About A Korea Spa
In general, the Korea Spa is furnished with hot tubs, showers, Korean traditional kiln saunas and massage tables. In a Korea Spa, you may find that there are various rooms with different temperatures to suit guests' preferred relaxing temperatures. The walls are decorated with different woods, minerals, crystals, stones, and metals. This is to make the ambient mood and smell more natural. Often the elements used have traditional Korean medicinal purposes in the various rooms.
The Different Areas in a Korea Spa
The Bathing Area
Bathing Area is usually separated from the locker room by a glass door. If you have a robe or any other clothing on, take it off before you pass through this door as it is not allowed in here. Reading material is also not allowed in the bathing area, but can be used in the rest area. Once you enter, you should find a shower and wash yourself thoroughly before entering any of the pools or saunas. You will have a choice between (western) stand-up showers, and traditional Asian showers, where you sit on a low plastic stool.
The Rest Area:
The rest area varies on the size of the sauna. In a small sauna, it can be a room with recliners, couches, or beds of some kind. In a large Jim Jil Bang, it may be a coed, multi-floor facility with restaurants, salons, and a variety of other activities. Clothing is usually worn in the rest area, unless it is coed, where it must be worn. For single-gender rest areas, robes are provided. For coed rest areas, a uniform of a t-shirt and knee-length shorts are provided. These are usually color coded by the sexes.
What Can You Get in a Korean Spa
You get a pair of shorts, a t-shirt for the co-ed areas, where different saunas of varying temperatures and themes are found. The amethyst sauna, gold pyramid sauna, ice sauna, and bulhanzungmok or "hot sweat" room. Each sauna is supposed to have different benefits.
Back in the women's locker room, there's a herbed steam sauna, a heated mugwort room, and a hot sweat room where you can go nude. This is also where you would get a scrub and/or a massage -- not in a room by yourself but lying alongside other customers. You probably won't be catered to with all the gentleness you expect from a typical American spa.
What is a Korea Spa Like?
Out in the common area, people are wandering about in slow motion, with Korean TV playing in a few corners and Korean magazines & papers abound. You have the snack bar and the 24-hour Korean restaurant attached right next door to it. There is noise and there is quiet; it’s a happy mixture. Many are on tatami mats laying down, eating, sleeping, reading, or just dazing in the distance. The walls of the common area are surrounded by different “rooms”, mostly hot rooms except for the Eskimo room, where you enter the little Igloo and stay until you can no longer take it. The other rooms range in temperature from 100 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37 to 76 Celsius, and each has a beautiful theme, the rock room, the clay room, the crystal room and the sand room.
At a Minimum, All Korean Spas Have:
- A hot dry sauna,
- A steam room,
- A hot tub (> 105°F / 40°C),
- A warm tub, and
- A cool tub.
Not all Korean spas are alike. Some are much less elaborate, and some are even more over-the-top. Spa Castle in Flushing (Queens), New York is a huge, 100,000 square foot water park modeled after traditional Asian and European bathhouses. It has mineral pools, seven specialized saunas, including L.E.D., salt, jade and loess (a type of soil), all-weather outdoor pools with a variety of jets that help relieve tension. You can also get private spa treatments here.