Friday, 21 August 2015

Daegu: Jjimjilbang 찜질방 Korean Sauna Experience

The Korean Jjimjilbang 찜질방 is one of the must-experience things for all foreigners - especially if you aren't from East Asia. Jiyeon 지연 brought me to the jjmjilbang which is like a Korean Spa/Sauna. As we entered the place, we paid 8000 each and received a change of clothes and two small towels.

After leaving our own clothes and slippers in a locker, we headed to the showers. As Koreans do not use large towels for showers, the towels they give you is definitely not enough to cover your body, however, they don't do that anyway. Straight from the single-sex changing rooms, all the women walked around baring all, and headed to the communal showers. It was certainly an experience taking showers and dipping into the hot baths with everyone else. Initially, it felt slightly surprising, but after awhile it felt liberating in fact.

After relaxing in the hot baths, we got changed into our pink outftis and rolled our towel into little ram horns for ourselves.

We proceeded to the sauna area which is then an area for both sexes to be in, fully clothed of course. There was a variety of saunas at different temperatures with walls made of different substances to give a different aroma and effect to your body.

We decided to head to the hottest sauna room which was 70°C. As we were the only ones in that sauna, we put on some music, lied down on the mat and began to cook ourselves. Within seconds, we were already sweating buckets but we endured it for 10 minutes before rushing out the door for some fresh air.

After cooling down in front of the large fans, we ordered some boiled eggs and Sikhae 식헤. Sikhae is a sweet rice-based beverage which was extremely delicious and refreshing especially right after the steaming hot sauna.

We nibbled on the eggs while watching some television and lying down on the provided mats in the relaxation area. We decided not to sleep over (as it is an option), so we took another shower and got changed into our own clothes and headed home.

 It was a very intriguing and liberating experience! I would definitely go again and urge all travellers in Korea to get out of your comfort zone and experience this! 

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