Friday, February 15, 2013

How I survived inside a Jjimjilbang at Jeju - Day 12 in South Korea

We were pretty tired when we went to our host's place at Woljeongni, coming from Manjanggul Cave and Gimnyeong Maze Park. However, I was pretty surprised when he asked us to move out already. In my request through Couchsurfing, I told him we will be staying until the morning but then he said that there will be someone staying in our room. Of course we had no option but to leave. I'll probably talk about this on another post. We took a taxi to the airport that night for our 7AM flight with T'way Airlines the next morning but unfortunately, we had to move again as Jeju's airport closes by 10:30 PM! How unexpected! Anyway, the only option that night was to stay at a jjimjilbang. Left with no other choice, we took another taxi to Yongduam Health Land, a jjimjilbang nearby Yongduam Rock, to stay for one night.

Jjimjilbang is a large gender-segregated Korean bathhouse. They have enormous facilities like jacuzzi spas, hot/cold sauna, massage services, sleeping rooms, and they also allow customers to stay overnight, making them very popular with Koreans and foreign tourists to their country. The very unique feature of jjimjilbang is that no bathing suits are allowed when using the wet sauna, thus you have to be naked inside.

jeju jjimjilbang
The view near the famous jjimjilbang of Yongduam

I was actually hesitant to go to a jjimjilbang, one, is because I really did not know what to do once inside, and of course, I did not want strip naked and take a bath with strangers! Good thing I watched the Korean drama 'Secret Garden' and from there I knew that one could also sleep inside which was my goal for that night.

jjimjilbang jeju
Yongduam Health Land

jeju bath house

We went to Yongduam Health Land as it was the closest to the airport and cost us only 3,000 won of taxi fare. For non-Koreans speakers, I really have no idea how you could survive inside because the one in the reception doesn't even speak any English so you wouldn't really be able to ask the rates and where to put your stuff, etc, this was the case at Yongduam Health Land, maybe they have some English signs at jjimjilbangs at Seoul, Busan or other big cities as this kind of sauna is becoming very popular with foreigners as well. Sadly, there were no safe spaces for your big luggage. We were able to keep ours in a small free space near the entrance and there are even no tags and any security for these!

After paying the fee of 7,000 won, we were given a key and the "sauna uniform". Before going inside the common room, you will see small lockers wherein you could keep your shoes (similar to the concept of taking your shoes off before going inside someone's house). Afterwards, another ajhumma will take the receipt and then you'll be prompted to another locker, this one larger and more roomy so that you could put your bag and clothes. You'll have to change into the shirt and shorts you were given -  for women they usually give out color pink shirts and blue for men. This part is divided into men and women section.

A sample picture of how a jjimjilbang looks inside: credits to Google Images

Making up my way to the upper floors, I was able to see the main lounge which is unisex by the way, Here you could also ask for a blanket and a wooden block used as a headrest used for sleeping. You'd also be able to see a snack bar, massage chairs, PCbangs (computer room), and other sleeping rooms wherein you have to pay to get in.

Seriously, my jjimjilbang experience was kinda boring because I just slept the night away. Don't blame me, I was up 3AM that day and only had the opportunity to take a nap by 11 PM! And also, that wooden headrest was not comfortable at all, not sure if my headache that day was because of this or lack of sleep. One has to be used to sleeping at hard and cold wooden floors. As for Yongduam Health Land, they don't really have sleeping mats, so you'll be using the blankets they gave.

The cold bath
Anyhow, I woke up around 5AM with only few minutes left to explore this jjimjilbang. Korean saunas have various baths available such as hot baths mixed with herb. A communal dry sauna wherein you could go in with males (of course, dressed!) in different levels of room hotness. You could also have a full body massage for a fee.  There are also pools/jacuzzi for the same sex wherein you have to take a full body shower first before going in.

Dry sauna
Hot Bath
Massage Bath

Sea Bath

Warm Bath

Inside Yongduam Health Land

The "Princess Leia Hat" towel fold is also very famous inside the jjimjilbangs. I was not really able to do it because I did not know how to do the fold. I was also able to try and eat some foods that they sell in the snack bars. One of the popular ones was the sikhye (sweet rice drink) that I have already tried once or twice before and of course, hard boiled eggs. There were other common foods too and I did not forget to have my favorite yogurt and banana milk.

I really regret that I did not have much time to try out the baths inside the jjimjilbang. I would really love to have a go again but maybe I'll do it alone next time. LOL. Good thing nothing really happened with our baggages all through the night. Yes, I usually freak out with these kind of stuff because I grew up in Manila, but I was in Jeju so no need to worry then.

For those looking for the cheapest accommodations in Korea, no doubt jjimjilbangs are on the top of the list - just don't expect you'll be having a good night's sleep in there, but the different relaxing baths are a plus! It's absolutely a must-try if you want to have the total Korean experience!

P.S. Credits to the owner of the pictures, JejuNori's Naver and Yongduam's site. Borrowing some pictures as I did not bring my own camera inside.

Yongduam Health Land (romanized as Yongduam Haesu-landeu): 064-711-4472
Directions: Take a taxi from the airport to Yongduam

용두암해수사우나 in Jeju is located at 1006-3 Yongdamsam-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.

Visit www.jejusauna.co.kr/info/info_3.php for a discount coupon for 1,000 won!

Day 1: Gangwon-do
Chuncheon and Nami Island

Day 2: Gangwon-do
Mt.Seorak (Seoraksan)

Day 3: Gyeonggi-do
Yongin and Food Tour

Day 4: Gyeonggi-do
Suwon: Hwaseong Fortress, Korean Folk Village

Day 5: Gyeonggi-do

Day 6: Gyeongju
Food Tour

Day 7: Gyeongju
Seokguram Grotto

Bulguksa Temple

Cheomseongdae and Anapji Pond

Day 8: Busan
Railway Train in Korea

Day 9: Busan
Igidae Coast

Busan Fireworks Festival

Day 10: Busan
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple

Flying with Jeju Air

Day 11: Jeju (E)
Food Tour- Altang

Dragon Rock

Jusangjeolli Cliff

Teddy Bear Museum

The Seaes Resort

Day 12: Jeju (W)
Sunrise Peak


Trick Art

Folk Village

Sangamburi Crater, Mt.Halla

Manjanggul Cave, Maze Park


Day 13: Seoul
Flying with T'way Airlines

Couchsurfing in Korea

Day 14: Seoul
Palaces and Bukchon Village

Day 15&16: Seoul
Myeongdong and Ewha University

N Seoul Tower

Booking Flights
via T'way Airlines

Travel Report for South Korea
16 days travel itinerary and tips


  1. your host kicked you out? how rude

    1. yup he is! i am still grateful that we were able to sleep at his place but staying with him was the worst decision of all my CS experiences

  2. wow! thanks~this is amazing! wonder if there's a website link that u can provide? I clicked on this website www.jejusauna.co.kr/info/info_3.php but it didnt work :S I tried googling Yongduam Health Land, but cant seem to find its official website~ really appreciate if you can help! thanks much!! :)

    1. Hi You could try looking for 용두암해수사우나 though all sites are korean. I think their website is already not working :(

  3. Hi Mariane,

    Can U please advise how I can hire a driver in Jeju ? And how much they charge by the hour? Thank u v much!

    I enjoy reading our Korea travel blog and u sure looked like you had planned v well and had a great time!

    1. Hi you may contact some drivers before arriving in Jeju, otherwise there are services available also in the airport, rate is around 150,000 won. You may refer here on the contact details of our driver:

  4. Hi Mariane. Love your blog.

    I have a question. Is it possible to take take shower in 'Yongduam Health Land' without fully naked? Any private shower room?

    1. Hi Mariane,

      Me too wondering the same. And dying to know if any private shower?

    2. There's a private shower downstairs but to avail of the water sauna services, you have to be naked because the ahjummas will be mad! haha

  5. arrh your jeju host really suck. I have a similar experience at Seoul last time. But not overnight la.
    Initially the owner allowed me to late check-out, extra 4 hours, however when i arrived on the 1st day, I was instructed to checkout on time. Which really piss me off. But I insisted on our agreement and show him the email.
    So he reluctantly allowed me to leave my luggage behind but had his worker to clean up the apartment b4 the new visitor came. Haih.

    Ohh thank you so much for your lovely blog. I really enjoying reading your korea trip posts. I am planning my coming busan + jeju trip which in another 2 weeks.. yet I havent finish my itinerary! So really thankful for your photos and all the information. ~ Cheers ~

    1. That's too bad Maggie, though there are really those times during travel, so we must be prepared. Enjoy your trip to Busan and Jeju!


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