If I ever were to migrate to Korea or to go there for a 3-month holiday, I wouldn’t worry about being homeless. I’d just drag my luggage to the nearest jjimjilbang 찜질방 (public bath, sauna) and check myself in. It’s a mere KRW5,000-10,000 per entry. It’s one of the things I’ve done in Korea that I’m super addicted to (besides shopping, of course), and still want to keep doing.
During my last trip to Korea in September, I went to these jjimjilbangs 3 days in a row simply because my friend insisted that it would help me to lose weight. According to him “this is my present to you – weight loss and good skin”.
And guess what, it worked! My skin became so much smoother and clearer, and I slimmed down significantly.
Weight loss aside, tt’s seriously an awesome place. There are so many things you can do here.
- Soak in their jacuzzis
- Bathe together with your pals
- Steam your face off and detox in the 100-degree rooms (temperature varies from sauna to sauna)
- Freeze your arse off in the -20 degree room
- Relax in the charcoal, salt, aromatherapy, oxygen rooms etc
- Get a massage
- Get a facial
- Get your brows trimmed or a lash extension
- Stuff your face, especially with the baked eggs 삶은 계란 and sikhye 식혜 sweet rice drink
It’s such a communal activity place that Koreans use it for family gatherings or just for chilling out. I saw a Korean ajumma playing with her cute lil baby boy there too~
This Siloam was the first sauna / jjimjilbang I came to. I managed to find an English site of their facilities, but it wasn’t the exact one I went to. This one had a 60-70 degree heated room / igloo.
Their facilities are majorly advanced – once you pay, you’re given a set of clothes (t-shirt and bermudas that reach your knees) and a numbered magnetic key with a rubber band that’s large enough to go around your wrist or ankle.
My improvised take on “Look of the Day” – check out my jjimjilbang glam. Sorry I had to block out my face cos it was such a badly and hastily-taken shot. You know, tourists just have to take a photo, but can’t be spotted by anyone else doing it.
There’s sort of a routine here – you go into the heated room for about 5-10 minutes, and start dripping sweat. Next, you zip into the ice room to cool down and close your pores. Initially, I really thought I was gonna catch a cold doing this, but somehow, I didn’t. We repeated this routine about 10-20 times, going from hot-cold-hot-cold 😀
Taking a photo in the ice room – it was way too hot to take one in the heated room. I think my camera would have melted. This room is really cold too, at about -20 degrees celsius. That’s ice on the walls.
What we’re wearing on our heads (folded by me) is called the yangmori 양머리 – it keeps your hair out of your face and helps soak up the sweat and protect your head from the heat.
At this communal large hall area, we ate eggs , and lay around talking and doing nothing. There’s a huge tv in this hall too. In fact, we even slept in one of these areas overnight 😀