Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saunas and Jjimjilbangs [찜질방] in Korea

You gotta love Korean bathhouse culture. Sure, it can be a shock at first. *Gasp!* The Nudity! But with an open mind and a free spirit (a touch of near-sightedness doesn't hurt), being naked in a room full of other naked people can quickly become second nature.

When I arrived in Korea 2+ years ago, for example, I never expected that I would ever be able to utter the following statement with a straight face:

Getting a full-body naked scrub-down from a Korean man in his underwear is pretty damn awesome.

Now it's pretty much one of the first things I say when I meet people.

Recently, while visiting a jjimjilbang with a friend, I shared my vision for a website (in English) that catalogued and ranked all of the jjimjilbangs throughout Korea. It would be a place for foreigners to find new and exciting nudist experiences throughout the country - indoor, outdoor, milk baths, tea baths, salt, sodium bicarbonate, whirlpools, massage baths, ice rooms, hot rooms, steam rooms, and, well, should I go on?

Then - today - I found one.

Jjimjilbang and Saunas in Korea

Tagged by location and descriptors like 'nice view' and 'fitness center', the reviews are pretty easy to search, and include plenty of pictures and access information. So far the scope and number of places reviewed looks pretty limited - 8 in Busan, 6 in Daegu, 6 in Seoul, and a few further afield - but it's a great starting point.

If you'd like to contribute reviews to the site, the author - Sophia - has posted her email on the homepage.

So throw off your inhibition and underwear and head for the door - there's a lot of scrubbing to be done.


  1. Anonymous10:21 PM

    Glad you like the bathhouses as so many foreigners are critical of them. Fortunately, they are one of the only places you will now find in Korea that have not been invaded by them - a fact which makes them even more precious for the unique experience they have to offer.

    I sent several comments to the above mentioned blog but never received a response. I'm guessing there must have been a problem as the author does seem to respond to comments in general.

    1. Elwood5566 - Although I post sporadically, I have read and replied to most every comment I've gotten on my blog, always in a timely fashion. So this leads me to believe there must be some error with how you're posting comments or getting the replies. I really apologize for not getting back to you faster if one snuck in under my radar.

      I always just post the reply on the same post so other readers can see the answer and information as well. I think you either have to subscribe by email to the replies or check back on the blog to see the reply. I couldn't find any from your username in particular so maybe you posted under anonymous? In any case, I'm sorry and hope you have found my blog useful anyway.

  2. rob g1:07 AM

    heaven is a twelve-pool jjimjilbang


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