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.
|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.
|Yongduam Health Land|
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|
|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!