Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Experiencing Dragon Hill Spa, Korea's most famous jjimjilbang

The entrance to Dragon Hill spa has a charming and inviting atmosphere.

Wearing funny sheep head towels and spa outfits is a must.
    Recommended by CNN Go, The New York Times, and numerous international media, Dragon Hill Spa is the best place to get the full Korean jjimjilbang (Korean bath house) experience. The spa is open 24 hours a day seven days a week and features seven massive floors of facilities. This family-friendly place is a fascinating combination of relaxation and fun which includes sex-segregated spa areas, co-ed saunas, outdoor pools, hot tubs, nail salons, arcades, internet rooms, restaurants, a cinema, and a putting green. Among the most popular and lavish spas for foreigners in Korea, what more could you ask for?

Two of the pyramid dry sauna rooms, one is made of bijou.
Going to a jjimjilbang is definitely not for those who are uncomfortable being naked. Be prepared to bare it all for about half of the time you are in the spa. Upon entering Dragon Hill you will most likely be greeted by the manager who loves to speak English with foreigners. Then you will pay the 10,000 to 12,000 won fee depending on the day and you will receive a wristband with a key attached. Do not lose this wristband because it controls everything that you do in the jjimjijbang and even acts as a credit card.

Where you leave your shoes.
    Next, you enter the giant room full of lockers and leave your shoes behind. This is where men and women can say their goodbyes as they enter the private men and womans saunas. When in the jimjibang do as the Koreans do. Go to your designated locker and strip down. Take one towel (barely enough to cover your thigh) and head down to the sauna. First you should take a shower, (yes everyone will be watching you) before entering any of the hot tubs or steam rooms.

    The separated sauna sections are by far my favorite part of the spa. There are over eight different hot tubs inside, and there are even more located outside. There is also a steam room that has so much detail it makes you feel like Queen Min. When your finished with the wet portion of the sauna head back downstairs to floor 1. Wear your cool gym outfit provided by the spa, and make sure to ask someone how to twist your towel into the famous sheep head (양머리, yeong mori) or just click on the you tube video here.

Where men and women separate from each other.
    The co-ed portion of the sauna is known as the healing zone. The heated rooms are all unique and have different temperatures and purposes. There is a traditional hardwood charcoal kiln which heats several chambers.This is my favorite of all of the rooms because they are so dark and peaceful. The coal smells delicious and the old fashioned wood floors make you appreciate Korean history. There is also a crystal shining salt room, a meditative exercise room of yellow soil pyramid, a pyramid spirit experience room of natural bijou, a fire sweating bathroom with pine-tree firewood, an ice room, a Finland sauna, and outdoor hot spring pool, a cottage for drinking rice wine, a tanning zone, and many more spa activities.

The common area at Dragon Hill Spa.
    The spa culture is unlike anything you have experienced in western culture. In the co-ed sections you will see many couples relaxing together, and families sitting on the floor just hanging out and playing games in the sitting area. There are places to get food, massage chairs to rent, and there is even the King's chair of Guenjeong-jeon where you can take a picture. The spa is somewhere you can go to hang out for hours, and there are even sleeping rooms for those that want to spend the night.

Hanging out in the ice room is nice after the dry saunas.
 In the private sauna areas, it is not uncommon to see young boys and girls stark naked with their mothers enjoying the hot tubs and steam rooms. If you see old women (more specifically adjumas) they may be very friendly to you, and might even ask you to scrub their backs. Just be nice and say that you don't need any help and they will leave you alone to enjoy your peaceful day.

  Make sure to eat before going to the spa unless you want to spend money on expensive and mediocre food. Many people spend hours at the spa, so they can charge a high price for food because you cannot leave the spa and return once you have entered. Although the food isn't that good, I recommend trying two traditional Korean drinks while venturing through the spa to stay hydrated. Sikhye is a traditional sweet rice drink that is made fresh at the spa and is not from a can. Also try out the gamsikcho which is literally a drink made of vinegar and persimmons. Both drinks are refreshing and delicious to sip on while in the piping hot dry sauna rooms.

A peak inside of one of the dry saunas.
To get to the Dragon Hill Spa from anywhere in Seoul take Line No. 1 to Yongsan Station. Exit the subway and turn right upon leaving the escalators at I-park mall. Simply walk across the street and The Spa is directly on the corner.

If you have any questions or comments about "Experiencing Dragon Hill Spa, Korea's most famous jjimjijbang"    please leave them in the comment box below or email them to goneseoulsearching@gmail.com

Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.

28 개의 댓글:

Anonymous said...

You didn't say which exit number!!

Marie W said...

Hey anonymous! There actually is no exit number. In Yongsan you will be dumped out of the subway in the huge terminal/mall. Simply head to the outside doors and go down the huge escalators. Turn right and you will see the spa across the street! You really can't miss the escalators or the spa!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I will give it a try some time before leaving Korea!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot to ask.. What should i take to this place? My bath product? Thanks again!

Marie W said...

Yes, you will need to take shampoo and conditioner if you use specific products. Otherwise you can buy small sized items for cheap there! You should also bring a second pair of underwear if you want to put on clean ones after you are done getting beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Is the dry sauna mixed-gender?
Me and my husband would like to try out a sauna/steamroom together. Thanks!! -- Mrs. J.

Marie W said...

Yes, the dry sauna is mixed! And they even provide clothes for you to wear. Have fun!!


Anonymous said...

I would love to try this place out, but have one reservation. I'm no where close to the "average" Korean size. The same sex naked thing doesn't concern me as much as wondering if the clothes they give you to wear there will come in my size (I'm a size 16). Any thoughts?

Marie W said...

Size wise you are fine! My mom went and she is also a bigger size and she had no problem. They were a little tight, but I assume they just gave her the guy size.

nncoco said...

Directions from Inchion Airport 7-2012: takes about 1:30 door to door with non-express train. 1/2 hr less fr express train.

If facing the doors at the terminal, turn right and take escalator down to the train.There are express or 8-stop trains to Seoul Station where te train ends.

Go upstairs. To the subway trains. take the #1 (dark blue train 2-stops to Youlan station.

For return trip I took the #6 train back to Seoul station. I recommend purchasing tickets twicefor each leg because it spits out a non transfer ticket which creates problems.

I went there today on your recommendation. Had a salt body axrup for w3000 which was just what I needed after two weeks in 3rd world cities, trains ad guest houses. It was abrasive in a good way leaving my skin silky smooth. Improved circulation made 18 hours 23 hours of travel a lot safer for my middle aged body. I feel great now.

Anonymous said...

Hi! :) is it a must to go through th "get naked" portion of th spa? Or can you just skip that & go to the unisex floor straight? :)

Unknown said...

Hello! I have the same qn as Anonymous-"Hi! :) is it a must to go through th "get naked" portion of th spa? Or can you just skip that & go to the unisex floor straight? :)"

Hope to get your reply soon. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Do you have the email address of Dragon Hill Spa? Does the spa allow a 10 year old boy to go into the changing room with me as I am travelling alone with him and I want him to experience the spa?

Unknown said...

Just have a quick question about the spa. Can u skip the wash (nude part) and go straight to common area (unisex).

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finnegan said...

A nice place to relax.

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