I spent $60 on accommodation for five days in Seoul! I stayed at a jimjilbang, Korean spa with communal showers, hot tubs, massage tables, traditional saunas, resting areas and a food court.
Jimjilbang is a popular sleepover place for family weekend getaways, people who have missed their last train home, ones who are too drunk to go home, husbands who got into fights with their wife, and travelers who can’t find a place to stay. I wanted to stay for the unique cultural experience.
It was one inexpensive, yet comfortable and relaxing stay. What better place to detox after all the delicious food you stuff in your tummy and recharge after a long day of walking!
After you pay the admission fee (5000 won for the day and an additional 10,000 won if you spend the night), you leave your shoes in the lockers by the front door and proceed to the reception area of the women’s changing room, where you will be given your locker key, a set of clothes to change into and two small towels.
The locker was big enough for my backpack. I unpacked some things to make everything fit in. There is also a storage room where you can put your big luggage! You can also leave your passport and valuables in the small lockers at the reception area.
One interesting thing I noticed was they placed all the foreigners in the same area. Maybe to keep an eye on us to make sure we know what we are doing. I did see many people almost walking out of the locker room naked thinking that they were heading to the shower room (Yes, I was one of them). One of the staff will quickly redirect you.
I was pretty excited about finally being able to satisfy this curiosity. My plan was to stay one night, as I am a very light sleeper and was not sure if I can actually fall asleep with so many people around. However, I ended spending four nights here.
And thanks to these bunk beds, I got a bit more comfort and privacy. There are big towels that you can use as bed sheets and blankets. There is a separate room for men.
I like how they have an area for snorers. I did get a neighbor that was snoring one night though! Did she not know about the snorers’ room?! It didn’t really bother me as I was exhausted from walking all day and was able to sleep well after soaking in the hot tubs! But in the early hours you will hear alarms going off, as many are probably heading to work.
You can also get a traditional Korean body scrub, massages, health treatments, facials, haircut, eyelash extensions and manicures.
There is one restaurant on the second floor and a juice/snack stand on the fourth floor.
The entertainment floor has a TV room, a gym, a karaoke, a game room and a computer room.
By the third day, the staff already knew what locker number I was. I was so familiar with the spa that I was able to help other tourists when they weren’t sure what to do.
Why not try staying at a jimjilbang when you visit Korea?
Address: 49 Jungnim-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
It is a 5 minute walk from Seoul Station exit 1. Once you step out of the station, you will see Lotte Mall on your left, keep walking along the mall until you get to the end where the parking lot is, take the stairs down. After that, make a right and walk straight for a few minutes and you will see Siloam Sauna across the street on the left.