Let’s be frank: a trip to Korea cannot be complete without an authentic Jjimjilbang experience. Jjimjilbang, meaning Korean public bath or sauna, is a common spot for the locals to pass time, and a paradise for weary travelers to unwind and revive from physical exhaustion.
How do you pick a Korean sauna from so many places, and what is the difference among them? We’re here to ease all your questions and worries! In this article, we compare 7 best Korea saunas for you to pick from, as well as answering some commonly asked questions and providing handy tips! While you’re on a trip to Seoul, Busan or Jeju Island, consider these jjimjilbangs:
Top 7 Jjimjilbangs at a glance:
1. LK SPA
Located near Myeongdong and Dongdaemun in Seoul, LK SPA is the biggest jjimjilbang around the nearby area. The two-story spa has a pleasing bright and clean environment, and it’s a perfect place to try the body scrubs! A dedicated Ahjumma will help you sleigh away dull, dry skin from all over your body (don’t worry, it won’t hurt). Then, she will message your softer and smoother skin with hot fragrance oil. What a treat!
LK SPA is equipped with three kinds of sauna rooms—Maifanshi, loess, and fire, with temperatures ranging from low (50°C) to high (100°C). The hot springs are also infused with ginseng, jasmine and red wine flavors, dissolving all your exhaustion from walking and shopping in various ways.
- Address: 지하 131 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 3(sam)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
- How to Get There: Seoul Subway Euljiro 3 (Sam)-ga Station (Exit 7)
- Opening Hours: 9:00am – 10:00pm
- Book Here: Seoul LK SPA Sauna Package
2. Hwanggeum Sauna
This bathhouse is also conveniently situated in Myeongdong, Seoul’s shopping hotspot. It is particularly popular among Japanese visitors, and you’ll notice it as you see all the Japanese name signatures on the wall at the reception.
Choose a combo and simply lie down and relax for the following 60 to 80 minutes. The staff will pamper you with massage, exfoliate your facial skin and apply a mask on your face. There are 4 types of masks, each boasting great benefits for your skin Choose chocolate for an anti-aging effect, pearl for silk-like skin, or collagen for anti-wrinkle care. This place is no doubt your best choice to get your glow on.
- Address: B1, 19-27, Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
- How to Get There: Seoul Subway Myeongdong Station, Exit 8
- Opening Hours: 9:00am – 6:30pm
- Book Here: Traditional Hwanggeum Sauna in Myeongdong
3. Dragon Hill Spa & Resort
Praised by CNN as one of the best three saunas in Seoul, Dragon Hill Spa & Resort is an irresistible option to destress in the most glorious way. Why? To start with, it’s the biggest sauna in Seoul, and well-equipped with a series of facilities— spa, sauna, golf, KTV, cinema, you name it! If you come here, you might even have a chance to bump into your ‘bias’ or K crushes, since Dragon Hill is such a popular shooting spot for plenty of K dramas or TV shows.
There are 8 themed sauna rooms with different healing effects. Relax in the beautifully decorated sauna and spa rooms for up to 12 hours. The resort is operated round the clock, so if you come late in the evening, you may also save the accommodation fee for a night!
- Address: 40-712 Hangangno-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- How to Get There: Seoul Subway Yongsan Station, Exit Yongsan Square
- Opening Time: All day
- Book Here: Seoul Dragon Hill Spa & Sauna Rooms
4. Itaewon Land Sauna
If you’re not interested in more touristic jjimjilbangs like those around Myeongdong, then try Itaewon Land Sauna, which is frequented more by the locals. Here, you’ll enjoy the largest traditional oak wood sauna in Korea and the spring water from 300 meters underground. The sauna uses FIR (far infrared) and high temperature to produce the steamy heat. Such heat encourages sweat to come out of your body, eliminating toxins.
After the sauna, have a body scrub by Ahjumma, or entertain yourself in their DVD theater, comic book room, or karaoke room. This is a paradise for you to throw all your worries away.
- Address: 732-20 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- How to Get There: Seoul Subway Itaewon Station (Exit 3)
- Opening Hours: 12:00am – 12:00pm
5. Traditional Oriental Forest Land
The last jjimjilbang in Seoul we would like to introduce is located at the heart of the city center, despite its pastoral name. Not only is it easily reachable, but it also has the outdoor charcoal kilns which you can’t find in other bathhouses.
Purify both your body and soul in the traditional jjimjilbang heated by natural oak wood-fired heating. The female-only sleeping room is also equipped with a salt room. The best thing? You can chow down on hearty Korean BBQ in their canteen!
- Address: 51, Bongwon-Dong, Seodaemun-Gu, Seoul
- How to Get There: Take No.7024 bus from Sinchon station exit 3 and get off at the final stop
- Opening Time: All day
- Book Here: Traditional Oriental Forest Land Sauna
6. Spa Land Centum City
When it comes to jjimjilbang in Busan, Spa Land is definitely on top of the list. It’s the biggest jjimjilbang in the city, located in the Centum City department store. It’s famed for the 5-star facilities, including 13 themed saunas with various temperatures, contents, and effects, so have fun hopping around and figure out your favorite!
Besides the basic sauna rooms and hot springs, there are several services available: face massage, half body massage, sitz bath, even haircut! The cafes and restaurants on the ground floor offer an array of dining options. Since it’s located in Haeundae district, why not come for a relaxing spa session after a full day by the seaside?
- Address: 35, Centum Namdae-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan
- How to Get There: Busan Subway Centum City Station, underway to Shinsegae Department Store
- Opening Time: 6:00am – 12:00am
- Book Here: Busan Spa Land Centum City Ticket
7. Sanbangsan Hot Springs
If you’re traveling to Jeju Island, don’t miss out the Sanbangsan Hot Spring. From the indoor hot spring, you can gaze out from the glass windows and roofs to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of mountains and islands.
This jjimjilbang is well-known for its carbonated hot spring. Aptly nicknamed, “Beauty Spring”, this type of hot spring moisturizes your skin, as if you’re soaking in a warm tub of toner! It also helps lower the blood temperature, blessing you with both beauty and better health. Other features worth mentioning include their outdoor springs, sauna rooms, body scrub, swimming pools, and restaurants. It is a perfect place to cure your travel tiredness.
- Address: 192 Sagyebung-ro41beon-gil, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo, Jeju-do
- How to Get There: Take bus no. 250-2 from Jeju City Bus Stop and get off at the Carbonate Hot Spring Station
- Opening Time: Indoor hot spring 6:00am – 12:00am, outdoor hot spring 11:00am -11:00pm
- Book Here: Jeju Carbonate Hot Spring Experience
FAQ s About Jjimjilbang:
Q: What are the fees?
A: In general, the 24-hour saunas have different entry fees for day and evening. Normally, the night time entry fee is slightly higher than the day time. On weekends, the fee will be the same. Some saunas offer service combos at different prices.
Q: How do I pay for the fee?
A: Nope, all jjimjilbangs are separated by genders. However, after the bath, you can all chill together again at the lobby!
Q: Can I enter the sauna and spa rooms with my own clothes on?
A: Nope again. You will be provided their set of clothes or robes. Full nudity is required at the shower and hot spring areas. Don’t be shy, Ahjummas are all very open and friendly!
Q: Will the free toiletries be available?
A: Normally at the counter, you will be provided with a set of clothes and two towels. Sometimes soap will be available, but bring your own toiletries if you don’t wish to buy them there. Remember to bring some clean underwear too!
Ready to get that same youthful glow that Koreans are known for? Or are you just looking to unwind and revive your mind, body and spirit in a whole new way? Book your reservations, pack your bags, and fly out to Korea to discover the ultimate jjimjilbang experience!
Other than jjimjilbang, try these cool Korean experiences:
- Nami Island Round-Trip Transportation from Seoul with Bike Rental
- Seoul Lotte World Tickets
- Real K-Pop Dance Studio Class
- Traditional Korean BBQ and Pub Crawl Experience
- Custom Ring Making at Ring University in Seoul
Travel essentials for your trip to Korea:
- South Korea Portable 4G Wi-Fi Rental
- South Korea Unlimited 4G/LTE KT Olleh SIM Card
- Safex Luggage Delivery Service
Transportation services available for tourists in Korea:
- Seoul City Sightseeing Bus Ticket
- Incheon International Airport (ICN) Private Transfer to Seoul
- Discover Seoul Pass (Card Version)
- AREX Incheon Airport Express Train One-Way Nonstop Ticket
- KAL Limousine Discounted One-Way Bus Ticket