Friday, April 10, 2009

So Hot

Untouchable ft. Sung Ji Eun - Give You All

I finally made it to a Korean
jimjilbang!! A jimjilbang is a 24 hour Korean sauna for families. For a fee of 6,000 won, you are given 2 mini towels and a faded orange over-sized shorts and t-shirt set.
I went with Vivi from Taiwan and Miika from Finland. They're both in my Korean language class. Miika has been to quite a few jimjilbangs in Seoul so he offered to introduce me to one near the school :)

First, Vivi and I went down to the basement to change in the women's changing room. We took off our shoes and put them in mini cubbies. Then we walked past a mini convenience store where they sold towels, snacks, underwear, and some clothes... and we passed a room where you can lie down and they put these suction cups/compressors on your back (to improve blood circulation and relieve back pain and constipation).. then the path lead to a larger room where we changed into our orange uniforms. While we were changing, we saw this:
[Image removed due to the possibility of identification of those photographed nude]
Butt-naked women of all shapes and sizes were strolling around! There were 5 or 6 different hot tubs and all of them were at various temperatures. THEN, on the left, there were these ajummas (old Korean ladies) dressed in matching red bras and underwear with these funny blue mitts on both hands. They were hunched over metal tables where women layed, exposing all.. and the ajummas were aggressively scrubbing every inch (literally every inch) of large slabs of skin with exfoliating pads!!!! Vivi and I, being modest nudes, were mortified and were wondering why we were given these orange suits when we wouldn't even be using them! When we tried entering to see if the actual saunas were around the corner, we were yelled at by the ajummas who told us we had to go upstairs... whew!

I've always wanted to try one of these! It's a massager that's supposed to improve blood circulation and slim your waistline. Oh my goodness it hurts and I felt like jello!
[Image removed due to the possibility of identification of those photographed nude accidentally]
Anyway, we found what we were looking for on the 2nd floor! The open space is comfortably warm. You can watch the latest dramas and variety shows on the TV. I would like to think that it's not as busy as usual because it's 26 degrees outside.
I'm curious to find out what that machine on the left is used for. I tried it and all it did was go back and forth like a see-saw.There were 4 or 5 rooms on the sides - each at a different temperature: a cool one, one at 66 degrees, 88 degrees, and the kiln sauna (hottest of them all) called han jeung mak.

@ 66 degrees -- kind of a pretty room with peach and white coloured stones (they were hot hot hot!). The little wooden head grooves (pillows) were actually quite comfortable!
Vivi brought facial masks for us to do ~
Then we cooled off in the "cold room" - it felt SO good!
Off to the 88 degree one... we got the room to ourselves! The floor was made out of potato sacks. It sort of smelled good too and you can hear water being splashed periodically on hot rocks. It was so hot my camera kind of fogged up!
Theeeen after we cooled off, we went to the kiln (aka the igloo)!! My favourite one! It was a whole different world inside -- I felt as though I entered some tepee in some tribal village. It was so hot, I couldn't stay in there for too long.. You see the red inside? haha hellish...
There's also a massage room, massaging recliners, and treadmills! Oh fact: you can buy alcohol and drink it in the saunas (only Miika did). We ended up staying there for 2 hours. My skin felt quite a bit softer! (By the way, both my cell phone and digital camera survived the intense heat.)

You can pretty much live in these jimjilbangs as they have showers, entertainment (TV and other people), a restaurant, and a place to sleep! Apparently at night, business men who have had too much soju come here to crash instead of going home.
The restaurant:
So many neat things... a mat with lumps on it. Vivi says that if it hurts when you walk across it, that means your feet aren't healthy.
hehe it was a great introduction to jimjilbangs! I would say this is one of the lower-end ones. There's one downtown that costs around 20,000won and is the nicest in Seoul. Can't wait! I made a little bet with myself... I want to get one of those full body scrubs before my trip ends eeeeee will I be brave enough!?


  1. What a hilarious blog, Natasha!

  2. ^

    yes you will be brave enough to go for that body scrub!!!

    can u imagine if we had those here.... the abuse they'd get from the homeless?! only 5$ a night... yikes. well, some people still prefer to stay outside but man..showers, food, everything...So awesome! i want to try.
    those hot pebbles u laid on look fun to try... mm...everything is so peach coloured XD

  3. can i be the first one to warn you about drinking alcohol and being in the sauna/hot tub....? IT'S DANGEROUS!

  4. Cass: I thought so! I was very :S when he told me about it!