IT’S CALLED A JJIMJIBANG

One blistery morning was calling my dear friend Jenny and me to warmth that is the Korean Spa. It’s called a Jjimjilbang, is quite honestly one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had in my life. The reason I say this is because, unlike spas in America, this is a place for all people. People, Teens, Children, and even babies come to the Korean spa. It’s a mall wrapped inside of a mall!
Keep reading to understand… it’s probably one of biggest cultural differences between America and Korea.
Lucky for us, the day we decide to go… it was snowing!!

​​ ​Jenny and I wait by the bus stop; she explains to me that our stop is only ten mins away. I sheepishly admit how excited I am to try this spa, as it’s been bitterly cold the past few weeks. She’s baffled by my eagerness, but is willing to take me none the less.*

*Disclaimer: I did not take pictures of the people in the spa, as to respect everyone’s privacy; however my lack of photos may not give you a fully detailed explanation.

When we first arrive to the Spa, Jenny is taken aback by how crowded the spa is. I have to admit I am too. Spas in America are considered a luxury, so they are rarely ever crowded… at least the ones I’ve visited anyways.

Jenny and I pay for our admission and she takes me to the back room. As soon as we walk back I’m stunned by how many women are around. Women young and old are walking around naked and hurrying children to get out of the way of others. Upon our arrival to the locker room, are we given pajama type clothes to wear. Everyone wears the same thing. Men and women as well, just men wear different colors. I’m embarrassed at first to get naked in front of a bunch of strangers… but anyone who knows me knows this was short lived.

After we lock up our valuables, Jenny takes me upstairs to the spa… where I am floored!

The whole top room is like a mall! What do I mean? It’s an open room, with separate rooms attached. Each room has a theme and different temperatures. There is a playground area for children, restaurants, sitting areas with TV’s, different places to lie down and relax. Something I’ve never seen before.

Jenny explained to me, that many families come here, and she herself came when she was young. I racked my brain to see if there were such traditions in America….and could think of none.

    • Each spa has dome shape and windows. Open room for people to lie.
  • The first room we went in had a relaxing temperature. So relaxing in fact that children came in here to watch the TV mounted on the wall. A Korean Drama was playing. Jenny and I spent about 15 mins in each room, before I got excited to go to the next room.
  • I’m glad she puts up with me.

  • I loved this room! It was covered in pine needles and pine trees. So people didn’t stick themselves, the needles and branches were covered with a mesh to lie on. It smelled so nice.

Jenny tried out this room as well; I loved this one the most! It was warm and smelled so heavenly! I hate admit that some rooms smelled like stinky men, feet, and sweat…. this wasn’t one of them, so be weary of that.
Jenny and I lay down for a little while in here, the temperature and everything about this room was perfect.
Before long we were hungry.

I’m always excited for Korean soup and Korean food, so seeing this option had me doing cartwheels. I enjoyed my favorite Korean soup, and ate ice cream as a treat.

  • The first picture is the hottest room in the spa. When I say it was unbearable… it is precisely that. OMG it was so hot in that room. The second I opened the door, and the heat hit my face, I thought I was going to pass out. Jenny and I scurried in and found a place to sit. To my surprise there were quite a few people in there. Jenny and I lasted maybe 3 mins.
  • After the hottest room, it only makes sense to go to the coldest room. It was amazing to step foot in this room. It brings your body temperature back down, and gives you a chance to breath. Careful however, since it’s so cold, expect children to be running in and out.

The second best room was the salt room. A lot people in here. At first glance you’d think you’re laying on a bunch of pebbles but no its rock salt. It’s wondrous putting your toes and legs under the salt. Highly recommended.

Jenny let me lay down and she put rocks on my body. She’s so amazing.

​For the rest of the blog you’re going to have to use your imagination. I wouldn’t dare take pictures in the water spa rooms.

After trying all of the rooms, Jenny asked if I was ready to strip down and get in the water. After three deep breaths I told her I was ready. We headed back to the locker room and removed our pajamas.
We walk past other naked women, and head to the water room.
This room is phenomenal! There are about 5 or 6 different whirl pools. I know what you’re thinking… is it sanitary to be getting in the same water as a bunch of naked women? In a word: yes.

I wish I could say I tried all of them, but I didn’t some were way too cold. I got into this stone water well. Jenny read the cures and healing powers of the water. She explained how this particular water would be healthy to my womb, and my reproductive organs.
The second one we tried had water coming from deep in the earth. Jenny again explained the purpose of the water. She told me this water would be good for my immune system, and overall health.

After trying all the waters, Jenny and I stepped into the sauna. I was happy to, because we also have these in America and I actually enjoy them. I was startled when the other women engaged me in conversation. Typically when foreigners are ignored, but I was embraced. I always like when I am.

After this Jenny and I were ready to go, we had spent over four hours at the spa and still had Thanksgiving plans with our other friends. We took showers and hustled out the door.

and we made it just in time.

Recommend to try the Korean Spa! You will not regret it!

Keep in mind:

  • Go with an open mind
  • Be respectful
  • Expect to be stared at (especially if you have tattoos)
  • Go with someone who speaks Korean, this will help.
  • Get over the idea that you and everyone else will be naked

​Have fun! Absorb the culture!

Love and Peace,

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