Visit a South Korean bathhouse

Visiting the jjimjilbang - ‘heated rooms’ - is a traditional and very agreeable way to relax in South Korea. These bathhouse spas are complex venues, with restaurants and swimming pools, video gaming rooms and (sound-proofed!) karaoke rooms, as well as the gender segregated baths and kiln saunas. In this sense they’re a melting pot of South Korean culture, as well as a great place for some R&R...

What to expect at the bath house...

There’s some etiquette involved, not dissimilar to visiting a Japanese onsen. The most intimidating for most people is that clothing is prohibited in all the wet areas, so everyone will be nude, and you’ll be gender-segregated.

If you’re anything like us (ie British), you’re more likely to find yourself very politely avoiding staring at anyone else, than worrying about them looking at you! It’s easy to relax once you’re immersed in the experience.

You’ll also be expected to wash before you get in the communal water, so you’ll leave your things in a locker and scrub up before heading to the shared pools and saunas. These will typically include a range of temperatures and themes, such as different minerals in the kilns that heat the saunas, hot and cold tubs, and some that are outdoors (it is especially lovely to sit in a warm outdoor spa pool while it’s raining).

Other rituals of the jjimjilbang (bang is that part that means room, by the way - you’ll see it attached to quite a few different words as you explore South Korea) include getting a massage, or lolling around on the heated floors of the relaxation rooms. There are rooms for karaoke, for watching films or playing video games - and there are places to eat, too. It’s kind of a communal home from home - a home where you can get naked and have a nice warm bath with total strangers...

Location: Throughout South Korea

Duration: a few hours

Accommodation: Your choice of South Korea hotel

Discover your Asia

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

We say...

An unusual opportunity to spend some leisure time with South Koreans at their most relaxed... 

Good to know...

There’s quite a bit of etiquette involved with mutual bathing - make sure you shower first, and don’t let any fabric get in the water, including your towel, which you can fold up and put on your head. Oh and, insider tip for women - get yourself an exfoliating mitt on your way in. South Korean ladies are really into exfoliation, and a steamy bathhouse the ideal place to scrub up.