Over the next few weeks I plan on running down a list of the Top 25 thing I like about Korea. There is a lot to like about Korea so it should be interesting to see if the things I point out as liking is similar to what other long time expat friends and residents of Korea like as well. So without any further introduction here is the #25 on my list.
#25 – Jimjilbang Saunas
While living or visiting Korea you have to at least go native one time and try out one of the jimjilbang saunas. These saunas can be found all over Korea and a very popular place for local to relax. The first place you see when entering a jimjilbang is the front desk where you pay to enter the sauna. The jimjilbang’s are usually very inexpensive, about $5-$10 a visit. After paying you get a key to a locker to put your belongings in. From there you take a shower and a grab a towel before walking over to either the male or female sauna area. In the sauna area there hot tubs and massage tables. From there you can go to the family area where it usually has ondol heated floors to lie and sleep on as well as games and even Internet cafes for the kids. As a foreigner expect to get some stares because Koreans are just not used to seeing naked foreigners. So that may make some people uncomfortable, but once you get over it jimjilbangs are a great place to relax and meet Koreans in a different setting.
For those wanting to read more about the Jimjilbangs, Seoul Style has a pretty expansive article on the topic worth checking out.