51 742 2121
Despite its small size, Sungwon Nexus has grown over the years to become a very big name in the city of Daegu. Here, visitors will find no-frills facilities, and subsequently a much more traditional, authentic Korean spa experience.
Move from ultra-hot rooms to the Ice Room for a unique sensorial experience. Or, should you need a bit more excitement, hit up the arcade, the noraebang (karaoke room) or common area where you can binge on K-dramas. There’s truly something for everyone.
46 Hwarang-ro, Suseong-gu, Daegu, South Korea, +82 53 746 3500