The best way to find out is to experience it yourself. For a lot of people, the idea of a spa involves medicinal baths, saunas, facials, and massages. Korean spas have some similar qualities to the normal idea of a spa, but they have their own quirks that make your time at one interesting. The Korean spa, jimjilbang as locals call it, we refer to in this article is more akin to a bathhouse. Many of the people who visit this place often stay for the night. When you enter the bath and sauna of Korean spas, you must be in the nude, just like everyone else. There may be some variation among different spas, but the following are the rooms they usually have in common. Usually, shoe lockers are located before you reach the front desk, while lockers for your bags and clothes often are available in the changing rooms. Some, however, have a separate room dedicated solely for lockers. Depending on the spa you go to, your shoe locker and changing room locker may have the same key.
Visit an American spa and you might expect to lounge in a plush robe, enjoy a soothing massage, and sip a glass of detoxifying cucumber water. Visit a Korean spa, on the other hand, and you can expect to plunge naked into a freezing-cold pool, catch a movie, take a nap in a salt cave, and dig into a platter of short ribs. No robes allowed. Korean spas are a growing trend in America, and they are modeled after the traditional Korean jimjilbang, or public bath. And while they certainly offer ample opportunities to relax—wet and dry Korean saunas, movie theaters, massage chairs—they also come with their own set of rules and expectations, some of which may feel unfamiliar to the average American spa-goer. Below, we attempt to answer any and all questions you might have before visiting for the first time. Let's cut to the chase: when you use the wet spas at a Korean spa, you really must be nude. You might get a towel, but it's likely to be quite small
10 Rules Of Korean Spa-Ing
It wouldn't be odd for a group of friends to meet up at a jjimjilbang on a Friday night. The more elaborate joints have restaurants, outdoor swimming pools, hair and nail salons and karaoke rooms in addition to the usual baths and saunas. So we're breaking it down for you, step by step. Just don your towel and follow our guide below and you'll be soaking in a Korean spa like a pro in no time. The key in your hand should have a number on it — that's your locker, where you'll store your clothes and anything else you're carrying. Most jjimjilbang have two distinct areas: the baths, which are same-sex only, and the sauna areas, which are communal. Whichever you want to visit is up to you, though most people would prefer to wash up before sweating it out and then wash up again. But here's what you need to know: if you're going to the baths, you need to remove all clothing, bringing only a small towel and toiletries with you. If you're going to the saunas, change into the pajamas.
One of the things that intrigued me the most about the prospects of living in South Korea was indulging in the true blue Korean spa experience, or the jjimjilbang. Because, as much as I love spas, the idea of being naked in a room full of Korean women was rather intimidating. First, is the co-ed communal area that includes ice rooms, saunas, sleeping rooms, restaurants, and more. Second, is the gender-segregated bath and shower room where you can lay in hot tubs, use the steam rooms, or get the famous Korean scrub.