March 4th 2012 By- Nicole Brewer
So you’ve had a long day at work and need to unwind once you get home. In USA many of us would do this by maybe having a nice cocktail or a bubble bath. Nonetheless, in Korea and other Asian countries such as Japan with huge populations most families live in smaller living conditions that do not offer a full bathtub. Many Asians delight in what are called bath-houses or jimjilbang in Korean.
I have now lived in Korea for 3 years and going to the jimjilbang is one of my favorite past times here. I live in Busan, Korea which hosts the largest department store in the world Shinsegae (noted in the guinness book of world records). Located at Shinsegae is one of the nicest saunas that the city has to offer called Spa Land. This is where I go to just get away from it all typically once every couple of weeks.
|Nicole relaxing at Spa Land.|
The price range runs from 14K won ($13 USD) on the weekend to as low as 7K won ($6 USD) during the week in the evening. You can spend a max of 4 hours here relaxing in the various warm/cold baths, sauna rooms and other relaxation rooms that it offers. The baths are therapeutic since the varying baths have sodium chloride (salt, benefiting the muscles and joints) and others have sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, said to "improve beauty of the skin").You can go from sitting in a massage chair to soaking your feet in the beautiful outdoor foot spa or even watching a movie in the lounge chairs in the movie room.
|Spa Land's outdoor footspa area.|
Please note that there is an age limit. No one under 13 years of age is allowed in this bath house even though most Korean bath houses do not have an age limit. It is typical in Korean culture to go to the jimjilbang with your friends, family or even mate to spend quality time. The bathing sections are separated by sex but the common areas that you relax in are shared so it is a great date location or place to hang out with friends.
The décor of Spa land is totally unreal. Once you walk into the lobby you are greeted by huge white couches, gorgeous hardwood floors and stone pillars. There are more than 13 sauna and hot steam rooms that are individually themed including the Wave-Dream room and SEV room, which were first introduced in Korea. There is also a Roman room which recreates the ancient roman bath and the Body Sound room where you can rest by listening to sounds of nature and meditation music (my fav of them all). Also they have coined new and innovative technologies here such as the Spa the color room which includes comfortable couches surrounded by soothing colors and sounds. Also included here are O2 Oxygen machines and the all new Phytoncide (wood essential oils) bath that emulates the “forest bathing” craze in Japan.
|Turkish Sauna room in Spa Land.|
|Color Spa room.|
Furthermore there are several entertainment zones or rooms such as the “Relaxation room” filled w/ recliner chairs from Japan that each have your own personal tv. An Esthetics area where you can get a face, body, or scalp massage, a lovely restaurant and café/bar areas to delight on a glass of Bernini wine or Asahi Japanese beer. One of the best parts too is you don’t have to worry about carrying cash around, everything can be paid for with your key card upfront then later in money in the lobby area. So what more of a reason do you need to come visit the beautiful city of Busan. I’ve recruited many friends to check out Spa Land. I hope you’ll one day have a chance to relax the Korean way too!