Visitors who are exhausted from a long day of sightseeing are recommended to visit a Korean style spa called jjimjil-bang. Most jimjil-bang establishments in Korea are equipped with all kinds of great entertainment along with their main sauna facilities, allowing visitors to spend leisure time as they relax. With the growing popularity, jjimjil-bang facilities have captured not only the hearts of Koreans but also visitors from abroad, giving the opportunity for jjimjil-bang businesses to spread outside of Korea.
What is a Jjimjil-bang?
The term “jjimjil” refers to the treatment of illness through perspiration from the old belief that sweating helps release toxins. Hence, jimjil-bang was initially built to offer a sauna experience through bathing in hot pools and relaxing in sauna rooms. Jjimjil-bang is usually equipped with multiple sauna rooms built from different materials, such as mud, charcoal, and salt, and set to temperatures ranging from 40℃ to 80℃.
Jjimjil-bang is now considered a leisure facility where one can bathe, spa, rest, and enjoy entertainment all in one place with a small admission fee. As most jjimjil-bang operate 24 hours and are open all year round, many travelers who are on a tight budget also take advantage of the facilities as a cheap form of accommodations.
How to Enjoy Jimjil-bang
Before entering the main area where jjimjil-bang facilities are open for both genders, visitors will first be guided into a segregated locker room after paying for admission. Once inside, guests will be given with a dry towel, T-shirt, shorts, and a key for storage. Usually, jjimjil-bang is divided into the spacious main lobby where everyone can relax and a series of sauna rooms, each built with materials that offer different benefits.
Bath supplies are not provided, although guests can purchase disposable shampoo, hair conditioner and other bath products at additional cost. Take note that although there may be sleeping rooms, visitors will not be provided with blankets or pajamas. Additional fees may be charged if guests decide to stay longer than 24 hours.
Amenities available at jjimjil-bang are far beyond imagination, including snack bars, game rooms, massage chairs, theaters, nail salons and many more. Visitors are advised to have some cash on hand as the subsidiary facilities usually require an additional cost and may not accept credit or debit cards as a payment method.
The most popular subsidiary facilities include the snack bar and the cafeteria. Chilled sikhye (sweet rice drink) and roasted eggs are Koreans’ most favorite combination of snacks at jjimjil-bang.