Jimjilbang (찜질방) Take Two

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Night and Day.”

I briefly wrote about my first experience in a jimjilbang on my First Visit to Busan post. It was brief because the experience was not that great for me. I think I went into my first jimjilbang experience a bit unprepared. First, a little bit about these Korea spas.

Jimjilbangs are basically large public bath houses. You go there, bathe yourself for hours in different baths and then relax in saunas. You can get massages, facials, and scrub downs. Oh and in some you can go to game rooms, sing karaoke, dine on Korean comfort foods, and have a cheap place to spend the night.

So if you read about my first experience in a jimjilbang, you’ll see that it wasn’t very enjoyable. I got a lot of stares and I felt really uncomfortable. This time I went to one a popular spa, Spa Land in Centum City, that attracts a good amount of foreigners. “A lot” meaning I saw at least 4 other noticeably foreign foreigners. I decided to just say FUCK IT and embrace the experience. If people stared, I was gonna give them something to see. This time I went a little bit more prepared. I brought my own soap, washcloth, towel, shampoo, and conditioner. But this place actually provided soap, shampoo, and conditioner. They had washcloths too, but I didn’t want to use them. I also used my own hair stuff, because I can’t use the cheap stuff. 😉 Jk, but it would probably leave my hair really dry.

Anyway, I knew this time to take an ungodly amount of time scrubbing every crevice of myself just for good measure before I got in the baths. I washed my hair maybe three times, and I lost count of my scrub downs. I went to relax in the baths for a while, but without a chatting partner it really was kind of lame. I have missed taking baths, but I prefer them in my own private home.

Next, I decided to move on to the more interesting part. The saunas.  I went and changed into my “bathrobe” which is some oversize shorts and shirt that everyone wears in the mixed (male & female) areas. I looked at the map and remember feeling…not disappointed, but just like I expected more the way everyone had been talking about it. This would continue throughout my stay there. I think I hyped it up too much in my head.

From what I’m reading online there are 22 different spas and saunas here. The first thing I did was the outdoor foot spa. Meh. Was okay. Different temperature foot baths, and rock paths to massage your feet on. Moved on to the saunas.

The most enjoyable and relaxing for me was the Traditional Turkish? Sauna and the Roman Room. I enjoyed sitting there and sweating everything out. The pyramid room was actually quite relaxing as well, even though I thought it was a bit cheesy. Every room had a sign outside that listed the benefits. This ranged from mental stabilization to electrowhateverblahblah. Some rooms I found pointless/lame were the Wave Room and the EV Room.

I wanted to have lunch, but I wasn’t feeling up to Korean food. So I got the three oven baked hard eggs? I never had that before, but it seems to be a common jimjilbang snack.

I also got a 15 minute chair massage. That chair was getting frisky.  It laid me back, pinned me down, then starting groping my buttocks and between my thighs. At first I was alarmed, but then I ended up enjoying it. 😐

I wanted to do more, but I ran out of time. I was there for about 3 hours. You’re only allowed to stay for 4. Actually, I ended up missing my train back to Daejeon. And that brought all my stress back again.

Overall I would rate this experience an 8/10. I want to go back and try getting a massage or scrub down. If you’ve tried Spa Land or other jimjilbangs let me know about your experience by commenting. Until next time. Let’s get out there.

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