5 best Jjimjilbangs for your Korean sauna and spa experience

Hot spring baths and steam rooms at these Korean Sauna places

A trip to South Korea isn’t complete without an authentic Jjimjilbang (Korean Sauna) experience. The public baths or saunas are a common spot for locals to pass time, and a paradise for weary travellers to unwind and revive from physical exhaustion after a whole day of shopping. With a wide variety of exclusive facilities, a spa treatment at these places are a lot more luxurious than just hot baths and massage chairs.

How do you pick a Jjimjilbang from so many options, and what is the difference among them? Here, we compare seven of the best South Korean saunas for you to pick from during a trip to Seoul, Busan or Jeju Island.

Hwanggeum Sauna

This Korean bathhouse is also conveniently situated in Myeongdong, Seoul’s shopping hotspot. It is particularly popular among Japanese visitors, and you’ll notice this from all the Japanese signatures on the wall located by the reception.

Choose a combo and simply lie down and relax for the following 60 to 80 minutes. The staff will pamper you with a massage, exfoliate your facial skin and apply a mask on your face. There are four 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.

Booking: Klook

Itaewon Land Sauna

If you’re not interested in more touristic Jjimjilbangs like those around Myeongdong, then try Itaewon Land Sauna, to experience a mainstay of Korean culture the same way locals do! Here, you’ll enjoy the largest traditional oak wood sauna in Korea and spring water from 300m underground. The sauna uses FIR (far infrared) and high temperatures to produce the steamy heat. Such heat encourages sweat to come out of your body, eliminating toxins and decreasing blood pressure.

After the sauna, enjoy a body scrub, 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.

Booking: Klook

Traditional Oriental Forest Land

This Jjimjilbang in Seoul 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. These kilns are said to have numerous health benefits. Make sure to stuff all your belongings in the locker room before entering, and put on the sandals they provide to keep your feet safe.

Purify both your body and soul in the traditional saunas heated by natural oak wood-fired heating. The female-only sleeping rooms are also equipped with a salt room. The best part? You can chow down on hearty Korean BBQ in their canteen too.

Booking: Changi Recommends

Spa Land Centum City

Hot and cold pools at a public hot spring

When it comes to Jjimjilbangs in Busan, Spa Land is definitely on the top of the list. It’s the biggest one in the city, located in the Centum City department store. It’s famed for their top-notch facilities, including 13 themed saunas with various temperatures, contents, and effects. Have fun hopping around and figuring out your favorite.

Besides the basic sauna rooms and hot springs, there are several services available: facial treatments, sitz baths and even haircuts. The cafes and restaurants on the ground floor offer an array of dining options. Since it’s located in the Haeundae district, it’s best to enjoy the relaxing spa session after a full day by the seaside.

Booking: Klook

Sanbangsan Hot Springs

Korean Sauna with open air bath and sodium bicarbonate 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 the nearby mountains and islands.

This Jjimjilbang is well-known for its carbonated hot spring. Aptly nicknamed the 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 your blood temperature, blessing you with both beauty and better health. Other facilities include their outdoor pools, sauna rooms, body scrub, swimming pools, and restaurants.

Booking: KKday

Korean Sauna with open air baths

These luxurious spa treatments are a quintessential Korean experience, that you’ll definitely want to try out while on your holiday. Relaxing in a hot bath or sauna room with your travelling companions is sure to be a highlight of your vacation.

Craving a taste of Korea, but can’t leave the country? Why not check out our list of these local Korean restaurants to satisfy your cravings?

A version of this story first appeared on KKday.